The Food Industry

The Food Industry
The Food Fad
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Food Politics by Marion Nestle
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Food, Inc. by Eric Schlosser (book and movie)
Super-Size Me
Now an d then
In the 1930s, 24 percent of the
American population worked in
agriculture compared to 1.5 percent
in 2002
In 1940, each farm worker supplied
11 consumers, whereas in 2002,
each worker supplied 90 consumers
(Scully 2002)
Since 1960, the number of farms
has declined from 3.2 million to 1.9
million, but average size has
increased by 40% and productivity
by 82%
Most just raise a single commodity
(AKA monoculture)
Most use a system of vertical
integration, ownership by one
company of all stages of production
and marketing (Nestle 2002)
>>Basically there is a trend of less farms, but
larger size and greater production
But why?
What caused it to be this way?
History of Industrial Agriculture
Key innovations that drove us to where we are now…
Synthetic Fertilizer (NPK)
Vitamins and Nutrition Supplements
Antibiotics and Vaccines
Hybrid Crops
>>Also legislation like the Farm Bill
Green Revolution
• President Truman in his 1949 Inaugural
Address expressed that in order to
prevent the spread of communism,
America should work to prevent hunger
around the world
• 1940s Norman Borlaug and HYVs in
Technology now used by the
Synthetic fertilizer
• Wikipedia Haber Process:
• Horrigan, Leo, Robert S. Lawrence, and Polly Walker 滴ow
sustainable agriculture can address the environmental and human
health effects of industrial agriculture.� NIH Research Review. Center
for a livable future, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. v110.5
May 20002
• Nestle, Marion. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences
Nutrition and Health. Berkley and Los Angeles, CA: University of
California Press, 2002.
• Scully, Matthew. Dominion: the power of man, the suffering of
animals, and the call to mercy. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002.
Effects of US Food
industry on Human
food industry
Success of the US Food
The US food industry provides enough food to feed the US and provide AID for much of
the developing world.
In 1900, households relied primarily on local food production, and the predominant
nutritional problems were low caloric intake and inadequate intakes of certain vitamins
and minerals. Today, a hallmark of the American agricultural system is that consumers
enjoy year-round abundance of nutritious and affordable foods.
Dustbowl and
Great Depression
•In the 1930s, disasters
such as the Dustbowl
and the Great
depression, were
intensified by an
unstable food supply.
October 1939. Baby from Mississippi in truck at
the Farm Security Administration camp at Merrill,
Oregon Photographed by Dorothea LangeMigrant
mother, aged thirty-two with seven hungry
children, Nipomo, CA )Courtesy of Library of
Food Safety
Because of the size of the
US food industry, and
regulations by the USDA
and FDA, the food
manufacturing process is
very transparent and there
are many less cases of
food-borne illnesses than
there would be if farming
and food processing
weren’t centralized.
Administrations that monitor food quality and safety range from local and statewide efforts of federal institutions and laws:
Information of food safety affects
public opinion and food
•Like any business, demand for a product affects the
market supply for that product and the possible profits
from the sell of it.
•US Farmers, Food manufacturers, Grocery stores
and restaurants go through rigorous measures to
prevent a decrease in demand from their foods
Food industry and
Preventable Diseases
•Does the US Food Industry
contribute to preventable diseases
such as Type 2 Diabetes and
Coronary Heart Disease?
•Other factors affecting disease:
•American Lifestyle
•Economic situation
America’s Diet: The Numbers
Alternative foods in the
US Food Supply
•Many options such as
organic foods, local produce,
GMO/ High Fructose Corn
Syrup and vegan/vegetarian
options exist for those
consumers who prefer these
•Not all American consumers
desire these products
•Not all American consumers
can afford these products
•Large organic farms face
the same sustainability
issues as conventional
Civilization as it is known today could not have evolved, nor can it survive,
without an adequate food supply. “Norman Borlaug
•Htt p://
What’s wrong with our food industry?
• Government subsidized
commodity crops
– Diet related health risks
– Antibiotic resistance
– Neighboring communities and waste
• Worker Health
• Green Revolution and the Use of
Commodity Crops
• Corn, Wheat, and
• Processing = more profits
• More energy per pound
– Less water and fiber
– More sugar and fat
– Food insecurity and obesity
Obesity: Diet Related
• Three-fifths of Americans are now
• Known risk factor for:
– Coronary heart disease
– High blood pressure
– Triglyceride levels
– High cholesterol
– Diabetes
• Food Grown with Oil not Sunlight
• Less Nutritious
– Hybridization
– Fertilization
• Pesticides
• Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
• Antibiotics
– Daily to avoid infections
– Antibiotic Resistance
• Waste
– Residential Areas
– Air and Water Quality
– Ex: Hog Industry in NC
Worker Health
• Meatpacking
– Unskilled and Young
– OSHA: most dangerous industry in 1980s and
• Farmers and their families
– Pesticides
• Acute effects
• Chronic effects
– Labor Wages and
Environmental Justice
The “Green” Revolution
Movement to increase yields after WWII
• Irrigation
– Water Intensive
• Pesticides
– Farmers, neighbors,
• Synthetic Fertilizers
– N and P
• Hybridization
– Selective breeding
• Always Cheaper?
– Unsustainable
– Synthetic Nutrient Cycle
– Seeds
• High Travel Cost
– Food Miles
– Vehicle Exhaust
• Use of Fossil Fuels
– Nitrogen Fertilizer
Say No to GMOs?
• GMO = Genetically modified organism
• Can we know yet if its safe?
– New technology
– unpredictability
• Health concerns
– New allergies
– New toxins?
• Impact on the environment
Food Safety
• Meat processing facilities
are consolidated
• Food Contamination
– 76 million Americans become
ill every year
– E. Coli
– Salmonella
 Terrorist threats to our
food supply
• Donham, Kelley, and Kendall Thu, eds. Understanding the Impacts of LargeScale Swine Production: Proceedings from an Interdisciplinary Workshop, June
1995. Des Moines, Iowa.
• Donham, Kelley. "Community and Environmentally Acceptable Livestock
Production: Defining the Challenge". Presentation at Animal Feeding Operations
and Ground Water Conference, November 1998.
• Schiffman, S.S. 1998. Livestock oders: Implications for human health and wellbeing. Journal of Animal Sciences, 76:1343-1355.
• 7 Holford, Patrick, "How to Protect Yourself From Pollution", 100% Health
Newsletter, No. 16, September 2003.
• Sustainable agriculture
• Urban agriculture
• CSA (community supported agriculture)