Here is an excerpt from the USA Today edit:
The first line of defense remains independent auditors hired by food producers to monitor their performance, much as companies hire outside auditors to certify their financial statements. But just six days before the Colorado outbreak, Jensen's auditor gave the company stellar ratings.
The system has an inherent conflict of interest: While retailers generally require audits before buying from a supplier, the suppliers often hire and pay the auditors who evaluate them. It's like authors hiring their own book reviewers.
Later, the edit concludes:
If retailers paid for audits, as a few do, there'd be more incentive for impartial audits. Retailers could also demand that auditors be assigned randomly to jobs from a pool. That, too, would reduce the conflicts.
Outbreaks of food-borne illness have prompted change in the past, but only when industries have stepped up to take responsibility. After contaminated spinach sickened scores of people in 2006, producers agreed to make leafy greens less vulnerable to bacteria. In 2004, after a salmonella outbreak in almonds, California growers researched a pasteurization process to make their products safer.
As government shrinks, more of the nation's food supply will depend on private audits. They won't provide much comfort as long as auditors are evaluating the folks who pay their bill.