America’s Food System Versus The World


(Image via Business Insider)

Ella Largent, Writer

This country has so many opportunities to do good.  We have done so many amazing social step stones for our country as a whole by coming together and doing great things, like giving equal rights to African Americans so they finally have the rights that every human deserves.  There is one battle though that has to be recognized soon or we will destroy ourselves and our planet, and that’s what I am writing about, the American food system.

When someone makes the resolution to eat healthy and commit to a good exercise we try really hard the first week, but after a while we notice that the healthy foods are more expensive than what we would normally eat which was processed food basically putting us as Americans in a rough spot of trying to eat healthy, and not even being able to afford it.  However in Europe, the produce like fruits, meats, and vegetables are cheaper than processed food, some processed foods aren’t even found in the local market there, therefore promoting and giving the Europeans a chance to eat healthy.  Along with the cheaper prices in Europe, they also don’t have the need to put stickers on their fruits and veggies, because they are freshly harvested. Chemicals that the US puts in their fruits and veggies Europe actually bans because they understand that you can’t always trust the companies to put safe additives into their foods.

Now shopping for dairy is even more intriguing when using comparisons.  In America, cheese has added hormones that can cause inflammation of the body, acne and other problems, the most common added hormone being rBST or rBGH that boosts a cow’s milk production. That doesn’t sound that bad, but cows that are injected with these hormones end up getting higher risks of diseases, like a 50% more chance of getting Lameness, which causes the cow to walk differently because of disease growth in their limbs.  This can also cause a 25% more risk of getting udder infections also called mastitis, and a serious chance of damaging the animals reproductive system leading to fatal loss at birth, infertility, and other defects. Knowing that we put this in animals just so we can get more milk from them is really very shameful.  In Europe, they have banned added hormones from dairy products because knowing all this is enough to ban it. However, in America, we still use added hormones in almost all of our dairy products making it impossible almost to find a dairy product without it.

Our practices of how we get meat to sell in local markets is also fairly inhumane and absurd.  A very small percent of meat comes from healthy practices like grass-feeding cows, giving cows a pen to free-roam, and not color treating the meat.  Instead, there are ranches like one in the center of California where cows stand close together not given room and have to stand in their own dung, which in some cases causes cancerous puss in their face.  This is absolutely inhumane treatment of these cows, and disgusting to think we get our meat from ranches like this. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any ranches that actually grass-feed their cows, and give them free-roaming space, you just have to read your labels and do the proper research.  In Europe meat is sold fresh, local and the meat isn’t tainted with spray on chemicals and preservatives because the food is (my apologies for animal lovers) freshly killed and the animals were actually well taken care of.  The serving sizes are smaller too meaning that its healthier and still tastes delicious. 

Thus far, by comparing most of our food products to other countries we have found that our food products are more expensive than they should be, and many of our beloved foods have added hormones, chemicals, and persertitives because our produce isn’t fresh. In addition processed foods are way cheaper, basically forcing Americans to have to eat more processed foods feeding into our obesity problem. Then we wonder why 60% of Americans are obese and we are the top leading country with obesity leading to a higher risk to have a chronic illness, cancer, autism, food allergies, and diabetes than any other country mainly because of how we handle our foods. 

It’s time that America’s Government actually tries and protects their citizens by making the FDA require any premarket safety testing of genetically engineered foods instead of waiting for the food companies to prove their own guilt, because it isn’t working.  The EU and other countries have set so many requirements, health safety rules for their worldwide food production that food companies make healthy products specifically for them. If you look at a Quakers oats nutrition label and compare it to one in the UK you’ll find theirs is healthier because of the regulations they put up.  America basically gets unknowingly thrown around like trash because we aren’t standing up for our health.