I've been following along with interest all matters regarding the current egg recall and biting my tongue fervently, trying hard not to post a reaction to some of the things I am reading without thinking things through. In any case, I think my struggle with restraint is about over. :)
It's my belief that you get what you pay for in this world, at least most of the time. As much as we've all been indoctrinated that all food is clean, safe and wholesome in North America, it's also my belief that this truism applies to our current food system and the 'cheap' food it produces. Or maybe the truism is that one ought not ask too many questions about how one's dozen (really cheap) eggs was produced, because if you do you probably aren't going to like the answer.
It would appear from what I read that a summary of the external costs of production in this egg recall would include egregrious and repeated labour violations, huge food safety violations, huge and repeated manure pollution violations, repeated animal welfare and cruelty violations, and the list goes on. If one really wants to have one's eyes opened, and if one has some time, perhaps you ought to do as I did and type any of the aforementioned violations into google and scan what comes up for any commodity of your choice.
Let's address some internal costs that we all "eat". It's hard to know exactly how many tax dollars our federal and state governments pump into agriculture every year because a lot of the subsidies are hidden. However, if there are 300 million Americans, it's easy math to figure that every billion dollars pumped into various and sundry agricultural subsidies cost each and every one of us $ 3.00. That doesn't sound too bad until one realizes that if the nation supports agriculture to the tune of $ 100 billion dollars in hidden and open subsidies of various sorts ( a veritable drop in the bucket in today's budget, no matter whether or not said budget is Democratic or Republican in nature), the average family of four spent $ 1200 in taxes to help the cause. Unfotunately, this egg recall shows all too well what we got for our money.
Maybe we've come to a place where consumers are beginning to realize that the grocery store cost of eggs at $ 0.69 per dozen isn't real, and that maybe paying someone local $ 2.00 or even more per dozen eggs is worth it, if ALL the various costs have been accounted for in the price. I've been tempted for a long while to hang a sign down at my gate that says "Proud Family Farmer...Zero Percent Subsidized", but until recently I didn't think anybody would get it. Maybe it's time to think about getting out the paint brush again.....
3 days ago