business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding the possibility that the government could require fast food restaurants to post ingredient information for all their menu items, one MNB user wrote:

I fail to understand why the government thinks it's the restaurant/hospitality industry's responsibility to educate the public on nutrition - should that not be done through the country's educational system - which is the government's responsibility! Think of it, if a comprehensive class that covered nutrition, exercise and wellness were taught in schools, how much healthier would the country be... both physically and financially!

On the subject of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements, MNB user Delfina Anderson wrote:

This not so unreasonable. Although I have not followed this issue in the food industry, in the apparel industry we are required to label garments and accessories with the country of origin and the fiber composition (this is a real science). We encounter issues when multiple countries are involved with materials being made in one country and assembled in another country. The labeling requirement is the manufacturers responsibility not the retailer who is buying a finished product. It makes sense to me that if we know the origin of what we put on our bodies we should have access to the origin of what we consume.

MNB user Al Kober had some additional thoughts:

Kevin, you are confusing the issue. It was not intended to be a food safety issue. COOL is still nothing more than a marketing issue. The original bill was never intended to be a food safety issue. It has always been that the "American Consumer" would pay more for it so it had value. There is no market value for this labeling or some one would be doing it now. If it is traceability that we need then let Congress draft up a traceability bill and let go of this bad, ugly, expensive, poorly conceived, worthless, piece of legislation. Make it voluntary first to see who is right, before adding additional unnecessary costs to the already financially strapped consumer.

In our piece about the FDA responding to concerns about the safety of cloned animal products by deciding to study the issue some more, we wrote:
"...So what are we supposed to believe? That the FDA didn't know what is was doing the first time around, but bowed to pressure? Or that it was right the first time, and now is being pressured to change its mind..."

MNB user Alan Binder responded:

I think the answer is: "Neither of the above." Seems like the FDA is condescending to "the masses" by saying, "Oh, you're right...we'll keep studying this issue," already knowing that the result from further research will be the same.

If, however, they find something amiss, then maybe this isn't the witch hunt it appears on the surface.

Another MNB user wrote:

Is it truly a stretch to believe the FDA can be swayed by lobby? These are the kings of measurable risks. When they do something fast, you better be suspicious. When a major clinical trial exposed the incredible dangers for women taking combination hormones, the FDA (which had approved their usage) remained silent, even as experts urged women to get off the medication. Within two months, in what was the quickest approval ever by the Agency, a "modified" medication with the same ingredients was approved by "fast-track". Pharmaceutical money and lobby were not idle and the FDA proved (once again) that it can be bought. This is the last governmental watchdog I would trust to make a decision that protects anyone. In the case of cloned animals for consumption, their quick turnaround is no surprise. That they are not held accountable for such flaky scientific scrutiny is no surprise either.

Another MNB user raised an interesting question about the consumption of cloned animals and their offspring:

I wasn't aware that there was a shortage of food-source animals to begin with. There are millions of cows, pigs, turkeys, and chickens in the US. They have no problems breeding and there is no wide spread disease wiping them out. So, why would we need to consume products from clones?

On the subject of Wal-Mart's immigration problems, which we have suggested are shared by other chains not yet targeted by the feds, one MNB user wrote:

This is the kind of kick in the pants that could do the US corporate world good.

Good thing that Wal-Mart is the fall guy here because it can afford the expenses and the weather the controversy. Fact is, this is a practice needing exposure, not just at Wal-Mart but at many US Corporations. Do you believe that Wal-Mart consciously knew or encouraged its contractors to hire illegals? There are some Wal-Mart haters out there that do, but I don't think so. Wal-Mart leadership is not stupid. This was simply under the radar. It was not noticed due to the million other pressing concerns of running a mega business.

How did they miss this? Well, I have a theory that this exposes a blind spot stemming from one of Wal-Mart's greatest strengths. Perhaps more than any other corporation in the world, Wal-Mart shares responsibilities with suppliers to effectively run their business. Extremely effective strategy when it comes to maintaining in-stock conditions, lowest prices, timely promotions, etc. This mind set, where responsibilities are delegated to suppliers, may extend to other contractors supporting store operations and might explain how this could have been overlooked. That theory aside, let's be honest. How many other corporations have been checking immigration papers on people doing their night time cleaning?

One thing Wal-Mart does very well is clean up its messes. This practice will not be tolerated now that they are aware of it. The real question is how many other corporations and contract maintenance companies will stop hiring illegals as a result of Wal-Mart's black eye.

Another MNB user wrote:

The only problem is that the government really doesn't want to do anything about the problem. If we eliminated all the illegal aliens, who would do the dirty work in the US? There would be no one to pick our fruit or clean our buildings, because most Americans find this work below them.
KC's View: