business news in context, analysis with attitude

AFP reports that a group of Tesco shareholders have declared their intention to sue the company, charging that management "new or were reckless" about its financial condition, allowing for the overstatement of profits that currently is the subject of a federal fraud investigation.

• In the UK, the Guardian reports that Tim Smith, "the former head of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), who went straight from his job as regulator to a lucrative role as technical director of Tesco, lobbied the government this summer about its plans to publish the official food poisoning contamination rates for supermarket chicken, the Guardian has been told."

The problem, according to the story, is that when Smith was only allowed to go to work at Tesco in 2012 by Prime Minister David Cameron on condition that he not do any lobbying on behalf of Tesco for two years.

The Guardian writes that "Smith is understood to have warned the Department of Health in June that FSA proposals for publishing results, which included naming and shaming individual supermarkets, could provoke a food scare and damage the industry."

The story says that "the FSA has been fighting a decade-long campaign to get supermarkets and the poultry industry to clean up their meat … The policy of naming and shaming the dirtiest companies for their campylobacter rates has been a key part of the FSA’s strategy to deal with industry’s failure to tackle what is the commonest form of food poisoning in the UK – it kills around 100 people and makes an estimated 280,000 sick each year."
KC's View:
Somehow, it is reassuring that the UK has to deal with the same sort of lobbying and small-c governmental corruption that we have here in the US. Makes me feel less isolated.