Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

You say Tomato, I say quit voting for Republicans

Kate asked what I thought of all this business with the salmonella tomatoes. Well, so glad you asked. Because that gives me an excuse to rant.

OK, here goes:

We in American enjoy lots of cheap food partly because of our vast, under-regulated food distribution system. Food is grown all over in giant factory farms and sent hither and yon to all sorts of places. When there's an outbreak of food poisoning it's hard to trace the source because... take your pick! Who knows where those tomatoes came from! But you had to have out-of-season tomato slices on your hamburger in April at McDenial's. So there you go.

Isn't someone supposed to be paying attention to the safety of those tomatoes, you ask? Yes! The FDA. But Congress* and the Bush administration won't properly fund their safety programs (what few there are). Republicans especially hate this kind of regulation because it gets the government involved in business and because it costs money. It interferes with our 'Merican way of life!

So if you like poison tomatoes, by all means, keep voting for Republicans. Because they think "the market" will take care of these problems, and anyway, we should all be taking personal responsibility and washing our own tomatoes. Except E. coli and salmonella don't wash off very easily.

While I'm pointing fingers I might as well remind you of the spinach E. coli debacle of two years ago. That was also brought to you courtesy of our factory-farm food system. Think of that next time you're in the drive-in at Booger King.

If, however, you don't like poison tomatoes, you could try growing them yourselves. If you don't happen to have the space, buy them from the farmer's market or a CSA. Produce from small farms is less likely to get contaminated, and if you do get sick at least you know the source. Also, vote for people who are in favor of funding proper regulation and then pester them about following through.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go eat my lovely farmer's market tomato salad.

*All right, fine, Congress has a Democrat majority right now. It is still heavily influenced by food-industry lobbyists and far too beholden to our current administration. Still, they could use a little ass-kicking from us.


ks said...

Woohoo, sister. No rotten tomatoes for that review! Very well said, er, written.

MissGinsu said...

Consumer advocates have been trying to get produce origin legislation through congress for years. Origin labeling already exists for seafood, and grocers are legally required to list it.

Of course, produce labeling has been put off again and again. Too much bother. Hopefully this episode will create enough outcry to get some regulation in place.

If you can't know your farmer, you should at least know where your farmer lives.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was Dept of Ag? But there you go, another issue--just who is in charge? Grr.

Cafe Johnsonia said...

McDenial and Booger King. hee, hee

Here, here!!! This is exactly what I've been thinking as I've been waiting for my tomatoes to grow and wondering if the ones I just bought at the outdoor market came from somewhere safe. And if I might die from eating them.

Alanna said...

Off topic - you seem to have accidentally left a comment on the Food Blog School that was intended for one of your personal blogs. Ooops!

Hovey Vintage said...

I second that! Thank goodness this is an election year -- it's really time for a change.

Co said...

Thanks for this!!!!

Swizzies said...

I'm totally with you, but I think you already knew that. ;-)

Locavore eating is a luxury I will find hard to give up if I have to.