Monday, June 30, 2008

Korea to U.S. - We Don't Want Your Food!

As I watch my Sunday dose of the old glube tube, I get a quick glance of people rioting, and screaming at the police in South Korea. I see fires burning, pipes swinging, people yelling and screaming. I eagerly wait for the main topic of the story to return, and the two minute commercial break to end.

Then my mind begins to wonder. Did one of their officers shoot an innocent man 50 times and kill him, or did something even worse happen?

Well as the story unfolded, I learned that thousands of
South Korean protesters (15,000 to be exact), were rioting against their governments decision to resume importing beef from the United States after a five year ban was imposed due to Mad Cow disease. And have been doing so for weeks.

Scary, yes? In fact this instantly gave me a dose of
deja vu. I'm not talking about last weeks tomato scare, or the fact that the US used to be the third largest supplier of beef to South Korea and lost a $754 million annual market when it was closed. No, what's more scary is the fact that the Koreans seem to be paying attention to something we've forgotten. After all, it was just only last September that Cargill Inc. recalled 1 million pounds of beef for the second time in a month due to E. coli bacteria contamination.

Here, silence after the initial furor died down, while over there, mass social action.

Kim Eun-joo
, promoter of an online petition against the decision which has already collected more than 100,000 signatures explains: "The treaty is unjust because it endangers the health of my fellow citizens. It does not mention safety controls, and permits any kind of meat to be exported to our country.

This is truly amazing and if nothing else, one would think it provides an eye opening opportunity for many Americans to think about the quality of our food. But unfortunately most of us just don't seem to get it.

1 comment:

Menopausal Mick said...

We lived in Germany in the early nineties. American beef was already banned there, long before any Mad Cow concerns. They banned our meat products because of the added hormones and antibiotics that are given to American cows and remain in testable levels in the marketed meat.

They probably didn't have to go to the effort of banning our meat because with the except of the few large cities in Germany, the rest of the country has local food production.

Germany is primarily a string of self contained small villages. Each with its own meat, bread, vegetable and beer production.

It is American urbanization and corporate greed that have so damaged our food supplies that people like you and I are forced to begin to grow our own healthy food in an effort to stop consuming their additives designed to increase profit and shelf-life of their product, with little thought to the longterm damage to consumers.

Europeans have also been very vocal about avoiding our genetically modified foods. That's another entire book length post for another time.

BTW, Miss Boo... I joined a local organic gardeners org. this week. I have another great idea for a backyard composter. Rabbits! I learned from my new friends that rabbit poo can go directly into your garden soil mix without the need for a cooking down in a compost process. Unlike other manure, rabbit poo will not burn your crops and doesn't need to be composted to gain the benefits...and according to these folks, it doesn't have the offending smell of other effluent compost matter.