Thursday, July 9, 2009

Food Industry - Harmful to Your Health

Minnesota has a major role in feeding the Nation and the hungry millions abroad. It's legislators are deferential to the lobbyists of Big Agriculture.

Despite many warnings about a widely-used herbicide, Atrazine, no regulations or prohibitions are ever passed. Reports continue that Minnesota's amphibians and fish are having their sexual characteristics altered in wetlands, rivers, and lakes - where farm fields have drained. This kind of "endocrine disruption" is occuring in indicator species, frogs and walleyes, that spend all their lives in polluted waters.

The dairy, livestock, and poultry industries confine thousands of their animal units into feedlots and factory buildings with the objective of achieving the lowest costs and highest rates of return on their massive investments. This also keeps the cost of our food the cheapest in the world.

Producers have become similar to tenant farmers, in their service to the large agribusiness corporations, that finance their operations.

The mile after mile of corn and soybean row crops have become the face of our prairie. Inputs of genetically-modified seed, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides have come into use, together with ever-larger and capable machinery. One farm operator today can produce a harvest that used to require over a dozen farm laborers.

Enter the National News Media - Public Broadcasting and the New York Times. From them I recently heard and read about a "terrific new documentary." The movie "Food, Inc. is playing in cinemas nationwide."

It is "a powerful diagnosis of American agriculture." In Minnesota the nearest showing I could locate is at the Lagoon Cinema in the Minneapolis Uptown neighborhood.

In a quote from Food, Inc., food writer Michael Pollan says "The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000." This is serious food for thought, and it can urge those of us beyond the Twin Cities to find a place to see this film.

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