January 6, 2017 Updated May 29, 2018Categories: Marketing & Industry
For people who've been in the alternative health movement for a while, they'll be familiar, to varying degrees, with the corruption that's at the core of our food system.
If you're new to alternative health, it can be a bit daunting, and almost unbelievable, when you hear some of the stories for the first time. Some of them really do sound like something out of a crime novel, where the good guys don't win.
One of the challenges about real life, that's very different than fiction, is that everything doesn't fit into a box. The villains don't fit any stereo types. The motives don't make sense, and in reality, we have no idea what the real motive is. The motives behind many corruptions are not known, and for the tiny amount that has really been exposed, some of them sound so ludicrous, that we end up discarding the entire topic as if it's all a scam.
Hundreds of long books have been written by a variety of people over the years on the corruption in the food industry. These brave souls have put their literal lives on the line to try and expose the corruption.
Hundreds of movies and documentaries have been created to expose the corruption.
But these don't get the exposure they truly deserve. The main stream channels for promoting these exposes won't touch them, won't promote them. Why? There are several reasons. One of them is that many of their regular customers will have direct ties to Big Food. And they threaten the promoters that if they promote some particular book or movie, then they'll pull their business from them, and convince a lot of their other clients to also pull their business. At this point, these promoters are clear on what they can promote, and what they can't. And good, serious exposes of Big Food just aren't on the list.
There have been a few that have had some more popularity, such as Super Size Me. But they are the exception.
The point I'm trying to make is that there are people out there who are trying to expose this. And there's a lot of people who've done this over the years. Don't judge the fact that you don't hear this on the 6 o'clock news as proof that it's not a problem, or not real.
Next time you watch the news, pay attention to what's advertised. That will give you a clue about what will NOT be covered in an expose on the evils of that subject. TV stations make most of their money from advertising, so they will not be exposing their customers in any of their programs, at least not to any big degree.
Another thing that's a bit hard to wrap your head around is the interconnectedness of some major industries. An example is the direct interconnectedness of Big Food, Big Agriculture (Big Ag), and Big Pharma. Most can kind of understand how Big Food and Big Ag is connected. But how in the world is Big Pharma connected? Here's a breakdown.
Big Ag grows the food. Big Ag also makes the fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. But they don't make them alone. They make them in conjunction with Big Chem. And Big Chem has a side branch that is Big Pharma.
You don't need to dig very far to find out all the brands that exist under some big company umbrellas. These companies are proud of their "brands" and list all their sub companies on their websites. Here are some examples:
- General Mills - Brands Overview
- Mondelez International - Brand Family (formerly Kraft Foods)
- Mars - Global Brands
When you browse through these lists, you really get a perspective on how little real choice we have when shopping for food.
These companies make more than just food. You'll see there is cross over from food, to Agricultural chemicals, to Pharmaceuticals:
- Johnson & Johnson - Health Care Products
- BASF - then click "Products" in top menu to see all the different kinds of products they make
- Dow Chemical Company - then click both Markets and Products in the top menu to see the industries and products they're involved in
The connections now a days is no secret, it's right in our face, if we just look. And now you know to look.
We can also easily find the ownership structure of these kinds of companies, as they also show off what they own to showcase their companies for investors. This info can be found on their own websites, in the financial or investor sections. All publicly traded companies are also widely reported about in the Financial News. Some of the larger private companies will also report on a lot of financial information also found in the Financial News.
With a small amount of research, you can easily see these companies are connected, via direct ownership, corporate heads of the companies, international trade deals, cooperating with lobbyists to influence politics, think tanks, charities, etc.
This kind of power and control over the food supply, chemical industry, and pharmaceutical industry creates a very large conflict of interest. How so?
If you make the chemicals used on the farmland for industrial farming, then your farming organization will not ever bother to seriously look into non chemical forms of farming. The farming divisions run on the assumption that the best way to farm is the chemical way.
If you make the chemicals used as food additives in food, then your farming organization does not need to bother to produce food that actually tastes better. Because you are also creating all the flavors and other additives to make poor tasting produce taste better. Your farming organization will focus only on the assumption that quantity is most important, at all times, and cost reduction, at all times. Quality and taste and nutrient density are not a focus, because it does not currently pay to do that.
If you make the pharmaceuticals that are used to "treat" our modern diseases, your farming organization does not need to bother to produce food that makes us healthy, and prevents disease. In fact, it's illegal to make a claim that anything can cure, treat or prevent any disease in the US, unless it meets stringent requirements, that are equivalent to the testing required by pharmaceuticals (see ref #1). Similar conditions exist in other countries as well. The fact that each company would be required to do this, for each product it makes, completely eliminates smaller companies from doing this kind of research. But the big food companies don't need to bother, because they make the pharmaceutical versions, which are far more financially lucrative than the food versions would be. They run on the assumption that virtually all disease is best treated with pharmaceutical drugs. It doesn't really occur to them that food can be powerful medicine.
When you can see this interconnectedness, it should give you pause to realize the messages we get in the advertisements are not really matching with the reality of the actual business of these companies. The advertisements are just pretty pictures, and actors, and marketing.
Take some time to watch some of the good exposes on the corruption of these kinds of companies. If the details of some of the material in some of these is daunting, and feels like too much detail to handle, try not to stress about it. We're here to help you navigate the corrupt food system, and help you find ways to avoid these kinds of products.
Believe it or not, you do not need to understand the dangers of every single ingredient. I tried doing that when I started on my path to alternative health, and spent years trying to learn the basics of what was good and what was not. But I truly could not keep up. More ingredients were introduced each year than I could learn about. And existing ingredients would change their names, and I'd spend a ton of time researching before I figured that out.
What I ultimately came to learn is that the number of highly manufactured ingredients that were actually safe was extremely small. Probably less than 20, out the approximately 10,000 or so ingredients added to food. In reality, it's easier to learn the few that are ok, and learn how to find and use real food. Almost anything you like to eat can be made out of real food. Some things may not be exactly the same, but they'll have the feel, and texture that you're used to. You can work on trying new things, and you'll find new favorites.
One good take away from watching a few of the food expose movies is to try and disconnect your emotional attachment to the brands of food you like, and are used to. I know eating is very emotional, and I'm not suggesting you remove that part, I'm just saying that you should try and disconnect from the BRANDS. Because, if you watch some of these shows, you will hear things that really might tick you off, and make you think they're not true. But that will often be because they've uncovered YOUR favorite cookie, or cake or ice cream, or vegetable, or vitamin or whatever.
I have watched a LOT of these over the years, and at one point I felt like there was nothing left to eat. Everything was bad. Every manufacturer was corrupt. What I've now come to realize, is that they pretty much all are; at least the large companies. But then I also realized that there's a ton of food out there that is not really a brand. The difference might be that I'd actually have to cook food, and not just reheat it. Or I'd have to find the very small food producers, such as a tiny company making a couple products in their own home, and selling them at a farmers market. When you start to do more of this, if you talk with your friends about it, you'll even find other friends who you can share items you make with. That opens up a whole new world of tastes you may never have had before.
So, go find 2 or 3 of the movies that uncover some Big Food corruption. Take some notes, and tell us what you find, and what you thought.
If you're interested in digging into more ways of to look at food differently, be sure to check out our Kick It Up section.
And be sure to EAT something fresh!
Citations - References - Resources
- #1 - US FDA - Label Claims for Conventional Foods and Dietary Supplements
Date site reaccessed and information gathered and confirmed - September 14, 2018 (First accessed - December 28, 2016)
- #1 - US FDA - Label Claims for Conventional Foods and Dietary Supplements