Sunday, March 4, 2007
Peanut butter, spinach, mad cow and national security
I find it amazing how ignorant we can be about our food supply. It seems almost daily we hear about a new threat that is going to kill us all. We never stop to consider the problem just may be our way of processing it. Am I the only person alive that can see this fool hardiness ? We gather crops from all over the country or world to one place for processing. We then scatter them back all over the place for consumption. One contaminated batch is spread from one end of the country to the other. In the old days crops were processed near the area they were grown, then for the most part consumed regionally. The local populace was employed. They were employed making food that would likely be consumed by thier friends and family. The growers were local. The managers of the processing plants were local. Crap happens and we all know it. In the old days when crap happened there was a stigmastism attached to it. There was no potential national catastrophy. Big business will tell you the economy of scale makes the current way better. Sure it does.(sarcasm here) They will well you how great it is for the GDP. Yeah right. And it isn't just limited to plant crops either. The USDA branch of big brother will tell you how the current system can be made more secure, and safer than the old system. see http://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais/index.shtml Yeah OK sure it is. (still hearing that sarcasm?) Problem, the small producers are expected to come up with a larger financial burden that large ones. Small producers are being expected to microchip thier animals, while large producers can continue with the current system of tattoos and ear tags. All must register thier premises. So, let me get this straight. Large producers cram animals into living quarters too small for health, force feed large quantities of antibiotics and hormones, then distribute thier product from one end of the planet to the other. The small producer usually growing under much healthier conditions, only using medications when really nessasary and marketing to a local clientele is to be considered the same. This doesn't work logically to me. The current system of local inspectors at slaughter houses and processing plants works fine for safety with the small producers product. I can see a real problem making food from the large producers safe under any conditions. I have heard terrorism being one of the justifications for the NAIS being put in place. I can see terrorists using the large scale producers as a target. But, how are they gonna use me producing a steer every year or two, having it butchered by a local processor, and selling it to people in my home town? Get real, this will only force the small producers to lose money in compliance or raise thier prices out of the market place. I think it's more like this. Somebody who invented the microchips for animals figured it would be a real profitable idea if animals were required to have the chips. They Lobbied somebody somewhere and now it's proposed law. Somebody in the USDA figured it would be great job security for them by inventing a non crises, they picked up on the idea of the chips and premises registration. Now they know the USDA will have plenty of work being the food gestapo. Yes I envision this eventually evolving into real farmers being jailed over minor infractions of a do nothing law. If the US government wanted to do something about food safety, they should be looking into food imports . But, that is a discussion for next time.