Check out our campaign videos below, including episodes of GAP's television program Whistle Where You Work relevant to food integrity, as well as frequent opinion videos on the latest food news and policy updates.
On February 11, 2011, the Government Accountability Project's Food Integrity Campaign (FIC) put on a conference, "Employee Rights and the Food Safety Modernization Act," at the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. The all-day seminar focused on the impact of new legislation - that includes whistleblower protections for food industry workers who report FDA violations - on public and worker health, the environment, and American consumers.
This episode of Whistle Where You Work provides a few highlights from the conference, including discussions of why the Food Safety Modernization Act was needed, experiences of whistleblowers who have been retaliated against for reporting food safety concerns, and how difficult it is for farmworkers to blow the whistle.
During the last session of the 2009-2010 Congress, an undemocratic senatorial process known as a “secret hold” – a procedure that allows a lone senator to anonymously block legislation – was used to kill the popular Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA). In response to this action, GAP has worked with the NPR show On The Media to identify the senator who placed the secret hold, as well as to quickly reintroduce the legislation in Congress. This panel discusses exactly what happened to the bill, the campaign to find the secret senator, and how the WPEA would help to root out waste and benefit taxpayers by empowering whistleblowers to report fraud.
The interview segment features a highlight from our recent conference, Employee Rights and the Food Safety Modernization Act. Food safety whistleblower Kenneth Kendrick details his experience as a former Peanut Corporation of America assistant manager, when he tried to raise awareness about unsanitary conditions at a PCA plant months before the 2009 Salmonella/peanut butter outbreak was traced back to the company.
More and more Americans are becoming aware of serious problems with the nation’s food supply. The August recall of 380 million eggs linked to a widespread outbreak of salmonella is just the latest in a series of fatal food poisonings that has shaken the nation.
There are many causes for our current food safety infrastructure being inadequate. But to get to the root of some of the problems, a recent survey commissioned by the nonprofit organization Union of Concerned Scientists asked a key public – FDA and USDA scientists – to “evaluate how well the government uses science to protect the food supply.” The results are enlightening.
Genetically modified food has been part of the American diet for several years – and it’s everywhere. 85 percent of U.S. corn and 91 percent of U.S. soybeans are genetically engineered. It’s estimated that 70 percent of all processed foods at American supermarkets contain genetically engineered ingredients. Now, a company in Massachusetts says it is close to receiving FDA approval to start selling genetically modified salmon – which would be the first transgenic animal sold in America for consumption.
But critics argue that we simply don’t know enough about the consequences of genetically modified food to approve its consumption, and some public interest groups are even considering lawsuits to stop the sale of the salmon if the FDA approves it. What are the public health issues involved with genetically modified foods? What are the current regulations/legislation covering this new technology? What are the problems involved with genetically engineered fish escaping into the wild (from farms)? And shouldn’t consumers have the right to know these products are created this way?
Patty Lovera,Assistant Director of Food and Water Watch, a public interest group that advocates for policies that will result in healthy, safe food and access to safe and affordable drinking water.
Eric Hoffman, Genetic Technology Policy Campaigner for Friends of the Earth, an environmental advocacy group that promotes clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of food and other products, and protecting marine ecosystems.
This episode focuses on the state of American school lunch safety, with an emphasis on current problems with school food integrity and the system as a whole. Joining us for a discussion are Peter Eisler, a co-author of a USA Today investigative series about school lunch safety, and Sarah Klein, Food Safety Counsel for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The discussion hits on several points - the failure of government/companies to alert schools about tainted product, the labyrinthine network of food suppliers, the lax standards for schools when compared to fast food, and the inadequate inspection rate of cafeterias.
On a special Whistle Where You Work, Government Accountability Project Executive Director Mark Cohen interviews former FDA Commissioner and best selling author Dr. David Kessler on a broad array of topics ranging from food integrity and safety to food wholesomeness and the public health implications of overeating.
This interview was filmed as part of GAP's Empowering Employees to Protect Food Integrity conference in November 2009. The conference acknowledged the role of employees as a first line of defense against food adulteration. Expert panelists discussed food integrity issues as well as new and pending laws, including whistleblower protections, which empower employees in the food industry to protect the integrity of our food supply.
The safety and security of America's water supply has been increasingly threatened in recent years: global warming, energy practices and an aging infrastructure are hurting this precious (and limited) resource that is vital to our lifestyle. What are the issues facing the nation's water, and what can we do about it? We chat with Katherine Baer of the conservation organization American Rivers, and Mitch Jones of the public interest group Food & Water Watch.
Then, a conversation with Colin Browne, formerly with the University of the District of Columbia. Brown discovered that his department was greatly spinning and trumping up success rates of programs aimed to help at-risk students. Brown was fired for his continued insistence to tell the truth about how taxpayer dollars were spent.
First, we lead off with a panel discussion on the state of the food safety system in America. Our experts focus on: the growing-in-popularity idea of creating a unified food safety agency, the current problems of food safety oversight that stem from having multiple agencies in charge, and different pieces of proposed legislation that address this issue.
Our guests include Steve Clapp of Food Chemical News, and Tony Corbo of Food & Water Watch. Then, we sit down with the International Association of Whistleblowers James Murtagh to discuss the problems with peer review systems at hospitals.
This segment was filmed during the annual National Whistleblower Assembly, held in Washington D.C. in March 2009. This episode was filmed in early March 2009.
First, our panel discussion looks at Americas trend toward (and ramifications of) Food Irradiation. The FDA gave the green light to food producers to zap spinach and lettuce in 2008, and other companies want to mass-irradiate beef products as well. Food activists arent sure about the safety of the process and they want to require manufacturers to label irradiated foods. Guests for this segment include Caroline Smith DeWaal, Food Safety Director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Steven Hedges, Chicago Tribune reporter.
Then, a fascinating interview with Mike German. As an FBI undercover agent during the 1990s, he disrupted terrorist cells and was critical to convicting terrorists. In 2002, he joined a counter-terrorism investigation in the FBIs Tampa Division, which set in motion a chain of chilling events that led to his blowing the whistle on illegal wiretaps and, ultimately, to his resignation from the FBI after 16 years of service in 2004. Today, German is the national security counsel for the ACLU in Washington, DC.