In Grist’s Food Fight series, experts, pundits, and an elite cadre of Grist readers don their aprons and hairnets to debate hot-button food issues via a — what else! — virtual roundtable.
Our most recent topic is the food safety legislation pending before Congress. Our participants have debated — passionately, articulately, and at great length — whether there is in fact a food-safety crisis, whether the bill’s provisions will improve food safety for most Americans, whether in so doing it will harm small farms or producers, and whether the Tester-Hagan amendment designed to mitigate that harm puts more consumers at risk. And lastly, does the bill give the FDA enough power — or too much?
In August, we debated whether locavores — those who prefer to eat food grown nearby, versus that grown thousands of miles away and trucked or flown in — are misguided in thinking their food choices are helping to save the planet.
Stories in this series:
Do locavores really need math lessons?
Are locavores wrong in thinking they're helping to save the planet, as a recent NYT op-ed challenged? Experts James McWilliams, Anna Lappe, and others weigh in.
The Food Safety Modernization Act
We've invited an array of food-policy experts along with a few Grist readers to debate whether there is indeed a food-safety crisis and if so, whether the current legislation before the Senate will protect eaters and punish the right producers.
Do we really have a food-safety crisis?
In this first installment in our debate over the Food Safety Modernization Act, our experts lock horns over food-borne-illness data and whether the problems we have with the food system are about dirty, bumpy vegetables -- or dirty, buggy cattle.
Will the Food Safety Modernization Act better protect us from contaminated food?
Our invited panel of experts -- and two scrappy Grist readers -- debate whether the bill now before the Senate will decrease large-scale food-borne illness outbreaks of the type we've recently seen in eggs and peanut butter.
Will the Food Safety Modernization Act harm small farms or producers?
Voting on S. 510 could happen Wednesday. If this food-safety bill passes, it will greatly expand the FDA's authority and lessen food-borne illnesses. But in doing so, will it knee-cap America's nascent local-food system? Grist's panel of experts take their gloves off for an epic debate.
Will the Tester amendment to S. 510 help small farms and processors, but put more kids at risk?
"Deadly pathogens do not discriminate based on the size of a business," argues Food Fight panelist Kathleen Chrismer, the mother of a young victim of E. coli poisoning. Others counter that food can never be 100 percent safe.
Does the food safety bill give the FDA too much power — or not enough?
Debate begins later today in the Senate on the Food Safety Modernization Act. We conclude our Food Fight over the bill with a discussion about whether the government can be trusted to inspect, regulate, and penalize big and small facilities adequately -- and fairly.
The real nitty-gritty on small farms and the food-safety bill
The Food Safety Modernization Act is back in play due to a procedural error, and facing renewed opposition from an unlikely quarter: small farms and food processors and the people who support them. Here, we drag our experts back for a detailed debate on who's exempt, under what circumstances, and what the FDA's agenda might be.