Thursday, April 9, 2009

How can we ensure our food is safe?

During my family's Passover seder last night, we spent a lot of time discussing the injustices of the current economic climate, health care, war -- you name it. Of course, we also touched on some issues related to food safety and agricultural policy. I am currently working on a project for Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) at the USDA. Upon hearing this, my grandmother asked, "How can we make our food safe then, Allie? Why are we all getting salmonella these days?"

Of course, issues regarding food and health are tremendously complicated. And we are not all getting salmonella. But, I am sure of this: One of the most important ways to make sure the food we eat is safe is to be informed about what we eat and feed our families/friends. Equipped with information regarding their food, consumers can decide for themselves about what to eat. Transparency is essential to a safer and more trustworthy food system.

One of the battles being fought on transparency has to do with food labeling and genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH or rbST). rbGH/rbST are administered to cows by injection in order to increase milk production. There is ongoing debate regarding the safety of this hormone -- for cows but also for us, the consumers of their milk. There are many resources to read more about the controversy, and I encourage you to learn more.

Take a look at this short movie for some more information about the issue:

I believe that since the jury is still out on its safety, consumers have a right to know whether or not the hormone is injected in the cows that produce the milk they drink.

This brings us to Kansas: Unless Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoes it before April 16th, a Kansas bill would restrict any national US dairy from properly labeling their milk products as free from genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH or rbST).

Please take action on this issue by clicking the link below to send an email to Governor Sebelius:
Protect our Choice for Drug-Free Milk—Without Bovine Growth Hormone (rbGH/rbST) - Email Governor Sebelius

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