Friday, August 20, 2010
Cheap Food Can Make You Sick
I think the lesson to be learned from the latest food recall fiasco is that cheap food can make you sick. In the last few years we've had a series of food scares, and the egg recall is just the latest (see: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ygreen/20100819/sc_ygreen/massiveeggrecallhowtocheckyourcartonforrecalledeggs).
But, even before this debacle, I pretty much gave up on commercially produced eggs. When the Salmonella issue first reared it's head over a decade ago, I was completely shocked and mortified that instead of tightening food safety regulations, our government essentially put the onus on consumers. Instead of taking care of the problem, our FDA tells us to cook our eggs thoroughly or switch to pasteurized eggs.
Say what???? What if you happen to like nice runny yolks, or a Caesar salad made with a real raw egg, or fresh home-made mayonnaise?
So, rather than just give in to this government nonsense and corporate greed, I found local farmers who raised eggs from chickens who actually run around farm-yards, and are not stacked high in cages to molder in their own poop. My current favorite source of eggs is a girlfriend who went into the egg business. She raises the chickens in her yard and every Friday she drops off a dozen eggs to my house for $4.
Yes, naturally produced eggs cost more. Whereas a dozen commercially produced eggs cost just under $3 around here, I'm paying anywhere from $4 to $6 for a dozen of these local, humanely produced eggs.
But, by paying a few cents more per egg, if I make soft-boiled or poached eggs I don't have to worry about making myself, or my children sick.
Cheap food is mass produced food, and since our government is now more interested in corporate welfare than our welfare, cheap food can make you sick.
That is not to say you can't get Salmonella poisoning from a non-mass produced eggs. It's just that it's a hell of a lot less likely that a naturally raised egg will make you sick.
So, I'll take my chances with the eggs I buy from chickens that have actually run around a farm-yard eating grubs. Besides, they taste better as well.