Tag Archives: Big Food

Honeybees were dying because?

Lollipop by MikaNon-Bing-ers know the net is about the journey, not the destination. My search yesterday became the acquisition: from a Posterous tweet, to revisiting OK Go’s 2006 treadmill video, to their backyard dance gone-viral, to choreographer sister Trish Sie in LOLLIPOP (new tab: Mika’s highschool anthem WE ARE GOLDEN), to Sie’s PSA for Saatchie & Saatchie: HELP THE HONEY BEES. When the worry was climate change or pesticides: poor bees. Then the suspect was GMOs.

the food revolution starts here. only the healthy will survive.

food incThere is a spate of recent films spilling the beans about the corporate takeover of the global food economy. Many are available online or through Amazon and Netflix.
 
Please watch some of these. Show your kids. Host a screening in your community. Donate a copy or two to the local library or public school system. Encourage teachers to show the films. Spread the word! Subvert the dominant food paradigm! Refuse to play along anymore!

Food, Inc., the first enviro-food movie to be screened in major theaters across the country, has brought food consciousness in the United States to a new level.

Fresh: The Movie is the perfect follow-up screening to Food, Inc. because it shows the flip side—positive change being created by farmers, students, thinkers, and business people in the U.S. today.

French Fries to Go documents Telluride, Colorado’s quest to run city buses on recycled fryer oil.

Garden Cycles: Faces From the New Farm is the story of three women on a three-month bicycle-powered tour of urban gardens throughout the Northeast.

Polycultures: Food Where We Live looks at communities in Northeast Ohio that are coming together to grow a more sustainable, just, and local food system.

The Greening of Southie is about Boston’s first LEED-certified residential green building and the way it affected a community.

Eating Alaska is a documentary by a vegetarian filmmaker who moves to Alaska and marries a hunter. The film looks at the ethics behind food choices and how politics, society, religion, and taste all play a role.

Sustainable Table: What’s on Your Plate? traces West Coast food production from field to table.

To Market to Market to Buy a Fat Pig tours outstanding farmers’ markets from Baltimore to Hawaii.

The Real Dirt of Farmer John looks at one man and his family farm. Farmer John and his story will have you reconsidering stereotypes about farmers.

The Garden examines the largest community garden in the U.S., 14 acres of green in South Central Los Angeles, and the fight to keep it there.

The World According to Monsanto looks at this behemoth of a multinational agricultural biotech corporation and their dominance of patents on genetically engineered seeds and pesticides.

Seeds of Deception focuses on how genetically engineered food is making its way into our daily diets.

Bad Seed: The Truth About Our Food looks at who is controlling the world’s food supply and the consequences of genetically modified food on health.

The Future of Food examines the complex web of market and political forces that affect what we eat and what we will eat in the future.

Food Matters takes a look at the often overlooked connection between food and our nation’s current state of health. With the health-care debate raging, watching this film feels extra-timely and important.

King Corn investigates the staggering scale of the corn related food economy in the U.S. in an entertaining way. While you’re at it check out Carey’s two part quest to go corn free.

Two Angry Moms shows two angry (and awesome) moms striving to improve school lunch with simple changes, like having fresh fruits and vegetables included on cafeteria trays.

Our Daily Bread is shot like a high end art-house film sand hows minute after minute of shocking footage of industrial food production and high-tech farming.

Super Size Me now feels like a classic among all these newer films. Watch as Morgan Spurlock spends 30 days eating nothing but McDonald’s while investigating the companies’ extremely long reach into school cafeterias and countries around the world.

Media That Matters: Good Food is a collection of 16 short films on food and sustainability.

The Greenhorns is an upcoming film on enterprising, hopeful, and young farmers that are bringing an infusion of youth and a wave of excitement to the one of the oldest professions of all.

The End of the Line chronicles how demand for cod off the coast of Newfoundland in the early 1990s led to the decimation of the most abundant cod population in the world, how hi-tech fishing vessels leave no escape routes for fish populations and how farmed fish as a solution is a myth.

Mondovino explores the impact of globalization on the various wine-producing regions. It pits the ambitions of large, multinational wine producers, in particular Robert Mondavi, against the small, single estate wineries who have traditionally boasted wines with individual character driven by their terroir.

