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S(ch)ickening
January 9, 2007 1:39 AM   Subscribe

83 percent of fresh, whole broiler chickens in the U.S. contain campylobacter or salmonella, the leading bacterial causes of foodborne disease. This is a disturbing increase from the 49 percent that tested positive in 2003. What’s more, most of the bacteria showed resistance to one or more antibiotics, and more expensive premium brands were actually more likely to contain salmonella. Is the problem factory farming? Rampant antibiotic use? Or are chickens just really gross?
posted by kyrademon (59 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
49%, 83% or even 99%, you have to acknoweldge, yeah, they live in a cesspool.

Or maybe the farmers are getting lazy. "Well, if they're going to be broiled, they'll be okay anyway."
posted by portisfreak at 2:07 AM on January 9, 2007


Just google "bush meat safety", and you'll see why. And no, I'm not talking about eating chimps.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:26 AM on January 9, 2007


This started becoming a major problem because of Reagan. Some things should be regulated. Adopting "deregulation" as a universally worthy goal, as he did, is going to cause things like this.


posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:47 AM on January 9, 2007


Damn there goes my diet of raw chicken.
posted by srboisvert at 3:04 AM on January 9, 2007


This started becoming a major problem because of Reagan

Calling him a douche would be a disservice to feminine hygiene products everywhere.
posted by IronLizard at 3:07 AM on January 9, 2007


I'm glad I'm a vegetarian.
posted by Violet Hour at 3:09 AM on January 9, 2007


*shits his pants*
posted by matteo at 3:11 AM on January 9, 2007


What's the big deal with "bacteria" is evil. Everytime the damn Clorox clean everything (and thus making your children weak pussies) ...how many people truely have issues with raw meat, since 99.9999999% cook it properly? It's like the damn west nile virus, at some point everyone was convinced that every mosquito was out to kill mankind. I think that food poisoning is overrated. Granted, I am sure I'd feel different if I ever had it but if I live to 75 and get it once and with the history I have of eating raw cookie dough (it's chicken related right????) without issues I'd consider that pretty damn good odds.

Cook your chicken. Problem solved. I can only see paranoia about bacteria in a restaurant area, or cooking for other people (since you assume some sort of liability)
posted by evilelvis at 3:43 AM on January 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Evilelvis, your comment is much improved by simply including only the second paragraph. Word to the wise.

I had campylobacter poisoning--it's an awesome fun time.*

* Assuming you enjoy shitting continuously, including into a sampling pot so they can figure out what antibiotic to give you. You haven't lived till you've squatted over a container in the bathtub while doing a tubgirl imitation...
posted by maxwelton at 3:52 AM on January 9, 2007


I'm glad I'm a vegetarian.

Enjoy your spinach.
posted by srboisvert at 3:52 AM on January 9, 2007 [6 favorites]


I can only see paranoia about bacteria in a restaurant area,

Ah, so you've inadvertently hit the nail on the head. It's not the chicken we're cooking at home that's the problem. Who wants to die because some minimum wage teenager pulls the chicken out of the fryer too quick, despite the beeping timers?
posted by IronLizard at 3:52 AM on January 9, 2007


how many people truely have issues with raw meat, since 99.9999999% cook it properly?

Lots of people, it seems.
Salmonellosis is one of the most common and widely distributed foodborne diseases. It constitutes a major public health burden and represents a significant cost in many countries. Millions of human cases are reported worldwide every year and the disease results in thousands of deaths.
Hope that you don't get it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:58 AM on January 9, 2007


ok I see everyone's point, but I still think that considering the sheer amount of food eaten in this country the problem seems pretty low. Our (speaking about the US here) food safety policies however, must be working!

I just took an opportunity to include the Clorox comment because it was bacteria related and I hate their damn commercials. Wiping kids toys down every time they use em?! Sheesh. But anyway, I am going to go downstairs and lick the goo off the chicken breast I left on the counter overnight.
posted by evilelvis at 4:03 AM on January 9, 2007


lick the goo off the chicken breast I left on the counter overnight.

Aslong as it was cooked properly to begin with, there will be little chance of salmonella poisoning. There are, however, other bacteria that have probably taken root by now. Good luck.
posted by IronLizard at 4:07 AM on January 9, 2007


I still think that considering the sheer amount of food eaten in this country the problem seems pretty low. Our (speaking about the US here) food safety policies however, must be working!

