Is Local Food Safer Than Industrial Food?

So food from green markets and community supported agriculture is cleaner and healthier than that grocery store schmaltz, right? Not so fast, says E.coli litigation king Bill Marler, who recently wrote that convincing local food producers to keep their food clean will be one of the top ten food safety challenges of the year.

According to Marler, “Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) groups and food co-ops need to demonstrate knowledge and practice of food safety, and be inspected. In addition to produce and meats/fish, prepared items are currently unsupervised in some, but not all locations.”

This sent the internet’s local food community into a bit of a tizzy, but as BarfBlog editor and poop enthusiast Doug Powell explained in a response, “It isn’t about local, small or big. It’s about what will make folks barf. And that requires control of dangerous microorganisms, regardless of politics.”

Sure, the farmer who takes pride in his work may sell cleaner produce than an industrial-scale farm, but food is food. Just because you buy from a green market or a CSA doesn’t mean that you can skip over washing your hands or proper food preparation.

That said, local food can be a tasty and cost-effective alternative to industrial food if you know what you’re doing. Read our old posts to learn how to best take advantage of farmer’s markets and CSAs.

Marler’s Ten Top Food Safety Challenges for 2009 [Bill Marler via BarfBlog]
Dispatch from Seattle: Food Safety at the Farmers’ Market [The Green Fork]
PREVIOUSLY: How To Shop At A Farmer’s Market
Want To Know Where Your Food Comes From? Buy Part Of A Farm
(Photo: spinadelic)