I recently watched the documentary Food Inc. by Director Robert Kenner. I loved it! Being a big fan of Michael Pollan, documentaries, and double cheese burgers, I found the plot as thick as my arteries after powering down a Carl's Jr. Double Six Dollar Burger.
Michael Pollan: There are no seasons in the American supermarket. Now there are tomatoes all year round, grown halfway around the world, picked when it was green, and ripened with ethylene gas. Although it looks like a tomato, it's kind of a notional tomato. I mean, it's the idea of a tomato.
Joel Salatin: A culture that just uses a pig as a pile of protoplasmic inanimate structure, to be manipulated by whatever creative design the human can foist on that critter, will probably view individuals within its community, and other cultures in the community of nations, with the same type of disdain and disrespect and controlling type mentalities.
- McDonald's is the #1 buyer of ground beef and potatoes, and one of the top for lettuce and tomatoes.
- The average supermarket stocks over 47,000 products.
- 100 years ago, the average acre of corn yielded about 20 bushels, today that number is more than 200.
- NAFTA flooded the US Mexico with cheap US corn (because it is so heavily subsidized), this put nearly 1.5 million corn farmers out of work. Many of whom have migrated into the US to find work.
- In 1900 the average farm fed 6-8 people, today the average farm feeds 126.
- Americans eat about 200 pounds of meat per year - this could not be financially possible without subsidization and corn being sold below the cost of production.
- In the 1970's the top 5 meat packing companies processed about 25% of the market. Today the Top 4 (Tyson, Cargill, Swift, and National Beef) process more than 80% of the meat we eat.
- 13 massive slaughterhouses manufacture the vast majority of all the meat consumed in the US.
- Tar Heel North Carolina's Smithfield Packing plant is the largest slaughterhouse in the world, processing 32,000 hogs a day. That's 2000 per hour.
- Smithfield has been accused of working with immigration officials to deport migrant workers when they try to form organized labor
- There is now a fairly common strain of E.Coli that is resistant to antibiotics, 0157H7, likely the result of giving antibiotics to livestock.
- In 1972 the FDA conducted approximately 50,000 food safety inspections. In 2008, the FDA conducted only 164.
- Kevin's Law (has not passed yet) was written after a 2 year old died from eating meat tainted with E.Coli 0157H7 at a Jack in the Box in Seattle.
- There is some evidence to suggest that cattle finished with as little as 5 days of grass will shed 80% of their E.Coli before slaughter.
- 70% of the hamburger meat in the US is sprayed with ammonia.
- 1 in 3 Americans born after 2000 will contract early onset diabetes. Minorities will develop it at the rate of 1 in 2.
- By law, farmers are required to purchase new seeds each growing season from seed manufacturers under the threat of violating seed patent laws.
- Monsanto began selling genetically modified Roundup Ready soy in 1996. By 2008, 90% of all the soy in the US was Roundup Ready.
- Clarence Thomas was a Monsanto Attorney and wrote into law regulation preventing farmers from saving seeds from one year to plant the next year's crop.
- Other prominent government officials who worked for Monsanto: "Boss Hog" Wendell Murphy. Margaret Miller - FDA. Linda Fisher - EPA. Michael Taylor - FDA.
- 70% of the food in a modern supermarket has at least one genetically modified ingredient.
- Oprah's statement "it has stopped me from eating another burger" cost her $1.5 million and 6 years to fight off libel charges from the beef industry.
- In Colorado, veggie libel may result in felony charges (great article about food libel laws).
- At least the organic market has been growing at about 20% annually; we are finally starting to vote with our wallets.
- My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.