Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Industry Self-Policing Doesn't Work

Industry self-policing doesn't work. I thought Enron taught us that. Here's the latest example, and this is damn near straight out of Fast Food Nation.
While officials praised a Salinas company Monday for voluntarily recalling potentially contaminated lettuce over the weekend, consumer advocates said the case raises more questions about whether the produce industry should be policing itself.

A state Senate committee will hold a hearing in Sacramento on Wednesday to review whether the industry and government are doing enough to prevent and respond to outbreaks of food contamination. The lettuce recall and a recent spate of three deaths and numerous illnesses traced to a separate problem with Salinas Valley spinach also have drawn new calls for regulation in Congress.

``Clearly the company did the right thing,'' said Dr. David Acheson, a top food safety official with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, referring to the decision by the Nunes Co. to recall more than 8,500 cartons of its green leaf lettuce after finding E. coli bacteria in water from a reservoir that was used to irrigate the crop.

So far there is no evidence that the lettuce itself was contaminated, and no illnesses have been reported.
Read the rest of the article for more arguments from both sides. The effectiveness of self-policing is, uh, readily apparent.
114 Sick From Spinach E.Coli; No Tampering Found
(AP) SAN JUAN BAUTISTA Tampering is not suspected in an outbreak of E. coli linked to fresh spinach, federal health officials said Monday as they continue to probe the source of the contamination and warned consumers to continue to avoid eating fresh spinach products.

The Food and Drug Administration has linked a California company's fresh spinach to the outbreak, which as of Monday afternoon had killed one person and sickened at least 114 others. Investigators are working to pinpoint the source of the bacteria. Possible sources include contaminated irrigation water.
[the story that started it all] One could also point to the gutted EPA and FDA under the Neocons as a source for worry, but the simple fact is that self-policing doesn't work (unless by "work" you mean make more money with more risk)

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