Pork industry safety to be more self-regulated

The current administration is shifting the responsibility in the pork industry for food safety from the regulators to the companies.

The Obama administration made a similar move with poultry.

There is an interesting difference between the American perspective and the European perspective.

In the US, policies tend to be a “wait and see” if the industry will do “it”, whatever “it” is (be safe in this case).

In Europe, policies assume companies won’t “do it,” and enforce more regulations, or take action.

In Europe, before drugs or new foods are approved, they have to be proven safe. This is a burden on the companies.

In the US, drugs or new foods are more likely to be approved with lower/no safety standard and then pulled once proven to be dangerous. In other words, people have to get sick or die before the burden shifts to the company.

As a general mindset, the recent events with the Boeing 737 Max are a good example. The rest of the World grounded the plane immediately (nearly) until it could be proven safe (still hasn’t). The US waited as long as it could, until pressure was too much, to ground the plane.

As a priority, the US wanted to lessen the burden on the company where Europe wanted to protect the people.

In the US, we assume:
1) That companies have the same rights as people
2) That companies operate with a conscience and they won’t hurt people (perhaps because they are run by people?)
3) That business growth is the most important thing

With this as a premise, it is easier to accept a loose regulatory environment.

Unfortunately, history shows that companies are willing to literally kill people to expand profit. From the dawn of the industrial age to today, this holds true.

– Slaughterhouses in Chicago ca 1900
– Railroads importing and abusing immigrants 1850-1900
– Mills in the Northeast and East.
– Mines throughout the Southeast, even today
– Superfund sites across the country (residential areas too polluted and now abandoned). 1950-1970s
– Koch bothers pipelines blowing up and killing people
– Firestone 1996-2001, hiding defective tire issue (270 dead)
– Enron shutting down access to electricity in CA to drive up prices.
– Mortgage companies knowingly writing fraudulent loans and literally initiating a worldwide economic meltdown.
– Epipen hiking the price of life-saving drug 5x with no cost-basis, just profit.
– Pharma increases the price of insulin for greater profit.
– Boeing wanting to keep planes in the air despite knowing there was a lethal problem, even after a crash and many reports of problems.

These are just a few that I am aware of. Some were cases of people deliberately planning or covering up. Others were done in the name of profit over people.

Perhaps the pork & poultry industries will do a fine job self-regulating the quality and balancing profits w/ safety. Unfortunately, we won’t know until people get sick or die. Our own history shows us that we’re likely heading for trouble.

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