Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Who Do We Trust?

Who do you trust to tell you the truth about food safety?
Posted Tuesday, February 16, 2010, at 2:00 PM
By Marcia Gorrell

Is our food safe or not?

Are today's farmers feeding and taking care of their animals properly?

It seems to come down to who you trust.

Do you believe the family farmers who have spent their whole lives producing food? The farmers who have built modern farming techniques, step by step, generation by generation -- building on the lessons, failures and successes of those who farmed before them?

Do you believe the scientists or researchers who have spent their entire careers studying animals, nutrition and food safety? Do you believe the USDA or the FDA who are tasked with making our food supply safe?

I have as much suspicion as anyone when it comes to the government, but in the case of food safety, I can't argue with the results.

Of course, if you don't believe those people -- or me -- you can believe the reports like the one recently by Katie Couric of CBS News. It blamed antibiotic use in animals for the rise of antibiotic resistance in humans.

If she would have contacted farmers and veterinarians, as I did, she might have found out there are two sides to every story.

Again, if you don't believe me, you might believe Michael Pollan, the journalism professor from the University of California-Berkeley, who has become a self-appointed "food expert" but has never spent time actually raising food or feeding an animal day after day.

Recently Pollan was on Oprah, spouting his oft-repeated line that corn is not a natural food source for cows (and ruminants) and that we are force-feeding the foodstuff causing them to become sick.

According to Pollan, in order to feed cattle corn, we have to also feed them antibiotics.
For most farmers, that statement is so laughable they can't believe someone would actually believe it. In fact, most don't think it is worth a response. Read More

As we travel the country and share the experience we had with Pollan, I continually remind our audiences that they are the experts in the discussion of food production. Pollan is a journalism teacher. Unfortunately, he has discovered that he can make himself quite wealthy by trying to frighten people about our food supply and demonizing the farmers and ranchers who raise it. For some reason, people would rather be scared about our food rather than hear the truth. Nice job of sharing this story with your readers Marcia.

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