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Monday, August 30, 2010

GOODe Grief: Scrambling for some perspective

SOAPBOX Warning…

So, most of you know that I grew up on a farm and that up until recently I worked in agriculture before starting my own freelance business. You may also know that I still work very closely with a lot of folks in agriculture as a freelance communicator.

With that being said, you probably also have heard about these egg recalls out of Iowa.

I normally wouldn’t be writing about such matters here, but today I was caught by how big this thing has gotten by a simple trip to my little town’s grocery store. I found this sign posted on all of the doors and it got me thinking… a lot.

I first heard about the recall while packing to take my family down to Daytona. My mom called warning me that the news was going nuts and she wanted me to go “check my eggs” because she didn’t want anyone getting sick on our trip like the last time… oh lordy did the last time ever stink…just sayin’

So I went into google mode and tried my best to cut through the rhetoric to find out the information I needed to know to make sure my eggs were safe. It took me a while, but finally I freeze framed a “sky is falling” “news” story to find the carton #s that were effected.

A week later, I see this sign at my grocery store… which got me digging for more information—so I skipped the media and emailed a friend in the egg industry.

Did you know that less than 1 % of the egg supply was affected?

Dude… those weren’t the headlines I was bombarded with when trying to find out if my eggs were affected. 

Pssst… my friend shared this site with me for anyone still concerned.

How refreshing… the information I need to be safe, without all the scary headlines.

A local ag commentator said it well.

The frequency of food recalls in recent years is often used to claim our food is not as safe as it used to be. When, in reality, this is a sign that our food safety system is working better than ever. The incidence of many foodborne illnesses continues to decline according to the CDC‘s FoodNet surveillance network which was established in 1996," says Gary Truitt of Hoosier Ag Today.

All of this hysteria reminds me of that old Ellen Degeneres bit about the local news. (Pardon the quality of the video/audio.)

You should really watch it. It is really funny and would be even funnier if it wasn’t so true.

All of this food talk these days… from factory farms to pesticides to peanut butter, beef, spinach and now egg recalls has my mommy gal pals and I standing with our shopping carts in tow confused, frustrated and worried… did I mention confused?

We turn to the news and can’t even find the information amidst all the hype. Media continues to create this hysteria as they scramble in a losing battle to drive viewership and readership…controversy sells after all.

I am a skeptic by nature, so I having a hard time these days swallowing that all our food is bad, killing us and all at the hands of evil empires… I tend to believe the media reports what sells and controversy sells. I’m not saying the food system is perfect.  I just don’t feel like I ever get a full story.

Meanwhile, food packaging goes into an all out marketing tug-of-war selling us hormone free, antibiotic free, organic promises…creating an impression of safety at a literal and figurative expense.

Then enters the self-proclaimed food gurus, authors and film makers that are trying to sell books, dvds, fear, guilt and morality all tied in a pretty bow. Their food righteousness looks nice from afar, yet none of them can really tell us how we can affordably feed our families safe, nutritious food… within our budgets and our communities—and on our own terms, not theirs.

For what it is worth, below is my soapbox full of common sense commentary on the food issues of today:

·        People who sell you on “how bad your food is” are likely making money off of the alternative or their “expertise”… just sayin’
·        I grew up on a farm and I gots to tell ya--that work ethic doesn’t exist in very many places in the U.S.  We’re all gonna starve if some folks get their way… just sayin’ 
·        Truth be told, this big bad industry full of factory family farms is actually full of your neighbors and the dude setting in pew next to you at church and you may not even know it…just sayin’
·        Anyone with money can produce a film and call it a documentary.  People who write books and sell videos need those products to sell. A book on “hey look at how wonderful and progressive our food system is” doesn’t quite have the same excitement to it as “danger, danger you must buy my book/video to find out what food is going to kill you”

Truth be told, I am tired of being scared of my cupboards and frightened of my fridge.

Truitt calls for a little perspective and I totally agree.

Here is my perspective of the day:  More than 1 in 10 people are going hungry in Indiana. 

What a luxury these new food dilemmas are for the modern mom…just sayin’


9 GOODe Thoughts:

You Go Girl!!!!

Thanks for spreading/telling the truth and sticking up for those that do it right on family farms each and every day.

This is an excellent post! I hope everyone reads every word of it. It kinda goes along with the whole global warming scare, even though we just read in the newspaper today that 'global warming' occurred in the time of Eric the Red also. Hmm. I don't think Eric the Red was driving a SUV or using hairspray. If people aren't paying attention and aren't reading, they can be easily manipulated by fear.

Good job of telling it like it is!

This is SUCH a great post. I was going to write something similar, but you beat me to it. I think I'll add a little of my own input and link up to you, for my first turkey tuesday post in a LONG time!

Good post :)
Yep... we really should keep things in perspective!

Wow, Cris!
I bet you needed a nap after that!
I agree! Amen!

Good post :)
Yep... we really should keep things in perspective!

Good job of telling it like it is!

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