24 August 2010

The Egg Recall

Last week's news that a half-billion eggs are being recalled from two farms in Iowa because of salmonella contamination should not be a big surprise. I found this article on Salon to be the most helpful summary and analysis. He focuses in on Austin DeCoster, the "free market stud" whose record of code violations would rival BP's. "Without ... effective regulation," he asks, "how tenable is our food system?"

This short commentary also takes up the question of regulation, and makes the choice plain: We can either have a centralized food production system and very strong regulation, or we can decentralize our food system. Those are the only two options if we want to avoid such large-scale contaminations. Definitely worth the three minutes to read.

(Of local interest here, it turns out that the contaminated eggs were to blame for April's salmonella outbreak at Bullock's restaurant in Durham.)

06 August 2010

Your expensive breakfast

Prices have risen sharply this year for wheat, coffee, and orange juice. The Economist is concerned: "Taken together, the raw ingredients for breakfast in much of the rich world have increased in price by 25% since the beginning of June." Of course, we all know that skipping breakfast is the most costly choice of all...