Thursday, September 30, 2010


I almost rear-ended a police car yesterday. It was the policeman's fault - really. He swung out in front of me suddenly to give chase to a speeding car. He did not use a signal, or switch on flashing lights until later. Police often seem to think safe driving rules do not apply to them.

What does this have to do with food safety? Well, I thought of this incident when reading today's New York Times (Business section) article about the FDA inspector who was supposed to train poultry farmers on how to avoid spread of bacteria on poultry farms, breaking one of the cardinal safety rules herself, when she repeatedly parked her car too close to henhouses. By doing so, she could carry Salmonella or other bacteria in cow manure lodged in her tires or even transport contaminated poultry waste from one farm to another. In fact, it is believed that internationally much of Avian Influenza spread (apart from that carried by wild birds) is due to vehicles moving between poultry farms.

Why is it that those meant to enforce laws are often the first to break such laws - policemen, lawyers - and FDA inspectors?

And if an outbreak had indeed occurred at one of these poultry farms, the culprit inspector would not have been blamed - any more than that policeman would have been if I hadn't managed to brake fast enough.

Bon appetit!

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