Perhaps you should think again.
Reported and estimateda illnesses, frequency of foodborne transmission, and hospitalization and case-fatality rates for known foodborne pathogens, United States

----------

----------

Grand Total 38,629,641
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:09 AM on January 9, 2007


I had food poisoning once. I consider it a plus because it was the first time my wife's cats talked to me.

We're much closer now.
posted by Mick at 4:09 AM on January 9, 2007


Hey, but I agree with the 'don't sterilize everything' concept. It just doesn't work for this particular scenario. Salmonella is dangerous shit. It's not your usual homegrown bacteria.
posted by IronLizard at 4:11 AM on January 9, 2007


There are still small family farms who raise meat right. Through my CSA (google community supported agriculture), I can order real free-range (don't trust supermarket labelling) chickens, eggs, grass-fed beef, nitrite-free bacon, farmstead cheese, etc. It costs more, but that just means we eat less meat of higher quality.

I read a great argument once that the humane response to factory farming should not be going vegtarian, but aggressively supporting farmers who do the right thing.

Oh, and the hot dogs are good like you wouldn't believe!
posted by rikschell at 4:17 AM on January 9, 2007


I always just assumed that chicken meat has bacteria in it.

What about irradiating the chicken before putting it on shelves? Would that harm the taste?
posted by delmoi at 4:36 AM on January 9, 2007


Chicken is the best justification for anti-bacterial soap I know. I love the stuff, but the moment I'm done placeing it in the baking dish, I'm at the anti-bacterial soap.

Eggs are amazing things. They make pancakes!

The idea of raising chickens in cruel environments is very sad. Chickens give us a great deal of goodness. Let's treat them decent before we kill and eat them.
posted by Goofyy at 4:54 AM on January 9, 2007


more reasons why not to eat meat.

I am a vegetarian because it makes me feel healthier, and I fully support other peoples' choices to eat meat -- but sometimes, well, eeuuuggghhh
posted by cubby at 5:02 AM on January 9, 2007


"Cook your chicken. Problem solved." is actually a dangerous oversimplification, evilelvis. The problem is that when you prepare chicken in your home, every single thing or surface it comes into contact with before it's thoroughly cooked may get contaminated. People shouldn't have to treat their food like biohazard as they prepare it.

This also means that everywhere you go where chicken is served you have to not only trust that the chicken is prepared properly-- you have to trust that all the other food has been prepared without being contaminated as well. That's a pretty huge leap of faith, IMO.
posted by hermitosis at 5:09 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, they can put whatever they want into my chicken... staphlyococcus, salmonella, AIDS.... I'm just going to cook it, right?
posted by tehloki at 5:31 AM on January 9, 2007


What about irradiating the chicken before putting it on shelves? Would that harm the taste?

Not a bit.
posted by spasm at 5:49 AM on January 9, 2007


People shouldn't have to treat their food like biohazard as they prepare it.

Why not? Some things we do every day can be dangerous if we aren't safe. I could burn down my house lighting a candle, I could spill gasoline when I fill up my car, I could back over the neighbor going to work in the morning, I could slash my face when I shave.

And yes, I could get sick or get my family and friends sick if I don't handle food correctly.

Don't cross contaminate. Clean any surfaces that touched raw meat. Wash your hands after you've handled it, making sure to wipe down the faucet handle afterwards. Teach your kids to do the same. Food safety should be taught in elementary school.

Even a chicken raised in Happy Clean Free-Range Family Fun Farm can have cooties. Factory farm chicken even more so. Cook your food and clean up afterwards. Is that so difficult?

As was said, it's the restaurants who are the real danger. Personally though, I feel safer eating broiled chicken than an uncooked salad tossed by a kid who didn't wash his hands after he pooped. Anyone who has worked food service can tell you horror stories, the least of which involve undercooked chicken.
posted by bondcliff at 5:55 AM on January 9, 2007


more reasons why not to eat meat.

Cubby, can you explain your visceral reaction against cloned meat?

What if I told you many of the fruits you eat are cloned as well?
posted by peeedro at 6:09 AM on January 9, 2007


delmoi, the problem with relying on irradiation (as pointed out in Fast Food Nation) is that already-low industry standards would relax even further if they knew that simply radiating everything would make it safe for consumption. Thus you would wind up with an even greater quantity of shit in the meat (sparkly clean and irradiated though it may be).
posted by hermitosis at 6:27 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dudes already know about chickens.
posted by I Foody at 6:32 AM on January 9, 2007


Why not? Some things we do every day can be dangerous if we aren't safe. I could burn down my house lighting a candle, I could spill gasoline when I fill up my car, I could back over the neighbor going to work in the morning, I could slash my face when I shave.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the whole point of progress and technology to try to gradually eliminate these risks? I mean instead of adding to them by making more and more mundane daily tasks life-threatening? Hence electric lights, automatic gas pumps, rear-view mirrors, and safety razors?

