Contaminated food is the price we will increasingly pay as the farming industry chases profits

To the American agrarian poet and philosopher Wendell Berry, “eating is an agricultural act”. It’s a wonderful sentiment: when you choose what to eat, you’re also investing in how that crop is grown or how that animal is reared and slaughtered.

These sentiments provide the bedrock for the sustainable food movement, with its emphasis on short, transparent supply chains with integrity. In practice, getting behind this type of profound agrarian communion and joining the dots between soil and salad, or farm and fork, seems impossible. Still, the idea gives us something to chew on as the next existential food crisis rolls into town – this time, eggs contaminated with a toxic insecticide, fipronil. This latest scandal serves to illustrate how little control and say we have over our agricultural system.

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