The New York Times (h/t Minnesota Independent) had a story out over the weekend looking at food saftey agencies, and how they vary across states. Lets just say that Minnesota comes out looking pretty good:
The importance of a few epidemiologists in Minnesota demonstrates the problem. If not for the Minnesota Department of Health, the Peanut Corporation of America might still be selling salmonella-laced peanuts, Dole might still be selling contaminated lettuce, and ConAgra might still be selling dangerous Banquet brand pot pies –sickening hundreds or thousands more people.
It seems from Minnesota’s Department of Health is a leader in tracking and dealing with food contamination, amongst the whole host of things we really rule at. However the story also highlighted some states that don’t live up to our high standard.In Kentucky, not nearly as many people who report food-bourne illnesses are followed up with by their department of health. The cause…. you guessed it:
Dr. William D. Hacker, the public health commissioner in Kentucky, blamed tight budgets. "We have had a historically poor record of reporting" food-borne illnesses, Dr. Hacker said. "We are working hard to change our culture even with limited resources."
You see, it costs money to have people on staff who can work with people who have gotten sick to pinpoint the source. Taxes pay for that. When you look at the tax rate differences between the states, sure enough, Kentucky is taxed at a lower rate. So next time you hear Governor Pawlenty talking about how we’re a highly taxed state, remember, those taxes keep your food safe (not to mention they keep the food of millions of American’s safe, thanks to the Minnesota Department of Health). Remember to say "Thank You Taxes" for safe food and everything else that they do.