Do you know where your food comes from?
Our obsession with food appears to be growing. This year nearly four million people watched two men vie for the position of TV’s Master Chef. Children are tuning in to the culinary arts as never before. We are all becoming so much more sophisticated in our food tastes since the old days when meat and three veg. was the order of the day.
Do you know what you are eating?
Yet, when we sit down to our evening meal, how many of us know where our food comes from, and what the chicken, pig or cow had to endure before ending up on the dinner table? It is possible that the chicken or cow or pig we eat was raised in the cramped and inhumane conditions of a battery farm or a feedlot,and was fed with an inappropriate diet laced with antibiotics, with unfortunate outcomes for them, and ultimately for us. This is the consequence of a food industry that has often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihoods of farmers, the safety of workers and our own environment.
We now have bigger breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, tomatoes that won’t squash and can be transported around the world, but we also have new strains of E.coli-the harmful bacteria that causes illness and is the result of animals raised in overcrowded conditions on food which is not their natural diet. Eating food produced in these conditions contributes to gastric illness, obesity and the alarming increase in diabetes in the consuming population.
To make sure your food choices are informed, healthy, environmentally supportive and ethical:
- Be discerning about the meat you eat. Enquire about where it came from. Is it free range or was it battery farmed? The RSPCA has extensive information about ethical meat production on their website.
- Free range meat will be more expensive, but it will be healthier, and there will be less animal suffering in its production. To compensate for the extra expense, reduce you meat intake.
- Buy local produce at the farmers’ markets. Talk to the farmers about food production. Insist on organic, pesticide free fruit, vegetables and free range meat and poultry. Bathurst Farmers’ Market is on this weekend at Bathurst Showground.
Bathurst Wholefood Cooperative in the Macquarie Plaza next to the Coles Arcade sells a wide range of organic and locally grown food. The Coop is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday or check online to order a box of nutritious, healthy, reasonably priced and local produce.
Nick King is a member of Ecologically Concerned Citizens of Orange.
PIC CAPTION: ROSS MACINDOE, LOCAL FOOD PRODUCER & BCCAN MEMBER