Charting Our Short Memory for Food Recalls Charting Our Short Memory for Food Recalls
The GOOD Life

Charting Our Short Memory for Food Recalls

by Peter Smith

June 9, 2011

These knee-jerk responses to food safety woes don't address and reverse the underlying problems. That requires identifying the hazards that account for the largest portion of outbreaks, and, according to a recent report by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, you'll find those in our country's meat supply, costing us about $12.7 billion annually.

We need to look beyond short-term reactions from shoppers and chefs. Aside from cutting back on meat, this means funding the Food Safety Modernization Act. Perhaps it's also time to consider giving the United States Department of Agriculture, which oversees meat and poultry, powers similar to those recently approved for the Food and Drug Administration. After all, these recalls shouldn't be forgotten.

Charts via Amy Schoenfeld using data from Perishables Group, SymphonyIRI Group, Nielsen ScanTrack, Food and Drug Administration, and the United States Department of Agriculture.

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Charting Our Short Memory for Food Recalls