Monday, September 29, 2008

Melamine Comtaminated Food Forces a Change in Shopping

My shopping is undergoing a revolution because of the latest food contamination crisis. My wife just sent me an email from Worksafe with another list of foods recalled because of melamine contamination. Luckily we didn't have any of the products in the house, but we had eaten a lot of them on a recent holiday!

This corruption of the food supply is one more reason why we are striving to buy organic and local foods. A few years ago buying organic was difficult and expensive. But now with Walmart and Whole Foods involved, the scale of production has brought prices down and availability up.

Now, to be honest, I'm not totally convinced on the health benefits of organic foods. Those who promote organics have an arsenal of evidence on their superiority. Organics are also supposed to be better for the environment etc etc. My first criteria is taste. I want the best tasting food. Then comes cost. Then comes nutritional content.

But now after a series of health alerts, I am adding accountability to my criteria list. I want to know who and how my food is produced, and I want assurances. This does not mean huge Gov't involvement. To be honest, I think some of the problems are because gov't has regulated the local farmer out of business. Independant organizations are doing a great job. Still when I see the USDA Organic logo, or the Oregon Tilth Organic label, I tend to feel better about the ingredients.

Hopefully, something labeled Organic or even better, Bio Organic, has been produced by people dedicated to purity and health. Perhaps this is naive, but I think it is better than some of the other standards.

Meanwhile, I buy my eggs from a local farmer. I know they are free range, because I have to dodge the chickens when I visit. My fruit and veggies are bought at local farms or at a farmer's market. Some of what I buy is grown in hot houses. They have no need for pesticides. And then the remainder of my food is bought at the supermarket, where I cruise the organic aisle first and compare prices and ingredients. This does take a bit more time and energy, but I treat it at a hobby. Getting great tasting food at the best price possible sure beats building ships in a bottle!

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