| Any time someone wants to shill for Big Ag, they always trot out the same line that the U.S. has the world's safest and most abundant food supply. I have long believed that while our food supply may be abundant, if we're the safest then, well... that's really scary. Because lord knows our food ain't safe. At long last, someone finally published some statistics on that. And... drumroll... America's food supply is NOT the safest. We're also not the least safe. Canada's worse than us.
The U.S. has one of the safest food supplies in the world, but the report card is mixed, reports CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker. Every year 33 percent of Canadians get sick from what they eat. In the U.S., it's 25 percent. But in England it's only 2 percent and in France just 1 percent. In both places food is grown more locally and on a smaller scale than in North America. [emphasis mine]
The article goes on to describe some of the actions that have been taken here to make our food safer but fails to go into more detail about how local food grown on a smaller scale might make food safer. The closest they get to that is where they talk about imported food:
Today Americans consume more fresh produce, increasingly from imports from around the world. But imported produce is inspected even less than home-grown harvests.
"Ninety-nine percent of the food that you're buying at the grocery store that comes from foreign coutnries has not been inspected by the FDA," Erik Olson, head of Food Safety at the Pew Research Center, told . [sic]
Then they give the numbers on that:
The number of food producers under FDA jurisdiction has increased, but the number of inspections is going down. Between 2001 and 2007, the number of domestic food producers increased from 51,000 to 65,500. At the same time, the number of producers inspected fell from 14,721 to 14,566, according to the Government Accountability Office.
Clearly that looks like a bad thing, but what about making food safer by sourcing it locally from smaller scale farms? Instead, the article offers up a solution of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement - which the article also notes is very costly to farmers. Wouldn't that drive small scale farmers out of business? And if it would, is it really a solution?