Where Do They Come Up With This Stuff?

Brian at One Oar in the Water is hurling invective about agriculture again. This time, his straw-man boogey monster is the US importer. Chinese regulators have shuttered numerous food processors in the country for a whole host of major food safety issues and violations. Glad they’re finally doing something about this, sure. But Brian, amazingly enough, makes the connection that US agribusiness is somehow to blame, and that we’re all going to die, too. One excerpt from the ravings (Editor’s Note – Bad Grammar and Spelling left intact from the original post):


If the USDA and big argo-corporations get their way, all of your food will be imported from China. Do think this is a wacky idea; well where does all of your clothes and electronics come from? China!


Without any concern for the produce, fruits and vegetables in China are sprayed with a myriad of chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizes. Then you take it home from Walmart and Krogers and eat it.


In Chinese factory fecal farms animals are raised in the most putrid of conditions being fed a staple of drugs, manufactured feed, and yes, feces. Scientist long ago came to a conclusion that fecal matter is a suitable food for chickens, pigs, and beeves. Yum, yum!


If you can explain the logic behind those comments, I’ll eat your hat. At any rate, I took up my sword and shield to defend our industry, responding as politely as I could:


Yes Brian, the notion of US agribusiness importing all of our food from China is a wacky idea. In fact, it may be the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard all day. There is no benefit to these corporations to import food we grow here anyway. In the case of fruits and vegetables, we import either things we don’t grow in large enough quantities, or we import things from countries when they are in season during times when the same products aren’t in season in the US. We also import luxury items like wines and cheeses that may not be produced here. The global market for staples like corn, meat, and milk is such that to import them would cost more for these mythically evil “agro-corp” straw men you’ve set up than to buy homegrown: transporting this stuff ain’t cheap, after all.


It’s obvious China has problems, and the good news is that USDA and the FDA work 24/7 to make sure that Americans’ food supplies are safe and wholesome. The e.Coli scares of the past year and the melamine contamination recalls illustrated the success of these agencies. The number of food-related human deaths or even serious illnesses are few and far between.


But, just like liberals support the troops but not the mission, Brian reminds us that he supports US agriculture by reminding us to buy our produce from local farmers. Glad he cleared that up.