I'm writing this post for two reasons. The first is to note that John Stossel has been running some interesting pieces on food and he raises a number of interesting points that are often forgotten.
For example, here he is in a piece at Reason.com on impacts of reputation:
Tyson Foods, Perdue and McDonald's have brands to maintain—and customers to lose. Ask Jack in the Box. It lost millions after a food-poisoning scandal.
Fear of getting a bad reputation makes food producers even more careful than government requires. Since the Eisenhower administration, our stodgy government has paid an army of union inspectors to eyeball chickens in every single processing plant. But bacteria are invisible!
Fortunately, food producers run much more sophisticated tests on their own. One employs 2,000 more safety inspectors than government requires: "To kill pathogens, beef carcasses are treated with rinses and a 185-degree steam vacuum," an executive told me. She also asked that I not reveal the name of her company—it fears retaliation from regulators.
The other reason for the post is shameless self promotion. I filmed a bit yesterday in New York with Stossel on fat taxes, ingredient bans, and the government’s role in food. The bit is slated to air on a special on Fox News in February.