Saturday, February 5, 2011

Where’s the Beef?

Somewhere in the country a scientist is growing meat in a laboratory. No, this is not the opening line to a popular science fiction novel. Vladimir Mironov, a scientist at the Medical University of South Carolina, has been working for about a decade to grow meat artificially.

First off, I’m a vegetarian, so I don’t have a problem with this at all. Mironov wanted to solve world hunger in an energy efficient way that didn't involve harm to any animals. Other non-vegetarians on the other hand, are disgusted at the idea that their meat has went from the Petri dish to their plates.

The thing about the non-vegetarian’s opinion is that they shouldn’t be disgusted with artificially grown meat because of all the unnatural and genetically modified foods that the majority of them already consume.

This idea of artificially growing meat seems a little weird at first, but after thinking about it, I’m not really surprised that it has come to this. To put it simply, the majority of people in America do not care what they eat as long as it’s cheap and it tastes good. Why else would people deliberately munch on fast food despite all of the constant warnings from nutritionists and the FDA not to?

Genetically modified food isn’t a new concept. The majority of the population eats genetically altered food already. Typically, soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil have been genetically modified since the early 1990’s. So eating genetically modified meat wouldn’t be such a big deal, right?

Various organizations such as “Climate Crisis,” “Hungry For Change,” and “Take Part” have tried to inform the public through different films, websites, books, and even A-List celebrities for years about the side of the food industry that everyone knows about but doesn’t really want to hear.

Different organizations have warned people for years about the negative effects that genetically modified and fast food had on their bodies, but the majority of the population doesn’t want to hear it.

Films like, “Fast Food Nation,” “Super Size Me,” “Food Inc.,” and “Our Daily Bread” have been shown to people of all ages, races and creeds across the country, and McDonalds still serves 47 million customers every day around the world. They have more than 32,000 restaurants in 117 countries. In the United States, there are more than 14,000 restaurants according to their website.

The majority of the American population doesn’t bother to care what they are eating or if it bad for them. People are not waiting in the drive thru at Taco Bell for high quality food. They eat fast food because it’s cheap and it’s quick. They rather risk their health for convenience.

Recently a lawsuit involving Taco Bell and its "taco meat filling," which is how the lawsuit says Taco Bell should advertise its “seasoned beef,” alleges that the product contains mostly substances other than beef.

The “other than beef” part of that statement is what has me wondering what’s actually in it, but sales of Yum Brands, the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell fast-food chains, are still growing and lines at Taco Bell haven’t diminished since the claims.

"Obviously you know it's not 100% organic food," said Taco Bell customer Bethany Weis, 23, of Chicago in an article printed in the L.A. Times. "I know it's not good for me. I still like it."

If people were really opposed to the idea of artificially grown food more people would protest it, buy locally grown organic food at their farmer’s market, question where they are actually getting their food sources from, and actually read the labels on the back of their food products. It really isn’t difficult to do, but the majority of the popularity doesn’t want to put in the small bit of extra effort. They rather sit back, learn all about the problem, and then do nothing about it.

Would you?

Watch the Food Inc. trailer here.

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

1 comment:

  1. Great issue. This is something that everyone should think about.


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