A few days ago, US Federal health officials issued a warning for people to avoid eating foods containing peanut butter in the wake of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened nearly 500 people and killed a half dozen. The source of the salmonella contamination? A “relatively small supplier” based in Georgia.

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What would things have been like if the source had been a supplier based in China?

There would be cries to outlaw importing from China. Rants about how the Chinese government has such poor oversight over the safety of products produced in the country. Calls for withdrawing all plans to source from China.

Does this recent salmonella outbreak put things into perspective?

Should there be cries in other countries not to buy American goods? Should people criticize the US government’s oversight? Should companies withdraw plans to source from the US?

I don’t think so, although the following excerpt from the above-linked article makes it seem that perhaps US citizens shouldn’t throw the proverbial stones at the Chinese government over their industry oversight…

“The outbreak has triggered a congressional inquiry and renewed calls for reform of food safety laws. For example, the FDA lacks authority to order a recall, and instead must ask companies to voluntarily withdraw products. ‘Given the numerous food-borne illness outbreaks over the past several years, it is becoming painfully clear that the current regulatory structure is antiquated and ill-equipped to handle these extensive investigations,’ said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who chairs a panel that oversees the FDA budget. Seattle-area lawyer William Marler, who specializes in food safety cases, said the government shouldn’t wait for the results of more tests to request recalls. ‘At least 30 companies purchased peanut butter or paste from a facility with a documented link to a nationwide salmonella outbreak,’ said Marler. ‘The FDA has the authority actually, the mandate to request recalls if the public health is threatened. Instead, the FDA has asked the companies to test their products and consider voluntary recalls. It is just not enough.’”

In my mind, the bottom line is this: don’t blame an entire country for the quality problems of one supplier – or even a small percentage of suppliers.

Do you agree?

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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