USA Herald recently reported that the Department of Agriculture removed health inspection ratings for grocery stores from its website after several Publix stores in Central Florida failed health inspections and the results were publicized.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that Publix has been a heavy contributor to Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam’s Florida Grown PAC.
Since the report, USA Herald has discovered that Putnam has taken more Publix money – this time indirectly.
In a time of heightened awareness of the relationship between the regulator and the regulated, and problems with food safety in Tampa area stores – Putnam received a $100,000 contribution from the Florida Retail Federation PAC within a month after Publix made a $225,000 contribution to that same PAC.
This may be a legal tactic, but it shows incredible arrogance on the part of both the company and Putnam. Does Adam Putnam think the people of Florida are too busy to care? The press corps in Tallahassee too neutered, depleted or simply too lazy to pay attention? Or, is he just so arrogant that he thinks, as the darling of the Establishment, that he’s untouchable?
Commissioner Putnam, the public has a right to know what communications took place with this donor, how and why you removed your ranking system, and when you will do your job and inform the public again on food safety in grocery stores. The public also has a right to know why this company continues to feed your political efforts while you ignore your taxpayer-paid job and refuse to properly regulate food safety in Florida, or properly inform the public on safety issues.
USA Herald thinks rodent droppings, in areas that food is stored and prepared, merits your attention as well as follow-up action and public reports. Perhaps your time in Washington has blinded you to the needs of your constituents. While you might be able to stay in office as a Congressman by doing nothing but carrying the Establishments’ water, in the executive branch of state government, you have legally-defined responsibilities – and they include more than bragging about issuing concealed weapon permits. And there aren’t many things more important than food safety. We implore you to abandon your protection of your favorite local grocer and do your job. Protect the public and share with us your findings.
If you refuse to do so, we will be left to believe that you have simply been in office too long to see the real problem. Or maybe the color of the money you raise affects your ability to see facts and truth. Either way, this represents a failure to inform the Florida citizens whom you have a duty to protect.
We think Adam Putnam owes the People of Florida an explanation and we welcome your comments.