You could tell a lot about your average foodie or food-safety advocate by asking them to list food-related issues by level of importance. Some people tend to focus on the latest feel-good trend (e.g., at least some versions of localism) and unsupported conjecture (e.g., many versions of the anti-GMO stance). Others focus on, you know, things that really can hurt us and that really require someone identifiable to take action.
Here’s one that really is important:
China pig crisis: Drug residues in pork, By Maryn McKenna, writing for Wired.
In China, more than 2,000 tons of fresh pork and pork products — at a minimum, 4 million pounds — have been recalled because the meat has tested positive for clenbuterol, a stimulant that is illegal in food-producing animals not only in China but in Europe and the United States. Another 1.6 million pigs are being tested….
This one is important not just because of the 4 million pounds of recalled pork, but because of the likelihood of such practices being widespread and undetected, and the likelihood that they could continue into the future. Of course, by calling this an important issue, I’m admittedly revealing my own bias here, in favour of issues that a) are directly related to human health, b) are matters of voluntary human behaviour, and c) matters where some combination of ethics and regulation might have a chance of making things better.