Once living animals are eliminated and replaced with patented plant-derived alternatives, private companies will effectively control the food supply in its entirety, and those who control the food control the people.
The Defender –
- Industrial agriculture is a key driver of environmental destruction and ill health, yet this destructive cycle is defended in the name of affordable food and the need to feed the masses.
- Industrial agriculture uses 75% of available farmland yet produces just 30% of food consumed globally. Small biodiverse farms use 25% of land and provide 70% of our diet. If the industrial agriculture share continues to rise, it will eventually kill the whole planet and eliminate any possibility of growing food.
- The rise of fake meat is an attempt at recreating the same global control of the food supply that Monsanto and others achieved through patented GMO seed development.
- Once living animals are eliminated and replaced with patented plant-derived alternatives, private companies will effectively control the food supply in its entirety, and those who control the food control the people.
- Testing reveals Impossible Burger contains 11.3 ppb of glyphosate; animal studies show 0.1 ppb of glyphosate can alter the function of more than 4,000 liver and kidney genes and cause organ damage.
For years, I have advocated for an organic diet to optimize your health, avoid common health problems and help regenerate the environment.
Choosing organic foods reduces your exposure to pesticides, herbicides, genetically engineered (GE) foods, synthetic food additives and nano ingredients, many of which do not appear on the food label.
In addition to protecting the environment and rebuilding soil, buying organic also supports animal welfare and promotes the biodiversity of plants and wildlife.
Unfortunately, Americans not only eat a preponderance of processed food, but 57.9% of it is ultra-processed — products at the far end of the “significantly altered” spectrum that have been robustly linked to obesity, ill health and early death in a number of studies.
The developed world in general eats significant amounts of processed food, and disease statistics reveal the ramifications of this trend. Any food that isn’t directly from the vine, ground, bush, body of water or a tree is considered processed.
Depending on the amount of change the food undergoes, processing may be minimal or significant. For instance, frozen fruit is usually minimally processed, while pizza, soda, microwave meals and lab-created meat alternatives fall into the ultra-processed category.
The rise of processed and ultra-processed food as dietary staples also has a largely hidden impact, in that it threatens overall food security.
While edible gardens have become more popular in recent years, few are growing their own food these days, relying instead on processed fare from the grocery store, much of which is made with patented GE ingredients.
Who profits the most from GE food? The patent holders — large, multinational corporations beholden to their shareholders rather than the local community in which the crops are grown, reap the profits.
Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., has been an outspoken critic of the industrial food movement and the GE food takeover, specifically, highlighting the many social and environmental problems a patented food system creates.
Industrialization of food threatens mankind’s survival
In a recent Independent Science News article, Shiva discusses the progressive attempts at industrializing the global food system with more fake foods and fake meats, and the destruction that inevitably follows.
“Food is not a commodity, it is not ‘stuff’ put together mechanically and artificially in labs and factories. Food is life. Food holds the contributions of all beings that make the food web, and it holds the potential of maintaining and regenerating the web of life.
“Food also holds the potential for health and disease, depending on how it was grown and processed … As an ancient Upanishad reminds us ‘Everything is food, everything is something else’s food’ …
“Hippocrates said ‘Let food be thy medicine.’ In Ayurveda, India’s ancient science of life, food is called ‘sarvausadha’ the medicine that cures all disease.
“Industrial food systems have reduced food to a commodity, to ‘stuff’ that can then be constituted in the lab. In the process, both the planet’s health and our health has been nearly destroyed.
“75% of the planetary destruction of soil, water, biodiversity, and 50% of greenhouse gas emissions come from industrial agriculture, which also contributes to 75% of food-related chronic diseases.”
Importantly, the industrialization of agriculture, in which heavy use of chemicals is the norm, denatures soil, destroys its fertility and does not return organic matter back into it. As a result, it degrades land and turns it into desert — the complete opposite of what a healthy system does.
Industrial agriculture also threatens global water supplies, draining aquifers faster than they can refill and contaminating what’s left with toxic chemicals and excess nutrients that drive toxic algae growth, resulting in vast dead zones. Plant and wildlife diversity — especially pollinating insects — are also decimated by chemical monoculture.
When you look at the whole ecological cycle, you can clearly see how industrial agriculture is a key driver of progressive destruction, yet this destructive cycle is defended in the name of affordable food and the need to feed the masses.
While we certainly need to maximize food production in affordable ways, the current system is incredibly short-sighted.
While it may be helpful in the moment, its environmental effects are creating a world in which future generations will be unable to grow food or find potable water.
