I found the article in Thursday’s Mustang Daily regarding the bug found in the salad from Campus Dining quite interesting and couldn’t help but respond.

First, Alan Cushman should be applauded for taking the opportunity to satisfy the customer and explain why sustainability in food is so important and worth the extra precautions to try to ensure a good dining experience.

Secondly, I would like to address the student’s response to finding the bug. As a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) who picks up fresh produce weekly from a small local farm in Los Osos, I too find the occasional bug in my produce. When you think about it, finding a live bug might be preferable to finding dead ones depending on your food choices.

We generally don’t get sick from consuming conventional produce (I eat a lot of it myself) but it can stress the soil and the ecosystem in a way that organic production does not. Personally, I can deal with a single live bug because the produce still tastes great, is local and is probably an indicator that the environment that the food was grown in is a place where my kids can play. Many conventional growers using sustainable methods (but choosing not to be certified organic) can say the same thing. I might start worrying if growers did everything they could do chemically to remove the possibility of finding a single live bug.

Neal MacDougall
Agribusiness associate professor

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