We have a few stories out today about food safety concerns around the world.
First, while it is true that the US has seen its share of food safety problems, such as the listeria outbreak last summer, these outbreaks are fairly rare. We have an exceptionally safe food supply. On that note then, the cantaloupe farm that was responsible for the outbreak is filing for bankruptcy. What still baffles me about the whole situation is that they’ve “concluded” the outbreak probably came from old machines and dirty puddles of water. Folks, listeria doesn’t just hang around waiting to attach itself to random farm implements. Maybe I’m off, but the results of that investigation seem incomplete and inconclusive. Not many answers there. Nonetheless, the bankruptcy of the farm should free up money for the victims’ families, which is a good thing.
However, food safety concerns are popping up around the world.
First, we have a disgusting article out of China about the food safety situation there. Ever had leather shoes for dinner? Apparently, food processors are so eager to make a profit, they will insert anything into the food in order to make a couple bucks. There is obviously a lack of any oversight by the government on food issues, which contributes to the problem. Frankly, I think we’re a little too over regulated in the United States. That being said, the FDA and USDA, in conjunction with our agricultural community, have done an excellent job making sure out food supply is safe. We don’t have to worry about whether our kids are eating grapes or rubber balls. We have a level of confidence in our food that is invaluable.
And, have you ever considered how to keep thousands of people safe from food poisoning during a worldwide event? The Food Safety Agency in the UK is figuring that out right now in preparation for the Olympics. Since many of the vendors are outdoors, the Agency is worried about how carefully those vendors will be following guidelines and regulations in the middle of summer heat. The Agency has handed out tips for vendors and educational materials, all of which will hopefully keep food poisoning down. I’m just glad the responsibility doesn’t land on my shoulders!
Finally, there is a story about a Chilean farm that will end up slaughtering approximately half a million pigs for sanitary purposes. The government originally gave the green light on an experimental project for a large pig farm. The problem was, the waste management plan didn’t go quite right. Apparently, the mirco-organisms that were supposed to be breaking down the waste didn’t work. Needless to say, the surrounding populace wasn’t exactly happy about the resulting smell. However, what they did next doesn’t make much sense — the villagers protested the farm by encircling it for several days. This essentially meant the workers couldn’t get in (or were too afraid) to take care of the pigs. The pigs sat for several days like this, and now the owner of the facility plans on slaughtering all half a million of them. The government declared a “sanitation emergency.” I guess the protesters got rid of the pig farm, but I fail to see how this was a success. Instead of the facility or government finding an alternative way for the waste to be disposed of, the protesters took to the streets and shut it down. Now we’re looking at half a million pigs slaughtered for nothing. Protesting is not a solution!
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