Friday, May 7, 2010

Romaine Lettuce Recall

When I was a child, food recalls were virtually unheard of, and now they seem to happen all the time. Why did they happen less frequently then? I believe it is because our food came from closer to home. We didn't have this global food system that we now have in place.

This time, the recalled "product" is lettuce with a dangerous strain of E.coli attached. Food safety experts say not to worry...it's all under control, folks! I think that lettuce is not really supposed to be a "processed" food. Really! Do we need it cut up for us BEFORE we buy it? Ditto all those other "convenience" produce items in the market.

I say, this is a perfect example of why we need to grow our own foods and eat only those grown locally to us (I would go so far as to say that "local" could be up to 500 miles from you in some cases). But, really, let's face facts (as they appear to me in my humble opinion), the government CANNOT keep food safe on a global level, no matter how many laws are put in place. "Food Safety legislation" in my opinion, is a myth. Sure, it sounds good, and makes people feel safer (thought I don't see why, given the multiple and severe food and drug recalls that still occur with great frequency), but really it only takes control of the food supply away from local communities and enlarges bureaucracy. So, now we have more laws, and food safety that was the same as before, which is worse than 20 years ago. We don't need new laws. We need less huge conglomerates controlling the food supply.

We need to grab some more of that sand back from Father Time and we need to step backward a number of years to when we got our food from Sam the Butcher who got it from Les the cattle rancher next door. And from Betty who grew all the lettuce for the town and the cafe in her cottage industry garden. And from Hank who tended his orchards up the street all season with natural, non-chemical methods. We need to know the name of the man or woman who grows our lettuce.

On such a large scale as our food system works, it is inevitable that contamination(s) will occur, and some of them will be dangerous. A national/global food system just doesn't work. We should all push hard for our local economies to take back control of local food. It would bring back local jobs in all communities, and give a big boost to small farmers who care about quality and sense of community.

Of course, there will always be exceptions because some things just don't grow in some places, and those people also have to eat. But it certainly couldn't hurt to take as much back to local levels as possible.

Here is an the FDA News Release if you want to go to the full information on the recall from the FDA website.


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