Monday, October 15, 2012
What do you mean we don't need regulations?
Somewhere along the line things did change but not for the better. Producers gained more and more power in congress and prevented the natural progression of tighter rules and more inspections. And today we have the end results of almost no standards and little oversight. The producers to their discredit started using third party inspectors who are accountable to no one other than their paying clients. Of course they'll give you the results you want when you're the boss. We have seen the latest results of this system by the many recalls of late. But that's just the tip of the iceberg in this story. It doesn't expose some other not too settling facts lurking in the background like the fact that much of our produce now comes from foreign countries who's sanitary standards are less than ours. And in some countries no inspections are required at all.
Here's the rest of the story
But there's a touch of irony in reading this story. You will note that it was written by a writer from or for Bloomberg News. That would be the same Bloomberg running NYC who only likes government interference when it comes to deciding how much soda you can drink at one time. Can't think of a good analogy for this but "being hoisted by ones own petard" comes to mind. But we have seen this MO in so many industries of late. Shuffling off responsibilities to a third party then claiming deniability when things go wrong does not solve the problem. Here's a few interesting facts you may or may not have known. The airlines send their aircraft to south america for inspections and major repairs. Even the baggage handlers were outsourced in America to a British company that hires minimum wage workers. Truckers that move loads from our docks barley make enough to maintain their rigs. Again outsourcing to east African immigrants kept the companies costs low but at a cost of safety to the public. In the case of the meat processing plants it's a matter of lax and inconsistent regulations coupled with an uneducated and overworked labor force. The inspection process itself is understaffed and underfunded. And you can figure out who is responsible for that. It's happening in every industry from food to health care. Profits come before all else. For the latest meat contamination problem in Canada it was caused by slow reporting spotty testing and a work force made up of Somali immigrants working at an insane pace to keep up with demand. The plant processed some 4000 head of cattle per day.
What's needed is balanced regulations, more inspectors and a trained workforce not afraid to correct mistakes and safety issues. What management fails to realize is that it's cheaper in the long run to work in a safe manner both for the workers and the public. What good are profits when the public loses faith in your product?