Egg Salad Surprise! Congress Votes to Clean Up Food Supply

It’s a Christmas-week miracle! The Senate, in a vote that astonished everyone, brought the Food Safety and Modernization Act back from the dead on Monday, as Siddhartha Mahanta reports in Mother Jones. The bill, which will enact tougher consumer protections against E. coli and other deadly contaminants in staples like eggs and peanut butter, died in the Senate last week when the omnibus spending bill it had been folded into kicked the bucket.

At Grist, Tom Philpott explains the initial demise, and the basis for the ultimate resurrection of the bill. The House passed the bill on Tuesday, having already passed it twice before.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law, which will usher in the first major overhaul of the country’s food safety system in more than 70 years. Food poisoning strikes 48 million Americans (1 in 6), lands 128,000 in the hospital, and kills 3,000 ever year, according to CDC figures released last week. Now that’s something to talk about with your relatives around the holiday dinner table.

Wisconsin clinic backs off 2nd trimester abortion care

A clinic in Wisconsin has reneged on its commitment to provide second trimester abortion care, as Judy Shackelford reports in The Progressive. Shackelford is outraged that the Madison Surgery Center walked back on its promise to patients. She knows first hand how important later term abortion access can be.

Shackelford found herself in need of a second trimester abortion when she developed a blood clot in her arm during her second, much-wanted pregnancy. She decided to terminate rather than risk leaving her 7-year-old son motherless. It was hard enough to find an abortion provider when she needed one, but if she needed the procedure today, she would have nowhere to turn.

Teen birth rate at record low

The birth rate for women ages 15-19 fell to 39.1 per 1000 between 2008 and 2009, the National Center for Health Statistics announced Tuesday. Many commentators, including Goddessjaz of feministing attribute the drop to the recession. The economy seems to be an important factor because birth rates dropped in all age groups, not just among teens.

Predictably, proponents of abstinence-only-until-hetero-marriage are trying to take credit for the falling birth rate. It’s not clear why they think ab-only is finally starting to work after years of unrelenting failure. Perhaps it was Bristol Palin’s electrifying performance on “Dancing With the Stars”?

Get the government out of my Medicare

We’ve become accustomed to the ironic spectacle of senior citizens on Medicare-funded scooters decrying the “government takeover of health care.” Medicare is wildly popular, even among those who decry “socialized medicine.” When the Affordable Care Act is finally implemented, it won’t feel like a government program, either. Paul Waldman of The American Prospect wonders if this “private sector” feel will undermine support for the program:

The Republican officials challenging the ACA in court have characterized its individual insurance mandate as an act of tyranny ranking somewhere between the Stalinist purges and Mao’s Cultural Revolution. But in the “government takeover” of health care (recently declared the 2010 “Lie of the Year” by the fact-checking site PolitiFact), Americans will continue to visit their private doctors to receive care paid for by their private insurance companies. The irony is that if the ACA actually were a “government takeover,” people would end up feeling much better about government’s involvement in health care. But since it maintains the private system, conservatives can continue to decry government health care safe in the knowledge that most people under 65 won’t know what they’re missing, or in another sense, what they’re getting.

If people don’t realize that they’re benefiting from government programs, they are less likely to support those programs. In an attempt to deflect Republican criticism, the Democrats assiduously scrubbed as much of the aura of government off of health reform as they could. This could prove to be a disastrously short-sighted strategy. If health reform works, the government won’t get the credit, but rest assured that if it fails, it will take the full measure of blame.

Funding for community health centers at risk

One of the lesser-known provisions of the Affordable Care Act was to expand the capacity of community health centers (CHCs) from 20 million to 40 million patients by 2015. This extra capacity will be key for absorbing the millions of previously uninsured Americans who are slated to get health insurance under the ACA.

CHCs have been praised by Democrats and Republicans as an affordable way to provide quality health care. However, state budget crises are threatening to derail the plan, as Dan Peterson reports for States must contribute to the program in order to qualify for federal funding. However, state funding for CHCs has plummeted by 42% since 2007. So far this year, 23 states have cut funding for CHCs and eight have slashed their budgets by 20% or more.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint.

Photo credit: wikimedia commons
by Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger


Lika S.
Lika P7 years ago

As for the article, anyway, I think too many topics are on this page, and it's hard to keep everything straight, with the topics going everywhere.

On the topic of the 2nd trimester abortion, when it's for the health and life of the mother, like the woman mentioned, I'm all for it. (I am pro-choice, btw) . Just that when you want an abortion, the sooner the better. I have to ask though, is the procedure to remove the blood clot from an arm really that dangerous that the surgery couldn't happen at the same time? Or was it the fact that certain meds needed would be too risky to keep the pregnancy? I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just asking... I'm curious to know more about this.

I'm all for saving the mother's life. Especially when other children need her.

Lika S.
Lika P7 years ago

We need a bill to clean up our food? Really? I thought the FDA was supposed to ensure at least minimum levels of food safety, because it's called the Food & Drug Administration. Maybe we need to stop worrying about safe Canadian drugs that dig into the quantity of US drugs sold, yet which equal USA's quality, and start ensuring that our food isn't trying to keep up with an all time low as being as bad for our health as 3rd world rates. Sheesh!

Anyway, that whole sandwich looks bad. White bread? YUCK! I prefer my egg salad on whole wheat bread, and it's much more appetizing as well as healthier that way. Here is my recipe:

Egg Salad -
1 dozen large eggs, hard cooked & cooled to room temp.
1 small onion, minced.
1/2 stalk celery, minced.
1/4 medium green pepper, minced.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Put just enough salad dressing/miracle whip to wet it.

If you want more later, put more on. If you don't, it's fine. Chill, spread on whole wheat bread, and a piece of lettuce on top.

jane richmond
jane richmond7 years ago

Isn't that what the FDA is suppose to be doing? About time someone did!

John Doe
james rico7 years ago

the fda were lax on trute reform for so long on purpose just waiting for things to get bad so they could make this massive power grab they are not true to their cause only to the special interests that they themselfs are a part of this bill is very bad pushed threw whith this lame duck session real fast no public dedate sneaked threw with the news media being bought and sold as usal with their silence

Joyce N.
Joyce N7 years ago

The FDA does not need more control. Period.
The government does not need more control over what we eat, think, read about on the internet, or do. Period.
We were by far a better nation before THEY deemed it necessary to intrude in our private lives. Yes, everyone deserves health care, but to add all the sub-titles and sub-texts, mandates, etc, is making it an unpopular 'law' forced upon an already hurting economy.
I'll continue to eat my eggs and meat, own a gun, plant a back yard garden, despite Monsanto, work and pay my taxes, and pray my doctor won't be penalized for putting my health care first, dsepite the fact that the government tells her not to. (or will soon)
'They' are the negative forces that's wrong with this nation, not We the People.

Marti Williams
Marti Williams7 years ago

Health care in this day and time is a right..not a privilege for a select few...who have more money than they know what to do with...

Judith G.
J. Gibson7 years ago

All I can say is, "God help us!" The FDA's track record speaks for itself. This bill being passed now gives the FDA more power to overly regulate supplements and organic farmers. Laura has her head buried in the sand. Have you never heard of the FDA's/Monsanto's plan for population control? Look at what they've already done to vitamin D, which is an essential vitamin and is needed in very large doses.

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M7 years ago

If there is any money involved, not a chance anything good will come of this. If it were to be handled properly it could help with people getting the training and work. It's the enforcement that never seems to handled properly.

Colin Hope
Colin Hope7 years ago


Patricia S.
Pat S7 years ago

This is just big government edging in to take over every part of our lives! Watch out.