Organic Consumers Association

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Cook Organic not the Planet Campaign

Safe, Organic Food Too Expensive? Eat Less Meat

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page, Food Safety page, Farm Issues page, and our Factory Farm page.


In an email exchange with Richard Raymond over my recent article on the massive Cargill recall of salmonella-tainted ground turkey, the former head of food safety at USDA warned me that a likely result of tightened food safety laws would be "higher food prices, making meat and poultry unaffordable sources of protein to some."

To which I replied: "I have no problem with that."

This exchange, combined with the writing of a few colleagues lately on the alleged conundrum caused by expensive, ethically raised animals, made me realize that some good food advocates are making the wrong arguments.

For example, Jane Black, writing for The Atlantic, lamented last week about $8-a-dozen organic eggs at her local farmers market in New York City, while Mother Jones food blogger Tom Philpott (sympathetic to Black) cites research showing pigs could be raised sustainably and humanely for only slightly more than conventionally tortured ones, and if the bad guys internalized environmental costs, shoppers would pay less for the good meat than conventional. While this all may be quite interesting to foodies, for me it misses the bigger picture.

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