There are several food safety issues in the news today. In the Los Angeles Times, there is an article on washed, bagged lettuces. There seem to be two camps, one that washes again and one that serves straight from the bag. The main ingredient used in the attempts to curtail the pathogens that can make you sick is chlorine. Given the nutritional benefits of green, leafy vegetables, I think that its worth the risk of suffering the potential long term effects of small doses of chlorine. We probably all swallow more in our swimming experiences. If you are really paranoid then grow your own. Lettuces are actually really easy to grow and, even in a limited space, you can grow and feed your family for months of the year. In California, you can grow lettuces all year.
Marion Nestle’s blog today was about GMO labeling.(http://www.foodpolitics.com/) If you are not familiar with Marion you need to be. Go there and bookmark the site. She is one of the brightest and most insightful people in the food movement. She has written more and studied more about food and food politics than any other human and is fair and reasonable.
Another article in The Los Angeles Times today was about the Food Stamp program and how states are starting to try to regulate the types of food that can be purchased. Already one cannot buy alcohol, tobacco or “hot food”. Both of these topics bring to light the same quandary. Do you want government involved in food? I welcome protection from mad cow disease, e.coli, botulism and a whole other host of risks associated with malfeasance on the part of greedy, or at least sloppy, suppliers of our food. I want my tax dollars used to keep tabs on and make laws about the safety of the food I feed my children.
Unfortunately, we have another disease that has been creeping into our food supply that is going largely unnoticed by most of us. Some call it “Big Food”. I think that the food stamp program is a great opportunity to teach the 46 million people who receive that assistance the difference between food that is good for you and your children (like fresh fruit and veg) and foods that are not (Soft Drinks, anything by Frito Lay). It seems like a very simple approach to reversing our obesity epidemic. No brainer, really. Except that the makers of soda, chips and other junk food see it as a “freedom of choice” issue and have successfully lobbied against this sort legislation in every case.
And the GMO labeling has suffered the same plight. The companies that are genetically modifying your food without you knowing it are also modifying your congress without you knowing it. GMO is not even legal in the rest of the industrialized world.
So what do you do? It really bugs me when people complain about something without offering an alternative. Obviously, you can make all the normal “food movement” choices: organic, local, seasonal, plant your own. But that doesn’t address all of the issues. If you do care about all of this stuff then write your congressman or woman. Here is a great website to get you started: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/
Non Genetically Modified Fennel and In Season Blood Orange Salad
- 2 Fennel Bulbs, thinly sliced
- 4 Blood Oranges
- Really Good Olive Oil
- Parmesan or Manchego Cheese
- Salt and Pepper
- Chef’s Knife
- Salad Bowl
- Cut the stem and root ends off of the fennel and remove the outer most layer. Thinly slice (use a mandolin if you have one) lengthwise. The fennel is not stringy cut this way; the pieces should resemble a tulip.
- Peel and either tear or slice the oranges.
- Toss together with some really good olive oil.
- Salt and pepper. Not too much salt as the cheese will be slightly salty.
- Shave (with the same peeler, wash it first) the cheese over individual servings.