Metal Yarmulke
Wednesday, November 26, 2003

"Mother Earth" first, humans always.

If you live here in the People's Republic of Massachusetts, you might not want to eat red grapes for a while...unless you relish the thought of being bitten by a black widow spider.

But don't worry! The tree-huggers say it's for our own good. Money quote:

"We're seeing four or five people coming across spiders in their grapes, but we're seeing a lot less people being exposed to greater use of pesticides ... and long-term health hazards," said Paul Tierney, director of the state's Food Protection Program in the Department of Public Health. "What is the greater good here?"

Same thing Rachel Carson and her fellow eco-alarmists told us about DDT. Hey, who cares if two million people die of malaria every year? It's for the en-viiiiiiiiiii-ro-mennnnnnt!!!!

As far as the "long-term health hazards" go, I'd rather risk them than a fatal spider bite — my instinct is that I'd have more of a fighting chance. People who don't want to take those risks always have the option of buying overpriced rotting organic produce.

I'd love to see that twit Tierney's reaction if a black widow crawled out of a bunch of grapes on his kitchen table toward someone in his family, especially a very young child or an old and frail relative, neither of whom would have immune systems that functioned optimally.

Still, Tierney said the scary discoveries serve as a reminder to consumers to carefully inspect and wash produce. "As consumers we have to learn not to assume that everything is perfect," he said.

Once upon a time, caveat emptor alluded only to risks presented to buyers by unscupulous sellers. Apparently the meaning has been expanded to include risks presented by boneheaded laws imposed on honest sellers "for our own good."

(More links, and a great cartoon from this summer, at Cox & Forkum.)

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