"If You Eat, Your Commissioner of Agriculture Vote is Important"
By: Dudley Butler

We have all heard about “free trade” ad nauseam. However, anyone with walking around sense knows that “free trade” must be “fair trade.” “No holds barred” foreign trade is destroying America’s family farms and along with it our assurance of a safe food supply. Our ports are busy around the clock offloading products from overseas. The United States was once the bread basket to the world. Now it is a net food importer.

The Center for Disease Control reports 76 million cases of food related illness every year in the United States. Of these cases, 325,000 require hospitalization, and 5,000 of these cases result in death. Alarmingly, the FDA is only able to lab test less than one percent of the millions of tons of food we import annually. The Food and Drug Administration is simply out-manned by mammoth globalized agriculture. We used to have the safest food supply in the world. We are now on the verge of impotency when it relates to the safety of our food. 

Mississippi is one of only a few states that has a country of origin labeling law (COOL), i.e., § 75‑35‑327 of the Mississippi Code. This law became effective January 1, 2003. It requires all persons who sell fresh or frozen unprocessed cuts of beef and ground beef to provide specific information as to the origin of that beef. The responsibility for enforcing this law is assigned to the Commissioner of Agriculture, but no enforcement action is evident in retail stores around the state.  You, your family, and friends, as well as your clients need to know that Lester Spell is not enforcing the law.

The big corporate beef packers are bringing in foreign beef from Mexico, South America and who knows where else, and Spell just looks the other way. Why won’t Spell stand up for Mississippi consumers? In light of recent "mad cow" problems and beef recalls, does Spell not think that Mississippians have a right to know the origin of the beef that they feed their friends and families? When it comes to beef, what is Spell’s excuse this time? Maybe since his involvement in the Beef Plant debacle, Lester just can’t deal with beef anymore.