We Feed the World is a film by Austrian filmmaker Erwin Wagenhofer about food and globalization, fishermen and farmers, long-distance truck drivers and high-powered corporate executives, the flow of goods and cash flow – a film about scarcity amid plenty.

McLibel is a story of two activists who took on McDonald’s in the longest trial in English history. They won.

The Cove follows a team of activists and filmmakers as they infiltrate a heavily-guarded cove in Taiji, Japan where more than 20,000 dolphins and porpoises are being slaughtered each year and their meat, containing toxic levels of mercury, is being sold as food in Japan, often times labeled as whale meat.

The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil tells the story of the Cuban people’s efforts to feed the population and create a low-energy society after losing access to Soviet oil in the 1990s.

Information from the Serious Eats website. Thank you, Serious Eats!

sweet lies of high fructose corn syrup

high-fructose-corn-syrup-processing-plant
I’m sure you’ve seen the Sweet Surprise commercials. There are several to target different consumer groups, but all involve a person #1 expressing hesitation at the offer of a high fructose corn syrup-laden “treat” and a smug HFCS-pusher asking sneeringly, “Oh yeah? Well, what’s so bad about HFCS?”

In the ads, person #1 hems and haws and has trouble articulating a satisfactory reply. HFCS person pats person #1 on the head condescendingly and says, “I thought so. Don’t worry, high fructose corn syrup is just like sugar. In moderation, it’s part of a healthy diet.” Person #1 quietly accepts the offered Frankenfood while DDB Chicago, the creator of the ads, and the Corn Refiners Association, creator of the poison, high five at their clever game, played to the grave detriment of the confused end-consumer.

I’m going to enlist my fledgling filmmaker son to help me produce a commercial of my own. The script will look something like this:

———-

Corporate Shill Cornelia: High fructose corn syrup is just like sugar. In moderation, it’s perfectly peachy for you.

Vigilant Consumer Veronica: Oh, no, Cornelia. Fortunately for you, I have a PhD in molecular biology and can help you understand how terribly you’ve been duped.

When an individual consumes sugar, the pancreas responds by increasing the production of insulin which enables the glucose in the bloodstream to be transported into cells and used as energy. The body also increases the production of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate the appetite and send a satiety signal to the body. This tells us that we’ve had enough to eat, a crucial component in the pursuit of “moderation.”

HFCS, in contrast, doesn’t cause insulin or leptin production nor increased cellular energy. You see, every cell in the body can metabolize glucose, but HFCS is only processed in the liver, like fats and alcohol, where it’s converted into triglycerides. The “energy” locked in HFCS stays largely inaccessible to the body, and most people know that elevated triglycerides — which we commonly refer to as high cholesterol — can lead to a whole host of health problems, including hardened arteries and heart attack. With HFCS, the moderation mechanism is never triggered; we never feel satisfied. Maybe this explains why 30% of American children are obese and sluggish, and why Lipitor, which is used to treat high cholesterol, is the best-selling drug in the country today. With approval by the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors are now prescribing it to children as young as 8.

Cornelia, I know this is a lot to digest and, believe me, I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. The dangerous way HFCS is made, the genetically-modifed corn and enzymes that are used in its production, the fatty deposits and liver cirrhosis that may result from its over-consumption, the criminal complicity of the FDA, even the tale of interference with free-market mechanisms that led to its prevalence in the food supply, are all feature-length films in themselves.

Please, Cornelia, take my advice. Get educated about HFCS. Read labels. Protect yourself and your family from high fructose corn syrup. It truly is deadly, and there’s no smug satisfaction in that for me.

[hugs weepy Cornelia, hands her a tissue. children run into scene, grab offered apples, run off laughing and playing. pan to crushed box of Fudgsicles on picnic table, melting, chalk outline, puddle of congealed goo, like blood, surrounding] CUT.

Irradiate the liars at the FDA

tomato berryMost of the food in the American diet is approved by the FDA for irradiation and chemotherapy treatments. Our fresh produce and meat are subjected to these invasive procedures 1) to kill microorganisms and other pathogens 2) to arrest or delay the ripening process 3) to act as a pesticide 4) to prevent spoilage or sprouting. Although they don’t say it explicitly, irradiation also masks serious sanitation problems in both farming and meat processing and provides greater immunity to the food industry executives who can claim that their products were “clean” when they left the facility.

