I’m from government and here to help

“Hi, I’m from the government, I’m here to help” is the worst thing to say to a farmer.

We discovered that decades ago by hanging out with farmers, and help them develop meaningful, but non-intrusive on-farm food safety programs.

I don’t understand why a whole bunch of food safety types waste enormous amounts of energy and goodwill lobbying Washington and asking the feds to do more.

Walmart, Costco and McDonald’s do more to advance food safety in a day than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does in a year. All those people doing the Potomac two-step in Washington, wanting more food safety inspections, and ignoring the advice of former Food and Drug Administration food safety czar David Acheson, who last year said there is a lot more to ensuring a food supply than writing laws, and that “food safety is cultural,” are getting exactly what is to be expected.

The New York Times reports this morning that a delay in sending safety inspectors to egg farms after this summer’s salmonella outbreak and egg recall can be traced in part to a parking mistake outside a pair of Pennsylvania henhouses, according to industry executives and state government officials.

Marilyn F. Balmer, a top egg expert for the Food and Drug Administration, was training inspectors in July to enforce the agency’s new egg safety rule when she parked the van she was driving near a henhouse at a farm in Manheim, Pa. She did it again during another session at a farm in Lancaster.

Ms. Balmer was in Pennsylvania to teach inspectors about how to keep germs away from poultry flocks, known as biosecurity. But the industry executives and state officials said she was breaking a basic biosecurity rule: keep vehicles, which may have driven through manure on rural roads or other farms, as far from the hens as possible.

All of that prompted the F.D.A. to re-evaluate the training program, contributing to a delay in preparing the inspectors to enforce the new safety rule. The rule went into effect July 12, but inspections began only last week at farms not involved in the recall.