“If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, is it a duck?” said Peel. “Sometimes, but other times it could be surimi.”
Humans are so disappointing.[Note: This runs a tad long. Apologies, but I had to get it out. If you are impatient, just read the article. It's outstanding.]
Having now worked within the world of agriculture and food production for over a decade, none of this (re:the article) is surprising. We have encountered so much fraud that it has shaken our faith in humanity in general. This is what we have discovered in the world of food and agriculture: If a company is sizable, they are lying. If a company is small, they are likely lying. If a company is a micro-enterprise or sole proprietorship, the odds are higher that they may actually be telling the truth, but they are also probably lying.
And government regulation only enables this behavior because it gives a structure to the dishonesty. Oh, we can have a label that says "salmon" but it can be legally anything and that label can look all US-government official? Awesome! ...or somesuch.
--On an average week, 530,000 head of cattle are processed in the United States, he said. Fewer than 12,000 of them are naturally raised and antibiotic free.
Fewer than 12,000!?! WTF! Probably 10% of those are Polyface and White Oak Pastures. I know there is a dude working on taking Polyface-like to very large scale, but still. Geez. That is dismal. Only 12,000. That's what happens, folks, when the taxpayer heavily subsidizes industrial agriculture.
The only way to know your food is what it says it is by growing or raising it yourself. That's the bottomline. Or, you develop a relationship with a local farmer and when you buy something, you look them in the eye and ask "did you produce, raise, harvest this?" Ask them how operate. I.e., Exactly how did they grown, raise, harvest that food? Ask if they have a document or webpage explaining their operations. Every farmer should have something like this http://www.carolinabees.com/about/best-practice/ explaining their practices.
I think we are the only ones that do that I know of. I'm here to tell you, that even with all that... even some "farmers" will straight up lie
I have been reluctant to post stories like this because being in the honey business, we try not to call out our fellows -- the backlash for "snitching" can be severe. We try to police ourselves by shaming known scoundrels. Alas, shaming has limited to no effect. And often such efforts are championed by key people (single points of failure) -- the one person making a difference in North Carolina, for example, passed away recent. He has no successor that I know of.
So, what encouragement can I give you? I guess I just hope to lift the veil of BS from folk's eyes and alert you to the fact that no matter how crunchy, earth-loving, hip, young, idealistic, and seemingly honest that restaurateur or food market owner is... if there is a dollar to be made, the odds they are lying about something or everything, is very very high.
Does any of this matter? It should. It hides tremendous taxpayer fraud and continues the lie about the actual cost of food. And it significantly damages your local economy. More importantly, at the macro-level, it holds us back from regenerative agriculture -- agriculture with the long view that can actually feed the planet. It holds us back actually moving forward with an improved environmental footprint.
Trust no one. Ask questions. And encourage documented process. Seek food sources with as few middle-men in the process as possible. Do I have hope? Not really. More regulation / less regulation will not matter and Joe-Sixpack only cares very occasionally. He doesn't want to be the one that shoulders the cost until the whole industry rights itself. And of course, the general public is apathetic about anything of importance anyway. The only person you can trust is yourself. A tad depressing bookend to this diatribe, but... there we are.
Outstanding article and investigative journalism.
......+The Carolina Bee Company
- +Monica Warner #Fraud #Agriculture #Food #Epicurian #SupplyChain #Blockchain