Do you know that the way we eat has changed in the last 50 years more than in the previous 10,000 years?
Well it has, and not in a good way.
Buying beef at the supermarket is not what it used to be. You never know what you are really buying. Unless you were in a coma in 2013, you would have heard that many supermarkets across Europe pulled meat products off their shelves because horse meat was being sold as beef. In the midst of the scandal some of the largest supermarket chains in Europe announced that some of its frozen beef products were found to contain up to 100% horse meat.
What about our friendly vegetables and fruits. Have you asked yourself how come you can get tomatoes all season? These tomatoes are grown halfway around the world, picked when green, and artificially ripened with ethylene gas. Same goes for the bananas and peers that we give our kids as part of a healthy diet. Now there is nothing wrong with ethylene occurring in nature but artificial ripening of fruit and vegetable using ethylene gas in warehouses raises questions.
As shocking as that may be, perhaps you knew all that already. So here is what you didn’t know:
What the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know
The food industry has created a veil between us and where our food comes from. If we knew what we were really eating we might not want to eat it. So we do not ask and they do not tell. So if you are reading this and you don’t want to know then I suggest you look away.
The food that we eat is neither produced by farmers nor controlled or owned by them. Forget the packages that have farmers milking cows or cattle grazing. That is part of the veil and disguise of reality.
The truth is that all food is processed by huge multinational corporations that cannot even spell out the word “farm”. In fact if you look at the United States of America you will see that the top four multinationals control 80% of the entire food industry.
All that power in the hands of a few is a recipe for evil. Extreme animal cruelty is not uncommon in the food industry today. Our food is now coming from large assembly lines, produced at extremely fast pace and through tampering with nature.
Farmers are not allowed to disclose some of the procedures that are being used to produce the food that we eat. In fact any farmer who has a contract with these huge multinationals neither owns the food nor controls it. The multinationals control the food from seed to the supermarket. The farmers are merely employees if you look at it technically.
In the coming weeks we will be unveiling the truth about the food industry on this blog. It is not going to be pretty. So I hope you have the stomach for it.
Where It All Started to Go Wrong
In October 1948, the McDonald brothers realized that most of their profits came from selling hamburgers. They closed down their successful drive-in restaurant and established a cost effective restaurant with a simple menu of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, French fries, shakes, soft drinks, and apple pie.
The McDonald brothers single-handedly revolutionized the way restaurants are run by bringing the factory system to the back of the restaurant kitchen. However unknowingly they contributed to the way food is produced today.
McDonald’s workers were trained to do just one thing. If you flipped burgers, that is all you did all day. This enabled them to pay low wages and also made it easy to fire and replace workers. By doing so, it kept the costs down and the food was inexpensive and tasted good. This formula made McDonald’s the success it is today.
So how is that bad you might be wondering? Well the mentality of uniformity and cheapness if applied on a wide scale has some serious consequences.
McDonald’s is the largest buyer of ground beef in the United States of America. So when they want their hamburgers to taste exactly the same everywhere, they are able to influence how ground beef is produced.
They are also the largest buyers of potato, one of the largest buyers of pork, chicken, tomato, and lettuce. We haven’t even touched on the other fast food chains which just like McDonald’s are big and need big suppliers.
As mentioned before, the top four suppliers control 80% of the industry in the United States of America. So even if you do not eat at a fast food restaurant, you are still eating food produced by the same system. The situation in Europe isn’t much different.
It really does not matter how many labels and brands you see out there, the reality is that most of those products have originated from only four huge corporations. These entities care about revenues and not about your health or that of your children.
The Yolks on You
The joke’s on you and on all of us. The mighty food industry has changed the way chicken are raised. Chicken are raised twice as fast as 50 years ago and are double the size. We like white meat and so the industry produces mutant chickens with large breasts.
The chickens never see sunlight and there is no space for the chicken to walk. It is filthy with dust and feces all over the poultry house. Surely you can’t call that “farming” but rather “mass production”.
The chickens go from being a chick to a 3 kg chicken in less than seven weeks. This causes some serious complications. The bones and internal organs are not able to keep up with the rapid growth and so they can’t cope with the weight that they must carry.
Many of the catchers who come to collect the chicken are undocumented workers. They can’t complain about payment and do not care how they do their work as long as it is done. This keeps the costs low and the fewer questions asked the better. In many instances even diseased chicken have made it to the slaughterhouse.
Large corporations own the chicken and in many ways own the farmers too. Farmers are not allowed to disclose how they work. If they do, they could get sued for breach of contract.
The companies keep the farmers under their control due to the debt the farmers have. A typical poultry house in the United States of America costs about 300,000 dollars. The farmer makes about 1,500 dollars a month.
Once a farmer makes the initial investment, the companies keep coming back with upgrade demands for new equipment. The farmer has no choice but to borrow more money or have his contract terminated.
End of Part 1
We have hardly scratched the surface on this issue. As I always remind my readers, our blog is about helping you educate yourself so you are able to make the right choices.
Stay tuned for Part 2 that I will be posting next Saturday March 8th 2014.