Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Great Egg Recall: A Perfect Storm

I am trying to keep my "I told you so" reflex in check, but the massive recall of eggs because of an outbreak of salmonella poisoning should come as no surprise.

Here's why:

* The two Iowa businesses in the eye of the recall storm have been routinely cited for violating state and federal laws.

* The businesses share the same suppliers of young chickens.

* The egg industry, as is typical of agribusiness generally, has consolidated over recent years, and fewer larger businesses control over much of the nation's supply.

* In keeping with the Bush Doctrine, FDA food safety inspections dropped 47 percent between 2003 and 2006. Things have not improved since Barack Obama became president.

As Michael Poulan writes in his masterful Omnivore's Dilemma, chickens and other industrial farm animals are walking medicine cabinets because of all of the antibiotics in their feed to keep them from becoming sick, which they otherwise would do because of the toxic, cruel and unsafe caged environments in which they live.

And don't be misled by the organic label, be it on a carton of eggs or a container of fresh salad. Organic farming has become industrialized and the major producers are owned by the very mega-corporations that control most of our food supply.

I consider myself fortunate to have worked on a farm where our chickens were free range and drug free, and as a result I cannot bring myself to buy commercial eggs. I buy them -- albeit at a premium -- from a food co-op that buys them from a small farm that I have visited.

If you can't avail yourself of this kind of opportunity, then it's caveat emptor, y'all.

No comments: