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January 01, 2008 |

‘Hello, I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’

Editorial Comment

‘Hello, I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'

No really, I am! Okay, so I’m having a little fun at the expense of those tireless legions of workers who ensure your tax dollars are being spent wisely, efficiently and with only your benefit in mind. Oops, there I go again.

You can’t escape the fact our government commands a large presence in our daily lives. Whether we Americans are working hard or playing harder, one would be hard-pressed to entertain either activity without some degree of oversight.

Don’t get me wrong here; I’m not saying regulation and oversight are bad by any stretch of the imagination. I’m ecstatic that our food inspection and food safety record is the envy of the world. Rather, I think it’s a case of just being “governmented out.”

I recently attended the National Grain and Feed Association’s Country Elevator and Feed Industry Conference in Chicago where I heard presentations from two representatives of our federal government: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FDA.

The DHS was there to discuss the Chemical Facility Security Rule and its ramifications on the feed and grain industry — by the way, operators need to conduct their Top-Screen risk assessment by January 22, 2008 so DON’T DELAY. The FDA updated attendees on the progress of the Import Safety Action Plan, designed to proactively monitor the quality of products entering the United States. and formulate a better response to food/ingredient-related emergencies. In the pages of this issue, we look at what OSHA has in mind for re-regulating fall protection systems. See a trend here?

The common theme at play here is safety. From our facilities, to our food and to those who work in this industry, the government is taking a highly visible role. With the threats of terrorism, less than stellar food safety track records of some countries and workplace safety concerns, we now HAVE to have this kind of oversight in our world.

So while many may wonder if this is another case of “big brother” running amok, think back to when you were a kid. If you ever found yourself in a tight spot, knowing your big brother had your back felt pretty good.

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