Monday, May 17, 2010
Thoughts: In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.
Facts from Food, Inc:
- In the 1970s, the top five beef packers controlled about 25% of the market. Today, the top four control more than 80% of the market.
- In the 1970s, there were thousands of slaughterhouses producing the majority of beef sold. Today, we have only 13.
-In 1998, the USDA implemented microbial testing for salmonella and E.coli 0157h7 so that if a plant repeatedly failed these tests, the USDA could shut down the plant. After being taken to court by the meat and poultry associations, the USDA no longer has that power.
Kevin aged 2, died just 12 days after he ate an American hamburger with E Coli.
-In 1972, the FDA conducted 50,000 food safety inspections. In 2006, the FDA conducted only 9,164.
-During the Bush administration, the head of the FDA was the former executive VP of the National Food Processors Association.
- During the Bush administration, the chief of staff at the USDA was the former chief lobbyist for the beef industry in Washington.
- Prior to renaming itself an agribusiness company, Monsanto was a chemical company that produced, among other things, DDT and Agent Orange.
- In 1996 when it introduced Round-Up Ready Soybeans, Monsanto controlled only 2% of the U.S. soybean market. Now, over 90% of soybeans in the U.S. contain Monsanto’s patented gene.
- Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas was an attorney at Monsanto from 1976 to 1979. After his appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas wrote the majority opinion in a case that helped Monsanto enforce its seed patents.
- The average chicken farmer invests over $500,000 and makes only $18,000 a year.
- 32,000 hogs a day are killed in Smithfield Hog Processing Plant in Tar Heel, N.C, which is the largest slaughterhouse in the world.
- The average American eats over 200 lbs. of meat a year.
- 30% of the land in the U.S. is used for planting corn.
- The modern supermarket now has, on average, 47,000 products, the majority of which is being produced by only a handful of food companies.
- 70% of processed foods have some genetically modified ingredient.
- SB63 Consumer Right to Know measure requiring all food derived from cloned animals to be labeled as such passed the California state legislature before being vetoed in 2007 by Governor Schwarzenegger, who said that he couldn’t sign a bill that pre-empted federal law.
- Corn products include: ketchup, cheese, Twinkies, batteries, peanut butter, Cheez-Its, salad dressings, Coke, jelly, Sweet & Low, syrup, juice,Kool-Aid, charcoal, diapers, Motrin, meat and fast food.
- Corn, which is the main ingredient in animal feed, is also used as a food additive. Those products commonly include: Cellulose, Xylitol,Maltodextrin, Ethylene, Gluten, Fibersol-2, Citrus Cloud Emulsion, Inosital,Fructose, Calcium Stearate, Saccharin, Sucrose, Sorbital, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid,Di-glycerides, Semolina, Sorbic Acid, Alpha Tocopherol, Ethyl Lactate, Polydextrose, Xantham Gum, White Vinegar,Ethel Acetate, Fumaric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Baking Powder, Zein, Vanilla Extract, Margarine, and Starch.
- 1 in 3 Americans born after 2000 will contract early onset diabetes; Among minorities, the rate will be 1 in 2.
- E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks have become more frequent in America,whether it be from spinach or jalapenos. In 2007, there were 73,000 people sickened from the E. coli virus.
- Organics is the fastest growing food segment, increasing 20% annually.
Challenges: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Triumphs: It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver. - Ghandi
What I Ate Today:
Breakfast: Macadamia nuts!
Lunch: 2 avocados :)
Dinner: A mango. A buckwheat pancake with agave syrup! The most delicious pancakes I have ever had!
Dessert: Chocolate cookies with peanuts! Ingredients: Cocao powder, crushed peanuts, agave syrup, buckwheat, oats, water, whole peanuts.
Recipe: Recipe for cookies of chocolate and peanuts!
Exercise: I exercised my body by walking around Amityville.
170 days to go!!!