Remember those recent recalls of tainted peanuts, eggs, ground turkey, and other food products over the past two years? Well, Michele Bachmannz wants us all to eat more tainted food.

During a visit to a meatpacking plant in Des Moines, Iowa, Bachmann called for an end to food safety regulations that keep food safe for human consumption. Bachmann told reporters that food regulations hurt job growth and that they’re “overkill.”⁠

“That’s part of the problem, the overkill, and when they make it complicated, they make it expensive and so then you can no longer stay in business.”

You want to know what real “overkill” is? According to the Department of Health and Human Services, one out of six Americans suffers from a foodborne illness every year, with 128,000 of those resulting in hospitalization and 3,000 people die from foodborne illness annually. Foodborne illness is also expensive, costing $152 billion each year. Bachmann, like many other Republicans, thinks that the food industry is capable of “self-policing” and House Republicans have refused to approve the funding necessary to implement the landmark food safety law that President Obamaz signed earlier this year. That law is the first update of the nation’s food safety system since 1938.

If Bachmann and the Republicans had their way, we would allow the food industry to go back to the same unsanitary practices it used to employ during the early 20th century. We have food safety laws in this country for a reason. Read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair if you really want to know why food safety laws are necessary. If given the opportunity, the food industry would ignore these regulations and put our health and lives at risk just to save a couple bucks. Bachmann and most Republicans seem to think that the food industry should be able to do whatever it wants with our food. If Republicans really believe that the food industry can police themselves, they should eat some E-Coli tainted food to see why we have those laws in the first place.

By Stephen D. Foster Jr.