In the past decade, the stories about food recalls seem endless and have included tainted eggs, peanut butter, ground beef and even spinach. And, just last week, a case of “atypical” BSE (Mad Cow Disease) found in a dairy cow in Central California has been all over the news.
Both the USDA and the CDFA (California Department of Food and agriculture) have repeatedly assured the public that our food supply is safe, that this animal was never intended to enter the food supply, and that you can’t get BSE from milk, and that its detection is in fact, proof that the surveillance programs are working.
But, if you are like me and just don’t trust that it is safe, and are tired of not having food labeled or identified as to where it comes from, what’s in it, and how it is produced when you shop at the super market, then you might consider changing the way you eat and working towards changing our food system.
While having food sold in retail outlets labeled is important, to me the most important way we can have control over what we eat is by eating as locally as possible.
As I have written about numerous times here on Care2, there are many benefits to buying and eating locally grown food. It tastes better and is fresher, cuts down on transportation helping to protect the environment, and in the event that the worst does happen, it is much easier to identify the source of contamination from a local source.
Keeping your money in your own community makes a difference to local economies. In turn, by supporting the local economy you can support local food systems and local farmers, keeping them in business and preserving farmland.
An example of this comes from yet another group of Californians. They are seeking a way to support the most local of economies, home based food businesses. They have had success in getting Assembly Member Mike Gatto to introduce the California Homemade Food Act (AB 1616) to allow for the legal sale of safe homemade food products like baked goods, jams, and pickles. It unanimously passed the Assembly Committee on Health on April 17 and is moving forward.