In Anne Aurand’s Feb. 28 article on food-caused illnesses, she missed an important opportunity to empower consumers to protect themselves from foodborne illnesses. The solution? Know where your food comes from. Meet some farmers and ask questions. Better yet, go visit a farm and see the growing and processing conditions for yourself.

Aurand’s article claims that “there’s not much evidence that local food is reliably safer than that from big supermarket chains,” but this argument does not stand up to common sense. Pathogens thrive in the overcrowded conditions of industrial factory farms that supply grocery chains, and contamination spreads at a frightening pace through large processing and packaging facilities. A chicken that spends her days in the sun pecking around on abundant pasture, is processed on the farm and is then delivered directly to the consumer, has a dramatically lowered risk of infection when compared with her industrial counterpart. As the operation and distance traveled grows, the chance for contamination grows.

We are lucky to live in a region with a wealth of small family farmers who prioritize the health and safety of their animals and their customers. Get to know them and their farm-fresh products, and you’ll be rewarded with tastier, safer food for yourself and your family.

Aliza Rosenstein