Friday, February 13, 2009

Let them eat dirt!

Along the lines of last week's (I think) post on worm and dirt consumption of the nation's youth, the NY Times ran an op-ed piece today on the consumption of various unsavory bits and pieces in seemingly innocuous foodstuffs. The author, a creative writing professor at the University of Missouri, Columbia, points out that, according to FDA guidelines that limit the maximum amount of allowed "defects" (including mildew, animal hair, feces, maggots, and insects), the average human consumes about one to two pounds of "objectionable" matter per year.

While this is certainly alarming, if you think about any food being produced on an industrial scale, there will be a modicum of nastiness that gets thrown into the mix. That one bad apple isn't going to ruin the apple cider (pasteurized or not). Take, for example, an organic vegetable garden planted in an average backyard: fruits and vegetables are grown using "natural fertilizers" (aka dung) and will certainly be covered in microscopic insects and filth. (So that's why my arugula tastes so good and spicy!!) The adaptive nature of our immune systems make this food consumption perfectly harmless. Personally, I'd be more worried about the mishandling of food as well as poisoning from E. Coli, Salmonella, or Hepatitis A at substantially filthier eateries (think fast-food).

Still... it does put things into perspective.

Read the opinion piece HERE.

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