Part 1: Regulatory Agencies and Our Health

The conversation in the US over health care and its subsidization is misleading the conversation about our health. Yes, a comprehensive program that would make health care both affordable and accessible would probably need some administration. But the current industries involved in what we call health care are not visibly concerned with our overall health maintenance.

We can reference
the FDA
the agricultural industry
the USDA
the pharmaceutical industry
medical equipment manufacturers
many hospitals
medical schools and their sponsors
doctors and their continuing education providers
and finally, the health insurance industry

Even the alternative health industry is questionable on many fronts. Most recently the insistence on organic produce has missed the mark that if most of America ate any kind of fresh or frozen produce, they would be healthier and carry less body fat than by continuing to eat the processed foods that they currently fill up on. A friend of mine uses the expression “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

The FDA is seen by many Americans as the guardian of our health, as regards food and drugs. That would seem to make sense, but the title doesn’t guarantee the fact. Most FDA officials are either former or future corporate heads in the food and drug industries. They drive policy from both sides. Since the 1960s our school health programs have been sponsored by specific agricultural interests. That moved on, later, to processed food interests. There is still no unaffiliated health program, when there is any program at all, offered in any American school. By the way, the FDA does not have funding to do medical research. They accept the research, complete or partial, presented to them by any given company.

In spite of all the labeling laws for vitamins, foods, cosmetics, and household products, deception continues to be commonplace in those labeled products. It often takes lawsuits (or threatened lawsuits) by consumer groups to enforce the labeling laws and their claims and definitions. The FDA continues to allow faulty science and justifications to be used to allow unhealthy chemical substances into our food, cosmetics and household products and, yes, many vitamins. This doesn’t even begin to address the problem of lacking enough FDA researchers and inspectors to enforce their own laws.

The FDA, at the same time, wastes countless tax dollars fighting common sense health policies. They continue to claim that food grown on a mono-cultural, mega-farm, many miles from intended markets. is as healthy as locally grown food. Non-organic, local food is usually more nutritious and tastier than even organic produce brought from a significant distance.

A policy that the FDA has recently been putting a lot of weight behind is eliminating the availability of fresh, unpasteurized milk sales by small dairies and farms, to local neighbors. When pasteurization initially began to be used, there was far less knowledge about, and ability to keep milk cold and fresh. Recognizing an unhealthy animal is easier in a small herd. And the bottom line… a farmer you know by name is far likelier to be honest and caring about what you think of their product, than is a huge dairy.

The USDA also lacks enough inspectors to provide oversight for its regulations. There is plenty of information in the form of documentary films and diaries to demonstrate the problems of run-away Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). But there is a bill before congress now (May, 2014) to outlaw secret or undercover filming of these operations.

Food is the original medicine – when it’s clean and pure. The only way to be as sure as we can be about it’s purity is to know the producers -which includes being the producers.

Remember this: An expert is anyone with an opinion, who goes our and gets information to back up that opinion. If we are to have successful lives, we must make our own decisions about what that means, and we must become the experts on ourselves and our own needs.

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