Al Gore, endorsing Obama:

If you care about food safety, if you like a T on your BLT, you know that elections matter. If you bought poisoned lead-filled toys from China or adulterated medicine made in China, if you bought tainted pet food made in China, you know that elections matter. After the last eight years, even our dogs and cats have learned that elections matter.

Sounds like he's been reading Paul Krugman on how Milton Friedman poisoned your food, and Rick Perlstein on "e. coli conservatives." So far the only attempt I've seen to actually quantify the Bush-era decline in food safety belongs to Alex Tabarrok, who pulls up numbers suggesting that, well, it hasn't declined at all. There are obviously a lot of variables at work here, and I wouldn't call Tabarrok's chart dispositive - but I'm curious if there are any actual numbers, as opposed to anecdotes, to support the Gore-Krugman-Perlstein thesis.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to