Modern Day Food Industry
Author: Stewart Hare
modern food industry rears its animals, grows its crops, manufactures
and markets its foods with the impetus to cut costs, produce and
sell more products. To make profit they disregard animal welfare,
promote unhealthy eating and advice, contaminate the land and
livestock with pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics and go against
laws of Mother Nature with genetic engineering and irradiated
foods. Whilst the companies involved within the food industry
are making fat profits, the majority of western societies are
also getting fatter and unhealthier. Rich western country such
as the Unites States and Britain are spending billions on curing
degenerated diseases such as cancer, in fact the cure rate has
not gone down and maybe a percentage of the money should be spent
in research on why people are getting sick in the first place.
Such research would no doubt bring up questions about the food
we eat and modern day food industry practices.
welfare is the price to pay by intensive methods of production
that modern day food industry uses to increases rates of production.
Every day 100,000 broiler chickens die prematurely in UK farms
due to the methods that they use to increase productivity. In
the UK 70 per cent of the 29 million egg-laying birds are housed
in battery cages, 35 million British Turkeys are fattened in cramped
sheds that contain up to 25,000 birds which results in many ailments
caused by overcrowding and 500,000 sows are kept indoors in cramped
conditions throughout their lives which causes them to suffer
from muscle weakness and lameness. Modern day dairy cows are bred
to produce as much milk as possible and when either infertility
or ill health set in (partly due by their welfare conditions)
they are no longer of use and are culled. This is normally only
after 5 years.
nearly 50 years now antibiotics have been used in farming as growth
promoters and it is now coming to light the negative affects that
it has on human health. In the UK most intensively reared animals
are given antibiotics on a daily basis. This is mainly as a preventive
measure or to treat illness but some are given as growth promoters.
The bacteria that live in these animals quickly become resistant
to antibiotics. The antibiotics used for animals are similar to
those used to combat human health problems and it is becoming
more evident that there is a cross-over effect with the bacteria
that cause illness in humans. Human bacteria are becoming more
resistant to the antibiotics that we use, thus reducing affective
genetic modification (GM) of food involves the artificial insertion
of a foreign gene into the genetic material of an organism to
create a food substance which is more economical to product. There
are presently two types of GM crops, one to be resistant to herbicides
in order to kill weeds and the other has been engineered to produce
toxins to kill pests. In 1996 the first GM crop was grown in the
US, now three quarters of the worlds GM crops are grown in North
America. Soya and maize are the main GM crops grown in the US
and oilseed rape is grown in Canada. Advocates of GM crops claim
that GM crops can provide a solution to world hunger with higher
yields and are better for the environment because of their need
for less herbicides and pesticides but in reality every benefit
claimed by GM crops has not happened but many problems have occurred.
The facts are that GM crops do not increase yields and do not
reduce the use of herbicides. GM and organic crops can not co-exist,
in Saskatchewan Canada GM contamination wiped out the whole organic
rape seed sector. In the US many people reported allergic reaction
to GM Starlink maize which then had to be recalled with the estimated
cost of $1 billion.
are chemical substances that are used in modern farming to kill
or control pests. Although there are some naturally occurring
pesticide used in modern farming the majority are made from synthetic
chemicals. The usage of pesticides increased after the Second
World War to increase food production. In the UK it is estimated
that over 4.5 billion litres of pesticides are used in farming.
Pesticides have a harmful effect on the environment and on people's
health. They have a major affect on wildlife and are not only
toxic to the pests that they target and beneficial species but
also to the whole food chain and ecosystem including humans. Pesticides
can affect human health, farmers and farm workers are especially
venerable to short term poisoning and long term chronic illnesses.
Some pesticides are non-toxic when used on their own but combined
with other pesticides they can become extremely toxic. Organophosphate
are probably the most dangerous pesticides that are used in modern
farming, they have been linked to cancer, Parkinson's disease,
decreased male fertility, chronic fatigue syndrome in children
and foetal abnormalities.
irradiation is the process of food being exposed to doses of ionising
energy or radiation to extend shelf life and to kill insects,
bacteria, moulds and other harmful organisms. Advocates of food
irradiation claim that it is safe but the real problem arises
with how fresh and safe the food is, as food inspectors have no
way of telling if the food is old or contaminated with food poisoning
causing bacteria. Irradiation destroys vitamin C, vitamin E and
the B complex of vitamins, it can cause unpleasant changes in
texture, colour and taste and not enough is known about its long
term affects on human health.
conclusion, I feel that modern day food industry is motivated
by profit and greed and as a result animal welfare, the environment
and human health are suffering. I feel that if a check on the
way that the food industry produces its products is not implemented
then further damage will be done to the environment and we will
also see further increases in degenerative disease such as cancer
and more human suffering.