1970s Pinto redux; Townsend Farms passes health inspections after Hepatitis A outbreak

It’s the Pinto argument, and segments of the food industry still haven’t learned, 40 years later.

The Pinto automobile – my high school friend Dave had a similar Vega – met all government standards, but still had had tendency to explode when hit from behind; like a Sherman tank.

Decades of risk communication research have shown in various fields that meeting government standards is about the worst thing you can say to car-explosion-signconsumers to build trust.

Which is why it’s so baffling that so many commodities so many years later insist on government inspection as some sort of meaningful standard.

It’s a cop-out.

Lynne Terry of The Oregonian says that Townsend Farms, the producer of frozen berries linked to a Hepatitis A outbreak that has sickened 97 or 99, has passed inspections by county and state health types.

Which they would, if the source of the Hepatitis A is pomegranate seeds from Turkey or somewhere.

It’s that missing food safety ingredient – source food from safer sources.

And don’t rely on inspections or external audits.

Does any company really want to bet their brand on someone else?