maggots and mushrooms, who cares if they're together?

The Maggots in Your Mushrooms
maggots and mushrooms, who cares if they spend just a little time together? Don't we grow mushrooms in horse shit anyway? At least that's what my dad used to say. "They're treating you like a mushroom; keeping you in the dark and feeding you horse shit" and it seems like Levy is telling the nation that the FDA is treating us like mushrooms.
what is the purpose of this op-ed piece in the nytimes? as an op-ed, it's not plain reporting, but doesn't seem very persuasive either, honestly. should the reader feel outragedthat such filth is allowed by the authorities? there is all kinds of fear mongering here by calling this filthy food and the idea that not knowing what's REALLY in your food is a terrible thing. And after the melamine in milk and salmonella in peanut butter that might be true, but to what degree can you really know and what's worth worrying about?
why isn't it emphasized that these are the max numbers allowed, and not the average one might find if samples were actually tested? why don't they follow up on the obvious question of what would it take to provide food that is absolutely pure? Levy just writes that it isn't economically feasible. in light of the recent peanut butter and salmonella outbreak, leaving it at "economic feasibilty" makes it sound like the authorities are just being cheap when deciding what to protect in the food supply system. This piece heaps blame on the fda when there are factories that decide to ship batches of peanut butter that have tested positive for salmonella without a subsequent negative result.
in reality, it seems much more likely that the fda is simply being realistic. in order to eliminate every foreign fragment for absolute purity would require the kind of clean room technology that we see in videos of the cdc. that's not to say that no measures should be taken to prevent bacterial contamination, but think about it this way: when canned foods are sterilized by heat the bacteria are killed but the microbial corpses are not removed from the can. the dead bacteria cannot hurt you and the foreign material will not hurt you either. of course the fda has set guidelines for the allowable amounts of foreign matter based on what will and what will not affect our health. it is only our personal aversion to insects and rodents that makes the guidelines seem so revolting.

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