One of the premises of BRACE for IMPACT is that industialism concentrates risk as it seeks economies of scale. Nowhere is this more visible — or more dangerous — than in the food industry. This morning’s case in point is the news that 65 people in 29 states have been sickened by the potentially deadly bacterium E. coli 0157. [“Nestlé Recall Leaves A Mystery in Its Wake,” The Washington Post.]
The contaminated food in this case is raw cookie dough, and what makes this remarkable is that E. coli lives in the guts of cows and is usually found in meat, or on plants that grow near meat factories. The mystery referred to by the Post is how the bug got from cattle intestines into the cookie dough. When and if it comes, the explanation will be interesting.
Another mystery: why people who are inundated with reports of salmonella in peanut butter, E. coli in burgers and on spinach and strawberries, continue such practices as eating raw cookie dough, rare steaks, sushi and soft eggs. Eating any product of industrial agriculture that has not been heated to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit is the moral equivalent of Russian Roulette.
More and more people are realizing that industrial food is making us sick. New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof gets it, writing today about the multile threats and the new documentary, Food, Inc., that’s making a lot of waves.
But almost no one will voice the obvious conclusion: that the system that has addicted us to cheap unhealthy food is about to fail.