Just once, it would be grand to read a news item about food safety in the United States that didn't amount to, "And of course, we're all eating poison." This item, is unfortunately, not that piece. Today's "Everything is Covered in Feces" report comes to us courtesy of Michael Doyle, a microbiologist with the University of Georgia. Doyle was expected this week to present findings at the fun and carefree sounding general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans that suggest Americans should be fairly concerned about the unwanted "bonus ingredients" found in many imported foods.
According to a piece in the Vancouver Sun, much of the food that the U.S. imports from developing countries is rife with, wait for it; fecal matter. Most of the concern is directed at fish and fresh produce, both mainstays for those who really pride themselves on a diet that avoids crap of one variety or another.
In a series of wholly unappetizing scenarios (many of which involve literal untreated crap serving as a primary nutrient for food sources such as fish), Doyle and company paint a picture of food production that makes a compelling case for investing heavily in a locavore movement. Say, when is that farmer's market open?
Doyle said legislation passed last year in the United States that would hold all companies who export food to the U.S. or have food production facilities in this country to the same standards that are expected of American-based companies. In a not very surprising wrinkle to the case, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn't yet had a chance to determine how to implement those measures.
It's not like Americans are cool with consuming crap, either. As reported Monday by MediaPost.com, in a new survey from Pew Charitable Trusts, 66% of U.S. voters said they'd support a proposal to increase the FDA's annual funding so it can act on the newly-minted Food Safety Modernization Act. One of the components of the measure? Better oversight of food importation. Even more compelling are the 74% of Americans who said they would stomach a 1 to 3% increase in food prices if it meant eating food less likely to result in various ill effects.
More and more, it seems that Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! were on to something here:
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