Food as Industry - tuesday 2008-01-15 1654 last modified 2008-01-15 1654
Categories: Food, Current Events
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Does this sound like an appealing meal to you? You're eating the offspring of the same steer and cow that fed your great-grandparents (the exact same, from a species whose natural lifespan is considerably shorter than ours), bred in a test tube, fed on corn, which it can't naturally digest and requires injections to ruminate, and possibly on its defective siblings, raised under filthy, crowded, and stressful conditions, never having seen the light of day from birth to death, slaughtered and packaged by a machine - and it's no different from the slab you ate yesterday, last year, or last decade. It's the same in every way imaginable. Mmmm!

Well, this wonderful dream can be yours, and soon, thanks to the government and the meat industries. With the unwelcome news that our federal government has declared cloned animals safe for consumption, the food industry continues down its wayward path to our destruction.

If the FDA were just a little more broadly scoped, perhaps the general idea of subverting nature's defenses via genetic diversity would be of some concern? Not that it hasn't already been subverted for decades by the horrific practice of selling seeds that can only produce one viable generation before sending farmers back to buy more. This "eating only the offspring of clones" nonsense is not going to last, because soon enough, you'll be able to grow a cow to spec and shove it into the giant clone cow factory with automated lines designed to exactingly disassemble one specimen. It's the perfect dream: bred in test tubes, injected in uterine hosts, packed into storehouses, and slaughtered into market-ready packages without any need to deal with a labor union. The American food industry rolls on.

It's always the same story with giant industries. The relationship between consumer and producer does not exist (there's an industry instead for connecting them), and the relationship between raw material and product is a mind-bogglingly and frequently nauseatingly long chain. This story needs to change, especially in the food field. It's one of our most basic functions and joys in life. We owe it to ourselves to see something better grow up in place of this farce.

The life of modern food - there's a data set I'd like to visualize. If my tantalizing description of tomorrow's steak isn't repulsive enough (salad, anyone?), perhaps the bewildering nature of what it takes now to put something in your stomach versus what it took before the emergence of beef trusts would help towards the general comprehension that something is wrong. In the meantime, there's Pollan's books, and a recent promo podcast for his latest.

Comments

Amen!

yeah. sounds totally appetizing to me. I hope it's at least required that they label the stuff when (if? is that too much to hope for?) it eventually reaches the market.

Teal Guidici on January 17, 2008 03:41 PM

No Labels

If I understood it correctly, the FDA ruling asserts there's no difference between cloned and natural offspring, therefore there's no compelling requirement to label it outside of "irrational" consumer fears. I think labeling was actually the substance of the decision. We're so late to the party that they already decided we don't need to know anything about what we never wanted in the first place.

Ryan Lee on January 18, 2008 12:59 PM

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