Read the Label – Why Food Inc. Matters

Watch Food Inc. It’s important.  This was a recent post of mine on Facebook and it has sparked a rather furious and wonderful debate.

There was simply not enough room for me to post my full reply there, so here it is.

The film and especially Michael Pollan’s writings have been criticized for being one-sided, but it seems rather clear that none of the meat nor poultry processing plants would speak on record, nor allow reporters to view the way they work.  This seems suspect and makes it awfully hard to show the other side.

Michael Pollan’s intellect and scientific mind are remarkable.  Eric Schlosser was an investigative reporter before writing Fast Food Nation, and his credentials also seem to be impeccable.  Why these men are being vilified is rather suspect and unfair, but the fact remains that their story must be told.

I have lived in ignorance for too long, partly because I did not have the information and partly because I did not want the information.  But the world needs to know and the world needs to act.

I have heard foodie friends say they don’t want to think about it too much, and don’t want the hassle of seeking out organic food.  Perhaps this was my thinking, too.  How crazy is that, for as a foodie we should be seeking out the best ingredients and understanding its provenance and true expression.  And more importantly, we need to make sure it is never a hassle!

Better is fine, but bigger, faster and cheaper is not always the right approach.  There is ALWAYS a payment due on the back end.  Read the fine print of your contract with life!

Organics is how it started, and knowing what chemicals and pesticides are doing to the earth and to our bodies and how our own government is complicit should cause outrage and rebellion.  Look at what oil is doing to the Gulf.  We must also realize that the chemical dispersants they are using are going to cause long-range horrors and things we cannot possibly yet know… But they are similar to the effects we already feel with nitrogen and pesticides running off our farms and into our rivers and oceans.

We are killing the earth, plain and simple.  Sorry, but we are.  And if we do not want to kill ourselves, we need to demand healthy, safe foods.  If we buy organic products and support local farmers and growers, we can change the whole business model.

In America we vote at the polls and we vote with our wallets… At least three times a day!

One of the replies to my post came from a friend of mine who said a professor of oncology told him that the health claims of organic food are BS.  This defies logic… Would you rather eat an apple that has been grown naturally or one that has been grown in soil littered with pesticides and sprayed with insecticides and polished with wax and enhanced with chemicals to keep it fresh???  How can any of those things be good for us?  Would we really choose to eat the same chemicals that used to be used for military munitions???

How we eat most definitely affects our health.  Look at how obese we have become and how diabetes is becoming more of a norm than an exception.  Read The Omnivore’s Dilemma and you will understand how we have genetically altered cows and the way they eat.  We force them on corn, which is not natural and makes them sick.  But instead of letting them go back to grass, which makes the meat leaner and healthier and full of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, we shoot them up with anti-biotics and other drugs… one of the side effects, of course, is that this reduces their effectiveness on us when we might really need them.  Obviously there are many negative effects.

I have friends, who as a family, made the decision to eat organic, healthy foods whenever they can.  And they do not have any processed food in their house anymore.  They are not vegans, no way, but they are all thinner, their skin is clearer and they are noticeably healthier and happier.  Explain please, Mr. Oncologist!

In the Organic Manifesto Maria Rodale talks about organic farming and how it is a must if we are to save our planet.  The product AND the process must be improved.  This is a dire essential.

There is so much more to say, but the bottom line is this, eat what you want.  Be a carnivore or a vegetarian or whatever it is you want to be.  But be informed.  Make the best decision you can… seek out those growers doing the right thing… eat meat that is fed a healthy diet and treated well.  Be grateful for every thing that passes your lips, especially something that had a life.  Pigs and cows are not just things, but life… and they give us sustenance and pleasure in many shapes and forms.  I do not judge those who eat them, for I would also be judging myself, but we should all respect these beings no matter what.

We must make our government and markets and stores healthier and more organic and natural.  Buying healthier foods needs to be the norm, not the realm of the rich nor the world of the specialty, out-of-the-way, hard to get to store.  This will be done with a large, reasonably priced selection of foods that are not processed and altered and modified.  Why do we subsidize corn and things that are transformed into the unhealthy?  Where are the subsidies for farmers and companies doing the right thing???

Cheap, unhealthy food now means unhealthy people and huge medical bills later.  We can longer run on this kind of trade deficit.

Demand change, make change, and I am serious when I say… We can change the world, one plate at a time.


1 Comment

Filed under Dinner And A Movie _ When Food and Art Collide, Food, Glorious Food, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything

One response to “Read the Label – Why Food Inc. Matters

  1. Julie Sanford

    This is excellent, Marc! I appreciate your passion and commitment to this and I agree, we all need to pay attention to this. We must create change if this planet and the human race are to survive! Thank you!

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