The food industry encompasses a variety of orchards, gardens and farms in which our food is grown. To ensure quick and profitable production, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics are used. The farm factories grow food practically overnight. The mass produced poultry, cattle and swine often endure harsh conditions as their growth is manipulated towards our dinner plate. To treat and avoid disease, antibiotics are put in our food that we regularly enjoy. It is standard procedure, although food safety regulations dictate the tolerances allowed.
The overcrowded chicken factories are smelly and loud. The fowl are usually caged in close proximity of each other and to prevent the usual pecking order, beaks are trimmed. Inhumane conditions seem to be accepted but rarely talked about. Chicken has become a popular low calorie choice on many restaurant menus. Chicken sandwiches are offered everywhere, including fast food establishments and convenience stores. The list is endless when it comes to chicken entrees in most fine dining restaurants, as well. The antibiotics put in our food also include cattle and swine. The cattle are packed in pens by the dozens. Swine are placed in stacked cages, allowing for the lowest pig in the stall to be the dirtiest and quite possibly the sickest. Preventing disease is of the upmost importance to produce a healthy animal that soon will be consumed. The long range effects of antibiotics in food to humans is still being researched. Maybe that is why the doctor recommends chicken soup for a cold?
Tests have been done concerning hormones given to cattle. They are often injected with estrogens and testosterones to speed up their growth. It has been proven that too much estrogen in a human can lead to cancer, so the public is slowly becoming more aware of what they eat. Milk and meat is now packaged and advertised a being antibiotic and or hormone-free. Pesticides used in the production of fruits and vegetables can also be a health risk. Washing them before eating helps in reducing any residue.
It is big business to grow and sell food. Consumers have long been concerned about the quality and taste more than the way it is produced. Upon further investigation, most people would choose not to eat at all. The meat production is the worst and handling raw meat needs to be done with care. Until the meat is fully cooked, risk factors run rampant. After all, it is a dead animal you are eating!
Humans have to eat and whether it is meat or just fruits and vegetables, being aware of what we put in our bodies is important. Opting for processed foods and snacks just opens the door for preservatives instead of antibiotics and hormones. In the long run, precautions have been put in place to assure the public receives safe food. Organic and farmer’s market goods are more expensive, but usually free of all the extras. The antibiotics put in our food are necessary evils in the meat industry, due to mass production. The animal lives a cruel life, but is a little healthier because of the medicine. Bon Appetit!!
Written by: Roanne H. FitzGibbon