Besides, messing with food is different. You can always decide that shaving or driving are too great a risk and stop doing them-- but we all gotta eat. Going back to a state when missteps in food preparation were commonly life-threatening plunges us back to which century? And not for the lack of science and technology, might I add, but because of the greed for a few extra cents of profit per bird.
posted by hermitosis at 6:39 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Not to turn this into an AskMeFi, but is there something about plastic vs. wood cutting boards for meat/fish/poultry? I have only the one wooden cutting board and all the chlorine bleach money can buy, so I assume (tshyeahright) I'm OK. I think I'll get some antibacterial hand soap to keep on the kitchen sink while I'm about it.

(Love my chicken-sour-cream enchiladas, but they're not worth turning into a double-ended fire hose.)

On preview: My dad grew up on one of a group of communally supporting farms (everybody was related anyhow) and the only hogs they raised were for their local consumption...boy, those pigs were friggin' pampered. My dad hated commercially raised pork and covered it with horseradish in order to choke it down.
posted by pax digita at 6:59 AM on January 9, 2007


Score one for red meat.
posted by danb at 7:27 AM on January 9, 2007


I'm curious how much of this is related to the actual farms where the chickens are grown and how much is related to the processing plants where they are killed and prepped?

Given my choices, I'd rather spend a day on the chicken farm (and I have - most of my childhood, adolescence and teenage years were spent on or around chicken farms) than 10 minute at a processing plant. *shudder*
posted by smallerdemon at 7:35 AM on January 9, 2007


Yeah.... bovine spongiform encephalopathy is so much more fun to say than salmonella.

Plus it screws with the brain, so it's kinda like a zombie. And everyone loves zombies, right?
posted by Talanvor at 7:43 AM on January 9, 2007


What's the big deal with "bacteria" is evil. Everytime the damn Clorox clean everything (and thus making your children weak pussies) ...how many people truely have issues with raw meat, since 99.9999999% cook it properly? It's like the damn west nile virus, at some point everyone was convinced that every mosquito was out to kill mankind. I think that food poisoning is overrated.

evilelvis, I don't mean to pile on, but the sheer amount of misinformation and lousy risk assessment here scares me.

First, yes, experts agree that a no-bacteria fetish is a bit silly, and some even think there's an added risk in using anti-bacterial soap all the time. Bacteria are living species and are capable of evolving, and after a century of medical antibiotic usage, we're finding some of them have gotten pretty nasty.

But with salmonella and camphylobacter, we're talking about the two major causes of food-borne illness in this country. They're nasty already -- and until recently it wasn't understood that many things like the "24 hour flu" are simply food poisoning. Yes, from undercooking raw meat. Now, we can use antibiotic soap at home and we have the problem where we help evolve a stronger bug, or we can prevent the birds from becoming contaminated in the first place. That's the CR message here.

With West Nile, as with any new disease, sometimes there's more alarm than warranted. In this case it's a nasty virus that looks just like the (real) influenza in early stages and unlike influenza is prone to take down even healthy people. We never had to worry about this level of disease in mosquitos -- in temperate climates -- before, we merely viewed them as annoyances. Now we have a public health concern. Is it in every mosquito? Well, if your state is affected (and I think just about all of them are now), that's the safest assumption. Ultimately there will be enough people who get the virus, survive a mild case, and develop some immunity, but that will take a while. I wouldn't discount it out of hand, nor would I hide in my house forever.

It's like deer ticks and Lyme disease -- a potentially very serious illness that can be avoided or minimized with some simple precautions and early treatment. If you view getting that information as being told to run around like, well, a chicken with your head cut off, that is your problem. An attitude that all public health information should be viewed as alarmism is not helpful (of course the media do not help much here, but you don't need to be as dumb as the media).

I still think that considering the sheer amount of food eaten in this country the problem seems pretty low

That's actually the precise problem. The volume of food means industrialization of how it gets to us. Industrialization, frighteningly, seems to lead to cross-contamination as a matter of course. We have an excellent public health system in this country, but we have very, very poor regulation of food processing, and as we have seen with recent spinach and whatnot events, it is biting us in the butt in a very big way.

