Frequently Asked Questions – Part 2 of 2

Telling Your Story

What are the most common questions people have about food production?

Published on: November 28, 2013

Last week, we discussed the four of the most frequent things people have questions about in regards to food production – antibiotics, food prices, animal welfare, and hormones. We’ll touch on four more areas that are frequently questioned: local and organic production, food safety, GMO foods, and corporate farms. More detail about these areas can be found at the CommonGround website.

Local and organic are popular choices for food purchases. Sometimes there is confusion that local means organic food production, but the terms local and organic are not the same thing. Local means different things to different people, some people define that as local to their county, others define it as within a couple states area. Organic production is the method of production of the food. From a nutritionally standpoint, organic and conventional produced foods are considered the same.

People have a lot of questions about the safety of our food. Some of those concerns can be attributed to mass media attention when there is a recall, but isn’t that the food system working the way it’s supposed to? It’s good that we are made aware when there is a recall, but that can cause mistrust of the safety of other foods. Part of food safety goes back to basic kitchen skills such as preparing food on a clean surface, properly washing fruits and vegetables, and cooking meat to the safe temperatures.

There are a lot of concerns and questions about GMO foods by the general population. There are many concerns about the unknown factors of this type of technology - the “what ifs”. Yet, there has been decades of research done, and it takes years for GMO products to be approved and into production. Read more here and here.  

The term corporate farms which gets confused with large farms. Family farms make up 96% of the farms in the United States. Certainly many farms are bigger today than they were in the past. Farms may support several family members along with offering employment to others. Some farms may be less diverse than what the general population considers ideal, but with specialization comes greater efficiency. Read more about corporate compared to family farms here.

Antibiotics, food prices, animal welfare, hormones, local and organic production, food safety, GMO foods, and corporate farms are areas that people have the most questions about regarding food production. It’s wise for each of us to learn more about what concerns people have about those areas, so we’re each prepared to address those concerns.