Nicholas Kristof Urges America to Clean the Henhouse

More

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof grew up on a family farm. Who knew? Today, however, he put his upbringing to good use with an op-ed that contrasts his family's "horrendously inefficient" model of backyard chicken farming with the brutally efficient industrial techniques that have given rise to the recent egg safety scare. Most importantly, he makes a big-picture point that others have mostly missed—that our ongoing Salmonella saga is less a story about eggs than a story about industrial agriculture as a whole:

Inspections of Iowa poultry farms linked to the salmonella outbreak have prompted headlines about infestations with maggots and rodents. But the larger truth is: industrial agriculture is itself unhealthy.

Repeated studies have found that cramming hens into small cages results in more eggs with salmonella than in cage-free operations. As a trade journal, World Poultry, acknowledged in May: "salmonella thrives in cage housing."

Industrial operations -- essentially factories of meat and eggs -- excel at manufacturing cheap food for the supermarket. But there is evidence that this model is economically viable only because it passes on health costs to the public -- in the form of occasional salmonella, antibiotic-resistant diseases, polluted waters, food poisoning and possibly certain cancers. That's why the president's cancer panel this year recommended that consumers turn to organic food if possible -- a stunning condemnation of our food system.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Daniel Fromson, a former associate editor at The Atlantic, is a writer based in Washington, D.C. He writes regularly for The Washington Post. His work has also appeared in Harper's Magazine, New York, and Slate.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Fascinating Short Film About the Multiverse

If life is a series of infinite possibilities, what does it mean to be alive?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

Just In