A US tainted-food scandal (downplayed by the NYTimes)

From Troy Duster:

Mark,

Regarding Clark Hoyt of the New York Times, here is another matter to consider:

When the Chinese were caught selling tainted food, it was a front-page story in the Times,
and big news everywhere.

Today, we have another tainted food story–and this one is a doozy, involving not just
sloppy and inadquequate inspections, but outright bribery. And this is not a foreign scandal,
but all-American, involving “a top ingredient buyer” at Kraft Foods, headquartered near
Chicago.

So where did the Times place this story? On the front page of the Business section, most
of it below the fold. And it’s not mentioned at the bottom of Page One, where the only Business
story noted is, “Mr. Toyoda Says He’s Sorry.”

Troy

February 25, 2010
Bribes Let Tomato Vendor Sell Tainted Food
By WILLIAM NEUMAN

Robert Watson, a top ingredient buyer for Kraft Foods, needed $20,000 to pay his taxes. So he called a broker for a California tomato processor that for years had been paying him bribes to get its products into Kraft’s plants.

The check would soon be in the mail, the broker promised. “We’ll have to deduct it out of your commissions as we move forward,” he said, using a euphemism for bribes.

Days later, federal agents descended on Kraft’s offices near Chicago and confronted Mr. Watson. He admitted his role in a bribery scheme that has laid bare a startling vein of corruption in the food industry. And because the scheme also involved millions of pounds of tomato products with high levels of mold or other defects, the case has raised serious questions about how well food manufacturers safeguard the quality of their ingredients.

Read more.

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