Big Brother's Meddling Again
Newcastle — A big part of the problem with so many government regulatory agencies is that the staff feels they need to do something to justify their job, and this often leads to nonsense. I was nothing short of amazed to read in a recent New Yorker that a New York cheese merchant, Benoit de Vitton, was forced by the FDA to destroy five hundred balls of Mimolette. Why? It seems that federal law allows only six mites per square inch in cheeses. De Vitton’s Mimolette rind was found to have a concentration of between 500 and 2000 mites per square inch. Missed it by that much!
Who cares if there are mites in the rind? How in the world did the government geniuses come up with their standard of six? Toss 3,297 lbs of cheese in the dumpster? I’d have schlepped home one of those Mimolette balls in a second. Better than this silly law one might consider adding mites to the list of ingredients, and let the consumer make up his own mind. Of course that’s a meaningless gesture, because almost nobody reads the labels. Better the government not get involved at all.
On a related matter, the same Federal Drug Administration is mounting a campaign against anti-bacterial agents which are included in such products as soap and toothpaste. Public health experts rejoice, because they have been arguing for years that the agents are harmful. Of course they are! Any fool knows that. We depend on germs; (most) bacteria are our friends. Trillions of bacteria live within our guts. Without them we die. As for those anti-bacterial agents, we don’t need government regulation, we need consumer common sense; don’t buy the product. And while you’re in the store, don’t use that hand sanitizer (not currently under consideration for regulation). I say, “Go to the vegetable counter and handle all the tomatoes, especially the ones you don’t intend to purchase. Give the next customer some germs to pep up his immune system.”
Just how are these anti-bacterial materials harmful? According to the New York Times: “Studies in animals have shown that the chemicals, triclosan in liquid soaps and triclocarban in bar soaps, can disrupt the normal development of the reproductive system…” Aha! Just the sort of ammunition we foes need. People don’t want any contact whatever with anything that interferes with our reproduction activities. That’s about the only thing a lot of us worry about, especially teenagers.
Another point of interest: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the (anti-bacterial) chemicals in the urine of three-quarters of Americans.” I guess their point is that the agents are ubiquitous and may become ineffective, much like the situation with the over-prescription of antibiotics. Maybe, but I choose to look on this as good news. The body pisses them away, just like the excess vitamins you’re urged to swallow. The body knows what’s good for it. So, FDA, fuhgeddaboudit.
Pity the product manufacturer (Oh sure). They are to be required, by the FDA, to prove that body washes and other products are both better and safer than plain old soap and water and pose fewer health risks. I don’t think that’s possible. Again, leave it to the consumer. When he stops buying, the companies will stop making.
One of the odd side effects of our ill-fated war against bacteria is the emergence of the fecal transplant. I blogged this topic two years ago; it fascinates me, probably because I never advanced beyond the anal stage. An odd thought occurs. Are you having difficulty finding gifts for your loved ones this holiday season? Why not give something of yourself? A small vial that could be kept in the freezer for medical emergency. What could be more thoughtful?
Aside: I mentioned above that we might add a warning label about those mites in the Mimolette rind. You’ve probably noticed that there already is a warning label on the anti-bacterial liquid soaps. It says: “For external use only.” Say, thanks for that! I was about to have two fingers before dinner.