Gro Harlem Brundtland, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), is pushing hard for international control over food safety. The “Codex Alimentarius” Commission, a joint group of WHO and United Nations pencil-pushers, is meeting this week in Geneva, and Brundtland told them that a globalized food supply demands globally enforceable food-safety rules. Of course, mad cow disease is the most oft-quoted reason for an international body like the U.N. to play the part of global food cop, even though no confirmed cases have been found in North America. Even in the epicenter of the mad-cow problem, experts now suggest there is no massive, hidden epidemic in Europe.
Someone should tell the World Health Organization. Its spokesman David Heymann told CBS News on Tuesday that mad cow disease “is an epidemic already.” At a time when the agency is both whipping up mad-cow fear and proffering its own bureaucratic solutions, it is useful to remember that, in politics, there are no coincidences.