Editor’s note: We want to hear from our readers, and that’s you. Letters to the Editor can be submitted via the Contact Us link on our website.

I try to read about food safety threats and notify family and friends every time see one that is pertinent. Each time, it occurs to me that there is an “us vs. them” attitude between producers and inspection authorities. The “us vs. them” should be between us as humans and the threat, usually bacteria, aka bugs. Instead, it becomes a point-the-finger, blame-game competition.

In the case of the Kerry company, for instance, why not collectively”do the necessary operations to prevent continuation of the danger? That means the government agency would assist in the correction process, not just point out there is — or might be — a problem.

My life experience was in commercial construction. We had numerous safety inspections, audits and weekly meetings pointing out — what we already knew — that construction is a potentially dangerous profession. The only people who actually helped were those who presented viable solutions to a given problem. Sometimes it was training, usually the responsibility of respective unions, employers and knowledgeable, experienced, employees — not necessarily the inspector.

At one point, the threat of an OSHA inspection was considered a reason for our company to close the project rather than allow an inspector to impose unreasonable fines and even the threat of imprisonment for their perception of willful violations of the rules. The adversarial relationship was counter-productive.

On food safety there must be a concerted effort between FDA — or whoever is in charge of regulating a specific food — and businesses to end the threat, not to point fingers.

Just a thought from someone who is not really close to the problem, except I do eat food. In the Kerry plant, couldn’t it be closed for clean-up. like starting with live steam as in the old days?
And to promote an actual solution, why not a “super fund” to assist each unfortunate company that is cursed with these problems to clean and sanitize? That could help offset the expense of doing the right thing. Of course, I can see how this could be used by the unscrupulous to turn a profit just as so many well-intentioned ideas have in the past.

Bottom line: It is us humans vs. them bugs, not each other.

— Jim Dixon

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety Website, click here.)