Crops, Ponds Destroyed In Quest For Food Safety
Says Bill Marler:
"It is a good opening discussion of the balance that we somehow have to forge between food safety, consumer convenience, industrialized agriculture and the environment."Paul Roberts, in his book The End of Food, talks about how big food retailers, e.g. Wal-Mart, put pressure on suppliers (either growers directly, or manufacturers who in turn put pressure on growers) to provide a lot of product, at hard-to-meet times (out of season), for a cost that approaches a loss for the grower ... and now, to essentially sterilize their plots in the quest for safer food (and fewer lawsuits).
The grower is in a bind because they don't want to lose someone as big as Wal-Mart as a client. Even if they do, there's another big food retailer to take its place, with similar cost pressures.
So growers cut corners. They grow on every speck of land, too close to livestock farms, in densely seeded fields (requiring more chemicals). They turn over too much product, too fast, risking error and contamination.
Farmers markets are nice, but they're not where most people get their food. Money will have to come from somewhere, whether it be from consumers via the price they pay for food, the government via a shifting of subsidies and other incentives, or businesses via revenue restructuring.