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From peanuts to Pakistan

   Just as the terrorist cells of 9/11 rode the modern transportation network into the World Trade Center, single-cell terrors hitch rides on the modern food distribution network to find a way into your children's digestive systems.

   The lead editorial in today's Buffalo News, "Food safety flawed," calls for a single federal agency to take over the underfunded and fragmented food safety system that allowed all those salmonella-Fdalogo contaminated peanut products to get into our grocery stores and our homes.

   Winning and keeping the confidence of the buying public through a stiff regime of inspections and recalls would be the best favor the government, at all levels, could do for the food industry.
   Just ask the bankers.

   The second editorial, "Refocusing on Afghanistan," is less a call to action than a fret that the Obama Dnilogo administration will have a really hard time figuring out what to do about the real terror cells that continue to operate, and grow in strength, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

   Ask us in 10 years whether recent events in Afghanistan and Pakistan should have told us that President Obama’s decision to boost American troop strength in the region was a bold stroke or the first step into an unending quagmire.

See also:
- From our op-ed page today, Trudy Rubin on Taming the 'good Taliban.' 
- The New York Times on food safety: The food poisoning of people — is that just a cost of doing business?
And on Afghanistan: Mr. Obama’s biggest challenge will be trying to figure out how to persuade Pakistan that the fight against extremism is not a favor to the Americans. It is essential to Pakistan’s own survival. 
 The Grand Rapids Press: From tomatoes, to spinach, lettuce, beef and now peanut butter, it has become painfully obvious the FDA doesn't have the resources, authority or inspectors to do a thorough job of protecting the nation's food supply.
 The Hartford Courant backs a proposal [that] would also give federal regulators authority to conduct regular inspections, order recalls, seize contaminated products and impose fines. It would also set clear standards for preventing contamination. Such reforms are long overdue.
 The Louisville Courier-Journal: For any business thinking of cheating on quality to save a few bucks, here are some famous last words: Peanut Corporation of America.
 The Food and Drug Administration maintains a Web site list of Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts. The Department of Agriculture has another one. At least someone has thought to create a roundup called so you don't have to bookmark so many different sites.
- If the food's not scary enough, the Director of National Intelligence has this report to Congress on the threats facing us from people who want to kill us on purpose. 

-- George Pyle/Editorial Writer 


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