Unfortunately the only way to handle these things when they get this big is to get legislative action. Consumers increasing their vigilance a little bit -- even if it is permanent, which it usually isn't -- doesn't help when the factory slaughter is doubling its level of contamination to, in a practical sense, all of the product you get. It makes brand irrelevant. It makes grocery store irrelevant. It makes consumer precautions irrelevant.
posted by dhartung at 7:50 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Eggs come out the same chute as the turds.

Just sayin'.
posted by flabdablet at 8:08 AM on January 9, 2007


And you kiss your mother with that mouth?
posted by hal9k at 8:29 AM on January 9, 2007


> Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the whole point of progress and technology to try to gradually eliminate these risks?

That's one goal, but there are two. And unfortunately there is a fundamental conflict of interest between producing food in a responsible, craftsmanly way to eliminate risk, on the one hand, and frantically churning out enough food for 6.6 billion of us on the other. Population is still increasing (the World Population Clock predicts 8 billion in 2020.) I expect most posters in this kind of thread would agree that all food should be produced in a way that is environmentally sustainable, safe for the consumers, and humane for the creatures farmed, and the (unknown, but very large) number of people who would go without food and die off under such a production regime represents an acceptable sacrifice in the interest of safe and pleasant consuming for the rest.
posted by jfuller at 8:37 AM on January 9, 2007


lousy risk assessment here scares me.

I hardly consider not worrying every day about what I eat lousy risk assessment. I also don't freak out if I get bit by a mosquito. The simple fact is a piano is probably more like to drop on my head and kill me (one of my clients has an office under a furniture store with a bunch of pianos on the upper floor) Well maybe not now with food poisoning since it seems to affect more people than I thought. That is surprising data to me! I guess I just naturally am safe about what I prepare and how I do it, without giving it much thought. Restaurants would be quickly out of business if things were as bad as they are made out to be, and if the human body was so puny and weak. We survived mammoths and world wars, I think we can survive the attack of chicken juice.
posted by evilelvis at 8:50 AM on January 9, 2007


Calling him a douche would be a disservice to feminine hygiene products everywhere.

Not really, since so-called "feminine hygiene" products like douche are one of the very worst things you could do your cooter.
posted by agregoli at 8:52 AM on January 9, 2007


dhartung: Much as we need legislation, I would argue that the consumer CAN do quite a bit, at least if he/she has access to farmers' markets and/or CSA. Get as much of your food as possible from a known source. Know your farmers. Make food personal. It can be done, and it's worth doing.
posted by rikschell at 9:14 AM on January 9, 2007


Restaurants would be quickly out of business if things were as bad as they are made out to be

Say! Who's up for some Taco Bell?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:21 AM on January 9, 2007


You don't eat raw chicken you fool! HAHAHA! All you have to do is cook the chicken to the proper temperature 170 degrees and remember to wash your hands! This post is actually pretty funny.
posted by j-urb at 9:37 AM on January 9, 2007


Eggs come out the same chute as the turds.

This is true.
posted by j-urb at 9:40 AM on January 9, 2007


I propose we start eating people. We'll start with Christian infants.
posted by davy at 10:19 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


pax digita: good info to be had on cutting boards is here: http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/infxtra/infcuttingboard.shtm

To summarize, wooden boards are more sanitary, over the long haul, than plastic.
posted by birdthing at 10:40 AM on January 9, 2007


I expect most posters in this kind of thread would agree that all food should be produced in a way that is environmentally sustainable, safe for the consumers, and humane for the creatures farmed, and the (unknown, but very large) number of people who would go without food and die off under such a production regime represents an acceptable sacrifice in the interest of safe and pleasant consuming for the rest.

Wow. You're an idiot. We already produce way more foodstuffs than we need to feed our population. The reason people are starving is not for lack of food production, but for a lack of food distribution. The noble corporate farming concern is not churning out as much food as possible in order to feed the starving of the world, they are churning out food in order to make food production cheaper and their own profit margins higher. Oh, and another thing - you're an idiot. Idiot.
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:41 AM on January 9, 2007


Whenever I see any discussion of Salmonella or the risks of food poisoning, there's never any talk about the likelihood that it will occur. People think "presence of bacteria in raw chicken = gross, health hazard, run for the hills, go vegetarian."

