An article in today's Sacramento Bee discussed a new report from the Centers for Disease Control. The subtitle to the article was "CDC says system wasn't designed for globalism." The story discussed the recent salmonella outbreaks in pistachios and peanuts and suggested that our entire food safety bureaucracy needs to be updated to deal with a global food system.
I wonder if we're dealing with the wrong question. Do we need a food safety framework that recognizes the global food system as a legitimate method of food production, or do we need a food production system that recognizes the limits of our food safety system and focuses more on local production.
Make no mistake - I strongly believe that food safety regulations are important. Where I differ from the assumptions made by the CDC, I guess, is in the acceptance of global production as the norm. Maybe if we all ate more locally, we wouldn't be faced with the food safety issues that are so problematic. Perhaps if we knew the farmers and ranchers that produced the food we eat, we'd have a safer and more secure food supply.
I realize that some of this is wishful thinking - some communities and regions may not be able to grow their own food supply. But adjusting our food safety system to accept the problems inherent in shipping food around the world seems to me to be the wrong approach.
I'm very interested in hearing from others on this subject!