Adrienne BoettingerFriday,22 February 2013

The Snap:

Europe is in an uproar over the appearance of horsemeat in a variety of food products. From school lunches to hearty lasagna, no dish containing “beef” is safe from suspicion. Even the Russians are worried and given the fact that their leader can predict the future, save whales, wrestle a bear and bend a frying pan with his bare hands, this means we should all be nervous. For now, Americans are snootily proud that this latest food fiasco hasn’t crossed the Atlantic. Yet.

The Download:

First of all, I’ve got a fantastic idea for a diet. Consult ye olde Google about what’s in the food you eat and you’ll never want to eat again. I’m already trying to think of what in my kitchen contains no elements of crushed beetles, gelatin, or animal feces and have now decided to drink my dinner. If you don’t give up food altogether, you’ll only want to eat things that you grow or procure all by yourself. The numbers of fruitarians could skyrocket (p.s. I’ve already got dibs on the band name, “Angry Fruitarians”).

I have to admit I would have the heebie-jeebies if I realized I’d inadvertently eaten Seabiscuit’s descendants. I know that is somewhat hypocritical of me as I eat beef, poultry, fish and glorious bacon. Granted after I saw the movie Babe it did take me a while to get back on the horse, so to speak. The Brits in particular love their horses so it’s easy to see why they’re freaked.

But the real issue is that they didn’t know what they were getting. They thought they were eating cows and they got horses. The truth is that this sort of thing happens all the time, all over the world. When you are far removed from how food is grown or raised, you leave yourself open to eating a lot of really awful things. Most people do not raise or kill their own meat. Some have never grown anything they consume or have never even seen where anything they consume is grown.

I have a bad tendency of re-reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in the beginning of the summer and then deciding I will start growing all my own food. As I have a small townhouse with a patio in back, this is impractical at best. But there is something to be said for being more involved in the production of the food you eat. You’ll eat healthier, smaller portions and probably won’t contribute to the 40% of food that goes uneaten in the U.S. annually.

If you’re living in the U.S. you’re probably safe from this horse meat incident. But I wouldn’t rest easy for too long. Best bet is to grow your own food or buy locally. Or of course you could drink your dinner. Alcohol kills germs so even if there is something grody in your grog you’re probably safe.

Hat Tips:

CBS NewsNPRScience ChannelGawkerU.S. News and World ReportAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle

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