I spoke with Jerry Large of the last newspaper in Seattle still standing a few days ago (before the flight attendant pried my iphone out of my hand) for his column, “Appetite lost for "The Omnivore’s Dilemma" at WSU,” about the continued interest in my bailing out the WSU “Common Reading Program” after it bought 4,000 of Michael Pollan’s book, "The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” and then canceled his campus trip due to costs. As I said to Mr. Large:

He [me] said he didn’t think WSU was reacting to outside pressure: "I said this isn’t something they would do, Floyd and the board. I was on the board for 10 years." WSU said it was a matter of money, so "I said, let me just cover the cost and let’s move forward," Marler said.

With the thought of airplane food in mind we had a chat about my thoughts of food policy gathered over 16 years of suing nearly every major food producer in the world – at least once.

"We have to rethink how we produce food," he said. That’s why he wanted to support a discussion of Pollan’s book, which deals with issues of safety, environmental impact, sustainability.

"In 16 years of doing this, I can count on one hand how many times (food-poisoning cases) have been linked to foreign products and I can count on the other hand how many times it’s been linked to locally produced food," Marler said.

The bottom line:

"Most of the cases are from mass-produced food shipped across state lines."

Anyway, back to thinking about writing a book.

  • Seriously, thanks for doing what you did with WSU. Bob Perry just posted your latest blog to Comfoods (3000 strong) and I just wanted to be sure you know there are lots and lots of people out there who appreciate it.
    Cynthia Price
    Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council

  • bob greene

    Hi Bill!
    thanks for coming to WSU’s rescue and paying for Michael Pollan. as I’ve been reading your blog I’ve begin to wonder how safe is our food?are these incidents you write about an occasional accident or the results of speed up capitalism cutting corners?
    i think a book would help people understand what’s going on with our food systems.and Bookpeople is happy to hold a book signing for you as well as a talk on student involvement in local government.

  • Sam Beattie

    With respect to your bottom line…I wonder if you would catch an uptick in enteric illnesses because of locally grown produce. Since many of these might not be reported or reported as unique strains, the association with locally grown may not make it to CDC or state level. In our food safety training of local producers, we hear stories that would make isolated cases seem very likely.