Who gets hurt by a health scare? Actually more people than you might think.

July 18th, 2008

The simple answer is everyone. All interested or involved parties including growers

The simple answer is everyone. All interested or involved parties including growers, brokers, retailers, consumers, employees of each, emergency room workers and anyone else that has a vested interest due to a lack of food safety.

The most recent fall out from the salmonella out break that began in April is the Florida Growers asking the Federal Food and Drug Administration to declare there is no Salmonella in Florida tomato crops. The FDA has yet to prove that there is a link to the tomato, or the other crops they are now investigating, but they have also not ruled out tomatoes either. If they clear one state, I’m sure a flood of requests from other states as well a Mexico will follow right behind that announcement.

Consumers I’m sure are waiting for tomatoes to clear, but an all clear needs to take place when it is in fact an all clear. What does it say if Florida growers are cleared and a month later California is cleared but has lost much of their business to Florida? I’m sure the litigation attempts would be soon to follow.

At present there seems to be no potential wining solution for any of the groups involved.
Growers have lost revenue; retailers have lost revenue including sales of products affiliated with tomatoes. The FDA has lost man hours that could be focused on preventative tasks to outbreaks in the future, and the consumer to some extent has lost confidence in the safety of our food products.

There never seemed to be a better time to focus on a national or international supply chain database that would support traceability and safety standards that is accepted by everyone.

I look forward to your comments
Ron Southard…

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