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Author Topic:   MYTH #2- Industrial Food is Safe, Healthy and Nutritious
Harpyr
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Posts: 1335
From: sleepy Rocky Mountain village
Registered: Dec 2002

posted May 01, 2004 09:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Harpyr     Edit/Delete Message
Myth #2-INDUSTRIAL FOOD IS SAFE, HEALTHY, AND NUTRITIOUS

THE TRUTH- Industrial agriculture contaminates our vegetables and fruits with pesticides, slips dangerous bacteria into our lettuce, and puts genetically engineered groth hormones into our milk. It is not surprising that cancer, food-borne illnesses, and obesity are at an all-time high.

A modern supermarket produce aisle presents a perfect illusion of food safety. Consistency is a hallmark. Dozens of apples are on display, waxed and polished to a uniform luster, few if any bearing a bruise or dent or other distinguishing characteristics. Nearby sit stacked pyramids of oranges dyed an exact hue to connote ripeness. Perhaps we find a shopper comparing two perfectly similar cellophane-wrapped heads of lettuce, as if trying to distinguish between a set of identical twins. Elsewhere, throughout the store, processed foods sit front and center on perfectly spaced shelves, their bright, attractive cans, jars, and boxes bearing colorful photographs of exquisitely prepared and presented foods. They all look unthreatening, perfectly safe, even good for you. And for decades, agribusiness, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have proclaimed boldly that the United States has the safest food supply in the world.

As with all the myths of industrial agriculture, things are not exactly as they appear. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that between 1970 and 1999, food-borne illnesses increased more than tenfold. And according to the FDA, at least 53 pesticides classified as carcinogenic are presently applied in massive amounts to our major food crops. While the industrialization of the food supply progresses, we are witnessing an explosion in human health risks and a significant decrease in the nutritional value of our meals.


INCREASED CANCER RISK

A central component of the industrialized food system is the large-scale introduction of toxic chemicals. This toxic contamination of our food shows no signs of decreasing. Since 1989, overall pesticide use has risen by about 8 percent, or 60 million pounds. The use of pesticides that leave residues on food has increased even more. Additionally, the Enviromental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that more than 1 million Americans drink water laced with pesticed runoff from industrial farms. Our increasing use of these chemicals has been paralleled by an exponential growth in health risks, to both farmers and consumers.

The primary concern associated with this toxic dependency is cancer. The EPA has already identified more than 165 pesticides as potentially carcinogenic, with numerous chemical mixtures remaining untested. Residues from potentially carcinogenic pesticides are left behind on some of our favorite fruits and vegetables - in 1998, the FDA found pesticide residues in over 35 percent of the food tested. Many U.S. products have tested as being more toxic than those from other countries. What's worse, current standards for pesticides in food do not yet include specific protections for fetuses, infants, or young children, despite major changes to federal pesticide laws in 1996 requiring such reforms. Many scientists believe that pesticides play a major role in the current cancer "epidemic" among children. And the cancer risk does not just affect consumers; it also imperils tens of thousands of farmers, field hands, and migrant laborers. A National Cancer Institute study found that farmers who used industrial herbicides were six times more likely than non-farmers to develop non -Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer. Along with their cancer risk, pesticides can cause myriad other health problems, especially for young people. For example, exposure to neurotoxic compounds like PCBs and organophosphate insecticides during critical perioods of development can cause permaent, long-term damage to the brain, nervous and reproductive systems.


INCREASE IN FOOD-BORNE ILLNESSES

In addition to increased health risks associated with our current pesticide dependency, industrialized food production has also brought with it a rise in food-borne illnesses. Researchers from the CDC estimate that food-borne pathogens new infect up to 80 million people a year and cause over 9,000 deaths in the United States alone.

