Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sterilizing culture

"The EU wants to stop the sale of dairy products made without modern sterilisation, cooling and transportation equipment - an impossibility for poor men who eke out a living in a wild and beautiful place where running water means a mountain stream and electricity only flows in the lightning that crackles over their pastures.

'I've been doing this 43 years and it hasn't changed,' said Aurel Cotinghi in the pungent little cabin where he makes cheese, as his two sons continue milking outside. 'Now I suppose things will change, but no one has explained it properly to us. Sometime, someone will have to tell us what to do or they will just close us down.'

'If we lose the sheep from the mountains, we have lost the mountains: the whole ecosystem will be destroyed and the wild animals will come to villages looking for food,' said Gontea. For Cotinghi's 19-year-old son Bogdan there is little to recommend this tough existence. 'Perhaps I'll be a carpenter,' he said as his father prepared a lunch of bread, cheese and spring onions. 'There's no way I'm doing this for the rest of my life.'" (thanks Rania)

Everywhere around the world, urban people who have lost most of their natural immunity from living in an over-sterilized world are passing laws that control the sanitary quality of foods. There is outcry in all of Europe, where not only farmers, but also food culture appreciators are fighting these laws. While there should be basic food health regulations, these should be edicted and implemented after having developed a good understanding of traditional processes which have been at work for so long without causing any major catastrophy. The new regulations favor most large scale industrial operators at the expense of the small producers, and cause the dissolution of the geographic specificity of products which is replaced by brand homogeneity.

Without small producers, rural culture disappears.

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