business news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times this morning reports that some companies in the food industry are taking food safety matters into their own hands: “With huge losses from food-poisoning recalls and little oversight from the federal Food and Drug Administration, some sectors of the food industry are cobbling together their own form of regulation in an attempt to reassure consumers. They are paying other government agencies to do what the F.D.A. rarely does: muck through fields and pore over records to make sure food is handled properly.

“These do-it-yourself programs may provide an enhanced safety level in segments of the industry that have embraced them. But with industry itself footing the bill, some safety advocates worry that the approach could introduce new problems and new conflicts of interest. And they contend that the programs lack the rigor of a well-run federal inspection system.”

KC's View:
It is hard to imagine at this point in time, despite the good intentions of these self-regulatory efforts, that they are an adequate replacement for tougher and more consistent federal regulation that is rooted in transparency and traceability.

And I would repeat the concern mentioned in our lead story this morning. What worries me is that we could end up being too late.