Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Food Safety is Our Concern, Really.

I've spoken before about the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). They are a big consortium of companies, lobbyists, etc. trying to police the grocery supplier industry. Sounds good doesn't it. This is how they describe themselves: "The Grocery Manufacturers/Food Products Association (GMA/FPA) represents the world's leading food, beverage and consumer products companies. The association promotes sound public policy, champions initiatives that increase productivity and growth and helps to protect the safety and security of the food supply through scientific excellence. The GMA/FPA board of directors is comprised of chief executive officers from the Association's member companies. The $2.1 trillion food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry employs 14 million workers, and contributes over $1 trillion in added value to the nation's economy."

Most recently they have become famous for introducing measures to turn chocolate into something less than it is. They're the guys behind the vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter guys. Yeah that's them. They want us all to believe that chocolate made with vegetable oil will be as good or better than the real thing. Their agenda is money.

Now they've released a report (the reports are in PDF docs, so if you want to read them you'll have to download them). Yesterday, they introduced "The Four Pillars of Food Safety" report. The GMA wants everyone to know how important it is to present the public with the highest quality and safest food worldwide. Their statement, "Maintaining consumer confidence in our products, our brands and our companies is the single most important goal of the food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry, and product safety is the foundation of consumer trust." is at the very core of the issue. The GMA wants to work in conjunction with the FDA to promote the very best for consumers.

This kind of report is all well and good when you read the language. It makes you feel as if the GMA is on our side, really looking out for the good of the consumer. That is until you know about their dealings with the world of chocolate production. The GMA is, just like every other big group, representing big producers. It's all about the money. They are trying to restore consumer confidence with the report. We've seen nothing but bad calls in the last few years with regard to the food supply. From tainted vegetables reaching the market, to lead filled candies imported before being thoroughly inspected, and the worst of all, the pet food debacle that led to the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of pets nationwide.

Yes guys, tell me how you're concerned about my safety and food supply. I think you're more concerned about your money supply.

Buy from local growers. At least then you'll know who to go to when things aren't quite right.