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Food safety, food quality

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Hi Marian and thanks for doing this Q&A.

You mentioned in an earlier response about food writing that you thought it would be good if there were more stories about food quality, safety and production (I'm paraphrasing). There's been a lot of depressing news in the past little while, whether it's mad cow, PCBs in fish, now the bird flu. Then you have agri-business, whether it's battery chickens, the environmental impact of some fish farms, or factory pig farms - here in Canada, for instance, huge pig farms are posing a real problem in several communities. We haven't even brought up genetically modified food yet. Or the demise of the small farmer, being replaced by giant corporate food machines.

While the organic and slow food movements have a bit more visibility in the past while, I suspect it's largely among foodies who want top quality and back-to-nature types, together still a tiny portion of the general population, which keeps growing and increasing the demand for cheap food of whatever quality.

At times, it can also be difficult for the average consumer to separate fact from media scare.

What do you see as the real problems in food safety and food production, and do you see things getting better (e.g., the growing popularity of CSAs and buying local ingredients, organic sections in some supermarkets), or getting worse?

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