Up until this week I have thought of where my food came from as in what animal or where the produce was grown.  So for lunch I had a sandwich including bread (from grains), turkey (from a turkey), tomato (internationally or nationally grown, probably genetically modified), lettuce (the same as a tomato), and provolone cheese (made from cow’s milk but other stuff was probably added).  It was not until now that I really thought of all the labor and people that work to produce the food that I eat at lunch.  For example the tomato in my sandwich had to be picked (by an enslaved or impoverished migrant worker), transported, and then delivered.  But then I can only imagine the path of the turkey, being raised in some enclosed area (I don’t even want to know what he was fed), then slaughtered, inspected…hopefully, transported, and then severed.

Overall, there are more people working with the food I eat than just the employees in the cafeteria and the people who deliver the food.  Not only animals dying when we eat meat, but so are people; if they are not dying many of them are seriously injured.  Furthermore, Florida tomato pickers have been enslaved during the past two centuries to harvest tomatoes.  This is all because each participant of our food system wants to make a profit; not because they want to feed the world.  Even though these low prices may make it more affordable the quality of meat that is currently mass produced is incredibly low.  It would be better for Americans to eat less food of higher quality that does not threaten producers (like those at the slaughter house) than what we are eating now.  The problem is that people are unaware, and even if they are aware they have to act on this.  The best way would be through economics; buying less food or only high quality food.  We do rule the market, and if that is what producers are using as a production measure, then we should mess up what they’re measuring.

 

In the 1990s and the early 2000s enslaved tomato pickers attacked Taco Bell for buying tomatoes for a price so low that forced horrible conditions on the laborers and farmers.  The company finally agreed to the penny a pound policy proposed by the pickers.  Despite this ‘honorable’ decision, this does not mean that Taco Bell is a healthy or safe food supplier.  James Andrews describes how Taco Bell is responsible for at least 60 recent cases of salmonella.  To make this situation worse, when the government was investigating the outbreaks they did not want to inform the public of the source.  They were afraid of the economic effects of the company if revealed.  Furthermore they did not want to face a law suit or scrutiny from the corporation.  Isn’t that great? So there was an outbreak of disease and the government doesn’t want people to know because they don’t want to make one corporation mad.  Doesn’t matter if people are getting sick, as long as people are making money?  Andrews makes an good comparison saying that not recalling food or alerting the public of a food hazard is comparable to car companies not recalling vehicles that don’t function properly.  Personally, as a consumer I would like to know.  Especially as one who enjoys a taco, I would like to enjoy one that would not make me sick.  Furthermore I would really like it if our government didn’t have its head up the butts of corporations to the point where they would ignore public safety.

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