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Freedom to HarmThe Lasting Legacy of the Laissez Faire Revival$
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Thomas O. McGarity

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300141245

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300141245.001.0001

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Food Safety

Food Safety

(p.133) 11 Food Safety
Freedom to Harm

Thomas O. McGarity

Yale University Press

This chapter explains that by the end of the third assault, the nation's food safety programs were clearly dysfunctional. The Food and Drug Administration has regulatory responsibility for more than $450 billion worth of food each year that is manufactured, prepared, and sold at more than 156,000 establishments throughout the country. The Meat Inspection Act of 1906 established a comprehensive regulatory regime under which a meat packing facility could not operate without an inspector from the United States Department of Agriculture on the premises. At the outset of the Laissez Faire Revival, the food industry was undergoing massive change. During the Laissez Faire Revival, food safety regulation consisted mainly of lax regulation interrupted by spurts of activity in response to crises. The incidence of food-borne diseases and food-related allergies grew at an alarming rate during the Laissez Faire Era. At the same time that food-borne pathogens were getting heartier and more virulent, globalization facilitated the rapid spread of newly evolved pathogens.

Keywords:   food safety programs, Meat Inspection Act, Laissez Faire Revival, food safety regulation

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