Green Tip of the Month: Reading Behind the Label
A rise in demand for consumer convenience and low-priced foods has plowed the way for the destruction of small, local American farms and for the dominance of technologically-based agricultural corporations. With efficiency and profit being the main focuses of food industries, nutritional value and integrity of production are often compromised to meet the needs of consumers. The collective desire for convenience has fueled the development of controversial practices, such as genetically-modified crops or GMO’s, an organism that has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Documentaries, such as “Supersize Me” and “Food Inc”, and increased media exposure have raised more questions about how American food is processed and where it comes from.
According to “Food Inc.,” an average grocery store has about 47,000 products for sale. Colorful packaging and misleading advertising creates the illusion that consumers have the power to choose a variety of selections. There are no seasons in the American supermarket. Now, there are tomatoes all year round, grown halfway around the world, picked when they are green, and ripened with ethylene gas. Even more, it’s the idea of a tomato, as most of our food is clever rearrangements of corn. Regulation is a serious issue with The Food & Drug Administration, a federal government agency which regulates food safety. There are claims that the FDA is being controlled by the very companies that they are supposed to be scrutinizing.
TIPS FOR SMART AND HEALTHY GROCERY SHOPPING
- Shop local farmers market 1x per week
- Shop the outer isles at grocery store – that means load up on fresh fruits and veggies
- if you can’t pronounce the ingredients on a food label, it’s probably not good for you