what’s going on with our food?

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2007-08-20 11:19

Sudan red in our spices. Antibiotic chloramphenicol in our honey. rBST in our milk. Ethylene glycol in our pet food. Genetically modified organisms in our non-gmo soya milk. Trans fats in our bread. Sugar promoted as a way to "manage diabetes"! Cloned meat on the FDA's agenda in the US. Cadmium pineapples in South Africa!

pic: super size mepic: super size meYou’re not wrong in thinking it sounds like a frankenfood freakshow – something is happening to our food supply chain. Why all the adulteration, hidden and disease-causing ingredients?

We can blame the modern industrial food complex for the complicated system of moving food from the fields to your table in the name of convenience and profit, but we're now entering an era where the large players in the system are no longer just motivated by profit but by total control.

The farmer is squeezed from all sides: by supermarkets that will drop him like a hot potato should he not fulfill orders; agri-chemical companies who supply toxic chemicals that damage the land with no liability; and biotech GM seed companies who will sue him for the shirt on his back should he infringe on their patent rights.

Consumers also feel the pinch. We're not told... about all the ingredients, and even if you do read the fine print it's not very helpful. Emulsifier, thickening agent, rising agent, anyone? "Vegetable oil" could be palm, soybean- or canola oil (or whatever oil was cheapest in the market when the processor purchased the ingredients). Tartrazine, MSG, TBHQ, other numerous E's, too much salt and sugar? No problem, just throw in a kiddie toy and we'll buy it!

Our government doesn’t think we need to know whether what we're feeding our children is genetically modified – the laws governing GM food labelling in this country are ineffective.

Advertisers will sell us anything without conscience, as long as it's nicely packaged and has pictures of smiling babies and good looking people with picture-perfect smiles; if it's sexy, cool or smart we're smitten. Caught hook, line and sinker.

Factory farming is destroying the planet. Agriculture, particularly through deforestation to palm oil or soy bean plantations, is one of the largest contributing factors to global warming. (We'll leave the cruelty of animal farming for another time).

And so we swallow what we're fed - literally. This isn’t about capitalism and free market economics; the economic growth imperative or progress and development. Our food system is in a state, and it’s all about "big business" taking hold, at any cost.

This is the future of our food:

• corporate farming
• pharma-nutri-ceuticals
• GM seed terminator technology (no more seed saving; even subsistence farmers will be forced to buy annually from seed companies)
• antibiotic resistant bacteria (due to GM products containing antibiotic marker genes)
• Organic farmers forced out of business (how can you be certified organic next to a field growing GM versions of your produce?)

So what can we do about it?
• Read the label
• Support local organic farmers, markets, box-delivery schemes, suppliers and retailers of organic food
• Join the Biowatch and SAFeAGE mailing lists and raise your awareness of GM food
• Read more about GM and food issues on urban sprout
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