SafeFood© Politics

The recall of a whole lot of fresh shell eggs has resulted in a lot of finger pointing. Maybe that is human nature – no one wants to take responsibility. There are those who see the recall as an indictment of agriculture businesses. Apparently eggs from small scale producers are selling quickly either directly to consumer or at farmer’s markets; it appears many take comfort in knowing where their food comes from. Yet others take comfort in strengthening regulations that govern production and handling practices, which raises the question of whether a small producer can realistically comply with more regulations.

This recall seems illustrates we can have rules, but that there is difficulty in monitoring to ensure compliance. So, are more regulations really the answer? This debate is part of the food safety legislation working its way through Congress. Outbreaks from fresh produce in recent years have folks recognizing all foods present risks. Yes, actions need to be taken to mitigate risks, but these actions should be driven by the science, not those who cry for 100% guaranteed safe product. With agriculture products, it ain’t gonna happen. It’s a little hard to remove Mother Nature from the equation!



Catherine Hemphill Strohbehn has been a faculty member at Iowa State University in the Hospitality Management Program for 30 years. She is a State Specialist with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach at Iowa State University. As part of her work, she conducts research, develops educational materials and provides programs to help retail foodservices use their resources effectively and ensure safe food is served. Cathy is a registered dietitian with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Certified Professional in Food Safety from the National Environmental Health Association.

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