Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Food Safety: A Reason to Celebrate

There is good news today regarding the conditions in which factory farmed pigs live and a French rebuke to Monsanto.
 On Monday, after years of internal and external pressure, the company announced a laudable course of action regarding the sows (female pigs) in their supply chain: McDonald’s is requiring, by May, that its suppliers of pork  provide plans for phasing out gestation crates.Once those plans are delivered, says Bob Langert, the company’s vice president of sustainability, McDonald’s will create a timetable to end the use of gestation crates in its supply chain.

As goes McDonalds, so goes the fast-food industry, opines Mark Bittman, New York Times.  Animal welfare groups could send the phase out of these inhumane conditions as soon as 18 months. But he cautions that consumers may need to keep the pressure on the fast-food giant.

In another part of the world, a French court has ruled in favor of a farmer who sued Monsanto for chemical poisoning.
A French court has declared the US biotech giant Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning of a French farmer, a judgment that could lend weight to other health claims against pesticides.

In the first such case heard in court in France, the grain grower Paul Francois, 47, said he suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto's Lasso weedkiller in 2004.

He blames Monsanto for not providing adequate warnings on the product label.

The ruling was given by a court in Lyon, south-east France, which ordered an expert opinion of Francois's losses to establish the amount of damages.

"It is a historic decision in so far as it is the first time that a [pesticide] maker is found guilty of such a poisoning," Francois Lafforgue, Francois's lawyer, told Reuters.

Although Monsanto will appeal, this decision definitely turns the tide in the direction of food safety and manufacturer accountability.


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