business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal this morning features a 2,200-word front page story that begins like this:

“In July, two dozen Albertson's grocery stores in California received a shipment of fresh ginger and put it on shelves. Several days later, state inspectors discovered that the ginger, which had been imported from China, contained a dangerous pesticide. State health officials warned Californians to avoid ginger grown in China.

“But while the tainted ginger's country of origin was clear, the actual supplier -- let alone the farm where it grew -- was anything but. The path of this batch of ginger, some 8,000 miles around the world, shows how global supply chains have grown so long that some U.S. companies can't be sure where the products they're buying are made or grown -- and without knowing the source of the product, it's difficult to solve the problem.”

And here's the follow-up line that will scare a lot of people:

“Industry analysts say many U.S. companies save money by sourcing in China but are reluctant to spend on vetting supply chains.”

As a result, there is product in the US that comes from virtually unknown sources, and yet much of the debate seems to be over who has the responsibility for doing more testing – the government or private enterprise.

KC's View:
Read this story. It will scare the hell out of you.

If it doesn’t, it should.