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Monday, September 16, 2013

Is Overconsumption Our Death Knell?

I should probably be posting this on Back to Basics instead of my personal blog, but I have more eyes here and I'd like to get some feedback.

Apparently, the US will now be sending poultry and pork to China for processing. It will then return the finished product to this country.

China must have under-bidded everyone down to the floor.

If the video below is any indication, it appears that China's processing facilities are both spotless and sterile. Yet when I think of all the contaminated dog food, dog treats, and toxic children's toys we get from China, I don't feel very secure about their standards.

It is our ultimate goal to raise our own food on our property. Not everyone has that luxury. And some people don't have the stomach, time, space, or inclination to grow their own food.

Regardless of where you live, how do you feel about another country processing your food even when you grow/raise it locally? Am I missing something here? Is money the only determining factor for not processing our own food?

Warning: Some of the video below is graphic, but this is how commercial meat farming is done. It goes on to show how we over-consume and force these companies to produce more and more, though I think some of the video shot in Costco was misleading. A lot of businesses shop at Costco. It isn't all for private consumption.


36 comments:

Darke Conteur said...

Wow, nothing like taking more jobs away from Americans.

Personally, it's for the exact reasons you mentioned that I WOULD NEVER purchase any food from China, and I don't care how much ice you pack it in, the amount of time it would take for meat to arrive does not constitute fresh.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: I just can't see how it's logistically and economically feasible.

Too many dogs have died from contaminated food products form China. If I can't eat it, neither will my dogs.

PS Thanks for the tweet!

Angela Brown said...

I'm probably a little confused. Will the US government be forcing companies and corporate farmers to send their chickens overseas for processing or is this yet another brokered deal where corporate farmers will get to send the chickens overseas for processing even though there are able-bodied Americans who can do the jobs here?

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: My understanding is that huge corporations are doing this on their own.

The government can't tell them not to do business with another country (unless we have a trade embargo with them).

Mike Keyton said...

Thanks for this, Maria: Common-sense and beggaring belief at the same time. Those who take a Panglossian view of population increase look the other way to the coarsening and degradation that comes with it. We find solutions...of a sort

Brandy said...

I read an article about this the other day. China has big safety issues in their food processing plants, despite what the video shows. If I'm scared for our pets to eat food processed there I am not eating food processed there, either.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: The US is renown for over consumption, but the whole world is guilty of over population which in the end is worse. There are only so many this planet will support.

Maria Zannini said...

Brandy: My sentiments exactly. China has had too many oops.

The only thing that will change the corporations' minds is negative numbers on their financial report.



Jennifer Shirk said...

Um...no. There is NO WAY I want China or any other country touching food we raise. That just seems bizarre to me.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I don't know if it's overconsumption as much as it is over-paid. The livestock is raised and slaughtered in the U.S. It's just being shipped over to China to be processed. The shipping and Chinese labor combined is cheaper than our labor alone!

It's when stuff like that happen, there needs to be more tariffs. Of course, that means higher costs for your meat. I'm willing to pay the price, but are others? I'm guessing the majority would say no.

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: What's worse is that while we have control of shopping for locally grown and raised food, we don't have that option when we eat out. We don't know where those chicken nuggets came from.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: The safest bet is to eat local and eat in season.

Sadly, that mentality is in the minority.

Angela Brown said...

Okay, well, actually no...not okay. I find it rather interesting that corporations located here do a lot of this at all. But it comes down to the almighty dollar bill. It doesn't matter that implementing this will cause more loss of jobs (the number may be low as it would impact the processing portion of the chain of things but it's still more jobs shipped overseas).

As for whether or not overconsumption plays a part, well, I'd say that along with other factors like wanting everything cheaper, faster, now.

Sarah Ahiers said...

crap, i can't watch the video.

I don't even know what to think. I'm surprised, but i think i'm more surprised that i'm surprised, you know?

Jackie Burris said...

Maria when saw this earlier on FB NB link first thought was Ewww NO!

I am not sure how we can truly combat this but hope that the business of meat processing stays here at home, surely the idiots have number crunchers who can provide evidence the cost to ship out then ship back is more than any profit margin.

But hey even that does not seem to stop our corporations in other areas from "outsourcing" so it cannot all be about money that is for sure.

Cannot be about quality product either because you are right about China, their products have gone down hill for more years than I can remember.

Shelley Munro said...

