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fanuzzir
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Contemporary relevance: The Food Industry

The Jungle is a novel for today: the organic movement, the E coli impurities, the "food miles," the agribusiness, and fast food nation are all part of our national consciousness, as we encounter the industrial nature of food production. What, if anything, has changed since Sinclair wrote his novel? Foodies and other nutrition minded people weigh in, please.
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Choisya
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Re: Contemporary relevance: The Food Industry

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Message Edited by Choisya on 01-22-200707:00 PM

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vivico1
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Re: Contemporary relevance: The Food Industry

I think there have been changes since Sinclairs time.Scientific advancements,health advancements, industrial advancements have come a long way in improving the safety of our foods BUT,as in Sinclair's time, too many of these have been as a response to health tragedies gone public and not before they became an issue. Yes, just as the fresh vegetable deaths and scares just this past year, NOW with all the publicity and warnings, government is going to "readdress" the issues. Its like the Ford Pinto cars, remember? The bean counters for Ford said, yes there is a rear-end collision problem that can cause explosions and fires but the cost to recall and correct this problem, would be more than the cost to settle the death cases that might arise. That's the bean counters jobs! Hard to imagine but its there. But when things are made public and the public responds, for example, not buying Pintos, not buying ANY spinach or leafy vegetables and thus hurting the industries, then things begin to happen. So Sinclair was right in what he said and what he was trying to do,make the public an informed public,so things can happen, these obsurdities addressed. His book did a lot for that then. We still need those things now because big business will always go by what the bean counters say till it proves too costly. One brief note on fast foods too, if you ever saw what goes on behind the counters, but this is true in restaurants too, most of us would just eat at home! Gardening anyone??? :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Choisya
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Re: Contemporary relevance: The Food Industry

[ Edited ]

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-22-200706:59 PM

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BenKitchen
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Re: Contemporary relevance: The Food Industry

Food is some what better today. The chemicals in the food are actualy worse in some ways, look how many young people have gerd and stomach trouble. I am 26 and I have major stomach problems as does my girlfriend and she is only 20. I know many people younger then us with stomach problems.

ORANIC FOOD

Organic food only means they dont use fertilizers that make the food less unhealthy. They still use pesticides and chemicals, but not quite as much. There is no escapeing it and I don't have time or space to grow my own food.
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fanuzzir
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Re: Contemporary relevance: The Food Industry

Everyone, I think the issue cuts both ways. Yes, despite the best efforts of the Bush people, the Food and Drug administration is far better equipped to stop food contamination, and there are better controls on adulteration than Sinclair could have ever imagined. On the other hand, he was also writing about the industrialization of food, the assembly line production of food that puts a package in front of us rather than a plant or a carcass; all the intervening steps are conveniently hidden from us. I marvel at the ways that major corporations are making consumers feel informed about the origin of their food by listing "natural" ingredients when the industrial/marketing process is so tremendous that little old us will never master it. The countervailing movement is to measure "food miles"--distance between the origin of your food and the consumption of your food, and try to shorten them, of course. But if you are like me, most of us are dependent on the good will, and the strong laws of a regulated industry, not a local farmer.
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Choisya
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Re: Contemporary relevance: The Food Industry

[ Edited ]

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-22-200706:49 PM

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Mandastoo
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Re: Contemporary relevance: The Food Industry

I'm only six chapters in, but from what I have read, it feels as if there have only been changes on the surface as far as the quality of our food. I'm from the Mid-west of the United States and have done some work on a farm. I wonder how many people would smoke if they knew the farmers dog regularly went to the bathroom on the tobacco leaves as we stripped them off the stalks? Can you really wash that off?

Two other books come to mind that would make nice companion, or follow up reads on this novel. Both are by Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness. FFN has sections on among other things, the meat packing industry of today, the immigrants (illegal and not) that are paid next to nothing, have horrible and unsanitary working conditions, and the sadly under-funded attempts of the government to regulate the industry. The book made me seriously consider becoming a vegetarian. RF has a section on illegal migrant workers and their working conditions picking produce in different parts of the country.

It may not be a pretty part of our society, but there is always work that some people are not willing to do, and there will always be people hungry enough to do anything, or to ignore anything, to feed their family.
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Choisya
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Re: Contemporary relevance:

[ Edited ]

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-22-200706:49 PM

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chadadanielleKR
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Re: Contemporary relevance: The Food Industry in Europe



Choisya wrote:
In Europe Organic farmers are not allowed to use chemicals or pesticides and their soil is regularly tested for traces of it. If adulteration is found, they will lose their licence to label their food Organic. There is a growing movement in the UK towards buying Organic food and far more 'farmers' markets' than before but of course only the middle class can afford the higher prices. Danielle might be able to give us a take on the situation in France. At least people are now aware of the problems and it was people like Sinclair who first drew attention to it.




