Friday, February 13, 2009

Sick of it All

Alright, I know it's Friday. I know that tomorrow is Valentine's Day. And I know that I always try to avoid any heavy-duty posts at the beginning of a holiday weekend.

But I am barely keeping down my breakfast after reading about the gut-wrenching abominations at the Peanut Corporation of America's Texas plant. Seriously. It's nauseating. Worse.

I've already cleaned out my fridge and pantry, tossing anything that had even the remotest chance of originating at this processing plant worthy of an Upton Sinclair novel. And I imagine that most of you, if you haven't done so already, will after reading the CNN link above.

This story, however, is far weightier than the half-eaten jar of Skippy that used to reside on the top shelf of my refrigerator.

On the surface, it's a tragic tale of medieval-style filth in one processing plant with lax rules or a lazy staff or both. But peel away the next layer and it is simply one unfortunate chapter in the epic tome of tainted U.S. food. From spinach to tomatoes--or wait, was it jalapenos?--to peanut butter it seems we are facing a crisis of cleanliness--and oversight--in our food supply.

I could go on endlessly about the simple bounty of my local farmers market, extolling the virtues of being in close proximity to organic, small-time food producers. But what purpose does that serve when the reality is that so many Americans don't have access to such markets? Isn't the real point that we, in our land of bounty, deserve a safe and nourishing food supply, whether the ingredients are grown around the corner or on the opposite coast? Whether we use debit or credit or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program--that's food stamps in the 21st century lexicon--we have a right to assume that what we eat won't make us sick, or worse.

It's time that we, as Mamas and citizens, demand greater accountability and oversight of our food supply. Admittedly, the federal government doesn't do much well. But one thing it can and should do is enforce greater food safety laws, employing more oversight and stricter penalties for violators.

We need to get involved. We need to make demands. We must fight for change. If we don't, who will?

Write a letter to your congressperson.

Get angry.

1 comment:

Kate said...

You bet, this is a worry. This shouldn't even be an issue. I do understand mistakes. I don't understand negligence.