Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Food Safety and Damn Lies

It is all over the news, Center for Science in the Public Interest has announced that leafy greens are dangerous!!!  Seriously, I believe this report.  It has everything to do with the centralized and industrialized food system we have in this country.  Contamination by pathogens spreads very quickly across the country and through many food streams.

Friends, our food system is sprawling and vulnerable. To me, this only underscores the importance of being as close to your food source as possible.  If you cannot grow it yourself, try to support local farms through farmers markets, shopping at stores that sell local produce or join a CSA farm.  We are very fortunate to be able to grow a lot of this stuff ourselves and to have a long growing season.  We have a lot of small farms in this area as well.

Sometimes it is difficult or impossible to get this safe local food.  Maybe you are on the road.  Maybe you are very poor.  Maybe you went out to eat.  For these occasions, we do need real safety rules that are actually adhered to.

There is some legislation, H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009,which I do not know a whole lot about. In general, I would tend to not trust it, as I know a lot of legislation is deeply influenced by the industries it is meant to address. 

A while back I got a lot of emails about how this bill was going to hurt small farmers, was written by Monsanto. Here is an example, but if you scroll down to the comments section, people are saying that it emanated from the Ron Paul political campaign.  Don't know if that is true, but it appears to be further debunked here and here

This has been debunked for months yet I just found a posting from the other day about it at written by someone at a proudly right wing web site. It particularly claims, "There are fears that the new laws will make growing organic foods illegal by outlawing the use of manure and requiring chemical pesticide application to all crops. Other frightening interpretations of the provisions in these bills include potentially mandating genetically-modified (GM) crops and "terminator" seeds that will require farmers to purchase new GM seeds each season."

Who are these truth tellers?  It says on their "about us" link that they are "committed to promoting free trade and agricultural biotechnology through farmer-led educational initiatives that target public officials, opinion leaders, and the agricultural community." They somehow do not strike me as concerned about organic farming, genetically modified terminator seeds and required pesticide application.

It kind of looks like these kinds of rumors emanate from the industries this legislation might impact.  It kind of reminds me of the lies that have been flying around regarding health care reform.  It is a little creepy that these lies are deliberately written to freak out people who want to grow food and support others who do the same. 

What do you think? Will this legislation offer real solutions to food safety concerns or will it create more problems than it solves.  And what is with the disinformation campaign?

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