Hey, USDA, Who’s Your Daddy?

For whom does the USDA work? A recent development involving a vanished technical review makes me wonder if the agency is working to assure a safe and nutritious food supply for the U.S. citizenry, or to protect the profits of the agro-industrial complex.

Tom Philpott did a great job covering the turn of events in a Mother Jones article published on Friday. In a nutshell, the USDA asked Vaishali Dharmarha, a Food Safety Information Specialist at U.S. Department of Agriculture/University of Maryland, to summarize recent academic findings on the link between antibiotic resistant bacterial infections (such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA) and industrial farm animal production.  The agency blessed the report, which summarized research from 63 academic papers, as peer-reviewed, scientific, and scholarly. And then they quashed it.

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