Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Are Beef scares turning people into Vegetarians?

Are you afraid of Meat?

With the current Recall of Beef from the XL Foods plant in the news lately it has been scaring consumers into being afraid of what they eat.   Is this a good thing?  I don't know but I think it's sad that the actions of One processing plant can take down the whole Beef Industry.

Personally I haven't bought any meat since the Beef Recall but for a couple of reasons.   I like to get hormone free meats when I can but I can't afford to buy a lot of meat right now so I haven't bought that much meat in general.  

Although I haven't bought any meat when I went to Whole Foods Market on Thanksgiving day there were a whole lot of people standing in front of the Meat Counter.   There was a huge sign hanging above the counter listing where they receive their meat from,  like local farmers like Baretta Farms for their chickens and other local farms and stores like Cumbrae meats for their other meat.

When you buy your meats at a regular grocery store you don't know where your meat is coming from so nobody is accountable until multiple people get sick.  

When I went to The Big Carrot Market to interview nutritionist Julie Daniluk for my documentary I also interviewed their PR person who told me they track all their vendors and can track back to the source of where they are getting their products at any time.  They have a relatively small meat section but their meats are generally from local suppliers such as Baretta Farms again or Yorkshire Valley.

There are some good Food Markets like Organic Garage in Oakville who try and go out of their way to carry quality safe products but since ever grocery store has to order their meat and produce from other suppliers can they always trust their sources but they are responsible and ethical enough to pull anything right away if there is a problem but it takes a bit longer for the larger chains to get it through their systems to make a change?   

Are people being scared into becoming vegetarians?  

The subjects of my EcoLoser documentary had decided to give up red meat as part of their monthly challenges a few months ago.  They say they don't miss the meat and they decided to give it up because of the amount of resources it takes to produce beef.    

But on the flip side..   what happens if everyone is scared into giving up Beef?   What happens to the local farmers who produce Beef and other products?   Will they be driven out of business?

Think of the Beef industry in Alberta, what if everyone stopped eating beef from Alberta?   
What would happen to their economy?
It's sad to think that ethical farmers may be driven out of business because of unethical processing plants.  

Things need to change in the food production industry.   Processing plants need to be accountable and transparent and be fined for any health infractions or shut down right away.    If they feel it on their bottom line things will change.   If their bottom line is increased by lax practices then we are in BIG TROUBLE in the future.

Have you changed the way you think about your food?  
Have you been considering becoming vegetarian because of the recalls?
Have you changed the stores you shop in?

Over the past year I have tried to make an effort to buy as much local, organic and hormone and pesticide free products as I can but something like E. coli can happen to even Organic producers if proper food handling practices aren't strictly enforced.

In a city full of condos we are at the mercy of these food providers as we can't exactly have a cow or chickens on our balconies.

We need to find a way to make people accountable for the food they produce and make sure that they are doing the right thing or they need to be shut down.

Sometimes I think I should become a vegetarian for the fact that I know it would be better for me financially,  better for the environment and also better for my weight, but unfortunately I love food and love variety in food and like the taste of beef and chicken and pork.   But I am going to be very careful in the future of where my food comes from and maybe buy less and maybe pay more for suppliers that have extra measures in place for food safety.

Be Safe... know where your food comes from and make sure you store and cook your food properly.

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