Becky Weed, Owner and Operator of 13 Mile Lamb and Wool Company, argues that animal health rules established decades ago to eradicate brucellosis from domestic livestock herds no longer fit the nation's needs for brucellosis management, for the only remaining reservoir is in wildlife, not domestic herds. The complicated history of bison, elk and cattle in the Greater Yellowstone Area illustrate how well-intentioned food safety rules, when misapplied, can distract us from real issues in both agricultural and wildlife policy. The brucellosis case illustrates how food safety, trade, and marketing issues can get muddled, perhaps providing some cautions in how we interpret more recent events involving e.coli contamination of vegetable crops.
"Food safety" practices have caused serious environmental harm and may actually be counterproductive to keeping our food safe. Much harm has occurred following the spinach E. coli outbreak in 2006, though systemic problems were brewing before that incident. This event, held November 20, 2008 at Fort Mason in San Francisco, brought together regional and national speakers to address the important and pressing issue of current food safety practices that threaten the sustainability of our food systems, as well as human health and wildlife. Fresh perspectives and the latest research on critical U.S. food safety challenges were addressed.