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Glen DePalma

Does the recall help in protecting against potential future lawsuits?

Adam Schwartz

Or building on Glen's comment... could recalls act as an effective deterrent against future bad behavior? It's not so much about this case - as you point out the risk could be quite low. But if all food producers experienced little to no recourse for poor hygiene would the negative effects be direct enough and traceable enough that free-market economics could effectively punish those behaving badly?

BTW, reporting to the CDC isn't necessary to save a life - it's only necessary to the extent it helps measure the impact of a salmonella outbreak. Second, death isn't the only possible downside of getting food poisoning - there's also the cost to the individual of lost work, otherwise unnecessary dr. visits, etc. And lastly, cross contamination is a potential problem - even if the contaminated eggs were cooked properly.

I do agree that 4 months after the outbreak seems a bit late to be treating the problem, but then I know little of how long eggs take to work their way through the system - they certainly seem to stay good in my fridge for a long time.


GD: We'd have to consult a lawyer. I'm supposing that only a small proportion of the 200 million eggs will be returned, especially those that have reached homes. Does announcing a recall protect one against future lawsuits? I'm not sure.

AS raises many interesting issues. Firstly, given that the salmonella has been traced back to that particular supplier, it would seem like the first best deterrent is a penalty for this supplier causing this incident. Secondly, it does take months and a lot of work to find the source of contamination - a process that I cover in detail in my book, so pretty much every time a recall is announced, it happens months after the peak of the contamination.

Also, while reporting to CDC isn't needed to "save a life", it is needed for the counterfactual.

Glen DePalma

One more point:

Companies do not recall products ONLY for saving lives. The potential economic loss of the companies had they not recalled the foods and the media found out that the companies knew about it is huge.

When a company recalls its product, in a weird way it gains more trust from the customers.

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