Scientist with beakerFor a lobbyist working the Hill on behalf of an industry, the gold standard is self-regulation. No need to send in inspectors — we’ll test our process to ensure that it doesn’t pollute. Trust us!

Astonishingly, pork giant Smithfield Foods has evidently managed to arrange just such a testing regime with regard to its hog-rearing operations in Vera Cruz, Mexico — some of which lie just a few miles from the village where the swine flu outbreak first manifested itself. Here is Wednesday’s Richmond [Va.] Times-Dispatch:

The company has voluntarily submitted 30 blood samples from pigs at its facility near the small town of La Gloria, Mexico, for testing by government health officials “just to be safe,” [Smithfield CEO Larry] Pope said. The farm is about 5 miles from the neighborhood where a 4-year-old boy is believed to have had the first case of the H1N1 virus, he said

“We won’t have those test results for 10 more days,” Pope said yesterday. “But we are very confident that those test results are going to be negative.”

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Thus Smithfield is “voluntarily” selecting 30 samples to be sent off for testing. I, for one, am happy to hear that Smithfield is taking care of the situation. And hey, no rush guys — ten days is nothing!

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