About 3 years ago I began buying meat or fish from Fresh Direct and
Whole Foods in New York. The first is an Internet-based retailer. You
order online and deliveries are made to your apartment from
warehouses in the outer boroughs. The advantage supposedly to Fresh
Direct was that the food was under tighter control than in
supermarkets where meat and fish are sold long after their expiration
date. Their website brags:
"Our food comes directly from farms, dairies and fisheries (not
middlemen), so it's several days fresher and a lot less expensive
when it gets to your table. Our fully refrigerated, state-of-the-art
facility (minutes from Manhattan in Long Island City) lets us meet
standards no retail store in the country can match. We follow USDA
guidelines and the HACCP food safety system in all our fresh storage
and production rooms. Since customers don't shop in our facility, we
can maintain different environments for each type of food we sell.
For example, we have seven different climates for handling produce,
ensuring that the bananas are as happy as the potatoes."
As much as I enjoyed the convenience of ordering from Fresh Direct, I
cut them out last October when I discovered that the initial capital
investment came from Peter Ackerman, a George Soros type investor who
funds NGO's around the world dedicated to overthrowing the latest
designated enemy of the U.S. State Department–including the Albert
Einstein Institute that Stephen Zunes is haplessly trying to defend
against the charge of meddling in Venezuela's internal politics.
Whole Foods, on the other hand, is a nationwide chain that first
established a foothold in New York a few years ago. Whatever I wasn't
buying from Fresh Direct, I'd pick up at Whole Foods. As its name
implies, it puts a heavy emphasis on organic meat and produce. Their
website, competing with Fresh Direct as to who is best positioned to
Save the Planet, informs us:
This is where it all began. Whole Foods Market is all about organics,
and organics is all about respect for the earth and the natural
processes that have nourished us for millennia. Organic agriculture
works in harmony with Nature to produce food that is free of man-made
toxins, promoting the health of consumers, farmers and the earth,
with an eye to maintaining that health far into the future.
Organic farming is a hopeful enterprise, practiced with compassion
and empathy for the land and the creatures upon it.
Somehow, the "health of consumers" went by the wayside this week when
Whole Food was implicated in a major E. coli outbreak, as today's
Washington Post reports:
"Whole Foods Market pulled fresh ground beef from all of its stores
Friday, becoming the latest retailer affected by an E. coli outbreak
traced to Nebraska Beef, one of the nation's largest meatpackers.
It's the second outbreak linked to the processor in as many months.
"The meat Whole Foods recalled came from Coleman Natural Foods, which
unbeknownst to Whole Foods had processed it at Nebraska Beef, an
Omaha meatpacker with a history of food-safety and other violations.
Nebraska Beef last month recalled more than 5 million pounds of beef
produced in May and June after its meat was blamed for another E.
coli outbreak in seven states. On Friday it recalled an additional
1.2 million pounds of beef produced on June 17, June 24 and July 8,
which included products eventually sold to Whole Foods. The recall is
not related to the recent spate of E. coli illnesses among Boy Scouts
at a gathering in Goshen, Va.
"Whole Foods officials are investigating why they were not aware that
Coleman was using Nebraska Beef as a processor, spokeswoman Libba Letton said."