Saturday, August 28, 2010

Copper clad Zinc

Well I sure didn't know they were redesigning the penny. Kind of embarrasses me too, because I'm 'sposed to be all out in front, cutting edge on stuff, you betcha. But somehow they slipped this one past me, and now the back of a US penny looks like a Chuckie Cheese token.

I suppose it was done to make counterfieting more difficult, something like that.

Maybe I can recover my lost sense of info-omnipotence with a story that's not in the news much...

While everybody is whooping it up about Ground Zero Mosque and Michelle Obama's vacation, a bill is plodding through legislative channels, called FSSA.

If enacted, it will give FDA authority to regulate food supplements. I know, you thought the FDA already had that power. But they don't, not really.

Like, some people take bee pollen pills. Don't laugh, it's true! And other people take fish oil pills. These substances are considered food. We have Federal employees who are supposed to ensure bee pollen pills (by the way, they do know that bees don't make pollen, don't they? The pills should be correctly called 'flower pollen pills' or something) are produced under hygenic conditions and don't contain lead or ebola or anything. There's also a line that food supplement marketers can cross, where the FDA won't let you claim ginseng extract cures leprosy for example.

And when something goes wrong, very wrong, there are regulatory channels to pull a substance from market immediately, as like happened with ephedera a few years back.

Other than that, all these substances are considered food, and food's treated quite differently than drugs. That is why it's the FDA after all...

That would change if DSSA becomes law. Under DSSA, food supplements would go through an FDA approval process, much like drugs currently do.

I actually don't think it will pass, because there's a lot of money on the line here. Look? Whatever noble intent DSSA may have, one must observe the law of unintended consequences. Another big Federal bureaucracy, food supplement people lobbying Congress people for help clearing hurdles, opportunity for more corruption.

If it's made from food, and it's not poison, you should be able to buy as much as you can afford, and gobble up as much as your stomach will take.

All my adult life I've been trying to get people to think critically, with mixed results to say the least. Look? If there was a pill that enlarged breasts or penises, do you think the company making it would need to spend millions in advertising? Nope, I don't think so either.

You could hire another 100,000 new federal bureaucrats. It'll get you another 1,000 Washington lobbyists too, but what did you accomplish? Did you banish illogical hope from the human heart?

There will always be people who want desperately to believe certain things are true, and there will always be people who exploit illogical hope. About the best we can do is keep a lid on the flagrantly fraudulent claims, and make sure nobody's selling poison to suckers. We're already doing that, so I don't see a need for DSSA.

It probably won't pass any way, because a lot of money is on the line. Campaign contributions for Senators who oppose it.

But I don't have time to think about that. My Doctor said I should take a zinc supplement, so I'm going to swallow a penny each day.

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