The Global Food System Isn’t Safe: What to do About It

Posted on Jun 29 2011 - 2:26am by Mike Lieberman

There was an article in The Atlantic called The FDA Details Its Struggle to Regulate Imported Foods.

In the article it goes into details about the current global food system, the reasons why the FDA cannot ensure it’s safety and regulate all of the imported foods.

Here are some facts for you from the article:

  • Between 10 percent and 15 percent of all food consumed by all U.S. households is imported.
  • Nearly two-thirds of all fruits and vegetables are imported.
  • 80 percent of seafood is imported.

The majority of the produce that we are eating, comes from outside of the United States. Again, this begs the question – where is our food coming from?

The amount of food being imported is also on the rise. In the past 7-10 years that number has increased by around 10%.

Here is the part of the article that caught my eye and ear the most:

…in 2008 the FDA would have needed “1,900 years to check every foreign food plant at its rate of inspections at the time.

Obviously that much time wasn’t spent checking and inspecting the food. This is how the outbreaks and food borne illness occur. I guess all that matters to the FDA is that it’s cheap and one of their friends is getting paid.

So when you are at the grocery store, supermarket, bodega, Whole Foods or where ever you get your food from, this is something that you should consider.

This global food system just ain’t safe. It’s not working and built for our safety. The FDA has pretty much said that they can’t handle it to ensure our safety. Therefore we have to ensure our own safety. Who better?

How can you take your food safety in your own hands? Glad you asked. You can:

  • Start growing your own food.
  • Shop at your local farmers market and ask the growers questions.
  • Join your local CSA
  • At the very minimum, if you are shopping at a local grocery store, buy organic. That’s a pretty safe bet.

We as consumers and individuals have the power to take a stand and make a difference with our purchasing power.

What’s your thoughts on the global food system and what do you do to ensure your food safety?