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Santa Claus Wants To Know: Who’s Been Naughty & Nice?

Editor’s Note: It’s time to put out the milk and cookies for Santa Claus and read the Food Safety News Naughty and Nice List for 2012. This is the fourth N&N list we’ve prepared.

Our annual Naughty and Nice List along with our New Year’s Resolutions are among the traditions we’ve continued to observe as we prepare for 2013.  “Lucky 13,” as they are already calling it, will see us complete our fourth complete year and begin our fifth year of service to you. 

We’ll have some serious year-end work for you as well with the publication of our Readers Choice stories for 2012, our Most Important stories, and a preview of 2013 with an Emerging Issues story to start the New Year.

For the moment, relax, enjoy, and eat safely! Santa should make note of the following:

NAUGHTY- President Barack Obama for allowing his Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to sit on food safety rules while he campaigned for re-election.

NICE- Mike Taylor, who needs some of those rules at FDA to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act, because he did not hide out during this long delay as many a top federal bureaucrat in charge would. Instead, he was out talking up FSMA wherever two or more were gathered.

NAUGHTY- Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for putting trade over food safety by cutting back on inspections of foreign meat inspection programs and then seeing that USDA did its utmost to keep it all secret.

NICE- John Munsell, the former small meat plant owner from Miles City, MT, for preserving in a ten year campaign that in 2012 finally saw USDA begin tracing meat contaminated with E. coli to back to the source whether or not illnesses are involved.

NAUGHTY- Jimmy John Liautaud, the Champaign IL-based sandwich shop franchise, moved from another sprout caused outbreak to squeezing all the good publicity he pulling sprouts from all his restaurants only to sneak them back on the menu by year end.

NICE—W. Payton Pruett, Kroger Company’s safety chief, for pulling sprouts from the Cincinnati based chain of 2,500 stores.

NAUGHTY—David Gombas, food safety chief for the powerful United Fresh produce association for making up this excuse for killing the federal Microbiological Data Program: “By the time they detect something and notify FDA they product has already been eaten.”

NICE—Tony Wasmund, former manager at Iowa’s Wright County Egg, for stepping up with a guilty plea to bribing a USDA employee. Really nice would be testimony against ex-egg baron Jack DeCoster, his son, and higher ups that often follow these kind of pleas.

NAUGHTY – Sunland’s “Valencia Peanut” character that answers questions of the company’s website for, during the first 48 hours after recall of a Trader Joe’s brand of organic peanut butter was recalled, misleading consumers by telling them all other Sunland products were completely safe.

NICE—Jacob Goswick, the 13-year old E. coli victim from Prescott, AZ, who with his mother, Juliana, waded into Yavapai County’s dispute over whether a new safer food code should be adopted by county supervisors.

NAUGHTY- Vernon Herschberger, the Wisconsin raw milk suspect in four misdemeanor charges involving the commercial production and sale of unpasteurized milk going back to June 2010, for planning a jury nullification strategy for his Sauk County trial. It is scheduled to start on Jan. 7.

NICE- Ohio’s Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Dennis Kucinich for keeping pressure on FDA over poisonous imported dog food, mostly from China, and getting answers for U.S. pet owners who’ve been mighty upset.

NAUGHTY- Rep. Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader, for going on the road before the election promising a floor vote on the 2012 Farm Bill, and then not producing once he was back in D.C.

NICE- Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, USDA’s under secretary for food safety, for implementing testing for the other strains of E. coli, known as the “Big Six,” and expanding the program.

© Food Safety News