May 1st, 2007
As more news surfaces about melamine continuing to end up in our food system, I am beginning to wonder if our regulatory agencies will take away any lessons from this? Yesterday, word came that 38 chicken farms in Indiana fed melamine tainted pet food to chickens back in February and that the chickens from these farms have already been processed and put into our food system. My question is, “where is the FDA and the USDA in all of this, and how was this allowed to happen?” With all of the press and stories about the tainted pet food, this contamination certainly wasn’t a secret. I would have thought that this incident would serve as a warning sign and give the regulatory agencies a wake up call that, if left unchecked, this contaminated grain would eventually make its way into what we eat. I don’t claim to know the exact procedures of the regulatory business, but I wonder why the FDA and the USDA did not order the tainted food be destroyed as a precautionary measure? In many cases (and not mistakenly), we, as Americans rely solely on these organizations to keep our food supply safe and tell us about potential and current dangers. For anyone who has eaten this chicken and pork tainted with melamine, this system and its safeguards have failed you in a big way.
So now what? Instead of concentrating on placing blame, I am trying to focus on the positive side of this situation. This incident has further cemented the conclusion that WE, as consumers, must be aware of and responsible for what we put into our bodies instead of allowing a third party (government agencies) to determine what is safe for us to consume. To a certain point, we can do this by buying our food locally and organically. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but the more we eat locally sourced, organic food, the less chance we have of running into problems like we are facing now. Check out the “resources” link to find places that sell locally sourced produce, eggs, dairy and yes, organic local meats and poultry.
The NY Times ran a story yesterday called "Filler in Animal Feed is Open Secret in China". It’s worth a read if you are interested in the causes behind how this stuff is used and why it ended up in our food system at all. Some interesting points are the economics of protein and the widespread use of chemicals being fed to animals. I have a feeling that we have just seen the tip of a very disappointing iceberg with this topic.
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