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Friday, October 12, 2012

Go Figure: The Private Sector Should Not Inspect Its Own Food-Production Chain

Posted by on Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 3:00 PM

The beginning of this article is heartbreaking. The man just loved cantaloupe! He died a horrifying death. And this is why:

During the past two decades, the food industry has taken over much of the FDA’s role in ensuring that what Americans eat is safe...

In 2011, the FDA inspected 6 percent of domestic food producers and just 0.4 percent of importers. The FDA has had no rules for how often food producers must be inspected.

The food industry hires for-profit inspection companies — known as third-party auditors — who aren’t required by law to meet any federal standards and have no government supervision.

...The private inspectors that companies select often check only those areas their clients ask them to review...

In some cases, for-hire auditors have financial ties to executives at companies they’re reviewing. AIB International Inc., a Manhattan, Kansas, auditor that awarded top marks to producers that sold toxic food, has had board members who are top managers at companies that are clients...

Executives of Flowers Foods Inc. (FLO), which makes Tastykake, and Grupo Bimbo SAB in Mexico City, which makes Entenmann’s pastries, Sara Lee baked goods and Wonder Bread, serve or have served on AIB’s board.

The article then descends into the nightmarish... you must read the whole thing.

 

Comments (19) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1
Time to reverse the inspection percentages.

I'm far more worried about import quality, quite frankly.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on October 12, 2012 at 3:27 PM · Report this
2
I'm afraid if I do read the whole thing, I'll never eat again.
Posted by I Got Nuthin' on October 12, 2012 at 3:29 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 3
Yeah, but freedom
Posted by Urgutha Forka on October 12, 2012 at 3:44 PM · Report this
TVDinner 4
I did read the whole thing, and from now on I'm eating Earthbound Farms salad mix. Jeebus.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on October 12, 2012 at 3:55 PM · Report this
venomlash 5
Tastykake sounds like an American twist on a Japanese sexual fetish.
Posted by venomlash on October 12, 2012 at 4:08 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 6
@4 oh the things I could tell you about salad mix ...
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on October 12, 2012 at 4:21 PM · Report this
raku 7
No mention of where food borne illness actually comes from? Beef, pork, and chicken farms.

Animal contamination or manure cause all e.coli and salmonella, and almost all listeria. Not to mention swine (pork) flu and bird (poultry) flu come from animal farms.

More reasons meat eaters hurt all of us, even if we just want some canteloupe.

Regulate and tax the hell out of the meat industry, to pay for inspections and prevent their public health consequences (along with about 1000 other reasons).
Posted by raku on October 12, 2012 at 4:23 PM · Report this
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on October 12, 2012 at 4:33 PM · Report this
9
"A new study by a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) economist estimates the total economic impact of foodborne illness across the nation to be a combined $152 billion annually."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/201…
Posted by anon1256 on October 12, 2012 at 6:36 PM · Report this
10
@7: Right, because cantaloupes and peanut butter are meat, right? Fuck you right up your vegan ass.
Posted by Tired of the bullshit on October 12, 2012 at 6:54 PM · Report this
raku 11
#10: Dewd, E.coli and Salmonella literally only come from animals. Listeria exists "everywhere" (kind of like how cyanide is "everywhere") but really comes from animals when there's a major outbreak. Almost all of it comes from animal feces, usually in runoff in agriculture water supply from factory animal farms.

The reason peanut butter and cantaloupes infect people is because it's not cooked or frozen. If you ate uncooked unfrozen factory meat, you'd probably have a foodborne illness right now.

You can be tired of my vegan bullshit when I talk about corpse harvesting torture factories or something, but this isn't insane propaganda, it's just a fact.
Posted by raku on October 12, 2012 at 7:36 PM · Report this
12
In perfect competition, one is always supplied by an infinite number of indistinguishable firms, so this is never an issue. Obviously the fault lies with Obama for imposing regulations that prevent this world of perfect competition from coming to be.
Posted by kinaidos on October 12, 2012 at 8:40 PM · Report this
13
@7 Did you read the article? You should! It acknowledges animal cross-contamination, and some diseases also come from human poop and filth.

This article was terrifying. I rarely eat meat, and now I don't want to eat vegetables, fruit or grains, either, especially from that one farm in Mexico. Ewwww...
Posted by mitten on October 13, 2012 at 9:09 AM · Report this
14
But the foxes are already very familiar with these particular hen-houses---do you really want to eliminate the employment of this very real expertise?
Posted by Gerald Fnord on October 13, 2012 at 11:31 AM · Report this
15
I am GAP certified. We farm the same as before certification. We spent many expensive man hours documenting our proceedures and writing our policies for the auditor. We spent days attending university sponsored seminars, instructed by PHD,s, concerning food safety and microbial risks. Audits and harvest inspections are also very expensive. We farm with an espirit of quality and food safety.

Food Safety (GAP/GHP) Certification is on most every farmer/orchardist in Washington because many food/fruit brokers are requiring certiication.

STILL, I as the farmer/grower do not receive one cent more for my product. All I receive is the expense of certification and that tinglin' feeling of knowing you are eating some of the most tasty and safest food grown in the world.

Presently, the number and reliability of private inspection companies, and different aspects of farming, fertilization, irrigation, harvesting and storage are being discussed within farmer based organization. The middle men see it as at profitable private industry and there is considerable infighting.

Missing ....is the consumer willing to pay for safe food certification and who do they trust to do this.?



Posted by charliebickle on October 13, 2012 at 1:54 PM · Report this
16
@15, regarding your farmer-based discussions, have you invited any consumers into those unpublicized discussions? Because how else can they be not "missing"?

@11, you missed the part in the article which talked about field workers being unable to wash their hands after defecating. Disease most certainly comes from human feces, not just four-legged animal sources.
Posted by sarah70 on October 13, 2012 at 5:37 PM · Report this
17
i took a horticultural pest management class from a guy who has worked and studied in the biz for decades, the kind of guy who "knows where the bones are buried" to us an old saying, and he said, speaking of produce "i would never eat anything that came from mexico."
Posted by ellarosa on October 13, 2012 at 9:15 PM · Report this
18
IIRC, some of the E. coli outbreaks attributed to vegetables and fruits (e.g. the spinach outbreak from California) have come organic farms.

Now, these organic farms, while eschewing chemical fertilizers, still need ways to return nutrients to the soil. And so, they turn to the obvious source: animal manure. Which comes from factory farms producing meat.

In other words, turn everyone into a vegan, and you just substitute one problem for another. The real problem is that to get the kinds of yields needed to feed everyone inexpensively requires some practices that people are going to find objectionable.

There's no doubt in my mind whatsoever that most people could stand to eat less meat. But doing away with it altogether isn't a panacea.

And let's put all of this on context: there has been no starvation or malnutrition in the US since, well, who knows when. Among poorer people here, the problem is too many cheap calories. This is absolutely extraordinary in the context of human history. As tradeoffs go, this isn't such a bad one.
Posted by Corydon on October 14, 2012 at 1:34 AM · Report this
19
@18: "these organic farms, while eschewing chemical fertilizers"

"Organic" does not mean eschewing chemical fertilizers, necessarily.
Posted by nor pesticides on October 15, 2012 at 10:42 AM · Report this

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