Meet the Meat

Chicken Little? When it comes to confronting corporate abuses, chicken farmers chicken out. Now we’re left with oversized chickens, corporations, and jeans. It’s time to see what’s really in the butcher’s bucket.

The meat industry seems to have ingeniously invented a way to make food cheap, quick, and uniform, but in the process they are crumbling animal rights by inhumanely turning their farms into factories, destroying the natural environment while negatively affecting consumers, and gaining immense power while abusing chicken farmers as they construct a deceptive environment behind the scenes.

McDonald’s may be known for being unhealthy, but that doesn’t stop the food chain from being one of the most powerful fast-food chains in America. Their game-changing idea of making interchangeable food has paid off. According to Food Inc, suppliers had to create a factory environment to match the fast-food market in order to stay on top of the economic game. Chickens are raised and killed in half the time they were 50 years ago and are now twice as big (Food Inc.). In order to make the animals plump enough for business, they are fed growth-inducing hormones that can cause painful inflammation of the udder known as mastitis (Geer). The animals are forced to live in crowded warehouses where they will walk the crammed spaces on their own feces. Because of the unnatural size, they acquire due to what they are fed, many become too heavy to walk on their own two feet and die of starvation or dehydration (Food Inc.). Old-fashioned farming has disappeared, as money and speed have become the two predominant factors to suppliers, taking precedence over health, quality, and human decency.

Moreover, many of the health issues that plague the animals have now translated to humans. The hormones have caused an increase in the risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancer in meat consumers (Farm Sanctuary). Huffington Post says that more than 80% of antibiotics produced were fed to livestock because of unsanitary conditions. These drugs are actually contributing to the spread of super bugs that thrive in the absence of weaker microbes (Huffington Post). Diseases like E. Coli, salmonella, swine flu, and avian flu are communicable from animals and are being passed on to humans.

Worse still, the top four meat-supplying companies control 80% of the market, as opposed to the 25% that was controlled by the top five companies in the 1970’s (Food Inc.). Farmers go into debt buying resources and stay in debt because of all the forced upgrades. They have no say in the treatment of the chickens and if they refuse to upgrade to a dark tunnel-ventilated house system, their contract can be terminated. Because of the payment system, farmers who produce fatter chickens with less feed get raises while the others get pay cuts. Last Week Tonight states chicken farmers live below the poverty line. If a farmer dares to speak out, companies will retaliate through pay cuts and inferior supplies (Oliver). Nothing is done about this because these large companies sponsor many of our representatives in congress. Protective rules for poultry farmers were written, but they are not being enforced because a rider is inserted into the Agricultural Appropriations bill that forbids the USDA from enforcing these rules (Oliver).

The path humans now tread is one of misery for animals and consumers alike. In a capitalist system, it is not surprising that corporations will go the extra mile to rake in more dough, but some are now arriving at surreal ends through despicable means. The public cannot continue to ignore the fine print. Together we can make the issue a more prominent topic until change becomes a reality.

-Christine Magnuson

1. Food Inc. Dir. Robert Kenner. Official Food, Inc. Movie Site – Hungry For Change? N.p.,n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.

2. Oliver, John.”Scandals.” Last Week Tonight. 17 May 2017. Youtube. Web. 28 Mar.

3.”9 Facts About Factory Farming That Will Break Your Heart.” Huffington Post. Huffington Post, 17 Mar. 2014. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.


The Potential of Food Labels

Today, about 80% of the food that are processed and bought by the consumers are genetically modified, or known as GMOs (Hemphill). As food technology and nutirion science advance and companies seek profit over nutrition in the food, clear food labeling is no longer there for the people to understand what is in the food that they are eating everyday. The GMOs are products that are made by the scientists who are experts in this field, and it is difficult for those who are not as educated as them to understand how modified foods are made and composed of. Even though it may be difficult to get rid of GMOs due to increase in number of companies that profit off of GMOs, the regulators and companies should label and inform about the GMOs in their product with easier descriptions that many could easily understand what is inside their food.

GMOs are known to cause many health problems in our body. According to an article, “Spilling the Beans: Unintended GMO Health Risks,” the rats were fed with Bt corn, which is a genetically modified corn, for up to 120 days. The result was that the rats developed myriads of health problems such as changes in blood cells, kidneys, and livers (Smith). Likewise, a study shown in an article “Arpad Pusztai and the risks of Genetic Engineering,” DNA of soybeans were altered with a gene from Brazil nuts. While after, scientists saw that those modified beans were altered to cause allergic reactions. These genetically modified foods are hard for us to evaluate due to lack of knowledge on them. However, easy-to-understand descriptions and clear labeling would help consumers to be aware of what they are eating and know how consuming the product can impact their health, helping them to make better food choices. 

