Saturday October 12, 2013
There’s an outbreak of illnesses from salmonella in chicken that is making national headlines --278 people in 18 states have been sickened. More alarming is the fact that 42% of those sickened have been hospitalized, and that the pathogen seems resistant to treatment with antibiotics. (According to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, less than one per cent of its estimated 48 million cases of foodborne illness require hospitalization.)
The media is making much out of the fact that employees of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are being called back from furlough to monitor the situation. But the media are ignoring the real dangers underscored by this outbreak.
This outbreak is a vivid example of the double standard applied to food safety--one set of highly permissive standards for corporate producers of factory food and a second set for small producers of artisanal nutrient-dense food. As if the favoritism shown the corporations that fatten politicians’ campaign coffers isn’t enough, we are now getting a bird’s-eye view (pardon the pun) of how the double standard is being allowed to truly endanger large numbers of people. It is a double standard I warn about and document in my book, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights.