Last year I wrote a story about poison in our poultry, apples being injected with chemicals to prevent browning, and genetically modified salmon affectionately known as “Frankenfish.” News reports also revealed that McDonald’s adds “pink slime” to their burgers and “meat glue,” a chemical binding agent, is being used by meat purveyors to piece together beef scraps to create what looks like premium cuts.
It’s enough to make you sick. Literally.
When did the food industry become so disconnected from nature’s food supply that it would create these abominations—with utter disregard for their ramifications on our own health? Isn’t it bad enough that grocery stores are littered with foods that contain hidden fats, high sodium, and chemical preservatives that require a biochemical PhD just to pronounce them?
Anger into action
I could continue this rant (which so many of you have heard before), but I’d prefer to give props to the First Lady for taking action. On the heels of her “let’s move” campaign from her husband’s first term, First Lady Michelle Obama has set her sights on our food supply to double-down her efforts of combatting America’s obesity epidemic. Specifics of her agenda have not yet been published; in fact, I had to do some digging even to find the lone quote she has given on this subject saying she wants to “impact the nature of food in grocery stores.” The media, understandably, is focused on her husband’s second term agenda rather than hers.
Having been involved in the natural foods industry for more than two decades, I’ve seen it go from a fringe “granola” grassroots effort to a multibillion dollar, monumental movement. I hope we’ll continue to see the power and influence of this growing group of passionate consumers … and I hope it’s not too late.
Open Letter to Michelle Obama
Dear Mrs. Obama,
When you are talking to food manufacturers and regulators, please convey to them the three key demands from the natural foods masses (I’ll take the liberty to speak for all of us):
- Keep it fresh. The further away from the farm in appearance, freshness, flavor, and nutrient content the food gets, the less likely we are to want it.
- Keep it simple. Not only do we want ingredients we can pronounce, we want as few of them as possible. In fact, we really prefer the fruit, vegetable, or spice in its whole form—just the way nature made it.
- Keep it real. Please don’t add sci fi chemicals to our fruit, fish, and other foods. And if you do add anything (yes anything!) to our food, we want complete transparency and full disclosure.
Of course, this is just a start (we know you’re busy). If you’d like to read more about what we’re after, please check out these resources:
• Organic Consumers Association
• Environmental Working Group
In the meantime, even we’ll keep exercising our power with our wallets. Nothing sends a message to suppliers more clearly than loss of revenue. And our voices are already making an impact: I learned from an expert guest on our Five to Thrive Live Internet radio show that there was a 53 percent increase in the number of famer’s markets last year. Clearly, this movement is in motion.
Respectfully submitted by,
Karolyn A. Gazella, coauthor of Five to Thrive and publisher of Natural Medicine Journal