Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Choice Couldn't Be More Stark

USDA chief Tom Vilsacks's top picks to head the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service have been narrowed to two: The food safety director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest ... and a top lobbyist at Big Ag's largest lobbying firm, Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz PC. The Center for Science in the Public Interest is "the organized voice of the American public on nutrition, food safety, health and other issues during a boom of consumer and environmental protection awareness in." Olsson Frank is a lobbying firm that provides "regulatory council" to agribusiness, with the goal of "limit[ing] costs and get[ting] plants back up and running as soon as possible." In other words, they work with companies that commit health and safety violations and lobby against more stringent standards for food safety. As Obama Foodarama notes, "It's appalling, and reprehensible, that a lobbyist is being considered for a top position in an agency that's already fraught with accusations of being 'in the pocket' of Big Ag."

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