martedì 9 dicembre 2008

Stodgy Meat (not only for dioxin but also...)

The latest news about food contamination, after BSE and aviar-flu, are now biased on pig and cow meat from Ireland contaminated by dioxin. The experts are insisting that the contamination involves just limited amount of meat and that the risks are limited as well. But they are missing the point.

On this blog, I have always tried to support and describe an idea of agricultural and livestock production to be opposed to the conventional one based on industrial approaches. I have thus always supported the idea of organic agriculture and any other kind of sustainable approach (also from traditional practices) as essential precondition not only for preserving environment but also our health.

This recent case of contamination confirms again that industrial approaches to meat (and other food) production must be revised as well as our models and quantity in food consumption.

First. Livestock production should be based on a de-congestion of those areas characterized by high livestock intesity: big breeding plants are maybe economically cost-effective for their economies of scale but animal deseases may quickly spread, rapidly infecting thousand of animals. These structures are environmentally unsustainable too: it has been calculated that 15% of the whole quota of methane introduced in the air comes from cows, sheeps and pigs: this percentage surely will soar with the parallel increases in meat consumption.

New breeding methods are thus urgently necessary as well as new consumption practices in opposition to the present irrational agricultural and livestock production activities.

Second. We, as consumers, have the right to impose traceability to all food products. We have the right to know the entire course a food have made before arriving in our dishes: this condition is necessary not only to consumers to be adequately informed but also to producers to increase their responsability levels because they can be clearly identified.

Third. We must reduce the physical, psychological and cultural distance between production and consumption because it is necessary that consumers have the possibility to know directly who has produced the food they eat.

For this reason, in this blog I have always supported the idea of farm shops as critical tool to build an effective alliance between consumers and farmers towards more intelligent and aware forms of food consumption on the base of the principle: consuming less, consuming better.

A reduction of meat consumption represents a critical steps which all of us can make: everyone can provide his contribution, with intelligent consumption styles and healthier food choices, towards sustainable development strategies based on organic agriculture and local products. For the benefit of all.

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