Monday, September 25, 2006

Food Policy, or Food-born Pandemic Policy??

This spinach scare is, I hope, opening a lot of previously closed eyes to the travesty that is big agriculture in this country. Those amber waves of grain we sang of in elementary school have become factory farms, polluting our fruited plains and causing millions of animals to live in cages or fetid cesspools known as feedlots before meeting their often painful and terrifying demise at the slaughterhouse.

"We now truly do have "factories in the fields." And factories, whether manufacturing steel or frozen peas, generate waste -- in agriculture some 1.4 billion tons per year, 10,000 pounds for each American," write
Al Meyerhoff and William B. Schultz in an article in Sunday's Washington Post. 10,000 pounds a year!!! That is insane.

Meyerhoff and Schultz should know. Meyerhoff is a past director of the Natural Resources Defense Council public health program, and Schultz was an FDA deputy commissioner.

Are we lemmings fleeing frantically for the cliff of a giant food-born illness epidemic? We need to wake up and vote with our grocery budget. It is way past time to send a message that we have had it with the relentless cost cutting of multinational retailers, and the blind eye and ostrich attitude of our government to these inhumane, unhealthy food safety (and I use that term loosely) practices.

Support your local farmer, who is working hard just like you are, to feed his family and protect her land, water, air, and children from the environmental ravages of factory farming. Go to your local farmers market, and get some delicious, local, fresh, healthy food. It will taste great, and in the long run, cost a lot less, and make you feel a lot better.

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