There are monsters in our food

I’ve been talking for quite a long time now about the poor quality of our food supply. And the news just keeps getting worse. I’m not talking just about the constant flow of stories about contaminations and food safety. I’m not just talking about factory farming and the dangers it brings to just about everything it touches. I’m also talking about the safety and quality of any and all food that we all eat. This isn’t just about meat, or dangerous fertilizer. It’s also about … well, everything!

Think of this. Nearly half of all meat, poultry and seafood in your grocery store is contaminated with antibiotic resistant bacteria, from Staph to e. coli and more. And if that’s not shocking enough, the government has know about this for years. Makes you wonder just who all those officials getting paid with your tax money are working for. Doesn’t seem to be us.

And we’ve seen from the recent e. coli scare in Germany that this is not just a problem in this country. Centralized agriculture that puts profits ahead of quality is the culprit. It keeps our food costs low, but maybe that price is higher than we thought. It’s not a bargain if we get sick or have our kidneys shut down.

Here’s what we know. Bacteria come from many sources. E. coli comes from animal feces. Because of the processing and mechanization of even fresh food, it’s very easy for a little manure or animal droppings to get into washing water or even sprayed on the growing plants.

Enough talk about the problem. We know what the problem is. The question now is: What can we do about it? One thing we can do is continue to pester our politicians about it. We need to make it clear that safe, healthy, quality food is important to us. This is especially true when many in Congress are looking to slash money for food safety programs to practically nothing. That means that agencies like the FDA and USDA won’t be able to take steps to help protect our food. Somehow I bet that would change the minute a leading congressman gets sick from contaminated food and he spends several weeks in the hospital because his infection cannot be treated with common antibiotics. Meanwhile, it’s the rest of us who will suffer.

Next, we need to make it clear to those we buy food from that we want those same things. Put our money where our mouth is. Shop farmers markets whenever possible. Eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables. Where possible, buy meat and poultry not laden with antibiotics. Buy organic where you can. And continue to follow safe food handling practices.