I checked out the Documentary Food Inc. last weekend. If you haven't heard about the film it exposes America's industrialized food system and it's effect on our environment, health, & worker's rights. The film really focused on the production of our Beef, Pork, & Poultry. I just wanted to touch on that part of the film & it's effect on the food that we eat.
To summarize as the fast food restaurants became more popular they created a demand for the production of a large amount of food & fast. That caused a few top food companies to be producing a majority of the food in the US, causing a change in the production procedures. "We have Cheap and Abdundant Food........but it's making us fat, type 2 diabetes, & it has many mandy hidden costs. " (Robert Kenner)
1. Feeding the animals a diet of antibiotics and hormones so that they grow in half the amount of time
2. Feeding the animals an alternative food source that is cheaper & fattens them up faster
3. Animals not being raised on the farm, instead tightly packed into warehouses. In the case of chickens raised in complete darkness (no lighting & never seeing the light of day)
Effect of Production Changes:
1. When the animals grow in half the time their organs can't keep up & for some they can't even support their own body weight.
For example: in the chicken warehouses the chickens can't take a step without collapsing under their own weight. Farmers walk through the chicken houses to pick up several dead chickens a day because their organs can't keep up with the growth of their bodies from the diet.
2. Cows instead of eating grass now eat corn. Their bodies aren't meant to digest corn so they are producing E. Coli in their stomachs which is one of the causes of some of the E. Coli outbreaks over the last 20 years and some the beef recalls.
3. Animals raised in warehouses where they are all tightly packed typically standing in their own excrement. This also has led to food contamination issues. Secondly, these animals live very stressful unhappy lives versus the animals that are raised on farms and given room to walk & grow.
4. The alternative food source & unsanitary warehouse living for the animals is now leading to our beef now be washed in Ammonia and our chicken in Chlorine (to keep it clean). Rather than changing the production methods to avoid contamination they are now just adding another unhealthy step of putting more chemicals into out food.
Ways to avoid these types of Meats Produced this way:
1. Buy Organic
2. Buy from Local Farmers at Farmers Markets
3. Buy Grass Fed Meat & Free Range(but I am not sure how long it has to be Grass Fed or Free Range, to be labeled that)
4. Avoid Fast Food and Chain Restaurants, Eat at local restaurants that buy from local farms or cook at home.
It can be more expensive to buy from local farmers & organic but it's b/c the animals eat a healthy diet, in a healthy environment, & are raised to grow at a normal rate. To me the cost is worth it!