September 4, 2008

Regulations & Food

Category: Feasting :: Permalink

Joel Salatin asks: “What is the biggest impediment to your being able to eat farm friendly food?”  It’s not that there aren’t enough organic supermarkets, he says, or that Wal-Mart doesn’t carry food fresh from the farm.  It’s not that there aren’t enough government grants to support alternative programs.  Here’s his answer to his own question: “government regulations that deny farmers and food buyers from doing business without passing the transaction through a gauntlet of prohibitive requirements” (Holy Cows and Hog Heaven, pp. 102-103).

He gives some examples:

1.  You can go deer hunting, shoot a deer on a 70 degree day, toss it on your gas guzzler as a hood ornament and parade around town all afternoon before returning to the back stoop to dice it up and feet it to your buddies and their children anyway you choose, but you can’t dress a beef steer and sell one T-bone to your uncle (p. 103).

2.  You can eat sushi in a landlocked state and buy it from anybody, but you can’t buy raw milk from a neighbor’s cow even when you stand and watch it being milked (pp. 103-104).

3.   Scallions can be washed in non-potable water and sold in fast food restaurants, but a neighbor can’t sell you canned tomatoes at the farmers’ market (p. 104).

He sums up:

The bottom line for me is this: If you want to come to my farm, ask around, look around, smell around, and make a voluntary informed choice to patronize my product, it’s none of the government’s business.  Period.  But how did we get to the point where such sensible freedom would be denied in the land of the free and the home of the brave? (p. 104).

There’s some answer to that question in the rest of the chapter, and I suspect there’s more in Salatin’s newest book, Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal, but it’s certainly a question worth pondering.

Posted by John Barach @ 2:48 pm | Discuss (1)

One Response to “Regulations & Food”

  1. Duane Vandenberg Says:

    The common sense idea of buying from your neighbour and eating fresh has gone by the wayside with common sense in general, mostly because society in general insists that someone has to be responsible for everything that goes wrong. If your buddy feeds you undercooked, diseased deer and you get sick from it, who’s responsible- transpose that onto the bigger picture and imagine somebody selling milk at a farmer’s market, and somebody getting sick from who knows what- who we gonna sue? The government is busy trying to protect us from ourselves- the best way to do that would be to put an end to frivolous lawsuits and return to a common sense buyer beware philosophy, but I can’t see that happening.


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