Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Americans demand knowledge of the origins of their food


Here it is.  We have removed ourselves so completely, so decisively from our food's origins that the Federal Government has now stepped in to set things strait.  Of course when approaching problems such as these, the grand gestures of bureaucracy more often then not have the greatest effect upon the least vital elements.  


So what has happened?  According to the fed, food must now be labeled clearly to display its Country of Origin.  This may be via sticker, twist tie, whatever, paint em up if you want, but a $1000 fine will be (sparsely, carelessly) enforced on those that do not label their foods.

This will cause a stir in the food industry, as fruits, vegetables, and meats will need to be segregated for labeling and shipping in situations where they might formerly have ridden together, so to speak.  The reasons for this newfound desire of the Fed to follow your food around like a hawk lie in the recent outbreaks of e. coli, and such among american produce.  

I just don't have the energy for this one.  I know exactly where my food comes from.  If there is a problem I can drag the farmer who sold me the bad product out of his/her tent and onto the long meadow of Prospect Park, beat them senseless, steal their truck, and generally lay waste to the life of myself and any others that get in my way.

If Captain Pathmark, or Jimmy Charger for that matter, has a problem with their food, who are they going to go to for answers?  Even if the little sticker says "Made in Uraguay"  or "proudly grown in the republic of my shitty mc'shit-alot" what then?  Do they drive to the country in question, asking passersby where the farm with the bad tomatoes is?  A "country of origin" label gets you pretty close to the problem if your food comes in from lichtenstein, or Trinidad and Tobago, but what if your food came from Argentina, Brazil, The USA, Canada, China?  How do you find out who fucked the peppers over if your searchable radius is 3000 miles?

There is just no way to legislate integrity.  

Our protections from the perpetration of this wildly overgrown culture of consumption do not lie in the federal fucking government.  Our saving grace is to renew our connections with those that grow and cultivate and process our foods.  I know the farmer who sells me my bacon, my lamb, my steak, my apples, pears, mustard greens, mushrooms, milk, pasta, cheese, bread, and grains.  I know where every vendor lives, because their addresses are written on the signs above their tents.  Or building, in the case of my pasta, which comes from Caputo's on Court st, run by 3 generations of a local family.  Where are these people going to go if they poison my food?  Where can they hide when I drag my sick body and my lawyer into their establishments and hold up the paperwork with "CRIMINAL NEGLIGANCE" written all over it.  Are they going to point sheepishly at a 2 million square mile swath of the republic of god knows where and say "it was THEM"?

The system is juked to protect producers that fuck with your food.  Protect yourself, get back to the real free market economy, in which we police ourselves, and our farmer's produce quality food not because someone tells them to, but because they depend on our business with their very livelihood.  

Eat small.

2 comments:

murphy said...

nice one, jimmy charger.

i think you crossed the line into foodier-than-thou on this one.

rather than spew, please produce a map of all the weekly green markets or farmers who sell their own shit. shouting about it without providing the means to a solution that extends beyond your own dinner table is self-indulgent and self-righteous. just because you (we) live in proximity to great markets does not mean all of your readers (or potential readers) do. where should my mom buy her weekly groceries? or your sister-in-laws' folks? i am sure you have, or could easily find, the answers to these questions. next time you should do so and provide them in your rant.

if your goal on this blog is to celebrate your own choices to the exclusion of the big picture, then congrats are in order; but i think you want to affect a larger change. this would be a good time to demonstrate that.

Luke Weiss said...

my links provide the answers to all your suggestions.

they are all there, and have been posted about several times already. but I will show you the details:

http://victusterra.blogspot.com/2008/09/choices-made-easier.html

http://www.localharvest.org/

these two sources cover everything you might need, markets, farms, restaurants, organizations, etc etc.