Independent Food Inspections Rife with Conflicts of Interest

The voluntary quality control system used to inspect food in the U.S. is rife with conflicts of interest. Other problems include inexperienced auditors and cursory inspections that result in inflated ratings.

As recalls due to food-borne illness increase, the use of private inspectors has likewise grown rapidly as companies try to protect themselves from lawsuits. But such inspections may not lead to safer products.

The Washington Post reports:

“... [M]ost foodmakers ... sail through their inspections ... That was the case with Wright County Egg and the Peanut Corp. of America, both linked to recent salmonella-related recalls. Months before the outbreaks, the same inspection firm gave both companies ‘superior’ food-safety ratings, the highest possible for that type of audit.”

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