As I started visiting small farms in West Virginia to market local food to consumers, I learned a lot I didn’t know. And it got me very alarmed.
My blogs started taking on a urgent tone…you MUST change your ways….until a woman I barely knew and subsequently became a best friend, cautioned me that no one listens to yelling.
So, I think I will let photos tell the story and just give you something to think about each one.
Did you know that the US government permits chickens to be sent to China where labor costs are so much lower? The chickens will be processed and then shipped back, the better for you to continue enjoying chicken at a low price.
Did you know that a number of food items prepared in China, from dog treats to baby food, have been recalled because of toxic and unhealthy items? Unless you know your farmer, you will not know where the meat was processed.
Starting in 1994 some crops were genetically modified. Within ten years it has been estimated that over 75% of the average American diet was obtained from genetically enhanced foods….plants and animals that would not occur naturally and are only designed to help with weeds and pests or other environmental annoyances to the producer. While the jury is still out about the genetic changes in our food affecting the eater, it is already clear that the manufacturers have not obtained one of their goals: to reduce the use of chemical sprays. So, anyone eating GMO food is getting a huge dose of chemicals that are being determined, because of consumer pressure, to be carcinogenic.
In the past five years there have been efforts made in a number of states to require foods that use genetically modified ingredients to be labeled. The companies that make the chemicals, control the seeds for planting, and the organizations that manufacture and sell the food involved have poured in billions of dollars and persuaded people who are not taking time to read independently that there is no ill effect. However, in each fight the margin is getting closer and closer so now these organizations are fighting in Congress to prohibit labeling. They think the typical American is too stupid to understand and if they see an issue they will not buy the products.
Most meat that is sold in supermarkets are from animals that have spent at least a few months in what is called a animal confinement facility. Efforts by activists have raised awareness that the automatic use of antibiotics to increase the growth rate and keep the animals from getting sick in the dirty and congested facilities have resulted in antibiotic resistance strains of bacteria that mean people who get sick may not be able to be helped. Some places have eliminated its use and are advertising “antibiotic free.”
It has become illegal to obtain and show these photos, as the organizations behind it realize you might get concerned and stop buying their products. Stopping the photos does not mean the practice has stopped.
So, now what? Well, take a few minutes and think about your own body or your kids. Does anyone have pretty constant tummy problems? How about immune system problems, like allergies, eczema, arthritis, and there even has been some discussion about chemicals in conventional food related to higher rates of ADHD. If anyone eating out of your kitchen or eating out regularly has any of these symptoms, you may want to switch a pattern of spending.
You might want to try what we did……we did a 6-month trial. We did not buy organic as our first choice, but from local farmers we got to know and understood they used no sprays and other organic practices to raise their food. We supplemented with organic products only if we could not obtain what we needed. My husband was skeptical but after 6 months my arthritis was more easily managed and my daughter’s gut issues which had bothered her since her teen years improved dramatically.
Local Harvest is a national organization that provides information near your zip code for farms. No excuse you don’t “know your farmer.”
We also discovered one more benefit….our food tasted better than what we could buy in the supermarket. If only for THAT reason, if you ENJOY eating, you might want to run a test.