More GMO; less e. coli

I was going to put this into quick hits, but once that title came to me, I had to use it for a post.  Good wonkblog post about the problems faced by Chipotle and I particularly enjoyed this summary:

“They’re trying to be local and serve food with integrity, but as you grow it becomes incredibly complex and difficult and challenging,” said Darren Tristano, president of industry research firm Technomic. “When you look at what’s going on, how they’re expanding, the outbreak was almost bound to happen.”

Bill Marler, a lawyer specializing in food-borne illness who represents many of the people who have fallen ill as a result of the outbreak, said people shouldn’t assume that just because a company touts certain kinds of food that it has taken all steps to protect them from pathogens.

“I worry that they look at food safety from the organic, non-GMO, sustainability, animal welfare standpoint,” Marler said. “And a lot of people in that space, in that agricultural movement, tend to believe that because they do those things their food is automatically safer than food that’s served at McDonald’s or Jack in the Box or Walmart. But that’s just not the case.” [emphasis mine]

I’ve actually not eaten at Chipotle in over a month, since my local pizza place re-opened (I’ve been making up for lost time), but I’ll start going there again soon.  That said, I’d love a lot more concern with food safety and less with false concerns about GMO.  (Of course, I love their animal welfare concerns).

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to More GMO; less e. coli

  1. ohwilleke says:

    I would add that the organic v. non-organic tradeoff expressly involves forgoing potentially pathogen killing pesticides, and inorganic fertilizers may pose less risk of introducing pathogens than organic fertilizers such as manure.

    The health benefits of eating organic are present only for a very narrow subset of foods (for example tomatoes and strawberries where you eat the outer flesh) and only for very vulnerable populations (pregnant and nursing women, young children, immune impaired people).

    Overall going organic for all foods for all people is probably more of a food safety risk than going non-organic.

    The main health benefits of organic farming inure not to the consumers of organic products, but to the neighbors and people downstream of farmers who are not exposed to environmental toxins in their air and water who may never consume the products of that farm at all.

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