Your bombastic editorial "Food Fight" (April 21), blames us, the food producers, for much of our food-borne illnesses. And the Food and Drug Administration's increased involvement could correct the problem? Great! As a farm market operator and grower, I can always add to the list of government agencies lording over us. By my count, this would make it an even dozen! Then again, who's counting?
Your suggested inspection fee of $500 would undoubtedly rein in Granny and her roadside stand of garden fresh veggies. No more coffee can to store the cash. A bucket would seem more appropriate instead. However, filling it to pay for her new assessment would be her problem.
Interestingly enough, the editorial neglected to mention the consumer's role in safer food. This may be where a cause exists more so than that of producers. When I buy a head of leaf lettuce, I think, "Did another shopper touch it? Where's that hand been? Was a leaky diaper involved? Did the lettuce fall on the floor and was it returned to the pile?" Then there's the chicken breasts stuffed into a plastic bag and placed into a sun-heated SUV on its sometimes roundabout way back home. Where, oh, where is that iced cooler? And once it's prepared, does it ever get overlooked in the back of the fridge?
We producers receive continuous classroom and field workshops on producing, handling and marketing the world's safest and best foods. Sanitation is at the top of our list of duties. If it wasn't, we'd be out of business.
HARRY T. MEYER JR.
The Little Orchard