If it's true that you are what you eat, then most of us are pretty toxic. There are currently around 50,000 different pesticide formulae using roughly 700 different chemicals, and that's just the pesticides. Then there's the fertilizers (some of which are used to make bombs, you know), whatever the heck it might be that they use in the packing and processing plants, and don't even ask what goes on in the abattoirs.
Surely, by now, everyone has seen the McDonald's burger that still looks the same after years of being carried around for demonstration purposes. You eat enough of that kind of stuff, and you'll be embalmed from the inside out.
Meanwhile, there are federal laws that state that you have to do some of these things. Food safety, they call it. And certainly, when you're raising plants and animals in intensive farming environments, and then processing them en masse, in a way that ensures that the food will still be edible by the time it's traveled thousands of miles and changed hands numerous times before it gets to you, the unwitting eater, then yes, it's going to be necessary to cover that with whatever it takes to give it the illusion of freshness.
But if you live near people who grow food, and they don't find it necessary to add benzoic acid, sodium nitrite, sulfur dioxide, or potassium sorbate to their carrots and onions to keep them fresh for the long haul of 17 miles down State Route 27 from their farm to the farmers market, then they should be able to do so, right?
Not necessarily. There are rules, and they might apply to you whether you're a local organic farmer trying to make ends meet or you're the corporate monocropper whose ass the farming lobby was trying to cover when these rules were implemented.
Unless you're a farmer in Blue Hill, Sedgwick or Penobscot, Maine. Then you are now officially exempt from these laws.
In a growing movement, each of these towns has voted to enact 'The Local Food and Community Self-Ordinance of 2011', which acknowledges the "the right to produce, process, sell, purchase and consume local foods thus promoting self-reliance, the preservation of family farms, and local food traditions."
Which begs the question: what is your locality doing to ensure the integrity of your food? What are you doing?
To get you started, there are seven principles of food freedom - or sovereignty. Here they are, presented by people who thoroughly understand them: