Corporate agriculture and increased product recalls are putting our health at risk
Thanks in part to government imposed austerity and corporate influence over our public health officials, we no longer know what we are eating; more importantly, we don’t really know if it’s healthy. Government cuts in food inspections, deregulation of industry and corporate greed are keeping us in the dark when we go to the grocery store or the butcher shop.
Every day it seems we hear one more story about a tainted meat outbreak, another country-wide recall on another defective product or about corporations modifying our food not so it’s healthier, but so it’s more profitable.
In the United States, the USDA repeatedly turns a blind eye on people’s health preferring the free market to sort things out. In Canada, our already cash strapped Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has had to cut back on hundreds of employees and inspectors thanks to King Harper’s useless austerity measures.
Hopefully most of you remember the stories regarding soylent pink or pink slime. It is a beef product originally used in pet food and cooking oil. It is essentially a collection of beef by-products (cartilage, connective tissue and tendons); this mixture is heated up so that the lean beef can be separated from the fat. The result is a pink slimy substance doused in ammonia.
Every pound of ground beef now contains 15% Pink slime, also known under its politically correct term as lean finely textured beef (LFTB). It is now used as an additive or “filler” in processing plants across America. Even worse, it can still be labeled as “100% beef” even though there is a little bit of ammonia-laced hotdog in every bite.
ABC news broke this story back in the spring, much to the horror of the general public. ABC actually did its job and reported an important story that 88 per cent of us were in the dark about. For their efforts, BPI the makers of LFTB is filing a $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit against them. How nice.
One of the biggest corporate scams going today is taking place in the agriculture industry. Chemical companies posing as bio-tech companies like Monsanto and Dow Chemical have been involved in genetically modifying food for decades.
Their modified corn, soy and sugar beet seeds are herbicide resistant so long as you used their herbicide. Farmers were supposed to make millions on bigger crop yields free of weeds with no ill effect on our health. Scientists have since proven that this is all pure bullshit.
Like anti-biotics, the more you use them, the more you need to take as your immune system adapts, plants work the same way. In other words farmers have to pay Monsanto more and more every year to immunize their crops, in recent years 527 million pounds more in fact. Farmers are spraying their crops with so much of this stuff that the USDS is measuring a steady increase of the herbicide in our breathing air.
Dow Chemical is now telling farmers that if they don’t like Monsanto, they can buy Dow’s new 24D resistant seeds. 24D just happens to contain 50% of Agent Orange’s chemical make-up. All this despite the fact that GMO’s have no human benefit other than lining the pockets of the people that profit from this poison.
Beside the fact that we’re all breathing in these toxins anyway, regulators in the United States still prefer to keep the people uninformed by not labeling the food. California has taken it upon themselves to put it to a vote this November with prop 37, a ballot initiative that will force frankenfood companies to label their food. The chemical companies are spending a million dollars a day trying to convince people to vote “no” and have claimed that in 2012, their sole goal is to keep the public from knowing what they do.
XL Food and Total Recall
I used to have a little faith in Canadian Food Inspection Agency. After all, pink slime is illegal, bovine growth hormones (BGH) are illegal—that’s a pretty good start. However, genetically modified foods are legal to grow and their labeling is voluntary (in other words, it’s not done). What also concerns me is the CFIA’s lack of funding and their absence of proper inspections.
The Conservative Government decided as part of their austerity-packed budget bill to cut the inspection agency’s funds even though it was under subsidized in the first place. The CFIA has issued about a dozen health warnings in the first few weeks of October. The warnings are welcomed, but it would be nice if they had the funds to prevent so many warnings from being required in the first place. Consumers are finding out the hard way after buying the product, rather than catching the problem before the damage is done.
The recent XL Foods E.coli mishap is a good example. Because of the lack of funds, Canadian inspectors are only able to examine six per cent of the meat we eat. To make matters worse they only test the meat, they don’t normally inspect the facilities in which it is produced. Luckily in this case, American inspectors at the boarder who were long-concerned with the lackluster conditions at the XL plant were smart enough to test their beef, thus avoiding a bigger disaster.
But while the media continues to focus on the beef recall, the number of problematic products that have shipped in the last few weeks on both sides of the boarder is getting out of hand. Kellogg’s Mini Wheats were recalled recently due to fears of metal fragments in the cereal. “Clef Des Champs” organic ground ginger was recalled over concerns the product may be contaminated with salmonella and Banana Boat sunscreen was recalled after five people caught fire!
My friends keep telling me I should eat healthier—and perhaps they’re right—but thanks to sub-par inspectors and a culture of corporate agriculture determined to pollute the food chain for financial gain, it’s getting hard to tell what healthy is.