Protecting our vulnerable food supply

J Law Med Ethics. 2002 Fall;30(3 Suppl):96-104.


From farmyard to dinner table, our food supply presents ample opportunity for dangerous microorganisms or their products to thrive and infect or intoxicate human beings, often with harmful and sometimes fatal results. Traditional controls to protect the food supply include, but are not limited to, law and regulation. But law and regulation are only enablers, an underpinning. Most important to protection of the food supply is organizational leadership and commitment at federal, state, and local levels of government to protect the public's health. This article provides examples of such leadership in locales as diverse as Australia, New Zealand, and Genesee County, Michigan. Even when a supportive law is in place and the will and resources to make the law work exist, competing political and economic world-views are constantly at work to amend the law and thus adversely affect the public's health.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control
  • Food Contamination / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control
  • Food Industry / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Food Supply / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Food Supply / standards
  • Food, Organic*
  • Government Agencies
  • Humans
  • Leadership
  • Legislation, Food*
  • New Zealand
  • Public Health Administration / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Public Policy*
  • United States