Saturday, December 19, 2009

Frontera, Inspection, and a Waste of Good Food

Just this past week inspectors from the Illinois Department of Agriculture raided Rick Bayless's restaurants Topolobampo, Frontera Grill, and Xoco. The raid was prompted after the blog Food Chain did a story about two dads who were running an underground charcutiers (or pork butcher), E & P Meats. The story stated that both E & P Meats and Rick Bayless received their pork from the same farm, Maple Creek Farms, in Penwaukee, Wisconsin.

The agents seized 80 pounds of bacon and an unknown amount of headcheese. The agents stated that the items had been inspected and certified by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture but not by Illinois, therefore making it illegal to serve in a restaurant. The food will be destroyed wasting a large amount of delicious food.

I understand that this action was done for the health of the people in Chicago, but lets be serious food from that farm is probably healthier than any thing from a CAFO or a large slaughter house. Lets be serious all of the major outbreaks in the US have not come from small farms. They come from these large corporate farms and USDA certified slaughter houses. The inspection of our food in this country is a joke.
It is my sentiment that this is just another attack on small family farms. Farms that should, in my humble opinion, receive the blessing of the USDA instead of their animosity. I for one do not buy meat at the grocery store because I do not believe that it has been produced in an ethical, humane, environmental, or healthy way. I now only purchase my meat from local farmers who I have met at the farmers' markets.

In summation, I support Rick Bayless and his tireless support of local farms and his desire to purchase products for his restaurants that have come from people and faces that he knows. And I want to say to the inspectors go find a real problem and deal with that.

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