To make an omelet, you gotta break some eggs — and half a billion eggs would make a mighty big omelet!
That's how many the Food and Drug Administration has recalled after salmonella contamination was found in the products of two massive egg factories in Iowa. Once again, what we have here is a sickening example of the price we pay for two inherently disastrous policies foisted on us by corporate profiteers.
First is the laissez-fairyland ideology that's been turned into official policy during the past three decades, especially in the last 10 years. These theorists decry all regulation of industry and demonize the very idea of government. Wall Street's collapse and BP's Gulf oil catastrophe are god-awful products of the ideologues — and now we find their mess in our breakfast.
Who in government is responsible for inspecting the factories to see that the billions of eggs they roll out don't poison us? No one. In 1999, Bill Clinton proposed such safety inspections to eliminate salmonella in eggs by 2010. So, what happened? Industry lobbyists flocked to Washington and stalled the rules, then came the anti-regulatory Bush regime preaching the gospel of "voluntary" regulation.
The second disastrous policy is unrestrained corporate giantism. Wall Street has its "too-big-to-fail" model, and agribusiness has its "too-big-to-control" model.
These outfits cram millions of chickens into egg-production cages. The conditions are nasty, and diseases are a constant reality. When a salmonella outbreak occurs, it's not confined to a few chickens, it sweeps throughout the factory.
What's a consumer to do? Buy organic, locally produced eggs from small farms that treat chickens right — you'll not only get eggs that are safe, but also extra-nutritious and incomparably delicious.
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. He will speak at CC's Cornerstone Arts Center at 4:45 p.m. on Sept. 17, and at a labor dinner afterward. See p. 8 for more details.
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