Food scares can make matters worse.
Salmonella in egg- laying chickens is usually attributable to intensive production.
However, one salmonella scare in England resulted in 4,000 small producers being forced out of business thereby concentrating the egg industry in even larger units, the opposite of what people wanted and what would have made matters safer.
In 1996 there was an E- coli outbreak in Lanarkshire that killed 21 people. Controls were further tightened, increasing the pressure on small slaughterhouses and accelerating the rate of closure. For the animals to be killed this means longer waiting times, more stress, more chances to pass infection.
And yet, the Lanarkshire outbreak was caused by cooked meat, in premises frequently inspected by local authority health officials.
Every time the government gets involved in a food scare small producers are put out of business. And I have heard it mentioned that this is exactly the object of the exercise.
By being seen to care about food safety and by being seen to do something about it, the publics attention is diverted away from the possible effects of pesticide residues and frankenstein "foods". The monitoring of which by the government is primitive to say the least.
Despite the numerous safety measures introduced by politicians, food has not become safer. The number of food poisoning cases in England has doubled since 1990 and now kills 200 people a year.
Clinton's egg plan is not completely original. Similar plans have been going around in Europe for some time now.
Pasteurization of whole eggs may change the porosity of the shells to such an extend that it becomes actually easier for more pathogenic germs to gain entry.
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