September 13, 2011

Food Links: Industrial Food Complex

An important component of any food experience is understanding the work that goes into preparing the meal. Knowing the origination of the food you're about to eat by going to the market, choosing vegetables from your garden, or simply reading about it, adds to the joy of both cooking and eating a meal.

Sadly, the underbelly of our industrial food system is taking us away from this concept. This has lead to my passion for reading about the industrial food complex, which is sometimes disgustingsurprising or revealing.

This edition of food links is focused on sharing some articles I've read recently to educate myself about the industrial food complex. After all, it’s up to each of us to know how our food is made and where it comes.  Only then can we make informed decisions for ourselves.

Please share with us your favorite food related articles.  Enjoy!

1. Hybrid Fruits.  An interesting article from the Wall Street Journal about commercial fruit breeders specializing in hybrid fruits. Food companies see this as a market with huge potential.  It’s easier to market pluots and apriums than it is the old and tired plum.  This article explains how companies such as Zaiger's and Kingsburg Orchards choose and create hybrids.

2. Industrial Grown Tomatoes.  Depressing NPR interview with Barry Estabrook, author of Tomatoland, a book about tomatoes grown in Florida.  I’m a huge fan of tomatoes and one of my great joys is growing my own tomatoes and eating them fresh with all their imperfections, goofy shapes, etc.  Florida tomatoes are grown in the sand and picked green before they are artificially turned red.  No wonder so many store bought tomatoes taste terrible.  You will also hear about the slave labor it takes to pick them. A must listen.

3. Superweeds and Superinsects.  Reports are rampant that widespread use of Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide has led to superweeds resistant to pesticides.  Additional reports also suggest insects are developing resistance to Monsanto's genetically engineered corn.  More proof that taking on Mother Nature is difficult.

4. Synthetic Meat?  Teams of scientists, likely funded by the biggest food companies in the world, are trying to create fake meat.  This is eerie.  Makes you think about all the other fake foods and flavorings we digest every day.

5. Making Frito-Lay Chips. Quick video about how Frito-Lay chips are made.  It also delves into how Frito-Lay tries to make the process as energy efficient and sustainable as possible.  Shocking fact: this factory only serves the Northeast and goes through about 21,500 pounds of potatoes PER HOUR or several millions pounds per week.  People love chips!

6. Super Salmon or Frankenfish?  Fascinating read about the drive to create genetically engineered animals.  This article is about AquaBounty, company that has added a growth hormone to an Atlantic salmon so that it grows twice as fast as wild salmon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

dropping knowledge, much appreciated!