A terrific business model

Here’s a note from the website of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)

“The food you consume on a daily basis is the result of extensive food research, a systematic investigation into a variety of foods’ properties and compositions. After the initial stages of research and development comes the mass production of food products using principles of food technology. All of these interrelated fields contribute to the food industry – the largest manufacturing industry in the United States”.

The more I read, the clearer it becomes that the food industry really is part of a complex set of mutually dependent industries, whose distorted world view has controlled not only food production, but a major swath of our cultural life for decades.  It’s not about food, it’s about money.  It’s not about health, it’s about money.  It’s not about improving the daily life (which includes eating, therefore cooking) of people, it’s about money.

Like the old song about “the shin bone’s connected to the ankle bone…”  In the same way that the connection of our bones make movement possible for our bodies, the industries linked to the processed food industry need each other to survive and thrive, financially.  Agribusiness, factory farming of animals, the diet industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the chemical industry, the advertising industry… They exist because of and in support of each other:  using each others by-products and cast offs; they are so deep in each others pockets, it is disheartening to consider.

Which is why I am so grateful to the authors I have cited thus far and their colleagues.  Personally, having the facts helps me manage my discontent.  Here is just a small quote from Michael Pollan’s Cooked:

When wheat is milled, “they scrupulously sheer off the most nutritious parts of the seed – the coat of bran and the embryo, or germ, that it protects – and sell that off, retaining the least nourishing part to feed us. In effect, they’re throwing away the best 25% of the seed:  the vitamins and antioxidants, most of the minerals, and the healthy oils all go to factory farms to feed animals, or to the pharmaceutical industry, which recovers some of the vitamins from the germ and then sells them back to us – to help remedy nutritional deficiencies, created at least in part by white flour.  A terrific business model, perhaps, but terrible biology.”

Terrible, indeed.

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