retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports this morning that “a major egg producer linked to an outbreak of salmonella that has sickened more than 1,500 people conducted tests as far back as 2008 that indicated the possible presence of the dangerous bacteria in its henhouses, according to records released on Tuesday by Congressional investigators.

“The records show that there were 73 instances over about two years in which sponges swabbed on egg conveyor belts and other areas in Wright County Egg’s barns showed the presence of salmonella bacteria, including the strain that infects eggs and causes human illness. In at least one case, further tests showed that the toxic form, Salmonella enteritidis, was present.”

According to the story, there appears to be no evidence to this point that Wright County Eggs did anything to inform the public about the possibility that it was shipping salmonella-contaminated eggs.

It was less than two years ago that the Peanut Corp.of America was accused of knowingly shipping contaminated peanut products because fixing the problem would have cost too much money and caused too many delays. However, it was reported last week that while Peanut Corp. is bankrupt, no charges have been brought against its CEO, Stewart Parnell, and the investigation has “languished.”
KC's View:
These issues should concern everyone in the food business, because continuing occurrences like these do nothing but erode confidence in the nation’s food supply. I have no ideas if the pending food safety legislation will fix the system, but we certainly need - and deserve - a food safety apparatus that is far more consumer-oriented and transparent.