Georgia considers forcing plants to disclose positive test results

While Peanut Corp., the state of Georgia, and the federal government come under fire for letting salmonella get into roasted peanuts and those peanuts get into hundreds of products, a debate is stirring on the value of revealing the results of microbial testing.

Doug and Ben want manufacturers to show their results to the public, but Georgia’s Senate Agriculture Committee just wants them to tell the state.

The Associated Press reported two days ago that the Senate Agriculture Committee was discussing a bill that would "require food makers to alert state inspectors within a day if internal tests show a contaminant in a plant."

According to a New York Times article that day,

Dr. Steven M. Solomon, an official in [FDA’s] Office of Regulatory Affairs, said the agency has viewed such disclosures as a “double-edged sword” that might inhibit some companies from testing in the first place.

An AP report yesterday said the committee’s chairman, Sen. John Bulloch, "delayed a vote on the measure until later this week as he waits for more industry response."

Meanwhile, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin urged Congress to adopt similar requirements. He told members of a House food safety panel,

"We could have a strong law in Georgia, but if it’s not followed by Congress, we could find ourselves in a position of driving out business."

History shows that companies caught without a culture of food safety don’t stay in business, anyway. Smart companies know food safety is good business and should be happy to brag about it.