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)

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

In a series of candid video interviews, women talk about self-image, self-judgement, and what it means to love their bodies


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

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

Just In