We think that it's ironic that the US Federal government seems much more concerned about tracking conflict minerals from Africa in countries where GDP is <$1,000 per head -- and where human lives have been held in much less esteem, judging from the history of massacres and child soldiers -- yet when it comes to assuring safety in our food and related supply chains, the appropriate Federal and state authorities are nearly completely out to lunch. Consider popular fish oil supplements, which may contain more than just traces of heavy metals -- and perhaps radiation now, as well -- if they come from certain fish in different parts of the world, are not required to be tested on the batch level for safety (in our house, we pay a 3X premium for a brand that tests every batch).
Now, don't get us wrong. We're strong supporters of conflict mineral legislation (even if it does little to impact deaths and tragedies in Africa, simply reducing the funds that fuel wars and pillaging in region, requiring now less-wealthy mercenary gangs to fight with machetes rather than machine guns). Yet when fresh produce (e.g., strawberries) is frequently served in the United States with levels of pesticides and other nasties known to cause cancer and a new outbreak of salmonella seems to happen every week, we can't help but wonder if our Federally-focused traceability and supplier management efforts in the food supply chain might take the same level of precedence as Frank-Dodd. Perhaps as vendors like Food Link begin to provide greater traceability in the fresh foods supply chain, we'll begin to pave a foundation for higher safety standards and visibility once retailers, distributors and providers finish going after the low hanging fruit -- sorry, could not resist -- of inventory and "perishable-ness" first.