Sunday, August 2, 2009

New food safety bill?

I know pretty much all of the food bloggers have already reviewed and gave their 2 cents about Food Inc., which is why I didn't go into a lot of depth after I saw it a few weeks ago.

For those of you who have seen the film, Food Inc. talks about where the food we buy from the grocery store actually comes from, what effect it has on our health, animals, and the environment, and what it will mean for future generations. It also heavily explores how the FDA and USDA, time and time again, continue to put profit ahead of consumer safety.

Interestingly enough, I recently read an article about how the US House passed a food safety bill (HR 2749) which is an amendment to a prior Federal Food, Safety, and Cosmetic Act. Public health experts speculate that this may be the most drastic step in food safety policy in 50 years!

What this may mean if the bill is signed into law:
- our entire food safety system will be change immensely
- more government inspections and oversight of food manufacturers
- better monitoring of imported foods
- the FDA will have a greater ability to recall contaminated foods.... astonishly (and frighteningly), currently even Class 1 (potentially fatal) recalls are voluntary and the FDA has no authority to force food producers to recall their contaminated items
- for the first time, this bill would let the FDA impose civil and criminal penalties and to implement mandatory food quarantines

While those are obviously positive steps, there are some downfalls to this bill. It's very possible that lobbyists for the livestock, poultry, and egg industries will work to ensure that they are exempt from the bill's provisions.

I like this quote from Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), one of the co-sponsors of the bill: "5,000 people die each year from contaminated food. We went to war with Iraq when 3,000 Americans showed up for work and were killed in a terrorist attack."

I urge you all to continue this debate and to raise awareness whenever and wherever possible, until this bill is turned into a law!
On another note, I wanted to link back to a very insightful posting by the wonderful Gena over at You can find this particular posting here. As a raw foods counselor in NYC, Gena eloquently speaks about the negative pressure and attention from friends and family that vegetarians, vegans, raw foodists, or anyone trying out a food lifestyle that diverges from the Standard American Diet often face.

Here is a snippet:
"When I became a vegan, I was shocked at the level of discomfort that my lifestyle seemed to provoke in other people. I was expecting curiosity, ignorance, and perhaps some teasing. But I was astounded to find that not eating animal products could provoke so much hostility.

I shouldn't have been. It was all a repetition of the antogism I encountered when I started to cut back on drinking in my early twenties....Certain "friends" seemed personally offended that I wasn't interested in drinking or getting drunk anymore - so much that my sobriety became a marked source of tension between us.... This was never a problem with friends who had a healthy relationship with alcohol and still isn't; they didn't care that I wasn't drinking, and why should they have? They drank moderately and happily and for the right reasons, so they had no reason to be discomfited by someone who had a different type of relationship with the sauce. But here were a few friends and acquaintances who seemed disproportionately put off, and it goes without saying that they were the ones who seemed to drink too much, or for too long, or too often, or perhaps out of social pressure.

This is not a complicated or revelatory psychological lesson: peer pressure and teasing (not to mention bigotry and hate) are nearly always the by-products of insecurity."

I encourage you all to read this, and other postings by Gena! I've learned a great deal from her - and couldn't live without her carrot-avocado bisque ;)

Todays Gratitude Journal - that I almost forgot to do, yet again!:
1. I got to spend time with my parents and all 3 grandparents this weekend
2. I caught up on my reading - I'm almost finished reading a fascinating book about childhood trauma and how to work with these children from a therapist's point of view
3. I'm proud of myself for ordering my fabulously tasty vegan salad at the restaurant today and had no shame in doing so! It was awesome and I'm glad I didn't order something I didn't want, "just cuz"
4. It sucks that my computer is shot, but the prospect of getting a new computer is kind of exciting!


  1. I'm pretty skeptical about the prospect of major changes in our food industry. I think you are right about lobbyists working to exempt certain industries from the bill's provisions. It's pretty disheartening. But, I suppose we should be happy that a movie like Food Inc has surfaced.

  2. Wow, I really want to see that movie. I think it is so important to focus on the food we eat.n Great post, thanks for the info!

  3. Great post- i'll be checking out the link to Gena's blog straight after this!

    It seems like you are doing so well with the high raw eats..i'm really happy for you and really inspired by your motivation to eat well!

  4. Great post! I actually STILL haven't seen the movie. But, I did read skinny bitch and I was surprised by some of the info I read about the FDA. Happy Running :-)

  5. I cannot thank you enough for the shout! Thank you, thank you. I am so glad that my words were inspiring :)