On Friday, I wrote about a horrifying op-ed piece in The Washington Times that called for a moratorium on organic.
Fortunately, there are some journalists out there who have some intellectual honesty and understand that organic is not the true crux of the problem. Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times is one of those individuals.
The title of Nicholas Kristof’s most recent column is When Food Kills, and it should be a must-read for everyone, vegetarian or not.
He blames the tremendous amount of antibiotics that are given to healthy animals as a main contributor to our food safety problems.
80% of the antibiotics in the United States go to livestock, not humans, and as a result, the animals are becoming immune to the antibiotics.
What makes this even more problematic is that the factory farms, or CAFOs, where these animals live are the most vile places and are breeding grounds for serious infectious disease. This is why healthy animals get the antibiotics because the owners know they will get sick.
The CAFOs are the source of fatal bacteria, such as e.coli, and these deadly bacteria can get into our water supply and spread to all types of food, sprouts and vegetables included.
Yet, the powerful agricultural lobby will fight tooth and nail to not change these conditions. Thus, all organic, non-organic, vegetarian and non-vegetarian food eaters are at risk.
Many countries recognize the problem with giving antibiotics to animals and are looking to ban them. USDA organic regulations already ban antibiotics for animals but that doesn’t insulate us from the problem, as we have seen in Germany.
As Nicholas Kristof accurately points out and I agree 100%, we have a serious issue in Washington D.C.
President Obama has filled the USDA and FDA with former industry executives and people who are completely beholden to Big Ag. Change will not come from the inside but it will require a massive outcry from U.S. citizens who demand a safer system.
We have our chance to make some noise in 2012 by electing someone to the White House who takes food safety seriously, who will make the labeling of GMO-food mandatory, and who will promote the only food that is going to feed the planet in a responsible manner — organic food.