Michael Pollan speaks on egg recall

Local food expert Michael Pollan was on CNN Monday night explaining why no one should be surprised that 550 million eggs have been recalled because they may have been tainted by salmonella.

Salmonella in eggs can be linked back to the 1970s and 1980s when industrial farmers started crowding chickens together to streamline their growth, said Pollan, a professor at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Nowadays, there can be 10 chickens to a cage, which can add up to 1 million chickens in each henhouse.

When President Obama took office, he tried to create a single agency to oversee all food safety issues, said Pollan. The food industry strenuously fought that attempt. “Our food industry has fought to keep power divided and power divided is never strong,” Pollan told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Industrially produced eggs cost about 13 cents each, said Pollan. The eggs he buys at the farmers’ market (he is a regular at the Thursday farmers’ market on Shattuck) costs about 50 cents each.

The price per organic, locally-grown eggs may actually be closer to 75 cents an egg. As Pollan told the Wall Street Journal earlier this month: “Eight dollars for a dozen eggs sounds outrageous, but when you think that you can make a delicious meal from two eggs, that’s $1.50. It’s really not that much when we think of how we waste money in our lives.”

In Berkeley, it is easy to find organic eggs produced by local farmers. In addition to purveyors at the three weekly farmer markets, Cancun Taqueria on Allston sells eggs from its farm, Star Market Meatson Claremont Avenue sells local eggs, as does Berkeley Bowl, Berkeley Natural  Grocery on Gilman, and many other stores.

Soul Food Farm offers a CSA of eggs to Berkeley residents, as does Eatwell Farm.

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