Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Dr. Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General Could Profoundly Alter US Food Safety

In a move that we regard as pure, unadulterated genius, Barack has offered the position of Surgeon General to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and chief medical correspondent on CNN and CBS, according to Howard Kurtz at Washington Post. Appointing such a well-known public figure will go a long way towards raising awareness of health issues. But it's also an excellent move in terms of changing the amazingly bad American food safety barfscape.

Dr. Gupta has been terrific at drawing attention to dangerous food safety policies. His May 2007 CNN special report, Danger: Poisoned Food, was an excellent round up of food safety challenges. In addition to explaining E coli in understandable terms, Dr. Gupta focused attention on the work of Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Il) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn), who are the most ardent critics of current US food safety policy. He also highlighted the work of pre-eminent food poisoning expert Bill Marler, who we think is Obama's best hope for immediately changing the barfscape of food safety.

Most recently, last month, in Planet in Peril, Dr. Gupta discussed a future food problem that's threatening to explode onto the global safetyscape this year: Zoonotic diseases migrating into human populations, due to the hunting of non-food animals for meat. He made the connection between environment and health in a very chilling way.

We certainly hope that Dr. Gupta becomes Surgeon General....