Knowing where our food comes from: Georgia ranks ninth in the U.S. in food-borne illnesses

Buried in one of the inside pages of the AJC’s Metro section today, I found this article placing Georgia firmly in the list of top ten states with the worst financial burden from food-borne illnesses. This is a distressing situation, that in a state predominated by agriculture, we still can’t keep track of our food and where’s it’s been, instead importing our groceries from across the globe – E. coli, salmonella, and all. How hard is it to buy from a local Georgia farmer? Three times a day, we put food in our mouths from who-knows-where instead of from our own back yards.

If we all made a conscious decision with our food purchases and elected to go to a local farmers’ market once or twice a week (and that’s not hard to do – see my page here for info (and this is just the beginning!)) and cut back on the imported food, I’m confident we could bring down the $4.7 billion it costs our state each year to deal with food-borne illnesses.

Ironically, California, who is a huge source of produce, ranked highest with food-borne illness costs soaring to $18.6 billion, which indicates the necessity to take that step beyond industrial farms, no matter where they’re located.

Your wallet talks and you can make it resonate in the food industry by making smarter, healthier choices. Who wants E. coli anyway? I’m sure the people who got it went to the grocery store thinking, “oh, that won’t happen to me…”

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