Feature Story

Alternative Health Notes: Experimental Foodstuffs

AirNZ wine bottles 2006

An apple shipped to the US from the other side of the Earth

IN A SOCIETY THAT places the highest value on the way a thing makes you feel, it is no wonder that many of the things we consume were never meant to nourish the body. Food has been defined as; “any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.” There are a couple key components from the definition that are severely deficient in the food industry of the United States; nutrition & maintenance of life. Food consumption should be based on giving the body the correct amount of what it needs to function adequately. If we consume food for nutrition and to sustain our lives, what is the course of action when the available food sources fail to deliver, or worse; lead us towards the opposite?

This food-obsessed culture glorifies the ability to acquaint one’s taste buds with a plethora of cuisines from around the world. With a lack of understanding of how different foods interact with our systems, we indulge in a range of novel foods imported from their native lands and shipped atop ice across the oceans. International trade of agriculture has become an integral staple for the US economy & dinner plates alike. Family farms, growing one’s own food, and bartering are no longer seen as lucrative avenues for obtaining meals. The food industry is part of a bigger mechanism of governmental interest groups that exercise control through monopolies of industries and the creation of laws to support them. The World Trade Organization (WTO), World Health Organization (WHO), Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Administration (FDCA), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are just a handful of such agencies.

The aforementioned are a few of the organizations put in place to ensure the safety of the products that are consumed. They govern what is acceptable and in what quantities; including the creation of food-like substances that do not occur in nature. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and food additives are two categories of food-like substances that not all countries agree are adequate for human consumption.


Most corn grown in the US is a GMO but grocers aren’t required to tell us.


There are numerous GMO foods that have been approved by the FDA & USDA and have been in circulation in grocery store chains for years. Corn is probably the most widely known GMO food, but tomatoes, soybeans, and cantaloupes are also part of the GMO family. Highly processed foods and oils; especially those with soybean products also fall under the GMO category. A USDA report documents that “Genetically engineered (GE) crops (mainly corn, cotton, and soybeans) were planted on 169 million acres in 2013, about half of US land used for crops.” This almost guarantees that the majority of the population has eaten some form of GMOs within their lifetime.

The Food and Drug Law Journal (a publication of the FDA), reports that at least 70% of food products in the US contain GMOs and 75% of all processed foods contain GMOs. Several authors cite potential allergies and unknown effects to humans in the long term as huge deterrents for consumer acceptance of GMO products. There are still regulations, procedures, and monitoring systems being developed, even though products are already populating the grocery stores en masse. The Brazilian Institute for the Defense of Consumers is actively stopping GM products from reaching their markets. With the US not required to explicitly state that foods are GMO; many countries have banned US produce, especially the countries in the European Union (EU).

Cow with stomach hole

Cows are now commonly fed through holes leading directly to their stomachs


Antibiotics have been used in animal feed for about 50 years, ever since the discovery not only as an antimicrobial agent, but also as a growth-promoting agent and improvement in performance. There is still much uncertainty on exactly how resistance to antibiotics affects the organisms involved. The American Veterinary Medical Association states that

“Current science can’t really prove what causes all of the different types of antimicrobial (antibiotic) resistance that create public health risks … Regardless of how effective an antimicrobial might be, rarely, if ever, will 100% of the organisms be killed during a course of treatment …The few surviving and potentially resistant organisms could then transfer their genetic material to offspring or even other unrelated organisms … The scientific evidence of how, if or to what extent such exposure affects human health remains unclear..”

What then, does that mean for those who consume these animals with unknown amounts of antibiotics coursing through its body at the time of slaughter?

The European Union has banned several growth-promoting antibiotics from 1997 through 1999, while other countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden banned all antibiotics from 1986 through 2006. In 1969, the presence of salmonella led the British government to develop the Swann Committee to remove such antibiotic growth promoters as penicillin, streptomycin, and tetracycline from Europe. Additionally, several studies conducted in East Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and even Massachusetts have found evidence of E.coli infecting humans through pathogens in food sources utilizing these growth promoters. Although the WHO, CDC, & US National Academy of Sciences purported the EU ban is justified because of the development of human disease, the protection of public health, and recommended they should not be used to promote animal growth, they are still being widely used in animals and plants alike in the United States.


Chickens are packed into dangerously crowded and filthy conditions.

Mass international global trade and capitalism has created a frenzy of cutthroat tactics to produce more, faster, easier, and with no regard for the consumers. Many of the changes in the way we farm our foods stems from wanting to supply more for less & getting the most while spending the least. The majority of available articles in the US supports the use of antibiotics, food additives, and GMOs to battle the growing infections & diseases developed in animals packed in facilities in grotesque conditions instead of roaming freely outside. Instead of looking at the root causes of the disease in order to prevent the spread of infections, man-made products are a juvenile solution to an unnecessarily created problem. With limited fiscal availability, many of the governmental agencies responsible for ensuring the safety of food in the US are ill-equipped to do so.

It is important to recognize the food and health industries as extensions of the social system that seeks control over every aspect governing our lives. A simple diet based on only giving the body what it requires instead of stuffing it to excess can help protect you and your family from being bombarded with unnecessary, unregulated toxins through your food source. Instead of entrusting your wellbeing to a healthcare system where professionals study medicine and “practice” on patients, we could be better served focusing on learning about how the natural environment provides us with all that we need to survive.

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