Thursday, August 19, 2010


Unless you're living under a rock, I'm sure that by now you've heard about the massive egg recall taking place across more than a dozen states throughout the country. But just in case you are in fact living under a rock ; ) here is a link to the story:

This story gives me a chance to slightly deviate from my usual content to discuss one of the reasons for starting my garden in the first place. As some of you might recall in my early posts, I mentioned the fact that most of us are so disconnected from our food sources that we have no idea where our food comes from. We simply walk to the grocery store, buy our food and rarely think twice about what we're eating, where it came from and whether it's even safe to eat. We just assume that if it's in the store, then it's edible. I'm not suggesting next time you're checking out at the supermarket to eye the contents of your cart suspiciously. Instead, I'm merely pointing out the fact that despite the many benefits of our modern food production system there also exist many potentially dangerous consequences that we rarely stop to consider. Upon reading this story a few troubling things really jumped out at me.

The first is that people started getting sick as early as June, yet the recall of the eggs did not commence until August 13th. That means, that for at least two months, potentially harmful eggs contaminated with salmonella sat in grocery stores and sold to millions of people across the country. Chances are you may have consumed some of these tainted eggs on more than one occasion.

Second, the affected eggs were not limited to just one or two brands of eggs but at least THIRTEEN different brands. Why is this disturbing? Because among them, are brands that claim to be "organic" and "free range" eggs. That means those who pay a little more money for eggs that are are supposedly coming from safer and cleaner conditions are no better off than those who pay for generic brand eggs. In reality, you really don't know where exactly your eggs are coming from and what conditions they are exposed to before they reach your plate and ultimately your stomach.

Finally, the recall began last week with a few million eggs, but as of now that figure has grown to over 380 million eggs. That is a huge number and there is a likelihood that it could continue to grow. So even if the eggs currently sitting in your fridge aren't on the recall list (which by the way can be found here: ), there is a possibility that tomorrow they will be. So what is a consumer to do?

The fact of the matter is that we are a very large country (world in fact) and the sheer number of people needed to be fed requires food production on a scale so massive that situations such as this are sometimes unavoidable. When you are concentrating the processing of hundreds of millions of eggs to just a few facilities it's impossible to keep things running smoothly and safely 100% of the time. When a part of the massive food production system gets infected (in this case, the egg processing plants), chances are that contamination will spread to a large portion of the food coming from this location. The scary part is that it may takes days, weeks or even months before the damage is assessed and the public is warned. In the meantime we continue consuming the tainted product.

Trust me, I am not about to start raising chickens on my balcony to ensure the eggs I eat are safe. Again, I merely want to point to the fact that perhaps localized food production is not such a bad idea and that eventually, it might be nice if people living in cities had the knowledge and ability to grow even a portion of their food. This is what my garden is about. Hopefully I am able to show myself and others that it is possible to grow some of your food if you ever wanted or needed to.

Now go straight to you fridge and make sure your eggs are safe to eat : )

1 comment:

  1. I actually learned about the recall through a phone call. I don't know if I learned about it before it hit the news.

    Normally, I would frown upon any grocery store using their huge rewards card database to get my information to call me, but I am happy that Ralph's took the initiative to keep me informed.

    I can see you raising chickens on your balcony. Well, I can picture She-Ra running around trying to eat them.

    PS Thanks for your words on my post. I really needed to hear something positive