Ethics Final part 8

Effects Of The Industrial Food System On Our Health

Americans have demanded cheap food, and thanks to the US policy of crop subsidies the industrial food system has given it to them.  This cheap food has been over-processed and jammed pack with sodium, fats, sugars and of course high-fructose corn syrup fueling our addiction to these substances.  Unfortunately these “foods” are having negative effects on our health.  According to the Center for Disease Control, the obesity rate for Americans is hovering right around 26% for the 2009 national average.  This means that 1 in 4 Americans are obese.  If you compare this with the numbers for 1985 you’ll see that less than ten percent of Americans were obese.#  Is it safe to call this a slow burning epidemic?

Compound this with the amount of diabetes, about 8.7% of the American population.  In addition to the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death amongst us.  We must begin admitting to ourselves that the connection between sodium, fats, and sugars and the rising health problems are real, but correctable with significant changes to the system.

As if that were not enough, we must also address one of the most obvious risks inherent in the current industrial food system:  Food-borne diseases like E. coli, salmonella, listeria, and toxoplasma.  The numbers from the Center for Disease Control on these are described:  “To better quantify the impact of food-borne diseases on health in the United States, we compiled and analyzed information from multiple surveillance systems and other sources. We estimate that food-borne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. Known pathogens account for an estimated 14 million illnesses, 60,000 hospitalizations, and 1,800 deaths. Three pathogens, Salmonella, Listeria, and Toxoplasma, are responsible for 1,500 deaths each year, more than 75% of those caused by known pathogens, while unknown agents account for the remaining 62 million illnesses, 265,000 hospitalizations, and 3,200 deaths. Overall, food-borne diseases appear to cause more illnesses but fewer deaths than previously estimated.”  The simplest and quickest fix to this problem is for all of us to begin growing our own food.  This practice will begin restoring balance to our precious soil and eliminate the system which fosters and circulates food-borne diseases.

I recently came across an article that implies further guilt for agribusiness.  This article outlines the legal procedures that these huge businesses have taken to protect themselves from liability.  This is an implied admission of guilt, no different than “pleading the 5th.”

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