Half a billion eggs have been recalled for possible salmonella poisoning due to conditions at two huge factory farms where eggs are cranked out from over stressed hens kept in inhumane conditions. The contamination has been traced to chicken feed fed to the birds but experts also note the stressed conditions in which birds are kept in these operations.
It is essential for your health and safety to know from where your food comes. Is it local, naturally or organically produced? Your life may be in danger if you aren’t careful. Of course it isn’t possible to know the source of every bite we take. A quick trip through a fast food drive through when you’re traveling or in a rush and that Egg McMuffin may wind up putting you in the hospital. I get my eggs from a csa called Jack’s Farm in Pottstown, PA. They cost a bit more than at the supermarket but I haven’t had to worry one wit about the safety of my eggs. CSA is short for community sponsored agriculture. These are local farms which produce food every week for their subscribers. You pick up your allotment or pick your own each week and you know exactly how and where your food is produced. We arrive on Thursday afternoons and pick out our veggies and trek up to the fields to pick beans, beets, arugula, radishes and even fresh flowers. Chicken, eggs and salmon are also available and I’m quite content knowing where my eggs are from as I witness the concern others have about their supply.
We live in an age of factory farms where eggs, pork, chicken, beef and other foods are produced in mass quantities in inhumane conditions. On my way to New Mexico in June I passed a factory beef operation in West Texas which was horrible. You could smell the stench from a mile away and seeing hundreds of cows crowded together in pens instead of being free to roam the range and feed naturally was sickening. Pigs are raised the same way now and if you buy pork from a major regional meatpacker this is where your ham and bacon is being raised.
Public officials have allowed these factory farms to proliferate and drive family farmers out of the business and/or off their land. They aren’t safe for the public health or our environment. Pig farms create hundreds of tons of waste which is kept in pools and lagoons which leach into the ground. Human and industrial waste called sludge is now being spread on the fields fertilizing our vegetable crops. Do you wonder how e coli, an animal product, gets into your veggies? The answer is sludge.
As our society becomes dependent on mass producers using factory farm techniques it is imperative we harass our legislators to regulate and restrict these operations. Family farms largely use natural farming techniques long associated with producing healthy food. Find a csa in your area and a local butcher where you know the animals have been raised free range and have been grass fed. The food is more expensive (unless, of course, you get ill or die from your factory food) but is healthier and safer. Can you put a price on the health and safety of your family?