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Trump campaign pushes food safety rollbacks, then backtracks

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke at a luncheon for the Economic Club of New York today.

WASHINGTON » A fact sheet issued by Donald Trump’s campaign today said he would roll back food safety regulations if the billionaire businessman is elected president, arguing they are burdensome to farmers and “overkill.”

The campaign later deleted the fact sheet from its website and issued a new release that did not include the food safety language. The fact sheet was sent out to supplement a speech Trump gave to the New York Economic Club on boosting economic growth. Trump did not mention food safety in the speech.

In the original fact sheet, the campaign said that Trump would eliminate several regulations, including the “food police” at the Food and Drug Administration.

The handout said the FDA food safety rules “govern the soil farmers use, farm and food production hygiene, food packaging, food temperatures” and other ways farmers and food companies do business. It also criticizes increased inspections of food manufacturing facilities as “inspection overkill.”

The description matches new food safety regulations passed by Congress in 2010 in response to an outbreak of salmonella linked to a Georgia peanut company that killed nine and sickened more than 700 people in 46 states. A 2011 outbreak of listeria linked to cantaloupes killed 33 people, and other large scale outbreaks in fresh spinach, cucumbers and eggs have sickened hundreds.

Last year, an outbreak of listeria linked to Blue Bell ice cream was linked to three deaths. FDA inspectors found many violations at a company plant, including dirty equipment, inadequate food storage, food held at improper temperatures and employees not washing hands appropriately.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 48 million people — or 1 in 6 in the United States — are sickened each year from foodborne diseases, and an estimated 3,000 people die.

The final food safety rules for produce issued last year and supported by the food industry require farmers to test irrigation water quality, regularly train workers on the best health and hygiene practices and monitor wildlife that may intrude on growing fields, among other measures. The rules are designed to focus on the riskiest foods, and there are also standards for keeping equipment and facilities clean.

Michael Taylor, the former FDA deputy commissioner for foods who led the effort to put the rules in place, says it is one area of agreement in the country, since both the food industry and consumers want safe food.

“Eliminating FDA’s food safety role would make more consumers sick, destroy consumer confidence at home, and damage American competitiveness in global food markets,” he says.

The language in the Trump campaign fact sheet mirrors, almost word for word, parts of a May report from The Heritage Foundation that criticizes increased regulation under President Barack Obama. That report said the FDA rules cast an “exceedingly broad regulatory net.”

While some Republicans in Congress have made similar arguments about overly burdensome regulations, the FDA worked to tweak the rules to appease farmers and companies that voiced concern about the rules. Since then, congressional opposition has died down and the Republican House and Senate have given the FDA an increased amount of money to put the rules in place.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican who has been Trump’s biggest supporter in the Senate, said today that he hadn’t yet seen the nominee’s proposal on food safety, but he said farmers feel like there are too many federal rules and all regulation needs to be evaluated.

“In Washington, if you propose to pull back any regulation that has a good title, like food safety, then somebody says you want to poison the American people, and so forth,” Sessions said. “But if it can be established that they are not really beneficial, often times the regulations can actually make things more unsafe.”

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, also said she had not seen the proposal, but criticized the idea of rolling back the rules.

“I think the public certainly wants basic food safety standards,” she said.

Despite the campaign’s apparent desire to roll back the standards, Trump himself has expressed a personal interest in the topic. Trump is a self-professed germaphobe who has said he prefers eating at fast-food restaurants because he believes they have higher food safety standards.

Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

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  • Another day another non-story. I have two words that should make democrats blood run cold. Enthusiasm gap. Barry Hussein was able to draw supporters like files on…well I can’t say it here but I think you all know what I am inferring. Hillary can only get rent-a-crowd people to show up when she speaks. Lotta’ dems are going to stay home this time around. The Hillary people need to load up the busses, stock up on smokes and $5 dollar bills to get their reality show watching base to the polls. How sad.

  • the AP brings out the dumbest article’s, and the liberal press like the SA with mental disorders prints its. the CDC and all these regulations years ago they made did not work, look at all the people who got sick or died during the last few years, and now last year the congress voted and made a so called tougher regulation and yet it still does not work. now we have Hepatitis outbreaks and there be more to come. you are not going to stop this no matter what rules you make, it still will hurt the farmers.

    • Oh good grief. Don’t you ever read?

      FDA requires that farmers use water that does not contain fecal coliform and other known biological contaminants that enter the food supply.

      WOW!

        • The thing is, everything being discussed is in the public record and has been covered in journals and news articles. I just don’t understand the willful and prideful ignorance of the Trump supporters who comment here. It shows a kind of intellectual laziness that I (thankfully) never encounter in our business or social circles.

