Most people do not realize the majority of shrimp sold in the U.S. are neither domestic nor wild-caught. They are imported from countries like Thailand, India and Indonesia where they are “farmed” in crowded, filthy pools with antibiotics, disinfectants and parasiticides that are banned in the United States. The shrimp themselves have their eyes removed before being raised in pools so dense and dirty that many die.
The FDA is responsible for ensuring the safety of such imported shrimp for human consumption, yet over 96 percent of shipments are not opened or even checked when they arrive on the dock in the United States. Instead, exporters’ identities are stored in the FDA Automated Commercial System (ACS) system and only if a country or company has had prior problems will it receive receive inspections. Even then, the so-called inspection may only be a look at documents or a visual inspection, not lab tests for dangerous substances. FDA inspectors admit that blocked exporters can “transship” their products from another country to fool inspectors. Is anyone surprised that banned drugs and mislabeled products including pet shrimp find their way to U.S. dinner tables?
Like so many food products that are bad for consumers, intensively farmed shrimp also harm the environment, workers and animals. A recent, award-winning Associated Press series exposes slave labor used in the commercial seafood industry in Indonesia and Thailand—and the actual incarceration of captive workers in Myanmar in cages. U.S. officials and human rights activists call on Americans to “stop buying fish and shrimp tied to supply chains in Thailand.” Intensive shrimp farming also harms sensitive mangrove areas.
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?
“Cutting the Curd” gets political with Heather Squire, the coordinator for Occupy Wall Street‘s (#OWS ) food preparation and delivery. From washing dishes to feeding over 3,000 people in a single weekend, Heather explains how she and the food team in Zucotti Park have devised a large-scale food distribution system: The Peoples Kitchen.
Delving into another facet of the food justice movement in tandem with Occupy Wall Street is dairy farmer and activist Lorraine Lewandrowsky and fromager Tia Keenan. The group discusses cheese economics and the plight for more transparency (sic) which comes from more small dairies and less industrial farming and processing. Learn how you can help this movement, from volunteering to sending food supplies or attending the Occupy Big Food movement.
Today’s post isn’t so much about any particular dish (although this salad was really good) as it is a reminder to myself of why I choose to eat clean, healthy nourishing food.
Earlier today I ate a cheeseburger & fries with the guys at a local joint. While the food tasted OK at the time, I knew I was in trouble less than an hour later when the industrial CAFO burger & potatoes fried in God-knows-what kind of unnatural hydrogenated oil together felt like a greasy, soggy bowling ball in my gut. Back at work, I resisted the urge to crawl under my desk & sleep it off.
It is readily apparent why America is so sick.
At home this evening, I knew I needed to make up for the nutritionally empty & otherwise damaging lunch, so I gathered up what I could from the garden, pantry and fridge and made this Antidote Dinner Salad..
Kamut pasta, raw virgin olive oil, raw and pickled peppers, olives, scallions, Lupini beans, avocado, anchovies, fresh basil and oregano, tomatoes, watercress, pea shoots, prosciutto, white balsamic and lots of coarse sea salt and freshly-ground pepper.
I swear I felt completely restored almost immediately!