Myth 2: Industrially produced food is safe, healthy and nutritious

Not true. In fact, industrial agriculture compromises food safety and nutrient values while increasing incidences of illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and obesity.

Marco Visscher | April 2003 issue

A trip to the local supermarket feeds the belief that there is nothing wrong with our food. The apples shine, there is nary a brown spot on the tomatoes, colourful pictures adorn packages of chocolate biscuits and jam jars. In fact, it would seem there is no better place to buy safe – and healthy – food. That is, until you consult the United States government’s figures.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), at least 53 commonly used pesticides are classified as carcinogenic. Five years ago the FDA found remnants of pesticides in 35% of the food it tested. According to the Environmental Protection Agency the vast majority of pesticides used are insufficiently tested, particularly in combination with one another. The effects on unborn children, pregnant women and the elderly remain largely unknown.

Farmers suffer the most from pesticide-related health problems. American farmers that work with chemical herbicides run six times the normal risk of developing non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of cancer. Infertility is four times more prevalent among male Dutch farmers than among the rest of their countrymen.

The effects are even more severe in developing countries. Because the soil is often less fertile and the inspection systems weak, chemical additives are used on a much larger scale. Pesticides have been linked to birth defects, infertility, behaviour problems, weakened immune systems and genetic mutations in DNA structures. Only a handful of the farmers who cultivate coffee, tea or chocolate make it to age 50. Children are particularly sensitive to the chemicals that often remain in the air. Their endurance and co-ordination decline, their memories are poorer, they get sick more often and die younger.

According to the Centre for Disease Control in the US, the number of food-related disorders in that country has increased fourteen-fold since 1970. The increase is mainly attributed to the industrialisation of cattle breeding. Animals are packed together, spreading disease among the cattle and ultimately among people. The intensive use of antibiotics and growth hormones allows pathogens to become resistant and their residue makes its way into food.

Other illnesses are related to the use of chemical fertilisers. Chemical fertilisers add nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium to the soil. Crops need more minerals. Because farmers fail to add them, the soil becomes depleted. The nutritional value of agricultural products has declined drastically in recent decades. This explains the increasing incidence of illnesses caused by mineral shortages: cancer, heart disease, type II diabetes and obesity. Add to the mix the growth in consumption of junk food and pre-packaged, frozen meals – perfect examples of industrial food – and the connection between food and modern illness is clear.

A safe food supply is based on organic farming that supplies the right nutrients to the soil. Safe and healthy food also means better living conditions for animals.

 

Solution News Source

Myth 2: Industrially produced food is safe, healthy and nutritious

Not true. In fact, industrial agriculture compromises food safety and nutrient values while increasing incidences of illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and obesity.

Marco Visscher | April 2003 issue

A trip to the local supermarket feeds the belief that there is nothing wrong with our food. The apples shine, there is nary a brown spot on the tomatoes, colourful pictures adorn packages of chocolate biscuits and jam jars. In fact, it would seem there is no better place to buy safe – and healthy – food. That is, until you consult the United States government’s figures.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), at least 53 commonly used pesticides are classified as carcinogenic. Five years ago the FDA found remnants of pesticides in 35% of the food it tested. According to the Environmental Protection Agency the vast majority of pesticides used are insufficiently tested, particularly in combination with one another. The effects on unborn children, pregnant women and the elderly remain largely unknown.

Farmers suffer the most from pesticide-related health problems. American farmers that work with chemical herbicides run six times the normal risk of developing non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of cancer. Infertility is four times more prevalent among male Dutch farmers than among the rest of their countrymen.

The effects are even more severe in developing countries. Because the soil is often less fertile and the inspection systems weak, chemical additives are used on a much larger scale. Pesticides have been linked to birth defects, infertility, behaviour problems, weakened immune systems and genetic mutations in DNA structures. Only a handful of the farmers who cultivate coffee, tea or chocolate make it to age 50. Children are particularly sensitive to the chemicals that often remain in the air. Their endurance and co-ordination decline, their memories are poorer, they get sick more often and die younger.

According to the Centre for Disease Control in the US, the number of food-related disorders in that country has increased fourteen-fold since 1970. The increase is mainly attributed to the industrialisation of cattle breeding. Animals are packed together, spreading disease among the cattle and ultimately among people. The intensive use of antibiotics and growth hormones allows pathogens to become resistant and their residue makes its way into food.

Other illnesses are related to the use of chemical fertilisers. Chemical fertilisers add nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium to the soil. Crops need more minerals. Because farmers fail to add them, the soil becomes depleted. The nutritional value of agricultural products has declined drastically in recent decades. This explains the increasing incidence of illnesses caused by mineral shortages: cancer, heart disease, type II diabetes and obesity. Add to the mix the growth in consumption of junk food and pre-packaged, frozen meals – perfect examples of industrial food – and the connection between food and modern illness is clear.

A safe food supply is based on organic farming that supplies the right nutrients to the soil. Safe and healthy food also means better living conditions for animals.

 

Solution News Source

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