The FDA has assured us over and over that the process of irradiation is completely safe. So safe, in fact, that consumers don’t even need to know which foods are exposed to ionizing radiation.

I think the FDA should define its terms. What do they mean by safe? Irradiation works by breaking down molecules and creating free radicals. Sure, the free radicals kill some bacteria, but they also damage vitamins and fragile enzymes. The free radicals can combine with existing chemicals in the food, like pesticides, to form new chemicals, called unique radiolytic products (URPs). Some of these URPs are known toxins like benzene and formaldehyde, and others are unique to the irradiated foods. Since they are unique, I guess we can assume they are safe.

After the anthrax scare a few years back, the US Postal Service began irradiating our mail. Because there is no danger in irradiating anything, least of all the mail, they were surprised when postal employees began to experience headaches, nausea, eye irritation, lightheadedness, nose irritation, and chest or throat tightness when processing irradiated mail. The USPS hired an industrial hygiene consultant who found elevated levels of carbon monoxide, ozone, chlorine, and other volatile organic chemicals in the work area. The USPS called OSHA.

Long and short of it, OSHA came in and did a bunch of tests. They found the same URPs that the consultant had identified, and quite a few more. But instead of addressing the dangers of mail irradiation, OSHA made the following recommendations:
1) “Air out” the mail before processing.
2) Monitor facilities for high concentrations of toxic chemicals/gases and, if found, try a change in handling methods or provide additional ventilation.
3) Keep a log to track health problems related to handling or being exposed to irradiated mail. Have the log reviewed periodically by an occupational medicine physician to look for trends or areas requiring further evaluation. (like maybe increased cancer rates or other pesky statistics)
4) Recommend that employees experiencing eye irritation use over-the-counter eye drops as often as necessary to relieve symptoms.

Can you believe it? OSHA sold the postal employees down the river so they could keep the irradiation-is-perfectly-safe lie going. I’m sure they weren’t given much leeway by the unscrupulous ignorant bastards at the FDA.

Scientists have known for years that irradiation causes food to become vitamin deficient which leaves well-fed bodies starved for nutrition. Irradiation deactivates food enzymes which affects the digestion process, which affects absorption of nutrients, which affects every cell in the human body. Irradiation damages the very DNA of not only the food, but also the bacteria it’s supposed to kill. This, in turn, leads to irradiation-resistant super germs that are far more dangerous to us than the original pathogens. Irradiated food contains toxic radiolytic products, aka poisons, which are ingested by you and me and everyone we know. Irradiation creates free radicals which are known to cause cell damage. The cell damage can manifest in innumerable ways, from premature aging to cancer to blindness.

radura logoThe process of irradiation is safe? It’s certainly not free of harm. I guess the FDA means that irradiation is safe from public scrutiny, safe from government accountability, safe from ethical study, safe from its own sad truth.

I HATE THE FDA! HATE ‘EM. HATE ‘EM. HATE ‘EM.

Hay bellies

I’ve read quite a bit about vegetarianism over the years. Nutritionists assert that in order to be healthy a vegetarian must actively seek the full complement of amino acids that make up protein, Hay ride the building blocks of our bodies, by consuming protein. This sounds like a reasonable assertion, but does it hold true in nature? Do living organisms, all of which are basically organized proteins, require ingested protein to survive?

Think of cows. What do they eat as they grow fat and delicious, merrily trotting the path to becoming culinary delights for the non-vegetarian population? Do they eat thick steaks, succulent chickens, light flaky fish, or the other white meat, pork? No, of course they don’t. They eat only plants — grass and hay — and only as much as they need.

Recent research suggests that our grains, fruits and veggies have become less nutritious over the past century. Man’s interference with the growth of plants — breeding for certain marketable traits, using chemical pesticides, artificially propping up the depleted soil with chemical fertilizers, speeding the ripening process — has resulted in not only dangerous food, but less nutritious food.

Animals are instinctive. They know what they need. They neither over- nor under indulge. I mean, have you ever seen an overstuffed cow, lying on her side in a meadow, moaning oh my god, I feel like a fat cow? No, nature provides every needed nutrient, in proper portions and proportions, for our cattle.

