Monday, July 26, 2010

Distributed costs in food

In the last post I mentioned how it can be problematic when a few benefit while the costs are spread among many. In that case it was investments in safety while drilling for oil, with consequences that the Gulf will be feeling for a long time. Another example is back in agriculture, where a recent New York Times editorial calls attention to the plight of a food safety bill languishing in the Senate. The toolkit the FDA has at its disposal has been limited for a long time, and it's time for an update. Without adequate policing, we get problems like the salmonella-contaminated peanut butter, because it's often easier to continue selling contaminated product than it is to clean up. Seems to me like protecting the country's food supply is a pretty basic role of government! I hope the bill gets the attention it deserves, unlike the climate change legislation that's slipped away from us this year. We'll see!

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