The Inevitable Day is Here:
Welcome to the World of
Industrial Organic

Earthbound Farms (owned/controlled by Tanimura and Antle) Organic Spinach may be contaminated with e. coli. One person has died.

Wendy’s Homestyle Garlic Croutons may be contaminated with salmonella.

The spinach has been distributed in both the United States (over 20 different states) and Canada.

Yet another reason to buy local, fresh foods and prepare (and wash!) them yourself.

Industrial organic has many of the same difficulties as any other industrial food chain. Mistakes are propogated widely and have little actual impact on the producer. Do you think Tanimura and Antle are going to actually change any of their farming practices? At least if I buy my spinach from the farmer at the farmer’s market tomorrow and it makes me sick, I’m pretty damned sure that small, local farmer is going to do his or her best to make sure that it isn’t going to happen again by changing how things are done. Earthbound will write off the loss and get back to business as usual.

Not to mention what’s going to happen when oil gets too expensive to ship spinach in nitrogen-filled plastic bags from California. Will there be any spinach farmers left in southern Ontario to buy my food from? Or have they all been run out of business by cheap industrial food?

And why are farmers going under at a record pace while giant agricultural corporations are posting record profits? There is something wrong with a capitalist system that allows this to happen. Our food supply is in the hands of megacorporations whose first concern is shareholder profits. Who needs terrorists to threaten us? Just as the Soviet Union collapsed from the failure of its system to meet the needs of its citizens, without any intervention from the West needed, so too do our capitalist democracies have within them the seeds of their own destruction. No help from bin Laden necessary.

That 50-acre “hobby” farm is looking better and better.

Sangha!

We’re a group! The Wednesday evening Zen sitting group now has *two* regular members (me and Rob) and tonight we were joined by a third person. Woo hoo!

Sitting alone these many months has been a difficult practice, but I’m glad that I did it. It feels so nice to sit with people again!

We had a thunderstorm roll through. As I listened to the rain and the cars whizzing by I wondered why rain and thunder are “good” noise and cars and trucks are “bad” noise. And then it didn’t matter–distractions were distractions and then they weren’t.

But I still like thunderstorms. :)

Release the Genetically-Engineered Hounds!

File under oops:

Government of Canada Plant Biosafety Office

Genetically Engineered Rice Unintentionally Released in the United States

On August 18, 2006, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that trace amounts of a line of genetically engineered rice (LLRICE601), developed by Bayer CropScience had been unintentionally released in long grain rice in the United States. This rice has been genetically-engineered to be tolerant to a herbicide. There is currently no evidence that LLRICE601 has been imported into Canada.

In advance of the announcement, the CFIA and Health Canada, in consultation with the USDA and Bayer CropScience, conducted preliminary assessments of the risks that this incident posed to Canadian food and feed and the environment. The assessments determined that it is unlikely that low levels of LLRICE601 pose a risk to human health, livestock or the environment.

LLRICE601 is genetically very similar to another type of genetically engineered rice ( LLRICE62) which has been thoroughly assessed and approved for feed and food use in both Canada and the US However, this line of rice is not used commercially in Canada and the US While there is currently no evidence that LLRICE601 has been imported into Canada, the Government of Canada continues to work with the USDA to actively gather information about the distribution of this product.

I particularly like the line “it is unlikely that low levels of LLRICE601 pose a risk to human health, livestock or the environment.” It’s also unlikely that any single person will win the lottery, but people win every day. This is a lottery that I for one do not want to win.

And what’s up with this genetically-engineered rice LLRICE62? How can I know if I’m unintentionally buying this franken-food? Time to write the Canadian Food Inspection Agency:

How can I tell if the above genetically-engineered rice (LLRICE62) is included in the bag of rice that I buy in the grocery store?

I do not want genetically-engineered food of any kind in my home, my body, or the bodies of my family. How is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ensuring my right to know about the food that I eat?

I look forward to your thoughtful reply.

Yours truly,

I’ll report back on their response.