Food is a basic need. Apparently, we won’t survive without it. It is our primary source of nutrients that work in harmony to keep our bodies working properly. However, not all foods are created equal. There are those that are good for us, and there are those that make us sick. You may know the fruit and vegetables are good for you, while processed foods can be bad for you. But, have you ever asked yourself, “Where does the food I serve on my plate come from?”
Long-distance Food System
According to a report by the Worldwatch Institute, food typically travels between 1,500 to 2,000 miles (approximately 2,400 to 3,200 kilometres) from farm to plate. Also, this food would be at least a week old, which compromises the nutrition you will get from it. If you are lucky, you will get perhaps 40% of what you need from a week-old food. Yes, the long distance food system may allow you to have a wider range of food choices, but the quality of food you are eating may be compromised. In addition, this system is bad for the environment as it uses up huge amounts of fuel and produces greenhouse gases.
Developed countries are the top consumers of meat. However, even in the developing countries, the consumption of meat is increasing. It has been predicted that by 2050, more than 465 million tonnes of meat will be produced — that is twice as much meat being produced currently.
According to Worldwatch Institute, since 1961, the value of global trade in food has tripled and the tonnage of food shipped between nations has grown fourfold, yet the population has only doubled. Indeed, there is this notion that more food has to be produced to feed the entire world population, and multinational corporations have taken advantage of that.
The food system is being controlled by a small group of multinational corporations, from seed to supermarket. Thus, food tends to come from assembly lines, where animals and workers tend to be mistreated. Also, the processing plants have become bigger and bigger, so they have become breeding grounds for bad pathogens that spread far and wide.
GMOs and Processed Foods
Foods are also being processed for them have to have longer shelf-life. But, do you know that around 80% of all processed foods contain GMO? There are 420 million acres of GMOs worldwide, and Dupont, Monsanto, and Sygenta control more than 50% of the worldwide proprietary seed market. These companies own the GMO seeds and chemicals used to most of the food we eat since soy and corn are used in almost everything. For instance, chickens, cows, and pigs feed on them, which means that most of the meat and dairy, in the United States at least, starts with GMO crops.
Corn can be found in many processed food products, such as ketchup, peanut butter, salad dressing, jelly, juice, and fast food. Corn is also fed to cows, which have been evolutionarily designed to feed on grass, not corn. Yet, they are fed with corn because it is very cheap and makes cows get fat faster. Unfortunately, this led to the introduction of E. coli into the food system.
Moreover, GMOs are associated with tumour growth and liver damage. Yet, meat and dairy from livestock fed with GMO crops remains unlabelled. Indeed, people should be allowed to choose whether or not to consume GMOs.
Steps We Can Take
We should not allow a few big companies to control what farmers grow and we put on our plates. We have the right to healthy food. We can start by consuming only organic, plant-based foods, which are super nutritious and devoid of toxins, unlike processed foods. Buy foods that are grown locally, and if possible, buy foods that are in season. Also, as much as possible, only buy from companies that treat workers, animals, and the environment with respect.