ISSUE THREE: CHEMICALS
Many chemicals are sprayed onto, or injected into our food without our knowledge. Pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers are regularly sprayed over fields to ensure that produce is grown on time and without any of it getting rotten (overall minimizing lost profits in the eyes of food corporations). And this chemical intervention is not exclusive to produce. Most livestock are injected with growth hormones and antibiotics, so that they can grow faster and minimize disease transmission. Due to these ubiquitous chemical alterations to our food, many people believe that food corporations are slowly poisoning the population and profiting out of it.
The major concern with pesticides and herbicides in our food is determining how harmful these chemicals are. Truth be told, no one really knows. There has never been enough testing done to determine the long term effects of these chemicals to our bodies. Because so little evidence can be found about this issue, it remains such a hot topic. As we can see from the short clip below, titled “I wonder”, the issue is just that – scientists, consumers, advocates, and researches are all on the same page, wondering whether these chemicals are effecting our health, or not.
Although it is a heartbreaking story, the answer as to whether pesticides are killing us is unknown. While many argue that these chemical ‘stews’ are killing us slowly without us even realizing, others argue that we’ve been eating the same food for years now, and we have yet to see any health risks arise from these chemicals. (McEwen, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0006238) It really is a double edged sword.
So, with these issues and more that arise from our food production practices, it makes a person wonder if everything we eat is, in the end, deadly. When I first began reading and researching this, that is certainly what I thought – I could never look at an apple the same way again. But, soon I learned that all food is not deadly despite the ongoing debates and conflicting theories.
I would argue that we, as regular consumers of food, should try to educate ourselves about what it is that we are eating and what goes into our food. It is important to consciously decide what to consume, instead of being a drone and not questioning the corporate capital system that produces more than half the food we eat. Perhaps there is a way to turn the tables – if enough people were informed about what they consume we would begin to have a say in what goes into our food. One voice may not make a difference, but many voices concerned about the relationship between our health and the food that we eat could make a difference.