Editorial: Time to start food safety conversationDuring a visit to the Daily Globe last week, representatives of Grassroots Solutions, working on behalf of the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, made their pitch for legislation that they saw would enhance safety throughout the entire food chain … “from farm to fork,” as their literature touts.
By: Daily Globe, Worthington Daily Globe
During a visit to the Daily Globe last week, representatives of Grassroots Solutions, working on behalf of the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, made their pitch for legislation that they saw would enhance safety throughout the entire food chain … “from farm to fork,” as their literature touts.
It’s a pitch we’re all going to have to get accustomed to facing over the next few months. While much-trumpeted and much-reviled “cap and trade” legislation continues to be a priority for environmental and clean energy advocates, food safety is another campaign on the radar of many.
Food safety advocates point to various data they say reflects the urgency for more stringent regulation. The Pew Campaign on Hu-man Health and Industrial Farming (www.savetheantibiotics.org, where numerous studies can be examined) notes, for example, that at least 76 million cases of food-borne disease occurs each year in the U.S. The challenge, they say, is that antibiotic resistance in this nation has continued to grow, thanks in no small part to the routine feeding of antibiotics to animals that later appear as meat on our dinner tables. These antibiotics, it’s said, aren’t necessarily administered because the animals are ill; they’re given to make them grow faster and to compensate for farming conditions.
Many farmers, unsurprisingly, are having none of these arguments, and we can expect a huge lobbying effort from major players in the agriculture industry to stall any type of food safety legislation. Many will no doubt point out this would be yet another example of government meddling that would come on top of already excessive regulation in other area.
We understand that point, to be sure. But we also understand the desire to protect our citizens from what some fear could be an eventual public health crisis. Many studies suggest the science that supports increased food safety is getting stronger. As a result, legislators and businesspeople — and all Americans — should be prepared to have a serious conversation about what they’re willing to do for a safe food supply.