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USA Today reports that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) “is considering a proposal not to identify retailers where tainted meat went for sale except in cases of serious health risk.”

According to the story, “The plan is being considered as the USDA puts the final touches on a proposed disclosure rule. It had lingered in draft form for two years until getting pushed to the forefront in February, when 143 million pounds of beef were recalled by Westland/Hallmark Meat in Chino, Calif., after undercover video by an animal-rights activist showed workers abusing crippled cows.”

And, USA Today continues, “Currently, the government discloses only a recall itself. It does not list which retailers might have received recalled meat. The same holds true for recalled vegetables. Consumer groups and Democratic lawmakers contend that the public should have access to the names of retailers in all meat recalls. As originally written, the rule would have applied to all meat recalls.”

KC's View:
Let’s just be honest about this and call it the “USDA Obfuscation Rule of 2008.”

Such a rule clearly demonstrates that we have a government that is still living in a time when transparency was not considered to be a virtue.

This is an absurd rule, even though it simply codifies a practice already in place.

Consumers – and voters – ought not accept it. And frankly, retailers ought to oppose it as well…because it creates the illusion that they have something to hide. What retailers ought to say is, “We tell consumers everything, because we are the agents for the consumers.” In saying so, retailers in fact would be superseding the government, which clearly has other priorities in mind.