Fortunately for me, I don’t like peanut butter. From NYT, on the Senate bill to expand FDA powers and increase funding:
The latest hope for the bill’s advocates was that Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, would schedule a vote on the bill this week. But the Senate calendar is full of measures that need to be passed before members leave in October to campaign, so Mr. Reid sought a routine agreement to limit debate on the measure.
Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, refused, saying that the powers granted to the F.D.A. in the bill would have financial costs, and that those costs needed to be offset by spending reductions.
Mr. Coburn also expressed doubts that expanding the authority of the F.D.A. would “result in improved food safety,” said John Hart, his spokesman.
Entire article here, with explanation of the main impediments to the bill’s passage.
It’s not clear to me that we even have a problem with our food supply. Certainly, I don’t feel at risk (sensationalized news coverage notwithstanding), and I’m not even as careful with my vegetables as you are. What is the outcome that you wish to regulate toward here?
So, I am happy to provide some data on costs of foodborne illnesses. (For scaling, annual US nominal GDP is about $14.6 trillion). From Gastroenterology 136(6), an article by Buzby and Roberts (p. 1860):
…Roberts48 [Amer. J. Agricultural Economics, 2007] estimated the annual cost of
all foodborne diseases in the United States to be $1.4 trillion;
this value might be too high because of factors such as
protest bids, but there are also reasons why this study might
have underestimated the total costs, such as the chronic
sequelae that were not included. If instead, we consider the
more modest cost estimate for 6 foodborne bacteria and 1
parasite in the United States of $6.5–$34.9 billion as a base
from which to informally extrapolate to a global estimate of
The article is gated, but you can see a powerpoint presentation that draws on some of the same material here.
Of course, as economists, we should ask, in addition to total costs, what is the marginal benefit of a dollar spent on regulation versus the marginal benefit. If anyone has some point estimates, send them along. Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
Some history on the long delayed egg regulations, here.