Jeff Koeze's Blog Good Food, Good Business, and the Good Food Business

25Feb/090

Regulation and the Locavores

All regulations come with unintended consequences.  In a comment about the Georgia food testing legislation I left over at Effect Measure, I pointed out:

Keep an eye on the locavores. A substantial sub-set of the let's call it "micro-producer" community views additional regulation as an attempt to stamp them out. I don't want to argue about the merits, but I think the politics will get interesting in some states...

In a response to this comment Ron says:

Jeff raises an important point. Historically, increasing regulations of this type penalize small producers, pushing the system to greater size, cost cutting and centralization, thus increasing the problem rather than solving it. Recall the spinach incident of last year, also of wide impact due to centralized post-harvest processing. Both incidents had such a high impact because a single processing plant supplied such a wide sector with product. "Economies of scale" and mistaken ideas of "efficiency" inspire greater regulatory burdens that are actually counterproductive, making our food system less safe instead of safer. This is not what is needed.

Retailer consolidation is a bigger factor in concentrating the food supply chain (earlier post here), but regulation certainly matters at the margin.

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