- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 8, 2001

Bachelors have yet another reason not to meet the day sunny-side up. In fact, consumers everywhere ought to be fried by the FDA's recent Humpty-Dumpty-like determination that eggs are desperately dangerous. So dangerous, in fact, that the cartons they are sold in will soon have consumer warnings affixed to them.

Call it an attack of the dirty dozen.

Eggs are fowl food, and as such, may be contaminated with salmonella, which can cause food poisoning. That's where the FDA dropped in with its "Egg Safety Action Plan." The soggy-sounding ESAP requires that warning labels be placed on both restaurant menus and egg cartons. Unfortunately, thanks to space constraints, the lengthy lettering of the warning labels will only be one-sixteenth of an inch high.

Perhaps the FDA suspects that only chicken littles will read such warnings. Besides, warnings won't stop trial lawyers from squawking for huge punitive damages from bird-brained juries around the country. Chronic smoker Richard Boeken's recent $3 billion win against Phillip Morris proved that a half-baked outcome may still result even if such warnings are coupled with a rather extensive evidence.

Fearing that such lawsuits may come home to roost, D.C.'s spin cycle has scrambled. Good egg Steven Glover, vice president of safety and regulatory affairs for the National Restaurant Association, said that such warnings should go over easy, since "There's a one in 20,000 chance of eating a contaminated egg in this country." Donald McNamara, the executive director of the United Egg Producer's Egg Nutrition Center, took a more hard-boiled approach. He said that practically no one would die from a contaminated egg because, (big sigh of relief), they would die too soon, quite possibly from cholesterol poisoning.

Columnist Tony Blankley recently pointed out that FDA regulators admit that the number of illnesses that they estimate will be prevented by the new regulations could be off by a factor of over 1,600 percent, and that they also used a computer simulation to determine the number of businesses that might be affected. In this day and age, it's the chicken littles who rule the roost.

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