You Say Tomato, I say Tomato. Let’s call the whole thing off.

Switzerland is one of the sticklers for the Doha round of World Trade Organization talks on agriculture subsidies.  We have mountains here, and a good way up some of those mountains are farm animals.  It costs a fair amount of money to bring those products to market.  Wherever those animals are, farm products are carefully inspected before going to market.  Salmonella has not been an issue here. NPR had a story on this back in 2005.

In the meantime it’s tomato season back in New Jersey and elsewhere in the States, and it has been marred once again by a Salmonella scare.  Official warnings have been canceled as of July 21, but a new warning has been issued regarding jalapeño peppers.  Here we go again.  U.S. farming practices remain a disaster.  Thanks to lax regulation of the food supply we have had repeated scares.  Last year it was spinach, with a bunch of pigs having taken a romp in a California field.  What will it be next?  People often mention the food supply as a potential terrorist target.  I don’t see why they should bother.  The farmers are doing a fine job of poisoning Americans without additional help.

Here is why the WTO is so important in this discussion.  The Swiss pay a premium to protect their food supply through tighter inspection regimes and a higher standard of farm practice.  Americans do not pay that premium.  If the Swiss authorities deregulated their agriculture, they would in effect be reducing their standards for food quality.  Perhaps instead Americans should  consider raising their standards so that fewer people get sick.

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