Part of national security is being able to trust that food from stores and restaurants are safe. Too often now, the burden of food safety is put on the consumer (i.e. it's OK if the store sells you beef with E. coli and it's your job to cook it thoroughly) and this is not OK. Food safety needs to begin on the farm.
1. Studies show that we can drastically reduce E. coli in beef by changing the cows' diet from grain to alfalfa 3 days before slaughter. Americans die from E. coli 0157:H7 in ground beef; there is no reason we should not be taking this crucial step to save American lives.
2. Another way to improve safety is to slow down the lines in meatpacking plants. Meatpackers increase line speed to increase profits, but they do so at the expense of worker safety and food safety. E. coli does not get into the meat without a mistake occurring during processing, either contaminating the meat from manure on the cow's hide or in the gut. Decreasing line speed will decrease mistakes.
3. As Democrats, we should NOT support the ridiculous National Animal ID System as it does NOT improve food safety. By implementing an expensive, invasive tracking system without making the other needed changes in our food system, we will not do anything at all to improve our safety. All NAIS does do is invade privacy and push small farmers out of business.
4. We should regulate what animals are allowed to eat. Currently, even though we know that feeding animal remains to animals causes mad cow, we still tolerate several loopholes in our system. For example, cows can eat pigs and pigs can eat cows. Calves often eat cow blood. We need to examine this and close the remaining loopholes.
5. Individual farmers should be allowed to test their cows for mad cow if they so choose. Currently, farmers who wish to test every cow for mad cow in order to do business with Japan are not permitted to do so. This is insane. Why are we preventing our farmers from increasing the safety of our food supply?
6. We need to adopt policies that promote small farms, farmers' markets, farm to school programs, and other local, decentralized food systems. We are sick of seeing outbreaks like this latest Salmonella outbreak, in which over 1000 people were affected across the country. When we promote local food systems, we also help citizens avoid the food safety issues that arise from our centralized, industrialized system.
1. We oppose NAFTA, CAFTA and the other various free trade agreements (FTAs) as they undermine our nation's economy. They might benefit the multinational corporations but the rest of us aren't feeling too much trickling down as we watch our jobs go to Mexico.
2. Under an Obama administration, we look forward to the enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and the Packers & Stockyards Act. Monopolies are not good for capitalism. We resent the high amount of consolidation in so many industries and we look to an Obama administration to break them up.
3. We want to see executives who hire undocumented workers to face severe penalties. They are not only taking away jobs from Americans, they are also often violating human rights by hiring the most helpless class of workers. Undocumented workers who are abused on the job cannot sue, often they cannot speak English, and they work under the threat of deportation. Those who abuse them and profit from their hard work deserve to be penalized for it.