Unless you happen to enjoy being malnourished or getting food-borne illnesses, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is your friend. The agency “provide[s] leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on public policy, the best available science, and effective management.”
One of USDA’s key missions is to “[ensure] that the Nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and properly labeled, and packaged.” Another primary goal of the department is to educate the public with the most up-to-date information on nutrition and create “a safe, sustainable, competitive U.S. food and fiber system, as well as strong communities, families, and youth through integrated research, analysis, and education.”
Those missions are now on hold as the Trump administration seeks to assert control over the flow of information out of government agencies. This makes sense if you think about it—the work of scientists often contradicts the stated policy agenda of Republicans. How, after all, are they going to deregulate the food industry entirely if those pesky scientists keep putting out reports that say your food is now essentially poison because Big Business didn’t feel conducting the appropriate tests or implementing the necessary safety measures?
According to an email sent Monday morning and obtained by BuzzFeed News, the department told staff — including some 2,000 scientists — at the agency’s main in-house research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), to stop communicating with the public about taxpayer-funded work.
“Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents,” Sharon Drumm, chief of staff for ARS, wrote in a department-wide email shared with BuzzFeed News.
“This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content,” she added.
Indeed, the last tweet from ARS’s official account was sent the day before Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
This matches what is going on over at the Environmental Protection Agency, which is soon to be led by a man, Scott Pruitt, who brags on his LinkedIn profile that he is “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.
According to Pro Publica:
The Trump administration has imposed a freeze on grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a move that could affect a significant part of the agency’s budget allocations and even threaten to disrupt core operations ranging from toxic cleanups to water quality testing, according to records and interviews.
The wolves are in charge of the henhouse, people.
(Featured image via Getty Images/Pool)