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Is The Fda The Most Pathetic Federal Agency?

USA Today has a piece up about how the FDA has taken the unusual step of unleashing federal marshals on Westco Fruit and Nuts--some loser company in New Jersey that has refused government requests to recall products containing peanuts received from everyone's favorite killer-nut-peddler, Peanut Corp. of America. 

After Westco ignored requests both for a recall and for records showing where its PCA-laced products had been shipped, the FDA decided it had little choice but to send in marshals with an inspection warrant.

Here's the bit that caught my eye: "The agency does not have the authority to force companies to recall foods and generally relies on the threat of bad publicity to encourage them to do so."

Really? That seems crazy to me. I'm sure there are plenty of reasonable objections to allowing the FDA this power. But knowing what we know about some companies' attitude toward consumer safety--i.e., they prioritize it just below keeping the breakroom stocked with Skittles--I can also think of a few reasonable arguments for revisiting the issue.

I realize the Obama folks have a lot of their plates, but let's hope they get around to giving the FDA some bite before everything on our plates winds up toxic.

--Michelle Cottle