By Jumana Khatib
April 29, 2017
Disclaimer: The views and opinions of this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of St. Thomas Aquinas College, its staff, or any/and all of its contributors or affiliates.
When the word “organic” comes to mind, it is often associated with a hefty price tag and is specifically for the health-conscious. Many don’t understand the importance of how switching to organic will significantly reduce the amount of chemical entering your body. Organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Organic meat is better because the animals that produce; poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is natural and gives you all the nutrients you should be getting without subjecting your body with harmful chemicals and pesticides. There is a very insightful Netflix documentary called Food Inc., where they explain exactly how farm-raised animals are raised and slaughtered. In one of the largest meat packing industries in the world, the birds that are raised are killed in half the time they were fifty years ago and are twice as big. They keep their birds in the same non-ventilated coop from when they’re born to when they die. The chickens are redesigned to have larger breasts because many people prefer white meat.
The problem with supermarkets is that what looks like a wide variety of food is actually an illusion, so many of the foods we eat are actually food-like substitutes. 90% of the food on the shelves contain either a corn or soy ingredient because corn is cheap and easy to mass produce; it can be chemically engineered to keep food from getting stale, hence the use of high fructose corn syrup. Food Inc. explains how corn is in a vast amount of products that range from batteries to Tropicana orange juice to Huggies diapers. It is also the main component in feeding animals such as chickens, cows, and even fish. Corn is cheap and allows the price of meat to stay cheap, but the problem is that cows are herbivores and must eat grass. When you stick your hand in the rumen of a cow that only has a corn based diet, the stomach is very liquidy and black. This results in vast amounts of E.coli, which is acid-resistant and can easily evolve/mutate. Non-organic companies don’t care about the livelihood of animals. Their cows stand in their own manure ankle deep, all day long, so if one cow has E. coli, the other cows are very likely to get it as well. This manure gets into the meat supply at the slaughterhouse and ultimately the E. coli is in our food system. The system is backwards: candy, soda, chips and all other unhealthy snacks are cheap, but fruit and produce are expensive. Cheap food, such as fast food, is a leading factor in obesity in the United States; type II diabetes used to only affect adults, but is now affecting children. 1 in 3 Americans who were born after 2000 are more likely to contract early onset diabetes and among the minorities, it will be every 1 in 2. On organic farms, the animals are grass fed and cows fertilize the grass with their manure and mow it by eating the grass. Organic farms cut the animals traditionally, outside in the fresh air by cutting their jugular vein which is the correct way it should be done, and is the least painful and drains the blood. A stand must be taken to regulate chemically modified food and should stick with traditional farming.
The FDA wants to allow the sale of meat from cloned animals, without labeling that it is cloned. They even fought to refrain from labeling genetically modified foods. Now 78% of foods in the supermarkets have some type of GMO. It is so common that GMO is in our food that companies (mainly organic) must label “no GMOs.” This is one of the most important battles for consumers to fight: the right to know what is in their food and how it is grown. It is so critical to eat from companies that treat their workers, animals, and the environment fairly and with respect. Know what’s in your food, read labels, and if you can buy organic, do it, because eating healthy is the start of a healthy life.