The Pundit’s food safety piece for The New Atlantis, a Washington, D.C.-based journal focused on technology and society, is titled How to Improve Food Safety: Aggrandizing the FDA Only Distracts from Real Solutions. The piece is worth reading as it approaches food safety from a different direction than is typical.
Much of what passes for food safety proposals are answers to a political question — how can a Congressman or a Senator show that he or she is acting on food safety — not an actual scientific response to the problem.
So most legislative proposals are little more than gestures — such as a plan to give the FDA mandatory recall authority — although there are no known incidences of people who died because a company refused an FDA request to recall. Or perhaps a decision to send government inspectors into currently uninspected plants, although government inspectors are, by law, in all meat plants and that hasn’t stopped pathogens from appearing in beef.
In contrast, our piece attempts to look at the issue through the prism of law and incentives. We think of strong government as a government that can actually achieve the goals it sets, rather than a government that does a lot of things poorly.
The piece has been getting a lot of pick-up, and we were especially proud that we were asked for permission to translate the rather lengthy piece in its entirety into French. You can find it on Le Blog d’Albert Amgar, which is published under the auspices of the French magazine, Process Alimentaire.
They wrote a kind introduction that translates as follows:
Here is an article which helps to better understand how food safety in the United States works and how it will evolve. Taking into account its importance, as much for the subjects addressed as for its length, this article is split into three installments, in order to better read in the format of this blog.
The article is titled “How to Improve Food Safety. Aggrandizing the FDA Only Distracts from Real Solutions” or Comment améliorer la sécurité des aliments ? Donner plus de moyens à la FDA détourne seulement des vraies solutions by Jim Prevor. This article appeared in The New Atlantis, A Journal of Technology & Society, May 21, 2010. I want to particularly thank Jim for the trust he has conferred on me to distribute this article, which is full of common sense, in French.
Jim Prevor is the founder and editor in chief of Produce Business Magazine and writes frequently on the subject food safety and other questions in the PerishablePundit.com, a recommended site. He is winner of the Timothy White Award for Editorial Integrity. Click here for a complete biography of Jim Prevor.
As the intro mentions, they ran the piece as a three-part series, and each part links to the next. So our French-speaking readers can read the complete piece, titled Comment améliorer la sécurité des aliments aux Etats-Unis? Donner plus de moyens à la FDA détourne seulement des vraies solutions.
Merci beaucoup to Albert Amgar and Process Alimentaire for thinking the piece important enough to translate for the Francophone world.