Public Values

US privatized food safety inspections graded: Fail

Third-party audits for food safety likened to mail-order diploma mills for education.

by Michael Moss and Andrew Martin, The New York Times

March 5, 209 — When food industry giants like Kellogg want to ensure that American consumers are being protected from contaminated products, they rely on private inspectors like Eugene A Hatfield. So last spring Hatfield headed to the Peanut Corp. of America plant in southwest Georgia to make sure its chopped nuts, paste and peanut butter were safe to use in foods like granola bars and ice cream.

The peanut company, though, knew in advance that Hatfield was coming. He had less than a day to check the entire plant, which processed several million pounds of peanuts a month.

Hatfield, 66, an expert in fresh produce, was not aware that peanuts were readily susceptible to salmonella poisoning - which he was not required to test for anyway. And while Hatfield was inspecting the plant to reassure Kellogg and other food companies of its suitability as a supplier, the Peanut Corp. was paying him for his efforts.

"The overall food safety level of this facility was considered to be: SUPERIOR," he concluded in his March 27, 2008, report for his employer, the American Institute of Baking, which performs audits for major food companies. A copy of the audit was obtained by The New York Times.

Federal investigators later discovered that the dilapidated plant was ravaged by salmonella and had been shipping tainted peanuts and paste for at least nine months. But they were too late to prevent what has become one of the nation's worst known outbreaks of food-borne disease in recent years, in which nine are believed to have died and an estimated 22,500 were sickened.

With government inspectors overwhelmed by the task of guarding the nation's food supply, the job of monitoring food plants has in large part fallen to an army of private auditors like Hatfield. And the problems go well beyond peanuts. .

To read further, please click on the link below. . .

Privatization vs. Public Values Frame
  Industry is responsible enough to be cautious / Industry is as responsible as is required by law

Links and sources
  Food safety problems slip by auditors, by Michael Moss and Andrew Martin, The New York Times, March 5 2009, via The Day
  Food Problems Elude Private Inspectors, by Michael Moss and Andrew Martin, The New York Times, March 5 2009

Posted: March 12, 2009

Categories:
  News
  Politics
  Health care
  Public services
  Voices of privatization
  Feedback and dialogue

Public Values (PublicValues.ca) is a project of the Golden Lake Institute and the online publication StraightGoods.ca


Public Values
 
HOME
CONTACT US
SEARCH
FREE BULLETIN
FRANÇAIS
Search PublicValues.ca
Donate to PublicValues.ca
News
Research
Politics
Campaigns
Health care
Public services
Natural resources
Energy
Education
Front lines
Voices of privatization
Feedback and dialogue
Visit StraightGoods.ca
About Us
Donations
Newswire/RSS
What is framing?
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Updated frequently
To view photo captions, run your mouse over the photo
 
Bookmark and Share

© Golden Lake Institute/PublicValues.ca, 2007-11
PublicValues.ca owns copyright on all staff-written articles.
We encourage others to freely distribute material from this website but, without explicit permission,
Web publishers may only use short excerpts that also include credit to us and a reference to our site for the full article.
This site is managed by the Golden Lake InstituteVisit Golden Lake Institute Website and Straight Goods NewsVisit Straight Goods News Website
For comments or suggestions, please contact the PublicValues.ca Editor
For technical issues, please contact the PublicValues.ca Webmaster