How many individual bacteria actually wind up on the meat? How many survive the cooking process? How many individual bacteria have to be ingested to cause illness? How long will these bacteria survive on exposed surfaces, such as a cutting board? How many of them will survive? What are the odds that an infectious quantity of bacteria, once introduced to the kitchen, will survive on a cutting board, stick to a piece of meat, survive the cooking process, and be ingested in enough quantity to cause disease? What does the degree of antibiotic resistance matter considering most Salmonellosis infections are self-limiting?

Rational discussions of food safety are hard to come by, because the biggest proponents of these statistics are either trying to sell you a product, or trying to convince you to go vegetarian.

delmoi, the problem with relying on irradiation (as pointed out in Fast Food Nation) is that already-low industry standards would relax even further if they knew that simply radiating everything would make it safe for consumption. Thus you would wind up with an even greater quantity of shit in the meat (sparkly clean and irradiated though it may be).


I haven't read FFN, but this is a pretty lame explanation. So irradiated meat, which would be as close to "safe" as industrialized meat can realistically be, isn't good enough? I thought you really cared about the sick diarrheacs out there?
posted by Brian James at 11:52 AM on January 9, 2007


It troubles me how many people are still advocating the use of antibacterials.

Antibacterial soap and other products are pretty bad for you. Not only do these products NOT prevent you from any kind of bacteria-borne ailments, but they actually help you infect other folks, are making people (and the bacteria themselves) more drug resistant, they cause skin problems, and they are causing environmental harm with the runoff from the almost 1,000 antibacterial products available on the market today because the pesticide triclocarban, an active ingredient in many antibacterials - yes, youre washing your hands and your kids' toys and your food surfaces with a pesticide, folks - is turning up in sewage sludge in increasingly high proportions. Even more alarming, this crap is now present in up to 60 percent of our water supply.

Add to this the fact that a multitude of studies have shown that antibacterials are no more effective than regular old soap and water, which also tends to cost less. The AMA has called for FDA regulation of these products for a while now, since around 2000. (I can't be arsed to look up the original press release they made back then.)

People these days, especially Americans, have developed this insane bacteria phobia; all the while, they do nothing to educate themselves as to what bacteria actually is or why we need it. We are alive due in large part to beneficial bacteria, and our natural ability, as we grow, to develop immunities to harmful bacteria is largely removed when we use antibacterial products to the extent that many people are using them today. The more we use these products and allow our children to use them, the less resistant we are ourselves to bacteria and the more prone we become to illnesses we never would even have to worry about if we did not use these useless products in the first place.

This nonsensical and paranoid behaviour does the greatest disservice to the youngest among us; they have yet to develop all these natural immunities, and by encouraging the use of antibacterial products we are stripping their chances away to ever develop them. We are, in fact, making ourselves sicker and more prone to disease by using these things, and even worse we are condemning our kids to a lifetime of illnesses they'd never have to face if we'd just done the intelligent thing and left well enough alone instead of trying to sanitize our world of all germs (rather like the way we're sanitizing our news of all facts lately).

Antibacterial soaps and their ilk do not discriminate and only take out the harmful bacteria; they kill all bacteria. The harmful bacteria becomes more and more resistant to these agents and at the same time, we become less tolerant to these harmful bacteria because of the deliberate removal of our natural and healthy exposure to them. As a result, they get stronger, and we get weaker.

This is Darwinism on a mass scale.

I refuse to use any of this antibacterial crap. Want to kill pretty much ANY germ with NO fear of ever helping bacteria build up an immunity to it? Get a spray bottle and fill it with good old, cheap as hell, run of the mill isopropyl alcohol. Yes, that's right, folks - rubbing alcohol. It kills virtually all germs on contact. My vet uses it, most hospitals use it, kennels and rescues use it. It's far more effective than anything else you can buy, nothing can develop a tolerance to it, and it's a hell of a lot less expensive.

For your hands, use regular old soap and water. A good 10-15 second scrubbing with soap and water - remember the area under your nails as well - is effective at killing virtually any bacteria that you might pick up. If you have been handling something particularly nasty, for instance if you are handling an injured or ill animal, or dealing with raw chicken, eggs, pork, etc. in your kitchen, just spray rubbing alcohol on your hands first and then wash - then use a moisturizer when youre done to avoid the nasty skin problems (like dry skin or eczema, with long-term repeated use).

Rubbing alcohol evaporates pretty much on contact and takes those nasty bacteria with it. You dont have to worry about residue on your counters poisoning you at a later time. You dont have to worry about bacteria building up a resistance to it. The only thing you have to worry about is using it so much that you remove your own ability to form tolerances to the world around you that begin developing at birth, and which are vital to a long and healthy existence.

