I’m more interested in personal action than in advocacy, and don’t intend to spend much time here trying to convince anybody of anything in particular.
However, two news items related to general food system safety issues caught my eye this week.
First, Salon.com had a characteristically sensationalist round-up entitled “Chicken is Killing the Planet“. Much of this article is just a recitation of the various horrors implied by industrial chicken production. The bit that dropped my jaw, however, had to do with chicken processing (and someday slaughter) happening overseas without regulation or county-of-origin labeling.
I’m not surprised that this is happening — once you accept something as an industrial product, the logic of global capital is going to do its thing. What I found fascinating was the idea that shipping a bird across the ocean twice (from the U.S., to China, and then back to the U.S.) doesn’t tip the economic scales for its producers. So the difference between processing costs, including whatever safety and regulatory differential, must be so great that two trans-pacific trips on a refrigerated ship can be absorbed with room left for profit. Incredible.
Second, this analysis of a CDC report on antibiotic use was notable in its hopelessness. This chart does a good job communicating the manner in which this is a public health concern — i.e. the risks of excessive antibiotic use can’t be dodged by an individual just choosing not to eat meat from animals given prophylactic antibiotics.