Ever wonder what this food fiasco is costing us? You and me? Taxpayers? Well, the Economist recently assembled these jaw-dropping food safety stats in a Farm to Fork article in their October 9th issue:
1. There are 26,000 food poisoning cases per 100,000 Americans, every year (an eye-popping 26% of the population).
2. Compare that to only 3,400 cases in the UK, and just 1,200 in France. Stunning.
3. 76 million Americans become ill with food poisoning. That's as if every child in America were to get sick. All 75 million of them. And then some.
4. Insufficient food safety is costing the US $35 billion a year (as a benchmark, the entire 2009 budget for the FDA was only $2.4 billion).
According to the article, "the wave of food scares that has swept America over the past few years has caused a crisis in the country's $1 trillion food industry," and is resulting in a food fight of epic proportions.
With Michael Pollan on the frontline, we've also got Bill Gates touring the globe, espousing the benefits of "technofood" as Chief Technology Advocate of food's operating system (Monsanto's genetically engineered, patented and licensed, biotechnology food proteins).
While the recent introduction of "technofood" and the insertion of foreign proteins into our food supply (which began in 1994) has benefited agrichemical shareholders, 300 million stakeholders in the American food supply are seeing inflammatory reactions to food at record rates and the landscape of children's health has changed.
So, perhaps as we listen to these men, we should also listen to the voices of our children as the EPA calls for grant solicitations to study these genetically engineered plant-induced food allergies, and pause and observe the unforeseen consequences that these foreign proteins appear to be presenting in the 1 in3 American children with autism, allergies, ADHD or asthma.
Before proceeding further with "technofood" and its licensed-for-profit and novel operating system, perhaps we should stop and listen to our "canaries in the coalmine," who may be trying to sound food's "Dange-ometer."
Robyn O'Brien is the founder of AllergyKids, which is working to help people protect the health of their families. She has been named one of the 2009 Women Who Shaped the World, along with Michelle Obama, by Shape Magazine.
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