Friday, June 05, 2009

Food, Inc. Because we are what we eat. So what are we?

A few weeks ago 96,000 lbs of US beef was recalled. Again. Ninety-six thousand pounds of meat and honestly no one here even bats an eye. Two years ago 15,000 Americans got sick and several died from eating salmonella contaminated Vegetable Pot Pies. Just a few weeks ago, thousands of gallons of mineral water tainted with E coli was recalled in Ireland. Across America we’ve had salmonella outbreaks in spinach, tomatoes, peanut butter and pistachios and too much e coli to count. It’s insane and shameful and still people – friends and strangers alike – find it more interesting to worry about 'swine' flu then they do the food and the lard and the truth right in front of them. On their plates.

Each time this happens, for a week or a few days, people won’t eat peanuts. Or they’ll throw out their spinach. They won't touch raw tomatoes but they'll eat fast food, processed food, gobs of it without caring what's in it or what it's doing to them. Because they don’t care about the big question: why does this keep happening, again and again, and why aren’t we doing anything about what’s causing it in the first place?

And now, because ConAgra can’t pinpoint which of the 25 ingredients in their pot pies carries salmonella, 100 million pot pies have just been labeled both ‘unsafe’ and ‘consumer is responsible for safety kill step of food’. That means you. Your grandmother. Your kids. We’re responsible and if we die, we really should have read the fine print. Because you can’t rinse E coli or salmonella off food. You can’t soak it or pray for it to be gone. And if it happened to tomatoes one month and peanuts the month after that and frozen food today, what makes you – any of us – think it won’t happen again and again ad nauseum (literally)? And unless it makes you sick – or makes your child die – do you even pay attention? Do you even care? We aren’t just what we eat. We’re how it was grown. How it was processed. How it was watered and picked and stored and distributed. Whatever we eat, be it animals or vegetables, we're also what we eat eats. If pesticides are used, we eat those. If hormones are used (hello meat, milk, eggs, ice cream, cheese) we’re that, too. What’s in our food, your food? Formaldahyde. Estrogen. Feces. Half of all US Sewage ends up on crops. Half of all US sewage waste – feces, PCBS’ dioxins, DDT, asbestos, parasitic worms, ratioactive material from hospitals – that’s right baby, radioactive waste - sleeping pills, birth control pills, etc etc etc all the stuff we throw down a toilet without caring – 50% of it ends up on crops. Not organic crops. Not sustainable crops. Big fat you just got it at Costco and Safeway and Fred Meyer crops. Because of loopholes in regulations, and the fact that Cargill, ConAgra, and Monsanto are as vocal and voracious as Big Oil, Big Tobacco, and Big Guns have ever been. In my view, worse. Because they are slowly, and in some cases, not so slowly killing us. Killing our children. If your children matter to you, shouldn't you give a damn? Shouldn't their health be as important as you keep saying it is?

Eating is a choice. It's a choice just like every other choice we make and it’s not nearly as difficult as most of them. You are what you eat. Where you eat. You are also where you refuse to eat. So what, exactly, are you? Go see the new film Food, Inc. Go to

1 comment:

  1. I know you're usually are. I am trying to be better,do better, but have a long long way to go. If Lar and I did as well with everything else as we do with recycling, we would be ahead of the game.
    Part of the problem can be the excessive cost of organic food. It may not be a good excuse, but it is reality.
    I hope you don't give up on us Jan because we need you to stay on our cases.
    Maybe the these companies that spend millions on advertising their goods, will someday spend that same amount of money to insure their product in healthy and safe.
    Thank you, lovely lady. I do appreciate you.