Friday, February 15, 2013

Criminal Pass the Buck

Retailers and apologists are claiming that the horse-for-beef scandal is not really a health problem, simply mislabeling. I wholly disagree. Food Fraud is Dangerous to Health

First, this is criminal adulteration of food to gain unjust profit. Substitution of horse for beef is potentially just the the tip of the iceberg. Those companies such as TESCO, ICA, Findus, etc., that have put their brand and label on counterfeit food should be severely penalized. Corporate officers should be arrested and imprisoned. The companies should be fined severely. They must be held responsible for quality assurance.

Findus claims their quality control uncovered a problem, they acted quickly & properly, and they're now being penalized unjustly. But the scale of this problem suggests management was complacent or indifferent in important areas, and lax with due diligence. As with sanitation, it is insufficient to be clean "sometimes" or to say "we washed six months ago" - constant effort & vigilance must be built into operations. Findus perhaps did not properly invest in those dimensions, and instead pocketed that money. What have they done with such past windfall profits? I don't feel much sympathy. Corporate profit-seeking can easily kill. Thousands of children in the USA were killed by "swill milk" before purity became more rigidly enforced; and China's 2008 melamine milk scandal reportedly harmed 300,000 people. Profiteers care nothing for our health; they kill for money.

for more see: Lutter, Randall (2009) "Addressing challenges of economically-motivated adulteration." US Food and Drug Administration. (ppt file) 

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