Deregulation could give bacon a bad taste

While the Mueller report has dominated the news, a number of important events have snuck under the radar.

For example, do you know who is being put in charge of regulating the pork industry to make sure your bacon, ham and pork chops aren’t contaminated? The pork industry!

Until now, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has been responsible for food safety regulation. The agency was founded a century ago to combat brutal practices in livestock slaughterhouses, which included the trifecta of maimed slaughterhouse workers, abused animals and health epidemics.

Now the Trump administration has unveiled plans to get rid of about 40 percent of federal pork inspectors and basically let the pork industry regulate itself. What can we do? We can all become vegetarians. Doesn’t interest you? How about everyone start keeping kosher?

Or perhaps we can pressure Republicans to ease off on their deregulation efforts. The residents of Flint, Michigan, would support this 100 percent.

For decades, the Flint River was an unregulated dumping ground for local industries. When the city fell into debt, then-Michigan Gov. Rich Snyder oversaw a decision to stop piping in treated water from Detroit, and instead use the Flint River as the city’s prime water source.

Officials did not apply anti-corrosive chemicals to the water and lead leached through the pipes. Blood-lead levels in many local children rose dangerously.

Lately, the Trump administration has pushed for self-regulation of offshore oil rigs, while the nuclear industry is eager to slash government safety inspections and handle them itself.

Similar efforts have led to Boeing being allowed to certify the safety tests of its own 737 Max airliners, according to NPR. And that policy has worked like a charm — except for the recent crashes of two such jets that killed 346 passengers. Former and current Boeing employees interviewed by The New York Times describe “a culture that often valued production speed over quality.”

But hey, every Boeing plane didn’t crash. So stop whining, you big-government socialists!

What’s the solution? Let’s relocate Congress to Flint. We can whisk them there on a Boeing 737 Max, and offer a nice pork-chop meal on board, followed by a Flint water chaser.

Deregulate that.

Follow playwright Mike Vogel at @mikewrite7.