Like you, Maria, I prefer a back to basics approach. The same thing is happening down here in NZ with a lot of our products (others as well as foodstuffs) being produced in China because it's much cheaper. I think that Western countries need to take a good, hard look at the way we're doing business because "we" are driving companies offshore. Bottom line - it's a matter of good business. Go where it's cheaper.

Marlene Dotterer said...

You won't be surprised to know I won't have anything to do with it. As much as possible, for as long as possible, my family will eat food grown/killed/butchered within a hundred miles of where we live. I'm lucky to live where that's possible.

Truly, the things shown in this video is no way to handle our food or these innocent animals.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: It's a fact that big corporations can produce a chicken far cheaper than I can raise. But then I don't have to worry about all the other things they added to that poor animal to make that happen.

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: Nothing should surprise me anymore--but it does. Try going to Youtube if you can't watch it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTIoxqOJAy0

It's an interesting video albeit one-sided.

Maria Zannini said...

Jackie: I don't care how clean the facility looks, the facts speak for themselves. How many dogs have died from consuming one of their products? And now the USDA wants us to trust them with our food? I don't think so.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: I am all for getting things cheaply, but not at the cost of health or safety.

We're so conditioned to getting things at a certain price. If we paid for what things actually cost to raise naturally, most of us would balk, and many couldn't afford it.

Maria Zannini said...

Marlene: I was sick to see that poor mother pig forced to lay in one position so she could feed her litter. I understand why they have bars between them. Little piglets sometimes get crushed, but is it necessary to be so inhumane to the mothers? I've seen stalls that allow the mother movement without crushing her babies.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Eat local and in season is great advice, Maria. It makes each season feel special, too. I couldn't believe walking into the supermarket in winter this year and seeing cherries on sale -- from America! (I'm in Australia, anyone who's not Maria reading this) It just felt wrong. I love anticipating cherry season which arrives just before Christmas.

But I can't get all worked up over this without someone puncturing my hypocrisy bubble. A local-ish fish company catches crabs in West Australian waters, then ships them just north of us to Malaysia for processing. If anyone, anywhere, is willing to crack the shells and pick the meat for me, they have my permission. Actually, they have my gratitude :)

Dru said...

That makes no sense to me to ship our meats to another country for processing. I'm just shaking my head.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

We buy everything local and fresh that we can including meat. I find the idea of the China thing very disturbing.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny:
Re: It makes each season feel special, too.

That's so true. There's nothing like fresh asparagus in the spring, or watermelons in July.

I'm a little spoiled where I live because we have a longer growing season, but I know not to expect certain foods out of season (unless I grow them).

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: Because of the circles I travel in, it's become a major issue, but I'm a little suspicious at how so little has been said in the mainstream media.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: What troubles me the most is that the USDA is sanctioning this.

Mike Keyton said...

Maria, just to skew the perspective a little, this is worth reading too
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/17/health/cdc-report-finds-23000-deaths-a-year-from-antibiotic-resistant-infections.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130917&_r=0

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: On top of the antibiotics we feed animals, we compound the problem in first world nations because we medicate ourselves with antibiotics every time we get a sniffle.

In most cases, the way we build resistance is by letting our bodies create antibodies. The only time you want chemical antibiotics to interfere is if you are too weak to create enough antibodies on your own.

Misha Gericke said...

I can't say if it's our death knell, but I know this: a lot of stuff that we consume a lot of isn't good for us.

The stuff that's not pushed down our throats in advertising tends to be what we should be eating.

Maria Zannini said...

Misha: I used to preach cooking from scratch was the best way to get off that commercial merry-go-round, but that's not true anymore.

The big companies have manipulated our plants and animals down to the cellular level. It's disgusting.

People either turn a blind eye or hope it won't hurt them in the long run.

Jayne said...

So it's sent from America to China and then back again? That's a lot of air miles... Surely the cost of shipping and transport outweighs any money saved. It seems a bit odd to me!

Maria Zannini said...

Jayne: Apparently, Canada is doing it too. Methinks there is something afoot.

raelynbarclay said...

I think I just became a vegetarian.

Not a hardship, LOL, I am practically anyway. But seriously, I'm not feeding the wee beasties food from China, whether raised here or not. Shipping meat overseas for processing makes no sense. And I agree with you Maria, something is afoot.

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: I am starting to read product info a lot more closely now. I feel I can't even trust the government entities that are supposed to protect us.