Throw away those antibacterials, people. Stop giving those companies money they dont deserve so that they can make you sicker and sell you more crap in future. You dont need them. Just wash your hands often and use your common sense and youll be fine. And you can use the money you save over the course of a year or two to take your kids to Disneyland, if you insist on wasting your money on a corporate endeavor. :)

Long winded? Yes! Welcome to my world. I am Queen Verbosity. Bite me, it's fun!

Peace.
posted by perilous at 11:57 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Moopheus was right.
posted by homunculus at 12:29 PM on January 9, 2007


Brian James, please go to this CDC site. If you read it, all your questions will find answers.

Perilous, I'm not going to bite you until you wash with Safeguard® brand soap.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:18 PM on January 9, 2007


All you have to do is cook the chicken to the proper temperature 170 degrees and remember to wash your hands!

... and everything the chicken touched in your kitchen before you cooked it, as was pointed out.

To all who take the "who cares, just cook it" stance, remember that E.Coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria are all fecal bacteria. If those bacteria are on your food, you are, unquestionably, eating shit. But if it's hot shit, you don't mind, right?
posted by soyjoy at 1:27 PM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Which is why those 'should I eat this old, badly stored food / sure, what harm can it do' askme's really piss me off.
posted by shelleycat at 4:09 PM on January 9, 2007


From the It's Much Worse Than You Think Dept.: My wife points out that, in the food safety industry, it's generally accepted that campylobacter is in more like 90% of all chicken. This increase just reveals improvements in sample prep and/or test methodology. Food quality control isn't as black-and-white as a non-scientist might think...
posted by micropublishery at 4:17 PM on January 9, 2007


Um...if the problem is that a lot more chicken contain salmonella than used to, shouldn't we be focusing on finding out why, and stopping it rather than cooking methods and anti-bacterial soaps?

Have any of you driven near commercial chicken farms? There's your first clue as to the problem. Second is the processing plants. You can smell them from quite a distance. If you want to go to one, follow the undocumented workers.

Unfortunately, it boils down to more profit for the rich, and unsafe food for the rest of us.
posted by QIbHom at 8:02 PM on January 9, 2007


Rational discussions of food safety are hard to come by

Yep. I think the last refuge we hope to have some individual control is over what we eat. We might not be able to manage our relationships, job, economy, government, but dammit, I can figure out what I am going eat!!! Then we find out that "organic" veggies might still be GMO or cloned or whatever, and I still don't feel all that great!!!

I spent 2004 in London and found it ironic how much the anti-GMO focus was constantly in the press when every day I would go after work into some smoke filled pub.
posted by egg meister at 9:06 PM on January 9, 2007


I had food poisoning once. I consider it a plus because it was the first time my wife's cats talked to me.

We're much closer now.
posted by Mick at 4:09 AM PST on January 9
In English ? Please expand. Inquiring minds want to know.
posted by y2karl at 9:53 PM on January 9, 2007


Unfortunately, it boils down to more profit for the rich, and unsafe food for the rest of us.

You mean CHEAP unsafe food.

The BLS calculator (caution: Java) says that a whole chicken was 70 cents a pound on average nationwide in January 1980. In January 2005, it was $1.03/lb. That's in 1980 and 2005 dollars, respectively.

But run the 1980 price through an inflation calculator:

4 lb chicken, 1980 in 2005 dollars: $7.11
4 lb chicken, 2005 dollars: $4.12

The industrial farming we see today has lowered the cost of food to a point that we're buying more food for less. Food is so affordable that there's really no way that a working family in the US should be starving (though many are, one of America's great shames). The consequences of this system, though, are legion -- bacteria, the environmental effects of large-scale farming/ranching, obesity, the end of the family farm, all those fun chemicals in meat and veg, and many other things. But don't just talk about how "rich" the growers got. We've saved billions in our food budgets, and we're hooked on cheap food.
posted by dw at 10:04 PM on January 9, 2007


This (NSFW) might give jessamyn some ideas, but as long as the img tag is off the table, uh, "chopping" block ...
posted by rob511 at 10:07 PM on January 9, 2007


The reason people are starving is not for lack of food production, but for a lack of food distribution.

So... save the world by driving more, or save the world by driving less. Die off from starvation or global warming.

Hippies, make up your fucking minds. ;D
posted by dozo at 1:08 PM on January 10, 2007


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