In order to make the reading a little easier, I split my blog into two parts. First, there is a review of the article I found, followed by an analysis and connection to the prior class discussion and article…
As many of you know probably already know, there has recently been an outbreak of salmonella poisoning stemming from contaminated peanut butter from a manufacturer in Georgia. The contamination has sparked what some experts project to be one of the largest recalls of food in US history. Because peanut butter and paste are used to make so many foods, the number of recalled items and the total bulk is enormous. To date, 500 people have been sickened, including four in Arkansas, and as many as 8 deaths may be linked to the outbreak. The Justice Department and the FDA’s office of criminal investigation are attempting to investigate the manufacturer, Peanut Corp. of America, whose plant is located in Georgia. In recent investigations of the peanut manufacturing facilities, FDA inspectors found a roof leaking into the food area. In addition, pests and metal fragments were also found. The FDA claims Peanut Corp. found salmonella in products, but shipped them anyway, after a retest found no salmonella. In light of the recent outbreak, President Barrack Obama has ordered a complete review of the Food and Drug Administration because of the “instances over the last several years” in which “the FDA has not been able to catch some of these things as quickly as I expect them to catch.” In an interview with Matt Lauer, President Obama stated,
“We’re gonna be doing a complete review of FDA operations. At bare minimum, we should be able to count on our government keeping our kids safe when they eat peanut butter… that’s what
Sasha eats for– for lunch– probably three times a week. And, you know, I don’t wanna have to worry about whether she’s gonna get sick as a consequence to having– having her lunch.”(video interview)
During our discussion in class concerning the article about Tod Murphy, I presented the question, “do you think Murphy’s business stratagy over the long run is feasible?”. At first I thought absolutely not, but after a little class debate, I found myself believing that maybe Murphy is onto something. However, after watching the interview and statements by President Obama, my mood has once again become pesimistic. The president has vowed to investigate the entire FDA, and possibly reinvent how the United States test food for contamination. It is safe to say that new, and possibly tighter regulations will be placed on distributors to ensure their products are safe. So why does this make me pessimistic towards Murphey’s business plan? I’ll answer my question with another question. How is Murphey going to ensure his food, bought from local farms, is in fact safe? For example, Murphey can not ensure the pigs he bought from his 15 year old Andrew Putnam were not contaminated with some disease (Mad pig disease!). Hypotheticly, if someone becomes ill when consuming Murphey’s products, and can prove in court that it was in fact Murphey’s locally grow food that made them sick, a possibly huge lawsuit could ensue. Corperations such as Peanut Corp. of America is able to absorb the lawsuits because of their strong financial prowess, but small time businessmen like Murphey would be absolutely crushed by such a lawsuit. Now I realize that a lot of the blame could be attributed to the suppliers, but Murphey did buy and serve the food himself, thus would mkae him partially liable. I guess I have a pessamistic attitude towards small businesses now a days because of the huge manufacturing firms backed by the government, so I was hoping that maybe someone in the class could shed some needed light on my dark outlook.