“I’d like to buy the world a drink that doesn’t cause disease,” the song goes. “I’d like to teach the world about what sugar did to me.”
“For the past 45 years, Coca-Cola and other makers of sugar drinks have used the most sophisticated and manipulative advertising techniques to convince children and adults alike that a disease-promoting drink will make them feel warm and fuzzy inside,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. “It’s a multi-billion-dollar brainwashing campaign designed to distract us away from our diabetes with happy thoughts. We thought it was time to change the tune.”
Many of the issues that those in the food movement feel are wrong with our dominant food system can be found in the poultry egg industry at large. Whether it’s examining our food production through the lens of animal welfare concerns, environmental impacts, worker’s health, deceptive consumer marketing practices, weak government oversight—the egg industry could serve as the poster child of much that is wrong with our industrial agriculture system.
Right off the bat, two things should concern those of us that enjoy eating fresh chicken eggs. First, does it really require almost a 15-minute video to explain what we are actually buying when we purchase a dozen eggs at the supermarket?
And second, ask yourself this question. If we were permitted to visit any egg production farm in the country without notice and without any on-site viewing restrictions, would we likely purchase those eggs if we saw how the chickens lived and what they were fed?
On March 20 2015 the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency IARC declared that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. IARC reached its decision based on the view of 17 top cancer experts from 11 countries, who met to assess the carcinogenicity of 5 pesticides.
Over 80% of genetically modified (GM) crops grown worldwide are engineered to tolerate being sprayed with glyphosate herbicides. GM glyphosate-tolerant crops have led to a 239 million kilogram (527 million pound) increase in herbicide use in the US between 1996 and 2011, compared with the amount that would have been used if the same acres had been planted to non-GM crops. People and animals that eat GM glyphosate-tolerant crops are eating potentially high levels of Roundup residues.
Over 80% of genetically modified (GM) crops grown worldwide are engineered to tolerate being sprayed with glyphosate herbicides,1 the best known being Roundup. The herbicide kills all plant life in the field apart from the crop. These crops are known as glyphosate-tolerant or “Roundup Ready” (RR) crops.
The idea behind such crops was to simplify weed control for farmers. The farmer could douse the entire field with glyphosate herbicide, killing all weeds without killing the crop.
But this is not the way things turned out. Weeds have quickly become resistant to glyphosate herbicide through a process called selection pressure, in which only those weeds that tolerate the herbicide survive to pass on their genes. The resulting epidemic of glyphosate-resistant “superweeds” has caused huge problems for farmers in countries where glyphosate-tolerant crops are widely planted.
The fourth episode in our new PBS series (The Victory Garden’s Edible Feast) takes us to New York City where we learn to make rooftop salt, go foraging in the city’s parks, and learn some gardening tips on its rooftops.
“In the seed and the soil, we find the answers to every one of the crises we face. The crises of violence and war. The crises of hunger and disease. The crisis of the destruction of democracy.” – Vandana Shiva