America’s Growing Food Problem–and the Cure
This is part 3 of an inside look of the corporatism that is affecting America’s food supply and threatening organic enterprises with bankruptcy. Implicated in the matter now lies Whole Foods, who just opened a store of its franchise in Foggy Bottom. Read parts one and two here.
All steps necessary are being taken currently to deny Americans their choice in food–even if that food may be harming them. Although many are growing concerned about the United States’ agriculture future, many are deterred by an apparent inability to affect a change in the brutally competitive market. Ethical companies are being edged out by the droves, and the consumer is left with the giants who crushed opponents under them ruthlessly, concerned over the bottom dollar.
How do we avoid the propagation of this profit over people? The answers may be seen elsewhere. In Europe they are not facing the same food problem. This can be attributed to popular demand, but in order for such demand to be initially met, an important first step was established that allowed for the public to voice their outrage over genetically modified foods and chemical-laden product.
Truth-in-labeling practices throughout Europe are the root of this general prohibition of what is seen by many as a vastly inferior (although cheaper by means of cost-cutting to the max) product in terms of healthiness as well as long-term biological and environmental effects. Truth-in-labeling requires the disclosure of what is used in manufacturing food products, and in meat products the health credentials of the feed the stock is given must be disclosed as well.
Pesticides and GM seeds have been grossly underregulated over the last few decades, and its effects can already be seen. But we cannot wait for another dustbowl to occur before we concede that an entire nation’s food supply cannot be derived from potentially deadly sources.
Further expansion of this principle includes initiating thorough investigations of health/environmental effects of agricultural product before widespread production, and the immediate repeal of products found by unaffiliated studies to reveal their harmful nature.
A common objection that is raised by profiteers and ‘venture capitalists’ is the concern over increased cost of food due to increased regulation, and that to offset costs, these companies claim they have to lay off workers. On the contrary, a recent peer-reviewed study found that regulation makes up for and even exceeds layoffs due to jobs created in the regulatory industry
What’s most important is that customers have the choice, not the illusion of a choice. The necessary sacrifices have already been made clear to customers, and the resounding response is that even if it is at the cost of a markup, people want organic, non-modified food. There will always be a market for those who don’t wish to ingest pesticides, herbicides, hormones, and other chemicals. To promise such a choice and then to willingly deceive in order to not come through is, frankly, tantamount to fraud.
If the agricultural industry is making it impossible for organic farms to continue to exist, then their business practices may as well be considered monopolization. The situation today in America, frankly, is grim. However, through recognition or through legislation, a change will be made for the better.