Over the weekend, the Food Integrity Campaign team attended Washington D.C.’s Green Festival – the longest-running sustainability and green living event. It was great to see so many people who care about transparency in the food system! We spoke with hundreds of individuals about issues across the food spectrum – from Ag Gag laws to food labeling to pesticide overuse – and overall they agreed that protecting whistleblowers is key to holding the food and agriculture industries accountable.
FIC Outreach Coordinator/Investigator Roxy Darrow was the star of the show, dressed up in a pig outfit to highlight the concerns of USDA whistleblowers who work at Hormel pork plants. Green Fest attendees were appalled when we told them that inspectors at some Hormel plants are expected to monitor 83 pounds of pork per second! Trained inspectors have informed us that they can’t check for contamination at line speeds that fast. It’s impossible! Through a Change.org petition based on these concerns, we’re urging Hormel to slow down inspection and make sure it puts public health first.
When speaking about food with us, many event goers also brought up the recent John Oliver episode about the exploitation of poultry farmers. They were glad to learn about our client, Craig Watts, a brave contract chicken farmer who blew the whistle on Perdue’s misleading labels and was featured in the episode. As representatives in Congress have stated, the onslaught of publicity on this issue could help with policy reform and improve accountability in the chicken industry.
The third most common conversation we had with people surrounded the topic of GMOs. Attendees strongly emphasized their opposition to genetically engineered crops and believed adequate labeling of foods containing them were a must. Some, but not all, were aware of the battle being fought in Hawaii – considered ground-zero in the fight over GMO testing. FIC continues to investigate Big Biotech’s excessive use of pesticides on the island.
Thanks to everyone at Green Fest for stopping by our table and talking food integrity with us. Check out more photos from the event on Twitter.
Sarah Damian is Communications Manager for the Food Integrity Campaign.