You know the landscape has changed when two senators are calling for more regulation of their home state’s big business.  Georgia’s two senators, Isakson and Chambliss, are calling for an overhaul of the FDA in the wake of two massive Salmonella outbreaks linked to peanut products from their home state, in 2007 and 2009.

The senators want increased inspection of food processing facilities.  They also want FDA to be given the ability to order a mandatory recall of a product where a processor is unwilling to do so.   Whether the motivation is consumer safety or the 25% drop in sales of peanut products after the outbreaks doesn’t really matter.  Either way, its an opportunity to bolster U.S. food safety programs.

It is noteworhty that increased regulation is seen here as protecting the "tens of thousands" of jobs in the peanut industry in Georgia.   Too often, regulation is portrayed too quickly as anti-business.   The bottom line is that poisoning customers is bad for business, and sometimes the best (only?) way to fix an entrenched problem is through well-designed legislation.