Thursday, May 21, 2009

Food Companies Placing the Onus for Safety on Consumers

Interesting article published in the New York Times last week about how big food corporations will no longer guarantee the safety of their own products, and leave it to the consumer to "use a thermometer to make sure their frozen dinner is cooked thoroughly." Who actually does that? Nobody I know! Be sure to skim through the food industry reports on salmonella that are linked to the article.

Yes, consumers need to be aware of what they are consuming. That goes without saying. But for a producer to not stand behind what they're producing is just bad business. I think the government shouldn't just step up safety inspections; it should also heavily fine companies that skip out on the necessary steps to make food safe. From the article:

"A ConAgra consumer hotline operator said the claims by microwave-oven manufacturers about their wattage power could not be trusted, and that any pies not heated enough should not be eaten. “We definitely want it to reach that 165-degree temperature,” she said. “It’s a safety issue.”

In 2007, the U.S.D.A.’s inspection of the ConAgra plant in Missouri found records that showed some of ConAgra’s own testing of its directions failed to achieve “an adequate lethality” in several products, including its Chicken Fried Beef Steak dinner. Even 18 minutes in a large conventional oven brought the pudding in a Kid Cuisine Chicken Breast Nuggets meal to only 142 degrees, the federal agency found."

Big Food needs to go down.

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