The ongoing listeriosis outbreak in Canada is evidence of how broken out primary food system is, particularly insofar as meat is concerned. Producing billions of clones in packed conditions is dangerous enough, particularly if you simultaneously marinate them in growth hormones and antibiotics. Marrying that with a food system where every step of the production chain is concealed from consumers increases the risk.
What is most astonishing to me is the result of a poll conducted by The Globe and Mail on their website. Asked: “Has the listeriosis outbreak damaged your opinion of Maple Leaf products?” 38% of respondents said “no.” Perhaps this demonstrates the degree to which we are not aware of the shortfalls of our food system and food regulation, to the point where we accept this kind of occurrence as an inevitable consequence of food production.
More people should read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. A safer, healthier food system is entirely possible. It will not, however, emerge while people are still happy to accept a dozen Canadian deaths (and counting) as part of the cost of having “pre-packaged meat products” available for purchase.
Stories of this kind sometimes makes me wonder whether personal vegetarianism is actually a selfish choice. Opting out of the system can be seen as an inferior alternative to agitating for change. After all, it was basically consumer demand that produced the emergence of organic and local food options. It is only when a mass market demand exists for healthy, safe, natural, and sustainable meat and seafood that systemic change could become possible.
More on food, health, and the environment:
- Pollan, Michael. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.
- Delicious pike
- Vat-grown meat
- Shiva, Vandana ed. Manifestos on the Future of Food & Seed.
- Canada’s anti-superbug initiative
- You must do the heaviest / So many shall do none
- Meat eating and ignorance
- E. Coli and the acid rumen
- Reasons for vegetarianism
- Salmon farming and sea lice
- Meat and antibiotics
- Meat, methane, and global warming
- Quorn: falling away from me
- Diseases and factory farming
Emily also wrote a post on this previously.