It may sound like a fear-mongering exaggeration, but we’re really precipitously close to a time in which vast populations will be wiped out, lest we radically and rapidly change course.
It’s important to realize that once topsoil is eradicated, you cannot grow food no matter how many chemicals you add to it.
In 2014, Maria-Helena Semedo, deputy director general of natural resources for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, warned that at the current rate of topsoil degradation, all the world’s topsoil will be gone in less than 60 years.
Today, that means we may have only about 55 years left. Water shortages are also becoming a pressing problem around the world.
Path to zero hunger
As noted by Shiva, “Biodiversity-intensive and poison-free agriculture … produces more nutrition per acre while rejuvenating the planet. It shows the path to ‘Zero Hunger’ …”
She also points out that while industrial agriculture uses 75% of available farmland, it produces just 30% of the food we actually eat.
“Meanwhile, small, biodiverse farms using 25% of the land provide 70% of the food,” she writes. “At this rate, if the share of industrial agriculture and industrial food in our diet is increased to 45%, we will have a dead planet. One with no life and no food.
“The mad rush for Fake Food and Fake Meat, ignorant of the diversity of our foods and food cultures, and the role of biodiversity in maintaining our health, is a recipe for accelerating the destruction of the planet and our health.”
Shiva responds to Impossible Foods’ defense of GMO soy
By now, you’re probably aware of the latest food fad: The Impossible Burger, hailed by many vegans and Silicon Valley investors as the answer to environmental problems blamed on livestock.
Senior manager of impact strategy, Rebekah Moses, recently told FoodNavigator-USA:
“We have done a tremendous amount of diligence and we’re confident that in using GMO soy, we are not taking a step backward in terms of sustainability.”
In her article in Independent Science News, Shiva rebuts the company’s claim, noting that:
“Given the fact that 90% of the monarch butterflies have disappeared due to Roundup Ready Crops, and we are living through what scientists have called an ‘insectageddon,’ using GMO soy is hardly an ‘environmentally responsible option.’”
Shiva also points out the company’s “total ignorance” of the fact that herbicide-resistant superweeds are driving the use of ever greater amounts of more toxic herbicides.
As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2,4-D — linked to cancer and endocrine dysfunction and known for its drift potential — will be doused on millions of additional acres of farmland across the Midwest and South this year.
Attempts to restrict the use of dicamba in Arkansas, which has decimated the non-dicamba-resistant crops over the past couple of years, also failed, with regulators choosing to relax restrictions instead.
Shiva writes in Independent Science News:
“At a time when across the world the movement to ban GMOs and Roundup is growing, promoting GMO soya as ‘fake meat’ is misleading the eater both in terms of the ontology of the burger, and on claims of safety.”
Impossible Burger — a significant source of toxic glyphosate
Indeed, recent testing instigated by Moms Across America reveals the Impossible Burger contains glyphosate — a given, really, considering it’s made with GMO soy, as the herbicide becomes integrated into the whole plant and cannot be washed off.
As reported by Moms Across America on May 16, 2019:
“The total result (glyphosate and it’s break down AMPA) was 11.3 ppb. Moms Across America also tested the Beyond Meat Burger and the results were 1 ppb …
“This new product is being marketed as a solution for ‘healthy’ eating, when in fact 11 ppb of glyphosate herbicide consumption can be highly dangerous. Only 0.1 ppb of glyphosate has been shown to alter the gene function of over 4000 genes in the livers, kidneys and cause severe organ damage in rats.
“The GM ingredients of the Impossible Burger, which includes a genetically modified yeast and GM soy leghemoglobin proteins, 46 of which are undisclosed and untested, are even more concerning to many consumers than the long-term health effects from glyphosate because of the reported immediate allergic reaction potential, which is acknowledged by the manufacturer.”
Moms Across America also points out that while Impossible Foods claims the key ingredient in its fake meat — leghemoglobin soy — “has been consumed for hundreds of thousands of years,” Michael Hansen, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Consumers Union (a Consumers Reports division), has stated, “This is categorically not true.”
In the same article, Living Maxwell goes on to say:
“An email to Impossible Foods asking ‘How could the heme in the Impossible Burger be ‘identical’ to the heme humans have been consuming for hundreds of thousands of years in meat and other foods if you genetically engineer it?’ has yet to be returned.”
What’s more, Living Maxwell points out that while the company told the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that its soy leghemoglobin was “substantially similar” to proteins consumed in meat and other vegetables, Impossible Foods now tells customers (on its website) that this GE heme is “identical” to that found in other foods.