  • By nature, progressives are micromanagers. This is why they stick their noses into every facet of your life. You just can’t be trusted to run your life without their guiding hand. Left to your own devices you might even review the Bill of Rights now and then so you are aware of what the government can’t do to you.

    • Hmmm. Well, Mr. PHD (sic), that is an interesting analysis. It’s laughable that you – YOU! – are counseling anyone on the Constitution. YOU!

      Isn’t it Republicans that insist on monitoring every single pregnancy from start to finish? And want to interfere with and decide who falls in love with who and who marries who? And who has sex with who? And meddles in cases like Terry Schiavo to force people to die the Republican way, and not the way the family and doctor wants the loved one to die?

      Just curious what your PHD (sic) was in….

  • Despite the gains Trump has made, a couple of things are germane, he has never risen past the 40-41 mark, which appears to be his ceiling, HRC still is a two to to one favorite to win. Every cumulative polling evaluation has HRC at between 63-72% chance of winning.

    IFor instance, in The Upshot’s model, Mrs. Clinton’s chances to win the presidency stand at 75 percent. Mr. Trump has more than doubled his likelihood of becoming president in just three weeks. But his odds remain below those of Mrs. Clinton.

    Of course, The Upshot is not the only organization with a forecasting model. In addition to polling-based models from Daily Kos, FiveThirtyEight and the Princeton Election Consortium, there is the PredictWise model, which uses information from betting markets. Each model takes a somewhat different view of how the race has evolved over the past six weeks–all still have HRC winning. Trumpettes keep on wishing……

    • And what a lot of commenters here miss is the way the popular vote being analyzed in the polls lines up with the electoral vote. Even if Trump wins every single state in play in the popular vote, Mrs. Clinton still gets 270 electoral votes.

      • Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Many of the big hitter states in the electoral college that were thought to be Hillary cakewalks are now in play. Can you say Pennsylvania? How about Michigan? Or Illinois or Florida? The trend is looking very bad for Waldo right now. Let’s hope she doesn’t have another “help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” moment.

  • Again, he misspeaks and the actual numbers do NOT add up……

    Sort of like him saying that he will place the Trump Corp in a blind trust and have it run by his children. Except for that’s the very opposite of a blind trust–children would never serve on a blind trust–it dilutes the entire objectivity and legal fiction of being blind.

    As a simple matter of arithmetic, G.D.P. boils down to how much people are working, and how much economic output is generated for each unit of work. Let’s start with how many people will be working after Mr. Trump tries to make America great again, where he was most specific in his forecasts.

    The more workers you have, the more hours people will work and the more stuff you’ll make. Demography is really important to shaping how high G.D.P. can grow. For example, those shiny growth numbers in the second half of the 20th century were helped along by millions of women entering the work force.

    Right now there are 152 million Americans working. The Congressional Budget Office projects that number will be 159 million in 2026, at the end of the 10-year window Mr. Trump talks about.

    The C.B.O. bases its forecasts on demographic modeling. If it’s right, that’s a rise of only seven million in employment, a far cry from the 25 million Mr. Trump envisions. So he would have to find huge numbers of extra workers somewhere.

    The most obvious source is to pull from the legions of adults who aren’t in the labor force, who currently neither work nor look for work. And their numbers have soared since the 2008 recession. “Right now, 92 million Americans are on the sidelines, outside the work force, and not part of our economy,” Mr. Trump said, according to the prepared text of his speech. “It’s a silent nation of jobless Americans.”

    But the problem with that number (it actually is 94 million, if he’s referring to the Bureau of Labor Statistics number for adults not in the labor force) is that it includes a lot of people who aren’t working for good reason: They’re high school and college students; stay-at-home parents; people who are disabled; retirees.

    When you look at how many of those people would be working in a completely healthy economy, the numbers look a lot smaller. For example, at the record high, the proportion of 25-to-54-year-old Americans who were working was 81.9 percent (that was in April 2000, when the economy was in an all-out boom). If we returned to that ratio immediately, from the current 77.8 percent, it would add about 5.2 million additional workers.

    In theory that rate could rise above its 2000 levels, but at any plausible level — meaning one that doesn’t involve forcing unwilling people to work — you would need to look elsewhere to find those 18 million extra workers beyond the seven million that demographics alone are expected to produce.

    One option would be to encourage people to work until a much older age. Sorry, Grandpa, you may need to go back to work so President Trump can hit his employment target.

    Another option is to substantially increase immigration levels above currently forecast levels. That is, of course, inconsistent with other dimensions of the Trump policy agenda. Indeed, if he follows through on plans to deport millions of immigrants working illegally, that would make hitting the job and G.D.P. growth goals that much harder.

    But G.D.P. growth isn’t just about demographics and work force trends. It also depends on how effective businesses are at converting human labor into economic output. In a word, productivity.

