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The Cost of the Industrial Food System on Health

Touch the Soil News #872 (Feature photo – Cost of Industrial Food Systems on Health – Graphic by Global Alliance for the Future of Food – CCA SA 4.0 International) The Global Alliance for the Future of Food and IPES-Food, recently released a report that attempts to identify the health cost of an unhealthy food system. Estimates of the impact on people’s health around the globe are in trillions of dollars a year. Following are the key findings of the report on what causes global health to falter:   Occupational hazards. Physical and mental health impacts suffered by farmers, agricultural labourers, and other food chain workers as a result of…

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Future of Farming?

Touch the Soil News #403 Farm numbers tell a story. The USDA provides revealing numbers: 80 percent of the farms (1,654,000 farms) have sales of less than $100,000. Considering expenses, their production and income are nominal. 12 percent of the farms (248,000) have sales between $100,000 and $500,000. 8 percent of farms have sales over $500,000. Most of the nation’s agricultural production comes from farms with sales over $500,000. This means the largest portion of the food produced in America is done by only 165,000 farmers and their employees. Back in 1935, the peak year for farms, America had 7 million farms. (See Info Graphic #1 below) The public at…

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The Enormous Pig Factor

Touch the Soil News #241 Population is becoming a popular topic – particularly as relates to food. Sometimes the oddest of events can rock the food chain – and impact the population clinging to it. Recently, low pork prices in China resulted in millions of breeding sows heading to the butcher . From 2014 to 2015, the number of producing pig sows in China dropped by 7.5 million. For perspective, the U.S. sow herd is around 6 million head. Some global food analysts expect pork prices to increase so pork producers step up to the plate and bring on more sows. Global pork production stands at around 112 million tons…

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The Battle to Control What We Think About Food

Touch the Soil News #219 We’ve all heard the expression putting a “Spin” on information or truth. The “spin” essentially means that by turning and twisting information, you can drop the truth and add false ingredients. We were particularly interested in a report that just came out called “Spinning Food.” The upshot of the report is that Industrial food companies create “Front Groups” that look like legitimate enterprises, but are used to put a “Spin” on the story of food. The authors of the report include Kari Hamerschlag, Anna Lappe and Stacy Malkan with support from Friends of the Earth. Cover of the special Spinning Food report (courtesy of Friends…

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Do Consumers Want Meat From Drugged Animals?

Touch the Soil News #217 In a recent Bloomberg Business article, journalist Andrew Martin followed the trail of Jeff Simmons, President of Elanco. Elanco is in the business of creating and selling drugs for animals, some of which have come under attack by food activists and some scientists and regulators. Elanco had sales of $2.3 billion in 2014, which included sales of a drug called Ractopamine – used to speed up muscle growth in meat animals. The drug has been used in raising as many as 80 percent of U.S. hogs. Smithfield foods, which is the world’s largest hog producer has topped using the drug. The drug has been banned…

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