Sabra, a United States-based producer of Middle Eastern food has advised customers to throw out any of their hummus products due to a possible listeria contamination. This is shockingly not the first time Sabra has had to recall products. In April 2015, the company recalled 30,000 cases of hummus, again citing listeria as the reason.
The products were manufactured before Nov. 8 at a plant where listeria was found. The Food and Drug Administration has stated that no listeria has been found in the products so far. A full list of all recalled products can be found on Sabra’s website. The list, however, is long because the company’s products have been distributed throughout Canada and 23 states in the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listeria is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. It is an important public health problem in the United States that must be addressed quickly.
The fact that this is the second time in two years that this has happened is completely unacceptable. One time is already too many. It shows immense negligence on the company's part. Sabra claims on its website that it has consulted with external experts such as the FDA to make the necessary changes after the first incident. These improvements included new technology and intensive food testing every two minutes. Undoubtedly, these are great strides that have been taken in order to ensure consumer safety. However, these measures have failed to prevent another listeria contamination.
Sabra’s reputation is going to be immensely hurt in the upcoming weeks. It will be hard for consumers to trust a company after two listeria outbreaks, especially two that occurred at such close time intervals.
The best way to prevent this in the future is to enforce tighter and stronger regulations. Government regulations are intended to make sure that the public is protected from harmful and negligent business practices such as this. It is a common claim from many conservative and libertarian circles that regulations kill jobs. Members of both circles sometimes argue that cutting regulations will directly create more jobs. However, economists do not seem to agree.
“Researchers found that higher spending to comply with environment rules does not cause ‘a significant change’ in industry employment,” according to The Washington Post. “For every $1 million companies spent, as many as 1 1/2 net jobs were added to the economy.”
Stronger regulations would urge companies to be more mindful when manufacturing their products. It may not be entirely coincidental that listeria has been found in Sabra products for the second time. It indicates negligence. Sabra will be motivated by the fear that a mishap like this might put it into a state of economic and social damage. This fear is necessary because it promotes more attention devoted to consumer safety, which should always be the number one priority.