    Some simple arithmetic shows that to meet Mr. Trump’s projection of 3.5 percent annual G.D.P. growth each year, even assuming the extraordinary addition of 25 million jobs, you’d still need 2.2 percent annual growth in labor productivity, up from 0.9 percent in the time frame from 2008 to 2015 (assuming hours worked per worker remains constant).

    That would be terrific. And it’s plausible (productivity growth was 2.4 percent from 1950 to 1973).

    But it’s also the case that economists don’t generally believe that presidents have much power, at least directly, over productivity growth. More common explanations focus on innovations that do or do not occur within businesses to make their processes more efficient. Think of the word processor and email making millions of secretaries unneeded, or robotics that reduce the number of human-hours needed to build a car.

    Maybe the burst of infrastructure spending and rollback of regulations Mr. Trump promises will unleash a new surge of productivity growth. Or maybe whatever happens to productivity in the coming years, good or bad, will happen regardless of who is president.

    Add it all up, and is Mr. Trump’s promise of 25 million new jobs over the next decade and 3.5 percent annual economic growth possible? Only if a burst of innovation arrives that makes every worker’s labor go further, and if millions of new immigrants arrive from overseas or the ratio of American adults who want to work rises far higher than it has ever been. Absent all that, the math just doesn’t work. NYT

    Math just does not work….

  • Always take note how often the Republicans whine whine whine and whenever anything goes wrong they blame everyone else. If you started taking away all of their government sponsored entitlements you would see them revolt. First Republican who would get sick from any FDA cutback would be first in line to sue the government. They are the party of me, me, me.

  • And Trump again insults the Black community and shoots himself in the foot.

    Flint Pastor Interrupts Trump for Politicizing Speech 0:56
    The latest episode began Wednesday when Trump took issue with Pastor Faith Green Timmons for interrupting him at her church. The candidate had begun to attack Hillary Clinton, prompting Timmons to ask him to focus on local issues.

    “Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done in Flint, not give a political speech,” the pastor said.

    “Okay, that’s good,” Trump said at the time. “Then I’m going to go back to Flint.”

    Related: In Flint Church, Donald Trump’s Rhetoric Gets Rebuked

    But in a Thursday interview on “Fox & Friends,” Trump depicted Timmons as a “nervous mess” who planned to blindside him all along in order to embarrass his campaign.

    “When she got up to introduce me she was so nervous, she was shaking, and I said ‘Wow, this is sort of strange,’ and then she came up,” Trump said. “So she had that in mind, there’s no question about it.”

    In Trumpian fashion, the candidate depicted the exchange as a dramatic — and inaccurate — morality play about a conniving religious leader attempting to sabotage him only to be upbraided by her predominantly black churchgoers, who stood with him against their own pastor.

    “I’ll tell you what really made me feel good, the audience was saying ‘Let him speak, let him speak!’ and the audience was so great,” Trump said. “And these are mostly African-American people, phenomenal people, and they want to see change. I mean you know they’re living in — you have to see, the crime rate over there is ridiculous.”

    In fact, the exact opposite had occurred. Rather than the congregation shouting support for Trump, local activists heckled him during his speech over past allegations of racial discrimination at his buildings. And Rev. Timmons was the one who asked them to quiet down and listen to Trump.

    She certainly put him in his place, and it’s not any surprise, the clergy in question is a graduate of the college of Eli—-lux et veritas.

    • He reacts like a spoiled eight year old at any perceived slight. Just last week, he said that he would go to war with Iran over hand gestures supposedly being inflicted against U.S. Navy personnel by Iranian Navy personnel.

      He’s a psychotic. Anyone should be able to see that now – even his pathetic, blind supporters.

    • While you two rampage around like a couple of malevolent five year olds, the interesting stuff is at Nate Silver’s 538 web site. Yes he’s giving good odds for a clinton victory, but in fast moving politics, that’s like putting a picture from college on your middle aged resume. In the end it’s the trend and right now the trend isn’t looking so good for Clinton. Time will tell and the debates will be key, along with her health. While you juveniles are crowing about Clinton’s certainty, the democrats are seeing a sinking ship headed toward the finish line– maybe hms clinton will make it, maybe not. Even if she wins she will be the most damaged first term president in our history and she has nothing, no personal attributes to turn that around.

      • You know a lot of five year olds with advanced degrees? Sure. That makes as much sense as anything you write.

        Mrs. Clinton is going to win. No question about it.

        Mr. Trump is profoundly mentally ill. He still cannot bring himself to admit that President Obama was born in Hawai’i. Sick beyond words.

        • It’s unfortunate to witness insufferable blowhards actually contributing to Trump’s resurgence in the polls. If in fact the self proclaimed intelligentsia were leading us towards the better candidate, Johnson would have easily bypassed his 15 percent goal.

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