How should agriculture handle the bad actors in its midst?
If there is one topic we wish would disappear from our column topic radar, it would be food safety. Every time a food recall is activated, farmers end up with egg on their faceâ€”we couldnâ€™t resist the lineâ€”even though most had nothing to do with it.
All it takes is a few bad actors to make everyone look bad. There was a time before the widespread availability of refrigeration that rancid butter was a problem. This problem gave an opening for the development of â€śoleomargarine.â€ť And so to protect their markets and profitability, cooperative creameries began to educate and monitor their members so they could consistently provide the public with a quality product. The monitoring was necessary because rancid cream from a few careless producers would ruin the quality cream delivered by the rest.
While we would be reluctant to classify the industrial-style producers of most of the eggs sold in the U.S. as farmers, there is little doubt that the general public does not make that distinction. Eggs come from chickens and farmers raise chickens; case closed.
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