Recent news about more than 500 million eggs being tainted with salmonella, distributed to more than 23 states and more than 1,400 people getting sick highlights the danger of consolidation of our food supplies, and “vertical integration,” where the egg factories also own the animal feed supply, minerals and just about everything else about their industry. The same goes for our meat and milk suppliers. In this case, one family is involved with two huge (7.7 million caged laying hens) chicken/egg factories in Iowa. The owner has had violations and fines in the past, and was run out of Maine for the problems he caused there.
On-site USDA “inspectors” said their main duties were “grading the eggs” and overlooked rodent droppings, seeping manure and maggots in the DeCoster operation. There goes our dependable government inspections.
The problem screams for anti-trust regulation and enforcement by our overly-lenient governments, more frequent inspections and stiffer fines for health code violations.
Cheap eggs? Tell me that it’s worth saving 16 cents per egg after you are over your salmonella symptoms. Me? I buy my eggs, meat, milk and produce from local farmers or from the organic section in the grocery store.
I sleep good.
From the Sept. 22-28, 2010 issue