28 Jun 2011

Tasty yogurt, toxic regulators

The Economist covered a small yogurt maker's battle with California food regulations a few weeks ago (one catch-22: they were told to re-pasteurize pasteurized milk, which is illegal).

In a letter to the Economist, Karen Ross (Secretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture) makes herself and department look even sillier:
We are committed to supporting innovation among the growing number of artisan food producers. But illegally produced foods, regardless of the craftsmanship they may embody, present a significant risk of food-borne illnesses, a risk that would be much greater without safeguards.

Food producers and consumers alike rely on government to give the safety stamp of approval. The deaths of several dozen people in the Los Angeles area in 1985 because of unpasteurised milk used by a cheese manufacturer is a grim reminder why.
Karen needs to read her own letter. First, she's the one who decides what's legal or not. Second, she fears unpasteurized milk, which is not even being used.

Bottom Line: Regulatory righteousness (deaths!) and myopia (me right, you wrong!) serve neither customers nor businesses.

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