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gluten, dairy, egg & soy free

I’m so happy you are here! I hope to create a place for you to find lots of information about food allergies, as well as, lots of goodies to help you not only eat better, but more affordably! Please feel free to share all of your own tips, tricks, and recipes too! Thank you for stopping by and I hope to see you again very soon! You can read more about my allergy story here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fast Food Nation's Eric Schlosser!

I recently had the opportunity to see Eric Schlosser speak at University of Alaska Fairbanks.  For those of you who do not know who Eric Schlosser is he is the author of the bestselling book, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the America Meal.  He also co-produced the documentary Food, Inc and the acclaimed film There Will Be Blood. As an investigative journalist and author, he has made a name for himself by giving a voice to the voiceless in modern society, addressing such issues as the black market industries of drugs and prostitution, exploitation of vulnerable workers and most recently the U.S. prison system.

After seeing Food, Inc. I thought I was already aware of all the horrors of the food industry. Surprise, I don’t and during his lecture I learned much, much more!  He talked a bit about the environmental movement that started 40 years ago with the first Earth Day. Some of the background and history I found fascinating, as well as some background about the food industry in the same time period. Did you know that in 1970 when the first Earth day was celebrated there were over 1,000 meatpacking plants, currently there are only a handful of plants. Why the change? In two words, FACTORY FARMS. The meat industry has moved these packing plants to be closer to the GIANT factory farms they have created, causing the closing down of most local packing plants. The EPA has said the run off from these giant factory farms pollute our waterways more than all other industrial sources combined!  Some more food for thought, one hamburger you buy at a fast food restaurant can contain meat from 100’s of different cows. Yep that’s right 100’s. I won’t even go into the feces contamination factor in these factory farms that not only show up in the burgers we eat but in our environment and waterways as well.     

During his talk he not only shared some pretty eye opening statistics about the food industry as a whole but also about Alaska and Fairbanks. For example Alaska has the highest obesity rate in the United States!  This fact alone is staggering, considering the population density of Alaska compared to other states! 95% of all food we eat in Alaska is shipped up from the lower 48 through Anchorage. To go a step further if Fairbanks somehow got cut off from the rest of the United States or Anchorage within three days all the fresh produce would be gone from our local grocery stores!

His lecture reiterated, in my mind at least, that this is not only a fight for better health, or better quality of food, but it is also a social fight, a fight for the fair treatment of workers in the United States and internationally. Jobs in the meat packing industry are one of the lowest paying jobs in the United States and according to Human Rights Watch is “the most dangerous factory job in America.” This really made me take a deeper look at where my food is coming from and the consequences of what I eat.

If you haven’t read Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of The American Meal or seen Food, Inc. I highly recommend them both. Everyone needs to be aware of where their food is coming from and what is in their food. If you ever get the chance to go see Eric Schlosser speak in person, do, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed and I am positive you will learn a thing or two about your food you were not aware of.

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