Can we afford high cost of cheap food?


The recent recall of one-half billion eggs is a cautionary tale of Factory Farms and CAFOs. Two Iowa factory farms involved in the recall of eggs linked to 1,300 cases of salmonella poisoning across the country have ties to an Iowa business routinely cited for state and federal law violations.

Where are the inspectors charged with keeping food safe? Is this another example where business gets so big, they can violate laws and regulations with no accountability? Are these factory farms too big to fail? When should the factory farms responsible for the salmonella outbreak and owned by Austin “Jack” DeCoster be shut down for good? Salmonella poisoning is life-threatening, especially to those with weakened immune systems. 

No matter how scientifically factory farmers manage their livestock, pig or poultry operation, these operations have seismic consequences:

• Methane gas is produced, which eats holes in the ozone layer of the atmosphere;


• Manure containing growth hormones and antibiotics present a threat to the quality of ground water; and,

• The subsequent promotion of the heavy eating of meat, poultry or eggs laden with growth hormones and antibiotics poses serious health risks to humans.

Can the American consumer afford the high cost of cheap food?

The technological revolution has advanced faster than our ability to master responsibly that technology. The BP disaster in the gulf demonstrates that reality.  As importantly, the current egg recall with all the past violations the farms have received highlights the ineffectiveness of state and federal agencies charged with monitoring them.

So, our potential for environmental disasters, both locally and globally, continues to move toward a tipping point. Once reached, we will no longer be able to reverse the consequences.

Mary Orr


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