Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The High Cost of Low Price

By now, a lot of people the world over have seen the movie, "WALMART: The High Cost of Low Price" so I won't go into all the details here.

A lot of people are saying, and I humbly agree, that even Sam Walton would be disappointed to see what has become of retail stores across America -- including Wal-Mart.

Think about this a moment ...as you stroll down the aisles in any retail superstore these days, how many items can you find that are Made In The USA?

As if 21.7 million pounds of burger being recalled were not enough to shake things up, the ongoing recalls from "that other" corner on supply are pushing the threat level to public health significantly higher. Even Boy Scout badges are being recalled, for heaven's sake! (see this story - Scouts Not Prepared for Lead Badges)

Meanwhile, legislation right here at home seems to be bent on lining the pockets of the profiteers ...and to heck with public health and safety altogether... or at least, that's how it appears to me.

The manure bill designed (IMHO) to protect large industrial farms is bad enough, but did you see the mercury thing? (learn more here)

And just wait till you find out what's going on with almonds. The new pasteurization laws put in place have more than a few people upset. I'll quote William Campbell Douglass II, M.D. on that story as follows:
But perhaps the biggest hit will be taken by the smaller almond operations. Truth be told, even though all of the problems originated with the biggest almond industries, this little piece of legislation could spell the end of the line for organic and small-time almond operations. The minimum cost of the pasteurization equipment is $500,000 - a hefty price that not many smaller businesses can afford. Shipping the almonds off to be pasteurized has its own road bumps, not the least of which includes higher prices tied up in transportation costs.

This is an awful lot of fuss, especially considering the fact that nuts are not likely to pose a threat in and of themselves. It's when manure or other fecal matter gets transferred to the crops that contamination can occur. A better solution is one that would regulate the manmade carelessness that's the source of all these problems to begin with. But with today's Band-aid mentality, the likelihood of that happening is almost nil.
Yeah, there's that "perfectly safe manure (NOT)" sliding it's way through our food supply again.

By the way, in case you didn't know it, propylene oxide has been banned in Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. The pasteurization method the FDA is recommending requires the use of propylene oxide.

It's a recognized carcinogen. A pollution information site called Scorecard says that propylene oxide is in the top 10 percent of compounds that are hazardous to human health and to the ecosystem. In six out of twelve ranking systems, it's ranked as one of the most hazardous chemicals.

Meanwhile the Big AG groups get richer, and the rest...?

As a quick aside, if this source is correct, did you know that the top 1 per cent of Americans now accounted for 22 per cent of national wealth, compared with 9 per cent in 1970?

Go figure!

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