Food rage

Aquatfs at Aquatfs at
Thu May 28 17:44:11 EDT 1998

In a message dated 98-05-28 14:44:44 EDT, WILSONDO at writes:

<<  Dragging food
 safety into this is too murky an issue, and very prone to political
 manipulation. >>

Talk about losing sight of reality! What's the point of having approved
methods of producing food if the product is not safe and wholesome? There are
several reasons for adopting a method of producing food:

1. To make money, or more money
2. To mitigate environmental impact
3. To improve product quality
4. To improve product safety

As a consumer, I would like the producer to adopt production methods that:

1. Allow the producer to realize a fair return on investment
2. Allow me to purchase food at a price that reconciles externalities (read:
optimal not cheapest price)
3. Allow me to consume food that actually tastes and smells the way it was
intended to
4. Allow me to consume food that does not endanger my health.

There is no point in having food production standards that don't incorporate
all 4 attributes. Frankly, all 4 attributes are inseparable. To say that to
include these attributes in food production standards is too confusing or
political is *not* a good reason to exclude any of them. That's like me
telling the farmer that I can only pay him 99 cents for anything that I buy
because I can't count any higher than 99. The farmer isn't going to buy it
anymore than we, as consumers, should buy into production methods that short
change us.

Let's stop fence sitting. Different farming methods have different impacts on
the 4 attributes that I outlined. Either the organic standards will result in
safer food or they won't. Let's decide which it is. If we feel that we need
more research, wouldn't it be in the interest of the U.S. government to funnel
just a little more money into the area of food safety versus farm production
methods? Maybe then we can finally put the issue of production standards and
food quality and safety to rest. From the point of view of protecting the
health of Americans, you would think that this would be good policy. However,
from the point of view of politics and lobbying, I suspect that there are
opposing forces to this kind of research. Perhaps this is where the alleged
political manipulation is occuring.


Alan Ismond, P.Eng.

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