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America's Food Crisis

Essay by   •  June 7, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,559 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,851 Views

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Through out time we have changed our ways of eating from hunter gathers to factory farmers. The food system that we have now is heavily passed on grain subsidized commodities that feed the animals we farm for protein and give use the processed Ding Dong. We are a society that is eating corn in everything. It is causing health issues in both humans and animals. In humans it is causing diabetes, obesity, and heart disease just to name a few. In animals it is causing harm to due to changing diets in cows from grass to corn and increasing the growth of E.Coli in our foods system leading to over processing of the meats with ammonia in large factory style settings. This is the downfall of modern food making in more mechanical and less removed from the communities at large.

This also leads into the government subsides that are supporting this type of agriculture system through the control of capital hill and lawyers. When they control the calories and knowing where the majority of the calories are going to be sold it helps to keep people below a poverty line that may or may not have put them their because of high medical debt or not seeing the advantages of vegetables.

America's food crisis is something that has been growing over time, not just with our waistlines, but the earth we inhabit. This food crisis started when our food became industrialized. It started with corn, something we have been living off of for several centuries. Corn has made a great transformation from a almost weed looking plant with a small amount of kernels to a plant that is round up ready, drought resistant, and has a high yield. Since corn has become such a heavily produced commodity, there is a surplus and we use that surplus to supplement the diets of the animals we eat. These animals are not just the cows, pigs and chickens, but also farm raised salmon and other carnivorous fish. The other aspect of the food crisis is the extra calories that come from surplus corn being processed into everything xantham gum to high fructose corn syrup. Processed corn leads to cheap calories that add to the American diet, especially the lower class.

Bringing the cow's off the farm lead to more corn being produced, because the farmers couldn't produce the feed corn cheaper than the concentrated animal feeding operations(CAFO)(Pollen disc 3 2:30). This also leads the feeding an animal that is used to grass to a grain based diet that allows for fast growth and a quick slaughter, but leads to health consciousness to the cows and humans. In cows it creates a bloat that has to be treated with antibiotics. Also, it promotes the growth E-coli, which is killed in the stomach of a grass fed cow but in a grain fed cow it becomes very strong and is passed on to humans during slaughter. For human health a grain fed cow may have more flavors, but that entire flavor comes from marbled fat that leads to numerous health problems. Health in human is also put at risk from the large amounts of antibiotics it takes to keep cows from getting sick in CAFO's by making more antibiotic resistant bacteria's. Within CAFO"s waste is left in the pen with the cows and nitrogen is being let into the open air at high rates within these CAFO's.

The rise of corn fed animals started with the chickens being taken from the back yards of people and into confinement cages and long houses with no light and no room to move. This lead to systems that many farmers adapted using antibiotics and automated feeders. "Joseph Salsbury was an emigrant veterinarian, who landed in Iowa in 1926. He set up a mail-order business for poultry medications."(Hahn Nieman 46) When Salsbury came on the scene there weren't many farmers using medications on their feed lots. Salsbury and his sales staff sold farmers his Old Doc Salsbury remedies are the next great thing. And with this introduction a chain of events began, more #'s of meat out of a chicken, quicker growth "from 70 days to 48 days and twice the size"(Food, Inc. 8:08), and more eggs. Right around this time WWII had started to ramp up and American farmers were asked to grow more chickens and slaughter them at a faster rate so this began the process of "using crowed, automated confinement buildings became the primary chicken supplier to the allied forces"(Hahn Niman 48). By starting this process of feeding the mass



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