Foodborne Illness

Just was reading an article in Scientific American (April 2012) that reports the U.S. sees 48 million illnesses, 128, 000 hospitalizations and 3000 deaths each year from foodborne organisms. The European Union had 48,964 cases, 46 deaths in 2009 related to foodborne illness. A google search indicates the relative populations were 405 million for the U.S. and 399 million for the E.U. in 2009.

So, the U.S. has 2.61 times more hospitalizations and 65 times more death. Shall I repeat that shocking comparison? The U.S. has more than twice as many hospitalizations and SIXTY-FIVE times more death from our food systems. Where do you go with that sort of statistic? Our food system is not safe, in the U.S. This is certainly a result of the limited processors and the mono-cultures of big-ag. But it’s also more of the problem that no one is going to jail for killing people. From the CEO, maybe even the board of directors on down, of these big corporations, we must have accountability and people punished when they violate health standards.

At the same time, a greater education of consumers has to happen. Rather than the mantra of “eat healthy”, we need to emphasize “eat local, from farmers you know”.

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