Is the Convenience of Bagged Spinach and Lettuce Worth the E. coli Bacteria Risk and Damage to the Environment?

Source of Article:  http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/

 

Posted on July 13, 2009 by Bill Marler

A battle for the soul of agriculture is being waged in California in a new sort of green revolution -- and counter-revolution.  Jackson West

"If we want to have bagged spinach and lettuce available 24/7, 12 months of the year, it comes with costs," lawyer Bill Marler told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Marler would know -- he represented the plaintiffs that came forward after an E. coli outbreak from fresh spinach grown in California made customers sick in 2006.

But he's not talking about legal fees and court settlements. Instead, it comes in the form of environmental degradation as industrial farming attempts to fix the problems it has created.

Distributors are forcing farmers to implement guidelines that are fueled by consumer fears, not farm science.

For instance, sterile zones demanded around crops mean more rodents, which means more rodent poison, which kills the predatory birds which naturally control the rodent population.

Of course, the deadly and drug-resistant strain of E. coli that these measures are trying to prevent was created by the heavy use of antibiotics in feedlots.

"You have to think about what's the logical end point of looking at food this way," noted author Michael Pollan, who has criticized industrial agriculture in his last two books. "It's food grown indoors hydroponically."

There is some good news for greener farming. "In 16 years of handling nearly every major food-borne illness outbreak in America, I can tell you I've never had a case where it's been linked to a farmers' market," Marler added.

 

Main Page

setstats            Copyright (C) All rights reserved under FoodHACCP.com

            If you have any comments, please  send your email to info@foodhaccp.com