(US) Navigating the guilt in the grocery aisles
- [from Washington Post]
I can't decide what to eat. I don't mean which recipe to make, or what
restaurant to go to. I mean when I go grocery shopping, I'm paralyzed
with indecision. Everything, it seems, is either ethically,
nutritionally or environmentally incorrect. Guilt is ruining my
Take the other day when I went to buy eggs. Sounds easy, but this is
the dialogue that played in my head as I stared at six shelves of egg
cartons: "Should I buy the omega-3 eggs that are supposedly good for
my heart? But wait, they're not organic. Maybe I should spring for the
$3.50 organic eggs from Horizon, even though I read that the company
has gotten so huge it's driving out the smaller organic farmers.
"Perhaps I should get the cage-free eggs from a small farm in
Pennsylvania? Or the brown eggs from vegetarian-fed, free-roaming
hens? Oh, never mind. I need to save money. So what if the hens are
living a miserable existence in the poultry version of the state pen.
The eggs are only 79 cents. I have bills to pay." The point is,
choosing what to eat and drink has become hard work.
Books such as Eric Schlosser's "Fast Food Nation" (Houghton Mifflin,
2001) have raised questions about the humane treatment of cattle and
of the immigrants working in packing plants. Critics wonder how
closely the federal government really inspects the meat we eat. The
feds say our meat supply is safe, but companies aren't required to
announce recalls of contaminated beef.
And what about that Texas cow discovered last year to be infected with
mad cow, the brain-wasting disease? Government officials played it
down; should we trust them?
Switch to chicken? Oh, wait. Avian flu. Salmonella. Chickens raised in
factory farms. Manure runoff polluting the Chesapeake Bay.
Chicken-of-the-sea becoming literally true.
I think I need to lie down.
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