Wednesday, March 11, 2009

After losing billions, peanut industry should look at better methods of regulating food safety

As I was logging onto my computer, the lead headline on the Google News section was a story about how the peanut industry will lose $1 billion.

In testimony before a Congressional hearing, Don Koehler, the "peanut commissioner" for Georgia, said the salmonella outbreak could cost billions.

In an Reuters news story, Koehler said: "We are dealing with a situation of historic proportions. Rebuilding in the peanut industry cannot fully begin until the outbreak is over and the recall is complete."

Leaders in the peanut industry will try to put the blame on the federal government for not having enough staff to audit the food safety of their industry. Yet, instead of placing blame on the "feds," the industry leadership should look at privatizing their inspection program.

In the medical industry, outside audit and compliance companies perform pre-government audits on processes and rules for the distribution of medical devices. Then, based on the findings of those audits, the government certifies a device for use in a surgical procedure.

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