Can Changing Our Buying Habits Reduce the Risk of Another Pandemic Flu?

Even though the flu is less dangerous than many think and the flu vaccine less dangerous than many think, factory farming of animals may continue to promote the creation of serious viruses and bacteria that threaten human populations. Swine flu comes from pigs shoved together where the virus spreads and mutates, then escapes to spread in people. The avian flu comes from chickens. E coli comes from the factory farming of cows and ends up other places, such as spinach (and our dinner tables!). Salmonella? From factory farming of chickens, and on and on.

The growing, emerging illnesses that are scariest right now are growing because of animal agricultural practices. Here’s where your choices as a parent can really make a difference. When you choose meat and poultry products for your family’s table, look for keywords like organic, cage-free, grass-fed and pasture-fed. You’re not only lessoning the risk that you’ll run into contaminated products, you’re also supporting sustainable agriculture practices that can reduce the illnesses that factory farming of animals can pose.

For more about choosing healthy food products for your family, check out my Organic Prescription, which lists the top 10 most important organic choices you can make.

Published on: October 19, 2009
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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