Sunday, March 11, 2012

Deregulate local food

How bad can a situation be for local food advocates when critics like me have to come to their side?

Here's a typical example. In November the Quail Hollow Farm in Nevada hosted a five-course meal and the owners say they met all the standards they were told ahead of time, but then the health department waited for the event to start before they cited additional unmet requests and destroyed the food.

My niche for this blog has been to provide a reality check to the buy local movement. I mostly write about the pseudo scientific economic selling points, but I occasionally branch out to the phony environmental and health claims. Quail Hollow Farm is guilty of these too. These advocates make plenty of other fictional claims like "fresh locally-grown fruits and vegetables are indispensable for optimal nutrition and health" on their list of core values, but none of this has anything to do with the awful health regulations the government enforces.

The slow wheels of government has not caught up to this cottage industry of local food advocates. While I disagree with their motives and values, I feel sickened to see their consumer choices being thwarted by government officials allegedly out of paternalistic concern. It's much easier to create government restrictions than remove them, and these locavores are paying the price for bad legislation.

People on the left seem to have a knee-jerk response to the idea of deregulation. Let this example shine through to that logic. While regulation is needed in some very specific areas, we should never assume that our current level of regulation is optimal. It's easy to image a dangerous over-regulated situation, and we should always be open to arguments to remove or add additional regulations.

There's something very wrong with assuming all food is considered poison until proven otherwise, and anyone should be able to recognize that. I'm glad to see the locavores carrying that torch.

No comments:

Post a Comment