Tag Archives: food crisis

The Food Crises: Logic is not Required in Food Production

The company also said today that it would create a new position – chief food safety officer – among other measures it’s taking to restore consumer confidence in its brands.

Maple Leaf Foods Announces that they didn’t have an official in charge of caring for food safety until now.  –September 17, 2008.

Food safety concerns are as old as fire-baked ham.  Some societies had so much trouble with food safety that they placed cultural taboos on food that was difficult to handle safely in their enviornment (I’m looking at the middle east here).   In the “modern and western” world food taboos run more towards comfort than cleanliness; Westerners don’t eat “pet” animals like Dogs or Hamsters; where some societies do.  The actual safety of the food is expected to be sacrosanct, that food producers would act in their own best interests to ensure food cleanliness and safety.  If there is any lesson to take from the BES and Listeria crises, it is that food producers don’t really take more than a passing interest in food safety that can’t be done for cheap and that the governments don’t take it any more seriously.

If there is any evidence of the latter it is the utter lack of head rolling at Maple Leaf foods due to massive fines.  People have died due to  the [in]action[s] of the company and yet I have not seen a negligent homicide or manslaughter charge appear in the news headlines.  No Maple Leaf Food execs in handcuffs.  No real outcome save the loss of money.  The Federal Governmentappears to be so far in bed with industry that they simply can’t bring themselves to prosecute their friends, for fear of looking tough on corporations.  This is the standard falacy of modern governments, corporations exists to simplify relations between governments and business, instead it seems to make Governments fear to act towards the same with the same strength as they would against another individual.

During a late-August conference call with members of the Prime Minister’s Office and Health Minister Tony Clement’s office, Ritz made quips about the potential political impact of the tragic outbreak traced to a Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto.

“This is like a death by a thousand cuts. Or should I say cold cuts,” Ritz said.

And when told about a new death from listeriosis on Prince Edward Island, the Minister said: “Please tell me it’s (Liberal MP) Wayne Easter.”

Gerry Ritz demonstrating the level of candor one expects from the Tories

Once again Jack Layton & his Crystal ball say’s “Not the kind of change Canadians were looking for”.
Of course layton is refering to the cabinet shuffle, So once again Jack has stated that he knows what we are thinking. Unfortantly for jack he was not able to read my mind, & that is not what iam thinking of him this very moment.(One word begins with A ends with E, or is it 2)
Viewed on CanadaAm can be seen at CTV.ca

Posted by: bryanr at August 15, 2007 1:30 PM

Gerry Ritz is typical of the type of Government Functionary that leads to these kinds of problems, more concerned with “sticking it” to the “lazy, welfare addicted” farmers than with actual governance. This kind of thinking is part of the cause of the current economic downturn that the whole world is experiencing and appears to be an outgrowth of the Business over Governance mentality that has become pervasive in the Conservative movement since the sixties.

However, I think that the statement that I opened with sums up the problem with poor government oversight, there wasn’t already a person or persons responsible for food safety at Maple Leaf foods and one would imagine that food safety should have been job number one for a food production plant.

Food News: Rats for Dinner in Cambodia (by Choice)

Cambodians are beatnig rising food prices the old fashioned way, choosing alternative food sources.

As inflation pushes the price of beef beyond the reach of the poor, increased demand for rat meat has pushed up rodent prices. A kilogram of rat meat now costs 5,000 riel (69p) compared with 1,200 riel last year. Spicy field rat dishes with garlic are increasingly on the menu as beef costs 20,000 riel a kilo.

I think that some of our more bizarre foodstuffs must have come from such famines of choice, can you imagine how humans ended up eating crab over cat (at least Europeans)?  Lobster seems like an odd choice over, say, rabbit.  The spice mentioned in the article must cover up any gamey residue in the meat.  If you raise them on the right foods, I bet it could be somewhat tasty, especially after a few generations of selective breeding to breed out the aggression and breed in plumpness.

Rat Soup, yum.

Keeping an Eye on the Food

I’m writing this stuff and starting to feel a bit like John Pinnette “who stole the food!?”

Corn rose as much as 3.5 percent, and soybeans, wheat and rice gained. The Midwest floods probably will cause “hundreds of millions of dollars” of damage, according to the National Weather Service. U.S. corn stockpiles may fall 53 percent to a 13-year low before next year’s harvest, the USDA said June 10.

High food prices “are here to stay” as governments divert resources to make biofuels, amass stockpiles and limit exports, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman of Nestle SA, the world’s largest food company, said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur today.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=awdVeAM6F4Qs&refer=home

It’s looking more and more like transportation and storage costs are going to drive the cost of food basics up and up.  By food basics I’m referring to grains, roots and vegetable crops.  Those food items that require transportation in large quantities.  Even local gardens are being hit hard by the weather this year, some people planning to weather any serious food price issues with home garden may need to put forth more concrete solutions, like sturdy greenhouses for year-round food production.

Suburbanites, like myself are really starting to feel the pinch of the ever-rising gas prices.  Trips to visit my Parent’s house have started to stretch into the 40+ dollar mark for each trip.  40 Dollars is about my normal meat and vegetable budget each week.  It’s not like I can’t afford it, but I do have to make choices now about how to spend my wages.

Add to all of this the budget crunch  of debt and many of us might be looking at food uncertainty in the next year.

Warnings from America

According to the May 1, 2008 CCC inventory
report there are only 24.1 million bushels of wheat in inventory, so
after this sale there will be only 2.7 million bushels of wheat left
the entire CCC inventory,” warned Matlack. “Our concern is not that we
are using the remainder of our strategic grain reserves for
humanitarian relief. AAM fully supports the action and all humanitarian
food relief. Our concern is that the U.S. has nothing else in our
emergency food pantry. There is no cheese, no butter, no dry milk
powder, no grains or anything else left in reserve. The only thing
left in the entire CCC inventory will be 2.7 million bushels of wheat
which is about enough wheat to make 1⁄2 of a loaf of bread for each of
the 300 million people in America.”

source:  http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/wid2a.pdf

source of quote: http://www.standeyo.com/NEWS/08_Food_Water/080606.no.grain.reserves.html

Things look dire in this article, but they may not be as bad as all that.  The source article certainly makes it sound more dire than I hope it is.  I don’t trust the source implicitly.

Is there a food crisis?

The Real News: Making a killing from the food crisis

Devlin Kuyek: “Right now Cargill is making approximately $471 000 an hour in profits”

I’m not sure, but given what we’ve been seeing over the past few weeks, I’m not convinced that I won’t be stocking up on some dry goods like rice. I have ample storage here so it may be a good idea, if only to save some cash.

What do you think, is there something coming down the pipe at us all?