Monday, April 30, 2007
Safety is a Mirage
The melamine scandal may be real ... a lot of fuss about a generally inert ingredient that admittedly does not belong in the food supply.
Before going to far with this specific adulteration issue, in the spirit of WWJD, we really need to rethink a lot of drivel about food.
Lets start with the mythology that food grown by small farmers using natural fertilizers and no pesticides is safer.
Really? Safer than what?
How much do you know about the content of "organic" foods? What if they are grown in selenium rich soil, is that OK? How about fluoride rich soil? Do you prefer horse shit or chicken shit to chemically defined fertiizers? Is the chicken shit from prion free chickens? Any reader here who likes fresh fish might look up the Minimata scandal on the web.
Ever hear about the problems with organic peanut butter ... likely to be contaminated by aflatoxin a potent carcinogen unless specially stored.
Here are a few Food Facts:
1. In the wild, humans lived for only about 40 years. We pretty much know this from the timing of mesnes and onset of debilitating age . And primitive peoples are not esp healthy, despite an "organic" small farmer environment. Evolution had no reason to select us to find a diet etc. to last any longer.
Remember primitive peoples did not have access to the choices of food we have today. There were no oranges in the caves of France! I also doubt the cro-magnin knew which foods to eat to get vitamin C. There is likely no "natural" human diet.
2. Modern agriculture (modern meaning anything for the last few hundred years) does terrible things .. monoculture of plants and animals, concentration of plants and beasts in small areas, etc. As a result many farm animals have endemic viruses. Shall we stop mass producing chicken?
3. "organic" is largely a myth. AIDS probably arose because humans ate organic monkey meat. Which do you prefer ... cow dung or pure nitrates as a fertilizer?
So what to do?
1, decrease the population to sustainable levels.
IDEA: PEOPLE CREDITS ... I will guarantee not to have any more kids if you pay me enough!
IDEA: Instead of carbon credits, buy sterilizations! The ultimate antiabortion step! Imagine, "This is Jimmy, I paid $3000 to sterilize a woman in the Ibixi Province of Rawanda! I like buying baby credits from Americans for a Lesser Africa!"
2. INCREASE funding for the FDA. Seriously, our ONLY defense is surveillance and food research. The FDA and the Center for Disease Control are at least as important as the Army to our national defense.
IDEA: label foods with a "safe to eat" rating based on how much we KNOW. Of course this would largely mean all the crap in the "health food stores" would be LOW RATED!
3. Play the Japan game. Japan protects its farmers (NOT ITS PUBLIC) by very cautious laws on what can and can not be imported. We could do the same. E.g. any evidence eof use of human feces as fertilizer or cohabitation by humans and domestic animals would rule out importation from places like China.
IDEA: stp importing foods that do not meat US safety standards. This will raise the price of imported food and make $$ for American farmers.
4. Encourage crop and animal species diversity. Are you worried about food? What happens when ALL the world is eating 3 kinds of cloned rice? The PROBABILITY of a bad genetic event is close to a certainty under these conditions. We have a major need for a systematic effort to maintain diversity on the genomes of our food.
Based on essay at HorsesAss
Posted by SM Schwartz at 8:50 AM