Monday, April 21, 2008

And Everyone is Above Average

Patrick McGee writes, “But we do need to remind our industry, the media, and the public that we have the safest food manufacturing and distribution system in the world.” Mr. McGee’s editorial is titled, “The Good News” and appears in the current issue of Food Quality magazine.

Mr. McGee hasn’t been keeping up with Doug Powell of the International Food Safety Network, who has been a ubiquitous stickler for accuracy on this point. You can read his comments on, where he has a special safest-food-in-the-world section.

Another reality check comes from Phil Brasher of the Des Moines Register, who wrote:

America has the safest food supply in the world. True or False?

It's impossible to say. The statistics don't exist to make such a claim. But that doesn't stop meatpackers, lobbyists, lawmakers and even government regulators who should know better, from repeating the claim every time there's a food-borne illness outbreak or major food recall.

It's not just Americans who make the claim.

"I've lived in many countries that have the safest food in the world," says Canice Nolan, a food-safety official with the European Commission in Washington.

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