Food = Death?

Globalization is us: We now import a huge amount of our food from overseas. But is it safe? In the aftermath of the contaminated pet food disaster, the New York Times last week asked readers whether they felt the American food supply is safe. The issue attracted 175 comments in a matter of hours. Not surprisingly China took a beating, but, as many point out, the issue is so much larger than one country.

It makes me angry. We do everything but bar code our spinach leaves at the same time we’re importing crap from China (literally and figuratively).

There is no point in China bashing. We could do the same for all of North and South America, for Eurasia, for Africa. The globalization system does not work for food supply and cannot be safe no matter how much surveillance.

WAKE UP AMERICA! We’ve allowed giant multinational corporations to take control of our food supply, and … [t]hey will provide the cheapest ingredients they can get away with, fooling us with slick and misleading packaging and excess sweeteners and salt. ... [R]eal nutrition costs a lot of money, stop buying the cheapest stuff you can find.

Do any of you who call for a total ban of foods from China understand that you have been eating foods or food stuffs from China for years and nothing has happened to you or your loved ones? You just didn’t know it.

But there are also suggestions and solutions to be found—at the very least people are taking a look at what is at stake. As one reader points out, “Before you blame China, blame yourselves for insisting on cheap food. Buying locally and paying more for quality from smaller or local companies eliminates many possible problems. … [Y]ou get what you pay for.”

Other readers mention the need for a country of origin labeling system (required under the 2002 Farm Bill, but twice postponed by laws signed by the president). At the end of the day it’s up to consumers to demand the changes they would like to see. As one reader wisely wrote, “No one can save us except us.”

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