Sunday, July 3, 2011

Food Safety

A friend emailed me this link to an article on entitled "Restoring the Honor of the Spanish Cucumber". It is a fascinating article how things tend to spiral out of control. It is the story of how a single farmer influenced the food supply of several hundred millions of people, how the situation created by the farmer was misused by the politicians to create new policies in a matter of days, how it allowed politicians to break the rules with nobody complaining, how one country created a special food police in a matter of days, how thousands of people lost their job due to the hype, and how in the end -- as always -- the action of the politicians created a burden of several hundred millions of Euros to the (mostly) European taxpayers. This story shows how everything is intertwined, food, politics, and finance. It is a story of how fast things can collapse in a crisis and how out of proportion "news" can be reported in our times. Nationalistic behavior and propaganda was shown clearly in this incident. Sadly there are real losers in this story as well: the people who died eating contaminated food, their relatives and friends who lost a loved one, the farmers and pickers in many European countries who lost their job, and all the tax payers who have to pay the price to clean up the mess. This case shows the dark side of globalization and centralization.

It seems to be a lot safer and better to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program and buy a weekly food basket from the local farmer that you know and trust.

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