The Conscientious Omnivore will be on holiday hiatus for a couple weeks starting on Monday. That means that if we’re going to take a look back at 2013, now’s the time!
Fortunately, Tom Philpott of Mother Jones has obliged us with a post that’s right on point, titled “The 5 Biggest Meat Stories of 2013.” As a teaser, here’s one of them:
We’re emerging as the globe’s factory farm.
First, Virginia-headquartered pork giant Smithfield Foods announced it was phasing out ractopamine, a growth-enhancing, stress-inducing drug banned in China, the European Union, and Russia. Then it shocked the world by announcing it had been bought out by Shuanghui International, a Chinese conglomerate. And then several huge beef processors announced they were dropping Zilmax, a ractopamine-like growth enhancer for cows, also banned in big foreign markets. Meanwhile, China’s expanding industrial footprint is rapidly degrading its farmland even as its appetite for meat continues to grow. What do all these data points have in common? They signal a US meat industry increasingly looking to foreign markets for growth as America’s meat appetite wanes. And that means that even as we eat less meat, American communities will have to deal with the consequences of ever-intensifying meat production: water pollution, hollowed-out local economies, “egregious” food safety violations, deplorable working conditions, and an ongoing explosive manure foam problem.
Like this item, the full post is thoughtful and thought-provoking, and Philpott offers plenty of links for further reading. Check out the complete article here.