This increase is largely attributed to the industrialization of poultry and livestock production. Most meat products now begin in "animal factories," where food animals are confined in shockingly inhumane and overly crowded conditions, leading to widespread disease among animals and the creation of food-borne illnesses. According to the CDC, reported cases of disease from salmonella and E. coli pathogens are ten times greater than they were two decades ago, and cases of campylobacter have more than doubled. The CDC saw none of these pathogens in meat until the late 1970's when "animal factories" became the dominant means of meat production. Even our fruits and vegetables get contaminated by these pathogens through exposure to tainted fertilizers and sewage sludge. Contamination can also occur during industrialized processing and long distance shipment.

The use of antibiotics in farm animal production may also be accelerating the alarming growth of antibiotic resistance exhibited by dangerous pathogens. Residues of these veterinary antibiotics that make their way into our food supply many confer resistance upon bacteria responsible for a whole variety of human maladies. Infections resistant to antibiotics are now the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. Guided by popular media reports, we may hastily conclude that doctors, by overprescribing antibiotics for people, are solely to blame for growing resistance. This assessment, however, ignores the fact that nearly 50 percent of U.S. anitbiotics are given to animals, not people.


KILLER FOODS

The introduction of fast, processed and frozen foods in the 1950's has forever changed our dietary habits. At least 175,000 fast food restaurants have sprouted among the gas stations, strip malls, and convenience stores of America's ever creeping suburban sprawl. Frozen dinners, prepackaged meals, and take-out burgers have, for many people, replaced the home-cooked meal. Consequently, people are consuming more calories, preservatives, and sugar than ever in history, while reducing their intake of fresh whole fruits and vegetables. It is no mystery that these changes have led to overwhelming increases in obesity, Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease among Americans. About one in three Americans is overweight, and obesity is now at epidemic levels in the United States. According to a joint New York University/Center for Science in the Public Interest report "added sugars -found largely in junk foods such as soft drinks, cakes, and cookies - squeeze healthier foods out of the diet. That sugar now accounts for 16 percent of the calories consumed by the average American and 20 percent of teenagers' calories. Twenty years ago, teens consumed almost twice as much milk as soda; today they consume almost twice as much soda as milk." The Sugeon General has determined that two out of every three premature dealths is related to diet.


NEW TECHNOLOGIES: A CLEANER CURSE

The purveyors of industrial food, when confronted with the health crisis that their food has caused, responded by assuring us that new industrial technologies will be a quick fix. For example, in response to the huge increase in food-borne illnesses, the industry promotes the use of irradiation to sanitize our foods. Through this technology, the average hamburger, for example, may recieve the equivalent of millions of chest X rays in an attempt to temporarily remove any potential bacterial contaminants. However, as the meat continues to flow through the industrial food supply, it loes its "protection" and is quickly subject to additional contamination. Meanwhile, numberous repudable studies have shown that consuming irradiated meat can cause DNA damage, resulting in abnormalities in laboratory animals and their offspring. Moreover, irradiation can destroy essential vitamins and nutrients that are naturally present in foods and can make food taste and smell rancid.

Contrary to our government's pronouncement, industrial food is not safe. It is, in fact, becoming increasingly deadly and devoid of nutrition. Ultimately, we cannot achieve food safety through simple political fiat or technological quick fixes. Increased depencence on chemical, nuclear, or genetically engineered inputs will only intensify the problem. The real solution is a return to sound organic agricultural practices. It turns out that food production that is safe for the environment, humane to animals, and based in community and independence is also a food supply that is safe and nutritious for humans.

(Exerpt from: FATAL HARVEST: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture)

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The role of religion is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. :::P.T. Barnum

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Randall
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Posts: 17149
From: Columbus, GA USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted May 02, 2004 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randall     Edit/Delete Message

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"Never mentally imagine for another that which you would not want to experience for yourself, since the mental image you send out inevitably comes back to you." Rebecca Clark

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Harpyr
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Posts: 1335
From: sleepy Rocky Mountain village
Registered: Dec 2002

posted May 02, 2004 05:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Harpyr     Edit/Delete Message
Hey thanks Randall!

