What Effect Has Consolidation Had on Food Safety?
Has consolidation in the food industry and the emphasis of outsourcing resulted in a situation in which consumers face greater health risks? That is the question posed by The Associated Press in a new article.
According to the report, recent recalls for numerous brands can be traced back to single manufacturers. The news service points to the most recent recall of chili, stews and other items in which the 90 different brands came from one company. There is also the case of Menu Foods, which was tied to the pet food recall after melamine was discovered in a wide number of brands.
As it turns out, more manufacturers are hiring others to produce goods under branded labels. Therefore, when a given food item becomes tainted, the odds increase that others in the same plant will also become contaminated.
Many blame the spread of tainted products to consolidation in food manufacturing, which has led, as previously mentioned, to fewer suppliers producing goods for a wider number of brands.
Dr. David Acheson, who leads the Food and Drug Administration’s food-safety efforts, told The Associated Press, that consolidation and outsourcing is increasing. “It’s (outsourcing is) becoming a common industry practice,” he said.
Much of the outsourcing in the food industry can be tied to the increase in store brands. Store-brand sales account for up to $65 billion annually, according to AP.
Discussion Question: How has consolidation and outsourcing in U.S. food manufacturing affected the safety of products sold?