While the 2016 presidential candidates have been fairly quiet on the food policy front, this week Republican party nominee Donald Trump decided to take on the country's food safety regulators—then promptly deleted his campaign's statement.
On Thursday, Trump's website posted a document outlining the candidate's views on the country's regulatory standards and his plans to reduce those standards if elected president. That statement, intended as a supplement to a speech given by Trump to the New York Economic Club, called to eliminate "the FDA Food Police," suggesting that the agency's policies had overreached. According to Trump, the FDA's governing of "the soil farmers use, farm and food production hygiene, food packaging, food temperatures" and other aspects of the industry were too invasive. The campaign also suggested that the administration also performed "inspection overkill" in its oversight of food manufacturing facilities.
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Soon after releasing the statement, the release was deleted from the campaign's site and replaced with a similar sheet that omitted Trump's opinions on food regulations.
According to The New York Times, the inspections Trump criticized in the document were implemented by Congress in 2010 as a response to a peanut-related salmonella outbreak that killed nine and sickened hundreds across 46 states. Since then, large-scale outbreaks linked to cantaloupes, spinach, eggs, ice cream and other foods have sickened millions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about 1 in 6 in the United States—approximately 48 million—are sickened each year by the kinds of food-related diseases the FDA is tasked to identify and prevent.
Former FDA deputy commissioner Michael Taylor says these views from a potential President could put millions of consumers in harm's way. "Eliminating FDA's food safety role would make more consumers sick, destroy consumer confidence at home, and damage American competitiveness in global food markets," Taylor says.
Though Trump's campaign has yet to release any further information regarding its candidate's views on food regulation, it's surprising that the billionaire—a known germaphobe—would oppose higher levels of regulation. There's no doubt the candidate hopes his favorite fast food restaurants don't cause any outbreaks.