Despite recent federal recalls of tainted food, Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann complained on Tuesday that the U.S. food industry is overregulated, The Associated Press reports.
During a visit to a meat-packing plant in Des Moines, Iowa, today, Bachmann said food safety regulations were crushing businesses.
“Government has gotten in and made it almost impossible to create a profit anymore,” she said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We want to have safety but at the same time, we want to have some common sense.”
She used her host, Amend Packing Co., as an example of government regulations run amok.
“One thing we learned today, at a company that has five or six employees, one employee is dedicated just to dealing with government rules and government regulations. This is just one business, but this is replicated all across the U.S., the level of compliance that now businesses have to deal with,” Bachmann said, according to the L.A. Times.
Bachmann also voted against the food safety bill Congress passed at the end of last year, the AP reports.
The timing of Bachmann’s pitch struck some as odd. Recently, tainted cantaloupes killed four people in Colorado, Oklahoma and New Mexico and sickened at least 35 people in 10 states.
And last week, the Agriculture Department announced it would expand testing for E. coli in meat from one strain to seven, the AP reports. The goal of the new testing, which will begin in March, is to hasten recalls of tainted products and help officials identify more foodborne illnesses. The meat industry has opposed the change.
A USA Today/Gallup poll released Tuesday showed that support for Bachmann had fallen from 13 percent in August to just 5 percent.