An Eggxample Of Poor Government Oversight

Posted by | August 31, 2010 10:24 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

FDA reported yesterday that the Iowa farms at the center of the salmonella-in-eggs outbreak were rife with violations of egg regulations.

Barns infested with flies, maggots and scurrying rodents, and overflowing manure pits were among the widespread food safety problems that federal inspectors found at a group of Iowa egg farms at the heart of a nationwide recall and salmonella outbreak.

This, of course, speaks badly of the egg producers (if you read the whole Times article, I recommend doing so on an empty stomach) but the government doesn’t come off that well either.  It is true that the FDA recently updated the egg safety regulations after working on them for a decade and these will help improve egg safety in the future.

However, this inspection report has the flavor of locking the barn door after the bad eggs have eggscaped.  Writing good regulations is one part of consumer protection, but enforcing them is another.  In fairness to FDA and other regulatory agencies, they have been starved for funds by Congress for years.  These type of budgetary decisions have real world consequences, like salmonella outbreaks.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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