It's nice to know somebody's reading it. Sometimes I'm not sure what to take from some of these threads I start that hardly anybody ever respond to.. I guess I'm just passionately interested in some weird topics?

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The role of religion is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. :::P.T. Barnum

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gloomy sag
Knowflake

Posts: 355
From: USA
Registered: Nov 2003

posted May 02, 2004 09:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gloomy sag     Edit/Delete Message
Actually, Harpyr, I am reading most of the stuff and I know some of it too from before. But right now I'm having so much trouble convincing the people that I live with to have a veggie garden...

I read somewhere that the food in the supermarket has an actual 15% nutrition value left in it. The rest are hormones, pesticides, all kinds of chemicals.

I still haven't ajusted to the food here in the US and probably never will. It is all tasteless and gross. But it appears hard to convince anybody of that. People are so set in their ways, it's really sad...

10 minutes ago I was told that I'm not to have any more veggies planted in the garden, people don't even want to taste my cooking sometimes, because it is far from a piece of undercooked beef and a baked potato.

I don't understand people that prefer to live blind to the facts and all the information around them. I don't understand why somebody will deliberately poison him/herself with the supermarket food, when they HAVE the option to pick and choose what they put in their bodies.

But I also I know a lot of people that simply have NO choice but to buy and eat the cheapest food possible and they are so hungry that it doesn't matter if it's poisoning or not.

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Harpyr
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Posts: 1335
From: sleepy Rocky Mountain village
Registered: Dec 2002

posted May 03, 2004 11:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Harpyr     Edit/Delete Message
aw jeez.. I can't fathom why someone wouldn't want to have veggies in their garden.. That's just strange. The difference between a supermarket tomato and one from the veggie patch is HUGE.

Growing your own vegetables can be a radical act of defiance in the face of big business agriculture! If everyone grew all their own veggies whenever possible it would make a BIG impact. Such a simple thing but it'd be a revolution!

p.s. Thanks for following my posts, sweet sag!

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The role of religion is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. :::P.T. Barnum

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Ika
Knowflake

Posts: 221
From: Greensboro, North Carolina
Registered: Jul 2002

posted May 05, 2004 08:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ika     Edit/Delete Message
What can we eat that is healthy and beneficial to us?

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Harpyr
Moderator

Posts: 1335
From: sleepy Rocky Mountain village
Registered: Dec 2002

posted May 07, 2004 11:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Harpyr     Edit/Delete Message
Locally grown organic produce whenever possible is the best place to start!

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The role of religion is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. :::P.T. Barnum

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Nephthys
Moderator

Posts: 1068
From: California
Registered: Oct 2001

posted May 08, 2004 06:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nephthys     Edit/Delete Message
Dear Harpyr,

I know what you mean about people either not reading your threads or responding. As for myself, I just hop and skip around, and don't have a lot of time to read and post.

Anyhow, I am really glad you posted this. I did not read the whole thing, as I have an Aries Moon and an Aries Asc.

Anyhow, I always try to buy organic as much as possible; I learned all about this many years ago when I first got Internet, and also when I became vegetarian.

I can't stand shopping in Safeway, or commercial grocery stores like that. We go to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

I have to say, that it's a wonder most of the people who don't like vegetables or who don't eat much fruit either, probably shop at these commercial grocery stores where the produce is laden with all kinds of junk ~ no wonder it tastes bad!

Peace ~

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juniperb
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Posts: 4433
From: www.Heaven.Home
Registered: Mar 2002

posted May 09, 2004 08:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for juniperb     Edit/Delete Message
Harpyr, I read the articles as I can too My landscaping jobs all opened up at once and I`m back in the soil;digging,designing and happy as a lark.

I don`t necessarily agree with all I read, but I am learning a lot and see how some of the methods can be applicable for me.

Keep sharing and I will keep reading

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If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. ~James Herriot

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