February 7, 2009

Deregulation Caused the Salmonella Outbreak

From the NY Times
"Wary Shoppers Cause Slide in Peanut Butter Sales"

The Department of Agriculture, which oversees school lunch programs, banned the Peanut Corporation of America from doing any further business with the government. The company’s chief executive, Stewart Parnell, was removed from the Agriculture Department’s Peanut Standards Board, which advises the agriculture secretary on quality and handling standards.

Read further, if you need to.

What was the CEO of a private corporation doing on the standards board of a federal agency meant to regulate his own business?

Sure, regulators should be knowledgeable of their fields, but a sitting chief executive? Is that not a conflict of interest from the get-go? I mean, the Times just nonchalantly mentions, "Yeah, this guy is no longer advising his own regulators, now that his company has spread salmonella all over the country," like it's just a random detail of the overall story. Hopefully Obama understands cause-and-effect more than the Bush administration did, but perhaps a little research is afoot to see who is on the federal agencies and who they're really loyal to: themselves or the People?

Hey, at least Parnell's previous work did not involve Arabian horses.

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