business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal this morning details complaints made by members of the US House of Representatives yesterday at a hearing into the nation’s food safety apparatus.

Much of the criticism was focused on both public and private inspections performed at the Georgia facility operated by Peanut Corp. of America (PCA), which apparently engaged in negligent practices that led to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 600 people and may have killed nine.

Kellogg CEO David Mackay told the lawmakers that his company requires certifications and audits for the 3,000 ingredients it buys from 1,000 suppliers…but conceded that it wasn’t enough.

USA Today reports that Nestlé was either more vigilant or just luckier when it inspected the PCA plant – it sound “grossly unsanitary conditions” during two different visits, and decided not to do business with the company.

KC's View:
Would it be too much to ask of a system that would allow, encourage or require a company like Nestlé to sound a very public alarm – telling the government, which would then spread the word among other manufacturers – if it found “grossly unsanitary conditions” at a supplier?

Sure, it might be helping the competition. But the damage that has been done to the entire food industry by the PCA scandal may not be fixed for years…and hurts everyone.