Chron's Spinach Debate Sows Paralysis

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Small family farms or Big Agro food factories - isn't there a third way? Yesterday's Chron Open Forum laid out a point-counterpoint debate about preventing calamities like E. coli-tainted spinach, but you may have been looking for another way. Distinguished urban farmer Michael Ableman laid out the family farm argument in the San Francisco Chronicle: Buy whole spinach - and all your produce - only from farmers you know and trust. Shilling for the irradiation industry, Spyros Andreopoulos countered that the answer is to zap even organic produce with enough cobalt-60 to kill anything alive. Yeah, a lot of us support farmers' markets when we can, but factory products like prewashed salad greens are handy options for time-strangled families, plus they help restaurants cut labor costs. Isn't there a middle ground here? The Chron's polarizing debate laid out a paralyzing choice. -John Birdsall

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