Posts Tagged ‘techonology’

Is it Pork without the Hog?

May 6th, 2010

The hog has gone the way of the eggplant, of corn, of wheat: pork will soon be produced by white cloaked scientists in laboratorys far away.  Dutch scientists are transforming the stem cells from a hog into edible pork.  This meat posesses the consistency of a scallop and is deficient in protein, yet  could be used as “processed meat in sausages and hamburgers”  (Maria Cheng,  Scientists turn stem cells into pork.  The Associated Press, January 15, 2010.)

Potentially we could feed protein to millions of the hungry.   Pork created in the factory would not need the vast amount of land used to raise  and feed the hogs.  This new meat production may well even be cheaper.

Yet…should we?

We don’t even have sufficient information about the effects of genetically modified food crops. Scientists are blocked from seriously investigating because  of “the threat of litigation…they cannot examine whether the genetically modified crops lead to unintended environmental side effects.” (The Editors, Scientific American Magazine, August 2009). Scientific American We are increasing the reach of technology as it is applied to food.  Theororeticllaty our entire diet could soon be processed.

More hungry people exist today as a percentage of the population than before the Green Revolution. (Craig Sams. The Little Food Book.  Disinformation, 2004)  The increase in nitrogen based pesticides and fertilizers has increased the amount of food being prized from the ground. Yet obesity has surpassed hunger.   (Health Experts: Obesity Pandemic Looms. The Associated Press.  Sept. 3, 2006) MSNBC The dearth of food is not the reason people are hungry: poverty is the root cause of hunger.   People losing their land and becoming unable to feed themselves is another facet of this issue.

The medical system is now just beginning to feel the impact that food related disease is having on the populace.  The hospitals and medical facilities are still reeling from this onslaught of food related diseases.

Is the food we are eating killing us?

While the idea of food made cheaply (as far as indirect costs to the environment, land use, etc…) seems a tempting way to feed the hungry, it may very well have negative side effects on the human constitution.  The actual costs of  industrial food production have not  suitably been evaluated.  Whether it is our inability to control the Industrial Food System or our inpatience as a culture, much of our nation is hurtling  toward a society composed of the hungry and  the obese.

Every meal counts.  More importantly, every dollar spent on those meals counts.  In a political system where nothing seems to get done and hope can sometimes be far away, make every dollar count.