So far, this class has definitely made me start thinking about the food I eat. It hasn’t turned me off from any kind of particular food type, but it has certainly increased my awareness of where my food comes from and how it is processed. Reading about the tomato farmers down in Florida has gotten me thinking about the people who are out in the fields actually picking my fruits and vegetables. I began wondering about how bad their working conditions are and how they are treated by their bosses. I was surprised to find out that in our modern era, farmers are still facing problems the conventional workforce dealt with almost a century ago. I believe that Obama’s immigration plan will eventually fix this because these farmers are mostly illegal immigrants. Since his plan will offer citizenship to some illegal immigrants that will change the interactions between the farmers and their bosses. Going off track a bit, when I go down the shore in the summer, there are more locally grown vegetables for sale down there. The farms where these vegetables are grown are only a couple miles away from our place and you can see the men working in the fields, which to me is important. Knowing exactly where they come from and being able to see the work put into harvesting them, I guess puts me at ease almost.
When I was looking around various food blogs this week, I noticed a lot of articles were discussing outbreaks of disease among food products and/or recall notices due to these diseases. One of the more surprising articles I read was one about a recent outbreak of salmonella in Taco Bells across the country. What surprised me is that this is the third health related problem Taco Bell has had in the past 10 years. About 5 or 6 years back, there was a problem with the Taco Bells in my area where they were finding fecal matter from rodents in their kitchens. That resulted in a number of stores closing down and adding in these salmonella outbreaks, it doesn’t look good. I am always hearing about different food products being recalled on the news. I just read an article on a recall of hard-cooked eggs from Wegmans Food Markets, Greencore USA, and Allison’s Gourmet Kitchens due to a Listeria outbreak. It makes me wonder about how “sterile” our current food processing/transportation system. Maybe I am only noticing an increase in these problems because of the increased use of media coverage, or if this has always been a problem and I just haven’t noticed it before, but it is really starting to concern me.