Published on: February 5, 2009Now available on iTunes…
Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe, reporting today from Barcelona, Spain. MorningNewsBeat Radio is brought to you by Webstop, experts in the art of retail website design.
I’m in Barcelona this week attending the annual CIES Food Safety Conference, and in doing so, I have decided who the most important consumers in the United States are…and why both retailers and manufacturers need to pay attention.
I would submit that Sasha and Malia Obama, President Barack Obama’s seven and ten year old daughters, are the most important consumers in the United States.
This became clear earlier this week when President Obama spoke to NBC’s Matt Lauer and talked about food safety and the current peanut butter-related salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 500 people and may have killed as many as eight.
When Obama spoke, he spoke like a concerned parent, like the kind of guy who said that one of the big advantages of being President is that he gets to have breakfast and dinner with his wife and daughters most days. This is someone who takes parenting seriously.
"I think the FDA has not been able to catch some of these things as quickly as I expect them to catch them, so we're going to be doing a complete review of FDA operations," Obama told Lauer. "At a bare minimum, we should be able to count on our government keeping our kids safe when they eat peanut butter.”
And, he said, peanut butter is what Sasha eats for lunch. Probably three times a week. I don't want to worry about whether she's going to get sick as a consequence of eating her lunch."
We make the argument a lot here on MorningNewsBeat that it makes a lot more sense for the food industry to get ahead of government regulations when it comes to food safety, that a reactive position practically invites new regulation that many in business will find to be oppressive.
The Obama remarks reinforce this position, I believe. Because their father is in a position of some influence, Sasha and Malia Obama have the potential to be the food industry’s worst nightmare, if it doesn’t get more aggressive, pro-active and transparent about self-regulation that goes beyond what the government demands. They have this potential because their dad is unlikely to view the FDA as a method of protecting and serving industry; rather, he’s going to see it as a way of serving and protecting the consumer. In other words, he’s going to want to protect his kids.
I wouldn’t mess with this if I were you. In fact, you may want to start wearing rubber bracelets with the following initials:
What’s best for Sasha and Malia?
For MorningNewsBeat Radio, I’m Kevin Coupe.
- KC's View: