Friday, January 23, 2009

Food Matters: Mark Bittmans new book

Everyone is a-buzz about Bittman's new book, yet another of the many growing voices denouncing the commodification of our food supply by large corporations more interested in profit than, well than anything else.

Bittman’s journey into sustainable food and the issues surrounding food production in this country began when he learned that global livestock production accounts for more greenhouse gas than cars, trucks, planes and trains do.

I ask every restaurant I eat in where they get their chicken from and 99.9% of the time the server just shrugs like they don't understand the question as if to say: "Why, the grocery store, wrapped in plastic on that little piece of Styrofoam. How else would chicken come? "

The thing that I am using this day to not eat CAFO meat (and I eat very little meat) is to think about how factory farmed meat is done in cramped spaces, where the animals are treated like "products" - so cutting off beaks and feet of chicken who then go insane because they are packed so close together and defecating on each other, which is why so much of our meat is filled with antibiotics. How could anything live in this environment and be "healthy"? Oh, the icing on the cake is that these animals spend their time on this fair earth living in their own and their neighbor's waste. Animal waste is a problem for CAFO's which end up having to have a "waste lagoon" adjacent to the "concentrated animal feeding operation."

Remember a couple of years ago there was a tainted organic spinach scare? Remember what the issue ended up being? The farm next to the organic spinach farm was a CAFO and their "waste" lagoon spilled over into the organic farmer's field. Nice.

"Cow shit with your salad, Madame?"

Why would you want to eat an imprisoned, antibiotic filled, mutilated, shit covered, tortured animal? And why is it most people aren't even aware of this as a significant issue?

Probably the same reason Duane Reade doesn't carry recycled paper products; see my post on that topic below. Here's my update: I checked again. They are in the pay of big paper, who doesn't want anyone to have the option of buying a green product. As a matter of fact, the Duane Reade on the corner of Broadway and Grand hides their organic cleaning products in an entirely different section so if you were looking for window cleaner say and you looked in the window cleaner section you would not see a green choice, because the green stuff is at the end of an aisle, somewhere totally unrelated.

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