A little scared?
Don’t be. Ignorance may be bliss, but not when it’s in the form of a cheeseburger giving you E. coli poisoning. Rare? Not so much. Food-related illnesses happen to an estimated 76 million Americans a year. A gross figure that could be helped with some responsibility.
Food Inc., a new documentary out in theaters, points out just how far removed we are from where our food comes from.
Consider this scenario: You go to the grocery store, pick up a package of chicken breasts, a marinade, box of pasta, jar of sauce and a bag-o-salad. In an hour it will be dinner. But have you ever asked where those chickens were raised? How were the tomatoes in that pasta sauce grown? Probably not. It’s OK, I didn’t either.
We’ve come a long way in how we get our food. And we’re really efficient at producing large amounts of food at a low cost. But it’s coming back to bite us.
Now we have new strains of E. coli, antibiotics, pesticides, artificial food additives, and whatever else is or may be in the foods we eat every day. And then there’s the taste. Tomatoes are supposed to be sweet when they’re ripe! But I suppose ripening with chemicals just doesn’t have the same effect.
If that’s where the movie ended though I wouldn’t be wasting my time and yours. We’ve heard most of this before. We’ve seen the E. coli spinach on the news and heard about what goes on in meat processing plants. Yes, “Gross,” but that’s not the point. The point is that WE (the consumer) get the last word. We have control over the foods we buy and eat. If you don’t want antibiotic-pumped chicken, don’t buy it. If you don’t want Coke with high-fructose corn syrup, don’t buy it. If you don’t want genetically-modified tomatoes, don’t buy them.
Eventually the food companies will change. They’ll have to in order to stay in business. Organic, free-range, local food will become more accessible if it’s demanded. The power is in the wallet.
Intrigued? See for yourself.