Compliance Bits and Pieces for July 29

These are some compliance-related stories that recently caught my attention.

Backyard Hens: A Trend Coming Home to Roost? by James McWilliams in Freakonomics

These anecdotes remind us that, when it comes to the safety of chicken eggs, what matters is not so much the setting in which the birds are raised (factory or backyard), but rather quality control and managerial acumen. To thus boldly assert that the eggs of backyard hens are safer–something I hear all the time– is to place faith ahead of evidence. Again, we might very well, based on personal experience, have the grounds to claim that the backyard hen is a safe hen. But, by this measure, anyone who regularly eats factory eggs and avoids sickness can say the same thing about factory eggs. Bottom line is that we just don’t know.

Bribery, Legal Clarity, and Lame Excuses by Chris MacDonald in The Business Ethics Blog

Bribery is quite probably among the very oldest of unethical business practices, right up there with short-changing your customers and adulterating your products. Many modern economies have recognized that bribery has no place in a fair and efficient market, and have rightly taken action to prohibit what is widely acknowledged to be a pernicious practice. But not everyone is consistently appreciative of legislative efforts at curbing bribery. Take the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for example. To see why the Chamber isn’t altogether happy about the U.S. government’s anti-bribery efforts, see this story from the Washington Post’s David S. Hilzenrath: “Quandary for U.S. companies: Whom to bribe?”

SEC Charges Liquor Giant Diageo with FCPA Violations

The SEC found that London-based Diageo plc paid more than $2.7 million through its subsidiaries to obtain lucrative sales and tax benefits relating to its Johnnie Walker and Windsor Scotch whiskeys, among other brands. Diageo agreed to pay more than $16 million to settle the SEC’s charges. The company also agreed to cease and desist from further violations of the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions.

Image is backyard chicken by Steven Johnson /
CC BY 2.0

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