The Most Dangerous Food In The Grocery Store

Nathan Wild

We just finished watching the documentary “Poisoned: The Dirty Truth About Your Food” on Netflix.

There are a lot of eye-opening moments in the documentary but the one I found the most disturbing came near the end. They discussed what the riskiest foods to eat were. And the answer was romaine lettuce and bagged salad greens.

The reason these foods are so risky is because some factory farmed lettuce operations are directly beside factory farmed beef operations. Fecal matter from the beef operation gets cross-contaminated with the lettuce. The lettuce then gets shipped to a processing facility where it's mixed with lettuce from other farms before being shipped to grocery stores and restaurants across the country.

Contaminated produce and meat could easily be regulated to drastically reduce the amount of food poisonings and deaths that happen each year. But that would mean the government would have to create and enforce stronger regulations. Something that our industrialized food system is strongly opposed to. More regulations would make their factory farms safer but slower. Slower factories create safer food but less profits. And so the government makes a compromise. They allow a certain amount of its citizens to get foodborne illnesses in exchange for economic growth.

If you were to ask the average Canadian “what would you rather have, a safer food system or a few more factory farm jobs? “ The answer would be obvious. The average Canadian doesn't get much of a say however. It's the lobby groups and scientists that are paid or funded by the factory farms that have the most influence.

We're not helpless though. As consumers we have the one thing that ever factory farm needs to survive: the almighty dollar. If we simply stopped buying food from factory farms and instead invested it in our local food systems, we could opt out of the dangerous games that these corporations want us to play.