Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The United States Of Hysterica

Today, at work, all our tomatoes were removed from consumption. Even though our vendor assured us the tomatoes were safe, and came from neither Florida or Mexico, because other places had set a precedent, we had to follow suit. Tomorrow, they will be cooked into a sauce that will sit in the cooler moldering because no one has the foresight to actually know what to with them.
If the US practiced more sustainable food distribution, the outbreak would not be as severe. But, Americans, gluttonous as they may be, want to have fruits and vegetables even when they're not in season, and so they are shipped in from sunnier climes where they can be grown year round, even without the ever watchful eye of the FDA to make sure sanitary conditions are met.
So far, 167 people in 16 states have been stricken ill by the tomatoes, with health officials being alerted to a problem on May 22. That was two weeks ago, when the attention of the news media was distracted by the will-she-or-won't-she drop out of the Clinton campaign. Now the media, with it's intention of selling fear, have trotted out this story to push the American television watcher into a hysterical panic. Are deadly tomatoes at your grocery store? We'll tell you, right after this commercial.
What we are seeing now is something similar to the hysteria created over Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Remember how the average television watcher was whipped into a frenzy over something that didn't exist? Remember the hysteria of "payback" for 9/11, which Iraq had nothing to do with? Meanwhile, alqaeda slips into Pakistan (which has nuclear weapons, and I'm not sure our recent attack ther which killed 11 soldiers has helped us win over the Musharraf regime)
Now we have the beginnings of Iran hysteria, with George W Bush not ruling out a military strike in Iran. You'll know it's coming when the average American television watcher is hysterical about Iran like they were about Iraq. So far, we're only at seven percent, but that could change in time for the November elections.


Kathy said...

It's impossible for the FDA to inspect every item of food for safety, but that doesn't excuse the fact this came to their attention several weeks ago. They need to communicate possible problems immediately so the public is forewarned. Salmonella can be very serious for people suffering from compromised immune systems.

Tom Harper said...

Scary stuff! Killer tomatoes and Iran with weapons of mass destruction -- God help us all.

I think the high cost of gasoline is going to make it more profitable for people to buy food from local growers and farmers' markets. Where I live -- rural Washington -- there's a lot of talk about that. Saving money, helping the environment, patronizing your local small farmers -- it's a win-win.

Lew Scannon said...

I think it was probably a matter of putting profits before people, didn't want to scare off the potential tomato buying public until they were certain they couldn't be sued.
Kunstler has been advocating and predicting this for some time. Sure, megaconglomerates like Wal-Mart may suffer, and there are those who see that as a bad thing............