Every Monday on her YouTube channel, food trends expert Dana McCauley gives us the lowdown on the trends that are happening in the food world. Stop by FBC on Tuesdays for a little extra insight from Dana on how you as a food blogger can use this information in your work!
Like all consumers, I’m often affected by the marketing messages that inundate me when I go to the grocery store. In light of how many claims you see on an average trip up-and-down the aisles, it becomes easy to accept claims at face value and not think beyond the label about what a claim actually means for the people and animals involved in the production of specific foods.
For instance, I was a big fan of meats labeled as antibiotic-free. Then, last spring, I met Adele Douglass, the founder of Certified Humane Animal Care, and I learned that this claim can actually lead to animal suffering. Since farmers who are raising animals are doing so for business purposes, they need to do everything they can to fulfill the promises that they make to grocers and the public. As a result, if a cow, chicken or pig that is to be sold under an antibiotic-free program falls ill, the farmer may wait longer than usual to treat that sick animal with antibiotics since s/he doesn’t want to lose a saleable animal.
Interestingly, programs like Adele’s and the regional SPCA programs that certify farms in British Columbia and now in Ontario, forbid preventive anti-biotic use on their farms but allow sick animals to be treated when necessary and then returned to the herd. Research shows that this practice has little effect on the human antibiotic resistance that is behind the consumer interest in antibiotic-free meats, milk and eggs.
So what’s the lesson here? I’ve learned that when doing videos or writing blog pieces and articles that I need to stop and interview people on opposite sides of all issues. Press releases and single sources can be a great way to get ideas for projects but we all need to pause and think about the flip sides of all the stories we encounter.
Was there a time when you blogged about something that you later realized wasn’t quite as black and white as you represented it in your initial post?