BenKitchen wrote:
Food is some what better today. The chemicals in the food are actually worse in some ways, look how many young people have gerd and stomach trouble. I am 26 and I have major stomach problems as does my girlfriend and she is only 20. I know many people younger then us with stomach problems.

ORANIC FOOD

Organic food only means they dont use fertilizers that make the food less unhealthy. They still use pesticides and chemicals, but not quite as much. There is no escapeing it and I don't have time or space to grow my own food.





It is about the same in France as in England. Organic food is rather trendy but being a vegetarian is not (I have never met a French vegetarian!). Actually many farmers try to promote their local produce, like walnuts from Grenoble or chicken from Bresse or salt from Gerande and they claim that its taste and its quality is the best, but it might not necessarily be organic food. In Europe, as far as I know, the Germans are the one who are very concerned by the quality of their Food. Organic food is very popular over there.
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Choisya
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Re: Contemporary relevance: The Food Industry

I see that the group reading Fast Food Nation are discussing the meat packing industry and its relevance to The Jungle.




fanuzzir wrote:
The Jungle is a novel for today: the organic movement, the E coli impurities, the "food miles," the agribusiness, and fast food nation are all part of our national consciousness, as we encounter the industrial nature of food production. What, if anything, has changed since Sinclair wrote his novel? Foodies and other nutrition minded people weigh in, please.


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vivico1
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Re: Contemporary relevance: The Food Industry

Might be something to check out, if the number of people in the discussions in here doesnt pick up huh? Mnn, when I took Emily Dickenson or the Forensic Course before, everyone was talking. You had new and different posts every hour from day one.

Choisya wrote:
I see that the group reading Fast Food Nation are discussing the meat packing industry and its relevance to The Jungle.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vaishalij
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Re: Contemporary relevance: The Food Industry

Hi Choisya,

Thanks for sharing this website with all of us. I was suprised and shocked to read some of the stuff mentioned on this website.

VJ
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fanuzzir
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Re: Contemporary relevance: The Food Industry



vivico1 wrote:
Might be something to check out, if the number of people in the discussions in here doesnt pick up huh? Mnn, when I took Emily Dickenson or the Forensic Course before, everyone was talking. You had new and different posts every hour from day one.

Choisya wrote:
I see that the group reading Fast Food Nation are discussing the meat packing industry and its relevance to The Jungle.




Viv, you give me an idea. We should definitely be combining or at least comparing these discussions of such closely related topics. There's got to be a way. I'll check into it.
Bob
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MacNCheese
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Re: Contemporary relevance: The Food Industry

I cant speak for alot of the food practices, but I do come from the salad bowl capital of the U.S., where my husband actually works for one of the salad companies. For what my husband has told me about his company and how picky they are, I honestly didnt even think about ag while reading this book. For me I saw the Ecoli scare as life. Nothing is and ever will be perfect. Things will happen and unfortunately that is what happened in this situation. The field was too close to a pig farm, who knew? Now maybe they did and deliberately harvested there anyways (I havent researched the anything), then yes the Jungle applies to this. As far as what I know for my husbands company they go to great lengths to have and sell quality products. I know because my husband deals with all this first hand. So fear not, they aren't all bad. As far as what one reader said about stomach problems...I had bad ones in the Army, why? stress. I dont know what country you come from but the one I live in or should I say the state I am LIVES on stress. If we arent stressed we arent productive. Do you know how many people I have talked to from other states and countries that do not understand the U.S. and there love for work. I spoke to people from the former Yugoslavia that get a paid month of Christmas Vaca. Where I live...youre lucky to get the day off! People are HUGELY taken advantage of all the time, we live in a hugely money hungry country (I know there are people from other countries so I cant speak for you). And it seems we have had to learn the hard way over and over again to stop stepping on those beneath us to make a buck, but ironically we keep doing it to different groups of people and in different areas of life, we tend to learn the hard way because there are so many corners to cut.
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fanuzzir
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Good corporate practices!



MacNCheese wrote:
I cant speak for alot of the food practices, but I do come from the salad bowl capital of the U.S., where my husband actually works for one of the salad companies. For what my husband has told me about his company and how picky they are, I honestly didnt even think about ag while reading this book. For me I saw the Ecoli scare as life. Nothing is and ever will be perfect. Things will happen and unfortunately that is what happened in this situation. The field was too close to a pig farm, who knew? Now maybe they did and deliberately harvested there anyways (I havent researched the anything), then yes the Jungle applies to this. As far as what I know for my husbands company they go to great lengths to have and sell quality products. I know because my husband deals with all this first hand. So fear not, they aren't all bad. .




I am very happy to hear your account! Obviously, agribusiness has a real interest in making sure each step of the food supply chain is effecient and safe. I'm still amazed at the growth of the salad industry by the way. Five years ago, people paid 1.00 for a head of lettuce. Now they pay 5.00 for 1/4 amount of the greens.
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