Our National Nightmare....Our Food Supply
With government inspectors overwhelmed by the task of guarding the nation’s food supply, the job of monitoring food plants has in large part fallen to an army of private auditors like Mr. Hatfield. And the problems go well beyond peanuts.
An examination of the largest food poisoning outbreaks in recent years — in products as varied as spinach, pet food, and a children’s snack, veggie booty — show that auditors failed to detect problems at plants whose contaminated products later sickened consumers. In one case involving hamburgers fed to schoolchildren, the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company in California passed 17 separate audits in 2007, records show. Then an undercover video made that year showed the plant’s workers using forklifts to force sickly cows into the slaughterhouse, which prompted a recall of 143 million pounds of beef in February 2008.
“The contributions of third-party audits to food safety is the same as the
contribution of mail-order diploma mills to education,” said Mansour Samadpour, a Seattle consultant who has worked with companies nationwide to improve food safety. - NYTimes
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