Do the recent food recalls scare you? Not me.

Well maybe they do scare me, but not for reasons you might think. When I heard about the egg recall, I didn’t run to the fridge to see if my eggs were on the recall list; I buy my eggs from a local family farm. When I heard about the Walmart meat recall, I knew it did not affect me; I do not buy meat at Walmart, especially not nitrates/nitrites-laden deli meat.

So what’s scary about the recall to me? The probability that the government will react in a way that fails to address the real problem: industrial farming methods and manufacturing processes.

Michael Pollan is optimistic that this will be one of those “teachable moments” on the problems of the industrial food system and the need for reform. I really hope he’s right. Here’s what Pollan had to say on Anderson Cooper 360 last night, as interviewed by Dr. Sanjay Gupta:

There have not been the same sort of outbreaks with organic operations. However, organic egg operations are so tiny compared to conventional egg producers, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. I eat eggs, and I buy them whenever I can at the farmers’ market. I know how those eggs are raised. They’re raised on grass. The animals live outdoors, in small flocks. They’re raised much the same as in the days before we had to worry about salmonella.


So what’s the big deal about industrial food? Most of it is not real food. Hear what Nina Planck has to say about industrial food.

And check out this article from the Agriculture Society that says, … if we changed our farming practices and methods back to the ways used by traditional farmers through the ages, we would heal the land, the creatures, and our bodies of many of the modern illnesses, problems, and scourges that plague our modern feedlots and factory farm environments.

It’s not a coincidence that you’re hearing more and more about salmonella outbreaks. They will continue to make headlines until this country gets its priorities straight about our food supply and the motivations behind the major players. Get educated about real food, eat real food and you’ll open up a whole new world to yourself. You can do it!

Update (8/25/10): The farms responsible for selling the eggs infected with salmonella continue to produce and sell their product while the FDA investigates. Millions of eggs per day are being cracked open and pasteurized (exposed to high temperatures for a period of time) to kill the salmonella. They are then being sold as liquid egg or added to other products. Pay attention! Industrial food suppliers are

3 Comments

Filed under Real Food Education

3 responses to “Do the recent food recalls scare you? Not me.

  1. As a consumer and a parent, I hear you, and I am concerned about food safety and healthy food. As a farmer who uses modern methods, I have to correct some of the inaccuracies in this post. Food in the US today is safer than it has ever been. http://bit.ly/9O8a4r Is food (in general) healthier? Maybe not. But that is the fault of the consumer’s demand for cheap, convenient, and uniform food. Salmonella has been around as long as eggs have, and to think you are immune to it because you buy local eggs is dangerous. Fully cooking eggs is all it takes to eliminate the risk. Food borne illness will exist as long as humans eat food.

    I admire your quest to eat healthier, and I believe your nutritional advice is awesome, for the most part. It’s just when you get in to attacking the food industry and the farmers who provide the food, that I’m afraid you may be a little off base. Are there issues that need to be addressed? Certainly, there always has been and always will be. There is room for all methods of farming in this country, and the overwhelming majority of farmers are concerned about preserving their land and the environment for future generations. There are reasons for every practice we apply on our farm and they have everything to do with conservation, animal welfare, and providing a safe, quality product. Pardon me for being blunt, but I can’t help but take posts like this personally. The farmers providing meat, milk, eggs, and crops to food processors have families too.

    • Hi. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful post. I agree with you on many things you say, such as “food borne illness will exist as long as humans eat food,” and that my buying eggs from local farmers with pastured hens is no guarantee against salmonella. I am aware of that, but I would put my $5/dozen farm fresh orangey-yolk eggs up against any $1/dozen in the grocery store: for taste, nutrition and even safety. Speaking of the $1/dozen eggs, you are right on about consumer demand for cheap, convenient, uniform food; in the past, I was guilty of being one of those consumers. I see that the market is giving consumers what they want. I hope to educate people that enjoying better quality food will give them a better quality of life.

      I understand that there are myriad reasons for today’s farming practices, and I respect and admire you for farming and helping get food on our tables. I have not walked in your shoes, and I appreciate the reminder that everyone in the food industry has families too. You sound like a very conscientious, thoughtful farmer and I wish you and your family well.

  2. Kelly

    Hi. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful post. I agree with you on many things you say, such as “food borne illness will exist as long as humans eat food,” and that my buying eggs from local farmers with pastured hens is no guarantee against salmonella. I am aware of that, but I would put my $5/dozen farm fresh orangey-yolk eggs up against any $1/dozen in the grocery store: for taste, nutrition and even safety. Speaking of the $1/dozen eggs, you are right on about consumer demand for cheap, convenient, uniform food; in the past, I was guilty of being one of those consumers. I see that the market is giving consumers what they want. I hope to educate people that enjoying better quality food will give them a better quality of life.

    I understand that there are myriad reasons for today’s farming practices, and I respect and admire you for farming and helping get food on our tables. I have not walked in your shoes, and I appreciate the reminder that everyone in the food industry has families too. You sound like a very conscientious, thoughtful farmer and I wish you and your family well.

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