April 13th, 2007


The FDA, pets, and you

Elaine makes a good point about the inadequacy of the FDA in protecting us and our animals from contaminated food. I think the danger lies not only in the fact that the FDA's regulatory powers are limited at best, but also in the fact that most Americans believe this agency can do and does do more than it does. We trust it, in other words. It's time to take off those blinders, folks.

I have long known about the so-called inspections of meat, for example (see Fast Food Nation for a truly revealing description). Honestly, it would be laughable if it weren't so frightening. It makes me glad I'm a vegetarian. But interestingly, the recent e coli outbreak from spinach may well have come from cattle farmers near the contaminated fields of spinach. According to the FDA's final report:

...Potential environmental risk factors for E.coli O157:H7 contamination at or near the field included the presence of wild pigs, the proximity of irrigation wells used to grow produce for ready-to-eat packaging, and surface waterways exposed to feces from cattle and wildlife.

Thus, even those of us who avoid meat can be contaminated by it.

The investigation by the FDA and several other agencies into the e coli incident was thorough and involved DNA testing of bacteria to narrow down the suspect fields. This says to me that the tools are there, the investigative techniques are available. It's too bad as much effort is not put into the front end, into basic regular meaningful inspections of food for people and animals.

Sad little cat

Bullet has stayed indoors since I captured him a few days ago. The day before yesterday I brought him to a groomer, who took off almost all of his fur, which was so matted that there was no other humane solution. Yesterday I bought this little sweater for him, because he seemed cold. I think he needs a pair of pants now, too...or maybe a longer sweater.

He seems so fragile now. He's probably sixteen or seventeen years old and is having some difficulty getting around. The sweater seems to make walking even more awkward for him. It may be too small, may be restricting his movements.

The good news is that he and the mad cat Temp are starting to find a way to be with each other. Temp didn't bother him last night, and when he finally came into my room at about four am he settled on my back rather than next to Bullet. When Temp tries to lick Bullet Bullet doesn't seem as bothered as he initially was. It looks like Temp is starting to understand the order of things, and that Bullet is number 1. But it will still take some time for them to adjust enough for me to feel good about them together.

I find it difficult to look at this frail little cat, a cat who used to be so strong, tough, and large. I am so glad he is inside, though.



I saw a very positive optometrist today. I thought the last one was overly positive, the way he'd mention something that was wrong and say "no big deal" or "nothing to worry about", but this one went beyond that. He practically applauded everything I did. I put my chin on the chin rest and pressed my forehead against the forehead thingie and looked sideways and up and down and he would say "Perfect!" "A+" "Excellent!" Then when it was all done he said I was lucky because I'm nearsighted. He said that if I live to be 99 I will still be able to read without my glasses. I laughed because that was something I did worry about, a little. I have caught myself thinking, "What if the time comes when I need glasses to read?" I always take them off now and it's so much more comfortable that way.

He asked if I had any questions. I said, well, I was wondering if there would be any benefit to my having lasik surgery. He said no, I would just be trading one set of problems for another, and I would need glasses to read. That settles that one.

He mentioned that I do have cataracts, but so slight they are no issue, just something to keep an eye on. Everything else looks "Great!" "Super!" "Couldn't be better!".

I went to Costco for the eye exam. The optometrist is independent - you don't need a Costco card to see him - but if you purchase glasses there you do need the card. I went ahead and ordered glasses. I asked if I could get my present frames filled with the new prescription and the woman said not there, that I would have to go back to the place where I got them because they don't have the equipment for making the lenses fit these frames. Too bad. But that's what I'll do. I'll go back and find out what it will cost.

All in all a good experience and I'm glad I did it.