Do not weaken
According to the Washington Post, the meat inspection program that the U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to roll out has repeatedly failed to stop production of contaminated meat. The program allows meat producers to increase the speed of processing lines and replace USDA safety inspectors with their own employees.
But plants operating under this program have experienced health and safety violations that include failure to remove fecal matter and partly digested food, according to the USDA inspector general. These contaminants might contain complex strains of deadly E. coli and listeria.
Traditionally, the USDA seemingly has catered more to the interests and profitability of the meat industry than health and safety concerns of American consumers. Consumer interests apparently come into play only when large numbers of us get sick. Having the USDA protect consumers is like asking the fox to guard the chicken house.
The Obama administration must reallocate responsibility for consumer safety to the Food and Drug administration. In the meantime, each of us must assume responsibility for our own safety by switching to the rich variety of plant-based meats offered in area supermarkets.
Crime is ignored
by county council
On Aug. 27, I attended a Luzerne County Council meeting. During public comment, I stated we won’t have a county to govern if the council doesn’t address crime and its causes. Councilman Rick Morelli stated he was tired of long meetings and public comments in which citizens just vent their frustration, and crime and its impact on the community are not county issues.
The council spent 40 minutes on the trivial issue of bike racks on Luzerne County Transportation Authority buses, and who provides better service the LCTA or Hazleton buses. As a citizen, what is more important: crime that has people living in fear, or bike racks? That is true leadership.
George J. Kochis