Should you be wondering where “One Small Change” went, it is crazy hectic at work the last few days. It’s not a lot better at home. To make matters worse, I have run out of gigabytes of data on my data plan (I blog using my MacBook Pro and my iPhone hotspot) so I have to ration my work computer time severely. This leaves me only trying to blog from home, where I have a million other things that need done, instead of entertaining you, Dear Reader.
As luck would have it, at the same time that I have next to no time to write about things I read online, there is reams of good stuff to write about online. Grrrr.
There is the school that took an elementary schooler’s Oreo cookie snack away, that she had brought from home. Her mother, the freedom loving woman that she is, got the story on the nightly news in Aurora, Colorado. Here is a link.
I commend the mother for packing a lunch for her child, or children, as the case may be. Most of the school lunches these days are full of processed foods. They are ‘low fat’ and will be high in carbohydrates to make up for that fact. It is reported that kids don’t like the lunches at school. This is much the same as it ever was, but the difference is that now the lunches are produced in many school districts by vendors, for profit. Profit is a problem when it comes to feeding children. Nutrition is not inexpensive. Nutrition is not quick, and nutrition does not store well on the shelf. All of these disadvantages of nutritious food are reasons that our kids don’t get nutritious food at school.
Admittedly the inclusion of the four-cookie snack would probably allow this kid to eat desert first, and eat lunch if there is room after cookies. It is what I would have done. Taking the snack away was probably the right thing to do, but not giving it back was a little bit draconian. We will never know how this turned out, but the issue of nutrition is not really being debated, at least not in this story.
The biggest story in the last few days though, is this one:
This really means that the ‘Market’ is winning. You or I didn’t even know that they were feeding antibiotics to our food animals a few years ago. The only reason it is done, feeding sub-therapeutic quantities of antibiotics to our food animals, is that for some mysterious reason they grow fat on less food when you do. The statistics vary, but it wouldn’t have to be a big effect for it to be worth doing for the food industry. In a world where profit is king, finding something cheap like antibiotics that can save you even ten percent of the total food bill looks like it has no downside at all.
But, it does have a down side. Antibiotics you feed to a food animal do not disappear when they are slaughtered. When you eat antibiotic laden meats, you too are getting a sub-therapeutic dose of antibiotics. The mysterious reason that the animal grew faster and fatter on less food would work it’s same magical spell on you. You would get fatter on less food. The microbes in your guts would be modified by eating meat that contains trace amounts of antibiotics. Recently the down side side effects of feeding antibiotics to our food animals have come to light. It is one thing when McDonalds says it will stop buying these kinds of meats, and it is an entirely different thing when a producer says they will quit making them.
Tyson Foods, which announced Tuesday that it will phase out antibiotics used in human medicine from its poultry supply by 2017, is quintessential Big Food. An estimated 1 in 5 chickens sold in the United States come from Tyson; with $11 billion in annual poultry sales, it supplies the chicken found in McDonald’s chicken nuggets, among other things. But Tyson’s announcement is a far more impactful one for the food industry at large, both because of its sheer size and the scientific support for such a move.
The big, profitable food producers stopping a practice makes it easier for smaller producers to compete economically. Now it’s not so hard for your local farmer to sell his chicken, because the lowest cost chicken is more expensive. It makes it easier to do the right thing. I will have one less reason to not eat industrial meat, but there are plenty of reasons left to me.