|Posted by Paula Hilbert on March 5, 2011 at 7:48 PM|
Is it fair that the majority of the US population is unaware that food companies are making foods that are genetically modified or that much of our processed foods contain corn?
My purpose in writing this message today is to influence government policies to support responsible environmental practices such as sustainable agriculture and reduced land/water pollutants.
While a student in Health Sciences, it came to my attention that information regarding our food supply, the way our food is grown and the practices behind those methods are deliberately hidden from us. Large corporations are gaining control over our food, food is coming from enormous assembly lines where the animals and workers are being abused,and the workers and farmers are not allowed to talk about it for fear of beingfired or sued (Kenner, R. 2009).
It is just a handful of companies (i.e.: Tyson, Smithfield and Monsanto) that have changed how we eat and how we get our food:
Cows are fed corn instead of being allowed to eat grass. Cows are natural lawn mowers and fertilizers when allowed to be free-range. These CAFO’s (concentrated animal feeding operations) result in high corn diet in animals and results in E. coli. in the guts of the animals. The run off from factory farms results in E.coli found in spinach and other crops and E. coli causes human sickness, disease and even death. I’m sure you are all aware that taking cattle off corn and feeding them grass for only five days will cause the cattle to shed 80% of their E. coli (Kenner,R. 2009). I was appalled when I learned that hamburger meat fillers are cleaned with ammonia to kill E. coli.
In 1972, the FDA conducted approximately 50,000 food safety inspections. In 2006, they only conducted 9164. What has happened? We put faith in our government to protect us and we’re not being protected at the most basic level. The USDA is powerless to shut down plants that repeatedly produce contaminated meat (Kenner, R. 2009).
By 2008 over 90% of soybeans in the US contained Monsanto’s patented gene. No company should have such a control over our food supply! Farmers are sued if “caught” keeping seeds from previous years, even when those seeds are not owned by Monsanto and snack food calories comes from commodity (cheap) crops such as corn, soy and wheat. The foodso ff the $ menus of fast food restaurants are made from these commodity crops, foods are being engineered so they won’t go stale in the refrigerator and 90% of that food comes from corn. What is worse is that one in three Americans born after 2000 will contract diabetes,and one in two of those will be a minority. (Kenner,R. 2009).
We must get back to the basics of nature. All of this mass production of food this way is costing us ten-fold. It is expensive and unsustainable. The hidden costs to the environment, to the society and to human health are astronomical.
The Environmental impact alone is causing major public health problems. As mentioned above, the runoff of factory farms results in E Coli. Large amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides are applied to crops (both for animal feed and human consumption). These chemicals can not only get into the food, they often leach into the surrounding soil and can pollute rivers, streams and groundwater. Factory farms also cause air pollution, emitting foul odors, dust, smallairborne particulates and numerous toxic chemicals. The spread of food borne illness that can be transferred to humans is increased by factory farms’ overcrowded, confined, filthy conditions.
The impact on the Climate change from current food producing practices is creating a world that will be unsustainable for future generations!
The world wide water shortage is another issue that we cannot ignore. Implementation of affordable and practical solutions can be established when we have strong leadership, not only from the private sector but from the public sector as well. As citizens of the global community, we are the caretakers and users maintaining the integrity of the earth's ecological system. Our individual mission should be to pass along to future generations a healthy and sound environment. By voting informed and enlightened people into office, and by working together, we can preserve our global home through humanitarianism and make it possible to have enough clean water and food for the world.
In demanding good wholesome food, we will begin choosing food that is in season;we will buy organic fruits and vegetables and only free range beef, chicken and pork. We will buy local, shop at farmer’s markets, and demand that the farmer’s markets begin accepting food stamps. We will plant our own organic gardens, reduce the energy and water we use in our homes and encourage others in our community to do the same. We will change national policy so that eating healthy is more cost efficient than eating unhealthy. (Glick, P. 2007). When we speak up and demand what is our right, we will begin to feel better, have more energy and have less sickness. And when we pray, we will ask for food that will keep us, and our planet healthy. I respectfully request this issue is taken seriously. We can start in our own backyards and begin a movement…..A movement to heal this world.
Glick, P (2007). TheGardener’s Guide to Global Warming: Challenges and Solutions. NationalWildlife Federation, Weston, VA
Kenner, R (2009). Food, Inc. – A Documentary. TakePart, LLC
Paula McClellan-Hilbert, CNHC, BS