08 June 2011

Farm-to-Fork Fail

Reason: Hit & Run | Ronald Bailey | Organic Folks Don Their Tin Foil Hats To Explain Outbreak of Deadly E. Coli Bacteria

Nearly a score of people have died from infections from a deadly strain of E. coli bacteria in Germany. Thousands more have been sickened. German health authorities at first blamed Spanish cucumbers and more recently organic bean sprouts. Both appear to have been exonerated and the search for the source of contamination goes on. [...]

In an email, one biotechnologist notes this
Europe's vaunted 'farm to fork' labeling and traceability system, which increases consumer confidence by allowing end user freedom of choice, and tracking to quickly identify and remove from the system any problematic foods, is only applied to GM foods, for which there have never been any documented cases of harm.
That is tragically funny to me.  Funny as something with a body count of innocent people can be, anyway.  But then, I have always loved the black humor, and this particular irony is outright fuliginous.

I must second Ilkka's call for imagining the holy hullaballoo zee germans would be raising had 13 people died from nuclear power.  They're already claiming they'll be shuttering ever reactor in the country in favor of  — wait, in favor of what? pixie dust turbines? I don't think they sorted that part out yet.  But just imagine what they would do if plutonium was half as deadly as bean sprouts.

PS I can only assume that the GM-only food tracking system is the result of a combination of luddism, Green pseudo-religious observance, anti-business sentiment, nostalgia for a non-existent past, and a deep, deep confusion about what "chemicals" are.

This sort of confusion:
I also get very interesting responses when I ask if children have allergies. Not long ago I had parents refuse to give their wheezing boy any asthma medication because he was allergic to chemicals, like in medicine, but not allergic to anything organic. I refrained from discussing organic chemistry and that almost all modern medications are organic compounds. There was no future in that conversation.

I did, however, review the results of their son's allergy tests showing reactions to moulds, house dust mites, and the organic family cat. These concerned carbon-based life forms replied that all the results REALLY showed was an allergy to the chemicals used in making the needle used for skin prick testing.
That's from the blog of Doctor Grumpy, who I have recently added to my feed reader at the suggestion of Randomscrub.

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