|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|The Food, the Bad and the Ugly|
Jon Stewart praised the Senate for passing the Food Safety Modernization Act, which gives the United States government more power to protect citizens from foodborne illnesses. In the past, the government relied on companies to voluntarily recall products. Now, it will have the authority to demand them.
Stewart mocks the skeptics who doubt the need for law, such as Glenn Beck, who Stewart says feels the FDA was created to do things like make sure you get milk instead of rat droppings in the carton.
Unfortunately, Beck isn’t the only naysayer. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma claimed that only 10-20 people die annually from food illnesses (as if that weren’t enough). Ignorance sounds worse when other people hear you and Coburn may have made the biggest fool of himself to end the year.
The CDC recognizes foodborne illnesses cause fewer deaths than previously estimated. But when you look at illnesses, medical and hospital costs and think of missed work and productivity and general apprehension about eating in the future (are you still scared of bagged spinach), it’s no picnic.
“We estimate that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. Known pathogens account for an estimated 14 million illnesses, 60,000 hospitalizations, and 1,800 deaths. Three pathogens, Salmonella, Listeria, and Toxoplasma, are responsible for 1,500 deaths each year, more than 75% of those caused by known pathogens, while unknown agents account for the remaining 62 million illnesses, 265,000 hospitalizations, and 3,200 deaths.”
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