Karst chat with Bill Marler: 100% likely to bring everybody in

11/03/2011 05:15:00 PM
Tom Karst

2:07 p.m. Karst: In many of these cases, it seems as if there are third party audits in place. From that perspective, you could say they were taking care of the food safety issue. Why do things go wrong?

2:08 p.m. Marler: There are two questions there. One is that things go wrong like this because of multiple, multiple, multiple, examples, some more or less egregious. You look at the Peanut Corporation of America, having a badly managed plant and shipping product that you know is contaminated with salmonella, I don’ think you can disagree that that is a bad practice. In the Wright County egg outbreak, 3,000 people were sickened and half a billion eggs were recalled and I go visit that plant and saw eight feet tall piles of chicken (droppings) pushing out the doors. I haven’t been into the Jensen Farm packing plant, but you look at the FDA report and I think even the California cantaloupe growers have been pretty vocal in their condemnation of Jensen Farm practices. Then you take those three examples and you compare them to the third party audits that were done on each of those places and you ask yourself, gee, were these auditors and FDA people in the same facility? And so I have a great deal of concern about third party audits, primarily based on the facts of what I have seen the last decade, of third party audits not catching things were being done at or during and outbreak and coming to completely different conclusions to eventually what you see on the ground. I just think that the third party auditing system has got some real flaws, and I think in order to get the incentives correct, I think these audits need to be owned and required by an entity closest to the consumer. So I think these audits should be required and known and paid for by the retail outlet or the broker/shippers in a position that is close to the consumer that in a sense has the consumers’ back. Because right now, what you see are audits being performed and paid for by the entity that has the most interest in having a clean bill of health. I have a lot of concerns about audits.

2:09 p.m. Karst: Say if a retailer did that, wouldn’t that expose him to more liability from someone like you?



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