By Christopher Mattera

Hard economic times have spurred an explosion in home gardens with more people realizing that food does not begin and end in the supermarket. This increase in food awareness, coupled with recent food recalls, has brought increased attention to issues of food safety and farm policy.

Unfortunately, recent proposals fail to take into account the issues underpinning the food safety problems faced by this country.

Congress is seeking to enhance federal oversight of the production of food, thereby increasing food safety. To that end, all food producers would be subject to the same stringent regulations, regardless of their size. The local farmer and his organic or all-natural tomatoes will be treated with the same suspicion as produce from massive industrial “farms” which grow and process enormous amounts of food at unnaturally high rates, bolstered by synthetic fertilizers and genetically modified seed.

Similarly, small ranches where cattle graze on open fields of grass and are slaughtered one or two at a time in local abattoirs would be subject to the same requirements as the giant meat packing companies whose relentless “protein” production requires that they pump their cattle full of growth hormones and steroids, and dose them with antibiotics to combat the dangerous effects of a grain-based diet on the stomachs of animals designed to eat grasses.

The push for food safety ignores the real and important differences between modes of production.

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