Food Safety Green - Our Daily Green

Friday, August 13, 2010

Food Safety Green

According to the US Recall News, the USDA has issued over 20 food recalls in the past month alone for possible food borne illness bacteria. Lettuce, spinach, apples, hamburger, and sprouts; all have been recalled. The very food that should be sustaining life becomes life threatening. According to the medical site Wrong Diagnosis,

Listeria can be caused by eating food from an animal infected with an infectious agent, or from food that is contaminated from the food handler (who is infected with Listeriosis), or from contaminated soil or water, or from toxins produced by an infectious organism.

E. coli can be caused by exposure to toxins, poisons, environmental, or other substances or eating food from an animal infected with an infectious agent, or from food that is contaminated from the food handler (who is infected with E. coli food poisoning), or from contaminated soil or water, or from toxins produced by an infectious organism.

Salmonella is caused by exposure to toxins, poisons, environmental, or other substances. or eating food from an animal infected with an infectious agent, or from food that is contaminated from the food handler (who is infected with Salmonella food poisoning), or from contaminated soil or water, or from toxins produced by an infectious organism.
Notice a pattern here? The problem begins with factory farming. The crowded conditions allow for easy spreading of disease among the feedlot. An additional concern once the livestock is ready for market is the nature of the processing. The animals are processed in massive machines, over a thousand heads at a time. One sick animal can infect an entire run of meat, resulting in possible contamination of millions of pounds of food. In all fairness, much of the food may not be contaminated but due to the high volume processed at the same time, it's impossible to narrow it down. Therefore an entire batch must be recalled.

Likewise with vegetables. Factory animal farm water run off to fields of mass produced fruits and vegetables and the contaminated water brings the bacteria up through the roots of the vegetable, embedding it in the food. Again the system is so large, it is impossible to trace the to the infected plant thereby necessitating massive recalls.

These concerns are the crux of the slow money and slow food movement from the very inception. Small farms, small gardens, independent business people. If something goes wrong, it's easy to trace the root of the problem and quick to be fixed. The waste of millions of pounds of food due to the impossible nature of tracing the source of the bacteria just appalls me.

Animals raised in fresh pastures with safe food will not become diseased. They are not breathing on top of each other. They are not infecting the water sources near their farms with massive amounts of sewage overflows from their infected waste. The nearby soil remains healthy. The vegetables and fruit grow hearty and healthy, free of bacteria.

I've written about shopping local and small businesses in the past. It seems now, indeed, our very health depends on it.
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