Egg aisle at grocery storeThe egg aisle at a U.K. supermarket.Photo: Bonnie PowellIf Bonnie Azab Powell is deputy editor of Grist’s food section, then I guess that makes me the sheriff. And today, I’m an even prouder sheriff than usual, for Deputy Powell has landed an op-ed in Reuters on the salmonella-egg recall. Bonnie deftly contrasts the U.S. food-regulation regime, with its industry-friendly allergy to labels, to that of Europe, where “free range” on eggs actually means what you think it does.

Writes Bonnie:

In line with its more protective attitude toward consumers, Europe requires any genetically modified food ingredients to be identified as such. Egg operations over a certain size are required to vaccinate their flocks for salmonella unless they can demonstrate that they have strict preventive measures in place or that there hasn’t been an incidence of salmonella on the property in the previous year. As a result, salmonella infections in England have dropped a stunning 96 percent since 1997.

And the European Food Safety Authority has strongly discouraged the use of antimicrobials for controlling salmonella because of the risk of creating antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria. Governments in Europe have much more power to enforce food safety testing and to shut down infected farms.

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As sheriff of this food section, I order you to click on the above link and check out Bonnie’s whole column.