Food Safety Goes Unchecked in Russia

I recall reading once in an amusing satire novel based in Latin America, that one local mayor of a major metropolitan city decided that the best way to eliminate police corruption would be to lift all traffic and moving violation laws, so the police could never pull you over to solicit bribes.  That logic appears to be at work in Russia, as Julia Ioffe reports that all food inspectors have been suspended in order to crack down on the impostors.  Now there’s a solution with a much higher cost than the problem itself.

That means, starting today, no more fake doctors — or real doctors — or anyone at all, for that matter, inspecting supermarket shelves or the country’s ubiquitous outdoor markets for fake, outdated, or blitzed-up bread, booze, drinking water, fish conserves, meat products, sausages, and salt.  

Not that the laws were that strict to begin with. A violation offood safety laws could cost you as much as, blargh!, 1,000 rubles!That’s $30, people! That’s a lot of money in a town where a tub ofyogurt will set you back at least that much!

Now, store owners will simply have to fill out an honor-systemdeclaration stating that, cross their hearts, their produce is fresh,their drinking water contains little to no arsenic, and their fishconserves aren’t flush with anaerobic bacteria. In the meantime,Russian authorities will firm up the inspection codes, and we’ll beseeing a lot more of this.