Or at least she used to. These days, ranchers do, in fact, encounter fat cows, dissatisfied cows, cows with big hay bellies. When cows aren’t getting needed nutrients from the grass they eat, they eat more, and more again, until they do. The fact that ranchers are seeing hay bellies is an indication that food ain’t what it used to be.

We have a similar problem. As Big Food alters the natural food supply to ensure that food looks pretty, has a long shelf life, is conveniently packaged, transported, and prepared, we are starving to death. Without micronutrients like resveratrol to signal satiety, without phytochemicals, enzymes, vitamins and minerals to nourish and support our biochemical processes, we’re eating more and more to gain needed nutrients, and we’re getting fatter and unhealthier in the process.

Tiny doomsday prophets

If we listen closely, there’s a small voice in the wilderness, calling out to us, warning of a coming transformation.
 
No, it’s not John the Baptist. It’s America’s honey bee, dying by the millions, prophesying the demise of the country’s fruit and vegetable supplies.

More than a hundred crops rely on bee pollination for survival, yet bees are dying off by the millions — 90% of the feral bee population has died — due to a mysterious condition called Colony Collapse Disorder. No doubt it is due to man’s interference with delicate natural goings-on, and his extreme disrespect for the Earth herself. The health of the planet is being sacrificed on the the altar of corporate ignorance and greed.

A really amazing documentary called Vanishing of the Bees is in the works. Check out the trailer here. Seriously, check it out.

If this war, and those to follow, global warming, environmental toxins, inaccessible health care, the credit collapse, the burning of the Constitution, the destruction of community, apocalyptic Christian Zionism, the lies and deceptions and ugliness and hate and greed of this current administration, and the next, aren’t enough to cause self-examination and a commitment to change, this may very well be the thing that gets our attention.

Albert Einstein said if honey bees become extinct, human society will follow in four years.

Pre-e-e-pare ye the way of desolation and death. . . .

FDA rapists on the loose, again

Bachelorette nutrition One of my favorite jump starts to the day is a breakfast of cottage cheese, fresh fruit and almonds. It’s is a simple meal, easy to prepare, and represents a near-perfect combination of protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat. It’s the almonds that provide the magic. In addition to a low glycemic index, which curtails a heavy duty insulin response, almond intake protects proteins from oxidative damage while delivering vitamin E and other antioxidants, magnesium, calcium, folic acid, protein, fiber and living enzymes.

Thank goodness that the USA has a near lock on almond production. 70% of the world’s almonds come from California. I can only thank goodness that raw almonds are readily available in our bountiful land, even at most corporate grocery stores.

Oh, but wait. The FDA recently decided that all California almonds must be either irradiated or chemically pasteurized prior to sale. Not so for almonds exported to other countries. No. This particular punishment is reserved especially for the American people.

What this means is that our pristine, nutritious and beautiful almonds are subjected to gross degradation by FDA rapists. Irradiation exposes food products to extremely high levels of radiation that kill bacteria, parasites and fungi. Never mind that animal studies have shown that irradiation may promote chromosomal damage and cancer. And never mind that toxic radiation demolishes the nutritional value of food.

Chemical pasteurization is even more dangerous. The technique used is called propylene oxide fumigation, which makes use of a chemical compound that the EPA has classified as a probable human carcinogen. Here’s another interesting note: Propylene oxide was once used in racing fuel, but in 1993 the National Hot Rod Association banned its use because of cancer concerns. Yet this poison is used to pasteurize almonds and other foods – EPA and FDA approved. Oh yeah, baaaaby, just gimme the purple stamp!

One comforting tidbit, we needn’t worry our purty heads over this because it’s all being done without our knowledge or approval. Ya’ll know that ignorance is bliss. The FDA — that trusty public servant — has allowed almond growers to pretend that it’s business as usual. California almond growers may still label their almonds “natural” and “raw” even though they’ve been corrupted by irradiation and chemical pasteurization.

The FDA is tired of being held accountable by the vocal few. They are more than willing and able to fly under the radar. And, obviously, California almond growers are happy to fly with them. One of them should stand tall and expose the FDA for the abusive piece of shit that it is. If they’d take that leap of faith, I’d buy their almonds — though they be unfit for consumption — until the poor drugged fallen cows come home!