Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Eating Animals, discussed the high incidence of foodborne illness and the state of American agriculture on The Colbert Report last week.
“Why should I become a vegetarian? What is wrong with the meat, sir?” satirical host, Stephen Colbert asked Foer.
On top of calling factory farms and industrial agriculture “perfectly antithetical to American values,” Foer discussed food poisoning statistics and the dangers of increasing antibiotic resistance as reasons for cutting back on meat consumption.
When Colbert asked Foer if eating factory farm meat–or “tortured flesh” as Foer describes it in his book–made the people who eat it become “tortured flesh,” Foer fired back with often-cited foodborne illness statistics.
“In the most literal sense, in the most scientifically objective sense, we are hurting our bodies. 76 million Americans get food poisoning ever year, and the CDC has said that the primary culprit is animal agriculture.”
“We know that we’re making antibiotics less effective, we know it,” added Foer. “And there are many things we don’t know, which are much more scary. What are the effects of eating animals that have been bred to be ill and have been fed antibiotics from birth until death?”
To watch the segment, which also includes a comedic discussion on free range labeling, see the clip below.