As president of the CBI, John Sunderland, chairman of Cadbury Schweppes, was a great campaigner against red tape.
This week some of his colleagues have come close to regretting that there had not been a bit more red tape - hard and fast rules from the food Standards Agency, spelling out precisely what companies have to do if they detect a small quantity of something nasty in their products.
Instead it is left to individual companies to lay down their own "protocols" for their managers to follow. Cadbury opted for a benchmark based on the perceived threat to human health. If the contamination was so small, or so diluted, that it was not going to harm anyone there was no need to go public with your hands up.
That proved unfortunate for Cadbury. By hindsight, it was the wrong benchmark with the wrong internal procedures. The leaking pipe incident at Marlbrook was not something anybody was required to report internally. They just fixed it and got on with things - until the Health Protection Agency came up with unpleasant findings five months later.
To the outside world that delay looked uncomfortably like a cover-up. If it was, it was an internal one, permit-ted by the procedures laid down in the flawed "protocol". O nce the main board discovered, the suspect prod-ucts came off the shop shelves in 48 hours.
Cadbury has now set itself a new protocol based on "zero tolerance". For a company whose greatest asset, arguably, is its good name and that of its brands, the risk to its own reputation is what matters, regardless of whether or not there is thought to be a health risk - a thing you can always misjudge.
It is not the job of a government agency to protect a company's reputation. In any case, whatever rules it lays down have to apply all round. If the Food Standards Agency insisted on zero tolerance for salmonella, there wouldn't be any eggs or poultry. What somebody at Cadbury seems to have overlooked is that you don't cook chocolate.
The law of unintended consequences has reared its dread head once again. Six years ago Parliament passed the Insolvency Act.
It was supposed to be a charter for entrepreneurs.
Have courage, was the message, strike out on your own, back your good ideas - and if you go bust, well, you can get a discharge from bankruptcy in a year. If you prefer, there is a new procedure for individual voluntary arrangements with the creditors.
One way or another, you will be able to able to start all over again before long, just like they do in America. It may have worked for entrepreneurs, for all we know.
But nobody told the marketing departments in the banks and credit card companies. They went on pump-ing out unsecured debt without realising how easy the new law made it for over-enthusiastic borrowers to wriggle out of their repayments. Advising them has grown into a thriving new industry, unregulated, too.
Result: the banks are going to charge more for unsecured credit - to entrepreneurs along with everyone else.