Lost dietary variety: who's to blame?

By | April 25, 2012

Wrong: government, not business, is the problem. And dietary variety != available seed variety

If you've ever gone to the garden center, you've likely seen a lot of tomatos, strawberries, etc. 'For decorative purposes only'. But why?

See, decorative foods are not just merely decorative. The problem is this: in order to sell a particular strain as 'edible', it must be approved by the appropeiate government agency. And that certification costs a lot of money. So the other strains are labeled and sold as decorative.

Before we go around blaming big businesses as the root of all evil, we also need to acknowledge that unless we remove the cost barrier in approving food strains, we will not see more strain varients on grocery shelves anytime soon. Public policy, not large farmers, is the bigger challenge now: loosening public policy would at least reintroduce older strains on the market, allowing consumer choice to drive the market once again.

/via +Mike Elgan

Reshared post from +Full Circle

This infographic shows a reduction of produce variety in the last century as a direct result of big businesses (i.e. Monsanto) controlling the world seed supply. It's time to change our food system!!

2 thoughts on “Lost dietary variety: who's to blame?

  1. Chris Harrington

    Suggested work-around: crop varieties of a single species that are derived 100% from selective breeding combinations of already certified varieties or their derivatives would require no additional certification as long as the parent varieties were listed in labeling.

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  2. Chris Harrington

    +Sophie Wrobel Mind blown. I wonder what the regulations are in Japan, because I have never noticed such seed labeling here.
    My guess in markets that have it is that if you dig deep enough, then there is a corporate lobbyist or two in the loop there trying to keep high cost certification processes in place to keep out small competitors. In other product categories, Japan is famous for that approach. Many products classified as cosmetics elsewhere, for instance, are classified as "secondary pharmaceuticals" here, requiring a pharmacist license and extremely expensive and lengthy vetting. Thus, big pharma in Japan have a choke hold on the import cosmetic market. Quite likely in this market, it was big business that dictated the original drafting of the regulations.

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