A very thoughtful reply. cheers to you.
If there were such a organization (non-governmental FDA), how would it address it's lack of authority? Would it be something like a consumer reports? A quasi-press like organization? Where would its revenue come from?
I think the reason we (I--probably shouldn't be talking for anyone else) prefer the government doing that, even though the state has its own drawbacks, is that getting its revenue from tax dollars partially (not perfectly--I'm not going to pretend that's true) shields it from some of the problems we see with organizations like the better business bureau and its competitors. Furthermore, because it's the state it has the teeth to stop activities that are deemed unhealthy, and impose standards directly instead of indirectly. I buy so many things that i can't possibly research all of them and know which ones were made in a way i'd find acceptable. I'd love to be able to tell you that I had the time to research which providers were the greenest (or healthiest, or whatever), but I can't and I wouldn't believe anyone who said they did. Even if the info and videos of the process were available online, I'm still not sure many would bother. Not to mention the trade secret issues that would bring up.
no, at some point you have to trust that there's sufficient controls in place in enough places that you don't go into an infinite research loop whenever you're hungry. I suppose you might argue that the FDA is ineffectual, and bought out by interest groups (like the OCC and SEC leading up to the banking crisis), but it just seems to me that as imperfect the system is, we'd be worse off without it.
I'm sure you've got some ideas though, and i'd be glad to hear them.
oh, and as for your junkie and universal single payer healthcare, that example it a big part of why so many americans don't want to go to a government controlled healthcare system, despite our current system being terribly inefficient and overly expensive. We (i don't think this one is an "i") are just not convinced that universal single payer would be any better. I am particularly concerned because as it is, one of the problems I see with our current system is the encouragement of people to go to the doctor all the time by offering these tiny or non-existent co-pays. If you make everything free, people are going to go even MORE. What we really need is a lot LESS money spent on healthcare. We should be incenting people to use the system less. Especially when we're healthy, but also (and this is a big part of the vast expense of medicare) when there's nothing we can do to save a patient.