Market produce safety at retail so consumers can choose

I’m no fan of economic estimates of foodborne illness. The numbers are somewhat fantastical and the assumptions behind the numbers are usually oblique and obscured.

I’m also not a fan of whining.

In response to a study released earlier this week by the Pew Charitable Foundation’s Produce Safety Project, which pegged the annual cost of foodborne illness at $152 billion and which Chapman has already taken to task, United Fresh Produce Association president Tom Stenzel said,

“It’s really a shame that, once again, advocates for food safety legislative reform are stoking unneeded anxiety about produce safety. This report inappropriately lumps together data from all foods and all food contamination events, including those at church picnics and cross-contamination after sale to the consumer. There’s no data on illnesses actually related to contamination from the farm, which is a much smaller subset cause of foodborne illness. … The fresh produce industry is working tirelessly to grow and market the safest possible products. We strongly support national government oversight of produce safety standards to ensure a science-based, commodity-specific approach no matter where a product is grown. What’s harmful about tactics like this is that advocates are actually scaring consumers away from the very products they need to be consuming more of for better health.”

Dude, you need a better writer. And an editor.

Rather than complain, why not advertize and market all the outstanding food safety efforts your members are undertaking, at retail, so concerned consumers, who have heard a thing or two about produce-related outbreaks over the past 20 years, can make their buying decisions based on evidence rather than faith? Make your testing data public. And stop whining.