“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” the famous quote attributed to Hippocrates, is probably more important today than ever before as a handful of corporations, dubbed Big Food, gain more control over the food industry. Hippocrates’ statement brings up a very complex question:
Is food as ‘healthy’ as it used to be, and can it still effectively protect and heal the human body?
Consider that, today, what we call food isn’t always real food. It is produce and meat products full of pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, and/or GMOs. Or it is pantry food products filled with additives, chemicals, preservatives, industrial by-products, and other non-food ingredients. In order to identify real food, shoppers must look for certification labels that help identify foods that are organic, non-GMO, grass-fed, unpasteurized, without hormones, etc.
The shift in the food industry towards chemical-laden products has allowed food corporations to create products that last longer, look better, and taste better to certain consumers. Certain chemicals in food products can be powerful enough to cause a physiological response in the body to create cravings, and even food addictions, and are used exactly for this purpose. Some additives, such as hormones and antibiotics, are used to support an expanding industrialized food production system. They are destroying small farms and humane farming practices in the process, while decreasing the quality and nutritional value of the end product…the food.
Not only is a large percentage of the population drugged by big pharma, people are also slowly being drugged by synthetic chemicals in food. Particularly in the United States, it seems that foods contain an overwhelming amount of synthetic ingredients, some which have even been banned in other countries. Sadly, it is becoming more and more clear that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which should be responsible for keeping these toxins out foods, is shamelessly manipulated by mainstream food corporations that have taken over the food industry.
The most notable result of food industry corruption and food quality deterioration is the growing demand for real food. The ‘superfoods’ industry had grown to be worth about $130 billion globally in 2015, and the U.S. organic sales posted a new record of $43.3 billion in 2015. Conventional food producers are realizing the real impact of a global shift to healthier foods, the growing support of local farmers and small food producers, and even learning how to be self sufficient by gardening and raising small farm animals.
Big Food and Big Agra Seek Legislation that Makes Them FOIA Exempt
Big Agra and Big Food companies are quite conscious of this shift and are eager to gain more of your grocery bill. To do so, they seem to deliberately mislead the public through deceitful marketing practices and are pushing out new market players that seek to fill the growing demand for real food.
Take for example the recent combined effort of various agricultural commodity groups who have “successfully pushed for language to be included in the pending 2017 House Agricultural Appropriations Bill that “urges” the U.S. Department of Agriculture to exempt their respective promotional groups from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.” (Source)
This is a likely result of recent scandals, including one in which emails obtained under FOIA in 2015 showed that the American Egg Board had waged a campaign against Hampton Creek, a start-up which develops plant-based products such as egg-free mayo.
Hampton Creek is a small food innovation company that claims it wants to start over when it comes to food production; it strives to make food products that are good for the body, taste better, use ingredients that are good for the land, and are more affordable. But for the American Egg Board, the start-up presents a “crisis” for the egg industry. Whatever happened to a little healthy competition?
The Multiple Layers of Food Industry Deceit
Don’t be fooled that organizations such as the American Egg Board are independent of corporate control and have your best interests in mind. These organizations and their editorials and research based on “independent sources” are just advertising in disguise, made to sway public opinion and promote corporate interests.
The report, “Spinning Food,” by Friends of the Earth shows that food and agro-chemical companies “have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the past few years on stealth PR tactics, deploying over a dozen front groups to push coordinated messages attacking organic food production, defending pesticides and the routine use of antibiotics and promoting GMOs — messages that are making their way into the pages of our largest media outlets.” (Source)
Here’s a chart of the findings in the report that shows just how much these front groups are spending and which corporations they represent.