Promise of food safety law largely unfulfilled

Waiting for government is like Waiting for Godot. Which is why the most important part of a USA Today feature on delays to implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act is a throw-away at the end of the story. “While some businesses are waiting until the food safety rules are published, many companies are already incorporating their own food safety handling and transportation measures into their operations. The threat of potential litigation, long-term damage to their brand and a surge in the use of social media tools by the public to communicate has put more pressure on businesses to meet or exceed existing food safety requirements, said former FDA food czar David Acheson. “Hy-Vee, the 234-store, West Des Moines-based grocery chain has hired an outside auditor to do inspections of its stores. It also has worked with its distribution centers to make sure they handle and transport food using the same standards, such as ensuring sanitary conditions and uniform temperatures are maintained. “There is cost involved but it’s a cost of doing business and certainly it’s nothing compared to not doing it,” said Ruth Comer, assistant vice president of media relations with Hy-Vee. “If something isn’t done and there is a food borne illness outbreak or another situation that one incident could be far more costly than any protective measures.” Hy-Vee has only now just hired its own auditors, and is implementing standards across its supply chain? Maybe that’s why I never shop there.