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The Game of Unintended Consequences

by Sam Pearson posted on Apr 13, 2009 11:16 PM last modified Mar 20, 2012 10:08 AM

This is a stream-of-consciousness, but drawn-out-over-a-long-period of attention comment on current movements in regulation and stricture. It's a "real" blog in that it's really messy...

Victory!  Garden on the South Lawn of the White House...

So then it turns out the MACA (Mid America CropLife Association) "shudders" to think that Michelle Obama is planting a garden and not depending on their chemicals to maintain it.  How could she so bald-facedly opt out of the treadmill of unnecessary expenditures upon which our economy is based?

As if that weren't enough, there's the Food Safety Modernization Travesty of HR 875 to keep your eye on, which according to some readings threatens to completely annihilate even neighborhood produce swaps.  In the name of food safety, they want to impose regulations and standards that small operations (like your backyard) can't possibly accommodate.  According to Brian Snyder at PASA, don't panic, though it does not look good for raw dairy in general.

Speaking of raw dairy, there's been a crisis in CT lately over some acute health effects from some tainted dairy.  What's interesting is how they have not been able to draw the parallel between not outlawing the sale of peanuts, or pistachios, or spinach, or scallions and the demonization of raw dairy.  What we need is assurance that best practices are in place and the ability to access safe food, not a ban on anything that has ever harbored a pathogen.

It seems possible that this could wind up being another round of the same game of unintended consequences that had us panicking (supposedly) prematurely over new Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations that would impose intense safety standards on any and all products for sale, even in thrift stores.  The most extreme levels of testing have not come to pass; the second-hand stores still exist, but the next time you try to give away some of your possessions to a charity, the bar may be a little higher -- they aren't taking x or y. 

If only we could believe this will actually help to get them to stop selling the stuff at the Dollar Store.


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