The current problem of labeling food product is that big companies have too much power over the regulations with their immense money. An example can be seen in lobbying process by Monsanto, the largest seed corporations in the world. This company produces seeds that are genetically modified in way that the seeds resist herbicides and weed killers. When the citizens try to protest or take action against the GMOs that they are making, Monsanto prevents any laws from passing by paying immense money to the lobbyists. This corporation is said to spend an average of six billion dollars on lobbying every year (Sarich). If their modified products are as safe as they say they are, corporations like Monsanto should not be afraid of labeling their products. And by adding these labels, it would make consumers should feel safer as some may feel cautious of eating GMOs. Even though labeling more on the products may cost more money for the companies, it should be regulated as spending on lobbying costs a lot of money as well, and companies should know that trust from the consumer is a big factor that will make their business more successful and sustainable.

It can be overwhelming to think about the corruption of our government and big businesses that only revolve around making a profit. But we need to take time to learn and look deeper into how things are regulated and what we are eating on daily basis. We need to realize these hidden facts that the big companies are hiding and fix it for the sustainable food system and future generations to come.

Edward Choi

1.Hemphill, Thomas A., and Syagnik Banerjee. “Mandatory Food Labeling For Gmos.” Regulation 37.4 (2014): 7-10. Business Source Premier. Web. 8 Apr. 2015.

2.Smith, Jeffrey . “Spilling the Beans: Unintended GMO Health Risks.” Organic Consumers. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr 2013.

3.Sarich, Christina. “The 10 Companies Controlling the World’s Seed Supply.”Nation of Change.   N.p., 21 Oct. 2013. Web. 13 Apr. 2015.

4.Fig.1. GMO Bell Pepper Injection.

What’s in your Food?

The very inclination for knowledge about our foods is just one reason of many why consumers should be able to view and know what goes into our foods and then into our bodies. Consumers need to be able to overcome this veil that food companies put up not because of knowledge sake alone, but for health risks, smart decision making that promote a healthy society.

Health is one of the biggest risks consumers place on the line when it comes to not knowing what is in the foods people eat and where it comes from. The shocking truth is that according t
o the Center For Food Safety, “It has been estimated that upwards of 75% of processed foods on supermarket shelves” (Center For Food Safety). But what does that mean? How does GMO foods affect the body negatively? Studies have shown that GMO based foods have a high risk of causing health issues such as heart diseases, liver failure, and even cancer. A lot of people prefer not to eat GMO based foods because of these reasons, but some food companies are starting to take labels off their products to improve marketing. The more companies try to cover up the fact they are trying to give the consumers harmful ingredients, the more customers need to fight back and demand their right for those descriptions and labels for smarter decisions making.

Making a choice on any topic is better made when knowing all the information that it is all about. Just by knowing what foods are no good for the consumers because the content is genetically modified or not is vital for consumer safety. The more knowledge a consumer has, the more power they have over big name corporations that try to take advantage of consumers by taking the labels of products. Knowing what goes into our foods and knowing how to choice and decipher what is good and what isn’t is a big thing to learn as a consumer. The educational system should educate society better in those aspects about what is good for us and what is not. If society wants to get better at eating healthy, we need to implement more food and health education to help people make better choices. Better choices equal a healthier society which leads to better outlook on foods and what to eat. An article called Front-of-Pack Food Labeling and the Politics of Nutritional Nudges, talks about how much healthier society would be with greater knowledge about the things we eat while also pin pointing the flaws in labeling tactics in some food companies. (Gyorgy 244).

This metaphoric veil of ambiguity of what’s in our foods wither needs to be torn down or we as consumers need to be better educated. Making the smart decision on what food is better and what food is bad will improve society’s health issues such as disease and cancer. Knowing what goes in your food and where it’s very vital and will benefit the consumer in the long run because of the large risks that consumers take every day not knowing how much of the food they eat is GMO products

——– Bruno Benna

  1. “Campaigns |.” Center for Food Safety. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Apr. 2017.
  2. Schubert, David. “Science Supports the Need for GM Food Labeling.” Science Supports the Need for GM Food Labeling Vol. 29.1 (Jan 2016): 6-9. Print.
  3. Scrinis, Gyorgy, and Christine Parker. “Front-of-Pack Food Labeling and the Politics of Nutritional Nudges.” Law & Policy 38.3 (2016): 234-49. Web.
  4. Topping1234. “How Many People Have Died over GMOs.” Topping1234. N.p., 06 Feb. 2014. Web. 2017.