From marketing tricks to shady practices, the food industry has a lot of secrets. But they just want you to think about their yummy products, nothing else. Well, it’s important to know about the things you eat. Whether you love eating meat, or choose not to, isn’t really the question. Here are some crucial food industry secrets you should know.
Number 10: A LOT of Antibiotics Go into Meat
Did you know that 80% of the antibiotics produced in the world are fed to animals? Most of them don’t actually go to human beings! That’s what a study in 2011 revealed.
Now, you might think that’s not all that bad. It probably makes your meat safe and healthy, right? Well, unfortunately, that’s not the full story.
The actual reason is that antibiotics help generate rapid growth artificially, which makes sure that the livestock is as big as they can be.
Unfortunately, this can have harmful consequences for the world. That’s because the overuse of antibiotics is really dangerous. It can help the rise of super bacteria, which are resistant to antibiotics. And that’s not good for anyone, cattle or people.
Number 9: Food Companies Are Hiding Sugar
Nowadays, it’s pretty much common knowledge that you should avoid sugar as much as possible. It’s bad for your teeth, it contains no essential nutrients, it can help you develop diabetes and all sort of other problems.
If you want to live a healthy life, you know it’s all about consuming it in moderation. To put it in perspective, we actually eat in just 8 days the same amount of sugar people from the 1700s ate over an entire year. Surely that’s not a good thing.
Well, food companies don’t want you to stop buying their products because they have too much sugar. So, they devised a sneaky little solution. Some companies hide the true amount of sugar inside of a product by mixing up different ingredients. How so?
Well, Here are some of the label names you’ll see used instead of sugar: high-fructose corn syrup, cane crystals, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, agave nectar or fruit juice concentrate. All of these are basically sugar, just with different names.
This way, companies make sure that sugar doesn’t appear at the top of the ingredients list on the back of the box. So, most people don’t actually realize how much actual sugar they’re consuming.
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Next time you’re in the supermarket, try checking the ingredients list and see how many of these you can spot in the wild!
Number Eight: Monsanto’s Secrets
Of all the food corporations out there, Monsanto sometimes feels like they’re gunning for the title of “the worst.” The list of things they probably wish to keep hidden is pretty extensive.
Monsanto was one of the first companies to genetically modify a plant cell, in 1983. It started producing genetically modified crops that were resistant to their own herbicide, called Round-Up.
These seeds were marketed as a safer and healthier alternative to other competitors. With that, Monsanto took over the market. Most farmers now use Monsanto’s products. The seeds that they sell, however, contain a Monsanto-owned patent in their genes. So, only Monsanto can say who gets to plant their seeds or who doesn’t.
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Not all farmers went with these new crops, however. Some decided to stay with their old seeds. There’s one problem, though. Monsanto has actually sued many farmers, accusing them of having used their GMO-seeds without permission.
In virtually all the cases, however, those farmers didn’t use the seeds willingly. Unwanted seeds actually flew into their crops, from neighbors farms who used Monsanto’s seeds. Worst of all, these seeds would actually destroy the organic farmer’s crop. So, many farmers had their crops destroyed and then were driven to bankruptcy by having to defend themselves in court.
That’s not all! Another little secret Monsanto wants to keep hidden? They aren’t a big fan of bees. Because these genetically modified crops have been created to self-pollinate, they don’t need bees to do that for them. In fact, many speculate that bees are actually getting in the company’s way because they’re a way to break their monopoly by naturally creating foods outside of the company’s patent.
However, when bees try to pollinate a GM flower or plant, it gets poisoned and dies, mostly because of Monsanto’s pesticide ’roundup’ which is used in conjunction with their GM crops.
Monsanto, of course, denies all this. But, with their track record, can you really believe them?
Number Seven: Your Shrimps Are Dirty, in a lot of ways.
Did you know that most of the shrimps sold worldwide are imported from countries like Thailand or Indonesia? They’re grown in a type of “farm”, which are actually crowded and filthy pools, full of antibiotics, disinfectants, and pesticides. Most pesticides used, in fact, are actually banned in places like the US. These pools are so dense and dirty that many shrimps actually die in it.
Not only that, many prawn farms slice open and cut off the eyes of female shrimps to make them breed faster as it causes them to develop mature ovaries. This practice, called ‘eyestalk ablation’ happens in almost all prawn hatcheries around the world.
It has been reported that the eyestalks fully regenerate after a few months, but scientists agree that this they do show traumatized reactions when this treatment is performed.
That’s not all the problems with shrimp farms, however. This type of farmed shrimp also causes harm to the environment. Plus, many of these productions actually use slave labor. Next time you’re feeling hungry for some shrimp, maybe first check where it comes from.
Number 6: Many Cheese Products aren’t Cheese
Who doesn’t love cheese? It’s delicious and it goes on pretty much everything. But, if you look closely, the cheese you’re eating might not actually be cheese. It’s all on the label. If a product is labeled as a “cheese product,” that’s because it isn’t real cheese.
Large-scale dairy producers actually replace milk with processed milk concentrate or whey protein concentrate in many of their products. Why? To save money, of course. However, as a result, you can’t actually call the end product “cheese.” Hence the term “cheese product.” Some examples of “cheese products” include: processed sliced cheese, cheese sticks and some shredded cheese brands.
That doesn’t happen just with cheese, though. While many products claim to be one thing on the front of their boxes, that’s often just a marketing name. The legal name usually appears in smaller print, somewhere else on the box. If you want to always be sure of what you’re eating, always read the back of the box.
Number 5: Pregnant Pigs are Confined to Tiny Crates
Pregnant pigs don’t get preferential treatment, unfortunately. Millions and millions of pregnant pigs are actually kept in very small cages, usually called “gestation crates.”
These crates are so small that the pigs can’t even turn around. They also have slatted concrete floors. Why is that, you ask? So that all the waste that the pigs eject just slides down to pits that are underneath them. They spend four months inside these crates, their full pregnancy. At the end of it, these pigs usually suffer from ulcers, abscesses and sores.
It’s such harsh living conditions that many countries have actually banned this practice, like the UK and Sweden.
Number 4: They’re Selling You Fake Fiber
Nowadays, many doctors and experts extol the virtues of including fiber in your diet. They say it’s great for your digestive system and overall health. But really, food companies just saw an opportunity to make people buy more products by jumping on the fiber bandwagon.
Some basically skipped the whole “actually putting fiber in their products” thing. In many cases, the products that are labeled as “high in fiber” are actually misleading you. Those products are filled with fake fiber-synthetic products.
You can technically, and more importantly, legally call them fiber. But they are far from the fiber that will make you healthier. Quite the contrary, this fake fiber can cause bloating, gas and general gastrointestinal distress.
Once again, it’s always important to watch out for shoddy marketing while in the supermarket.
Number 3: Cows are Now Fed Corn
And that’s not a good thing. It’s entirely unnatural for cows to eat corn. They have evolved over thousands of years on a diet that consisted of eating grass. The process of digesting corn is unnatural to them. If not done correctly, it can kill the animal. Especially, if they aren’t being fed a lot of antibiotics along with the corn.
That’s not all of it, though. There’s a whole “e.coli problem” associated with this. For those who don’t remember, e.coli is a bacteria that can, in some cases, be deadly. Well, cows actually produce a lot more of e.coli in their gut when they’re fed corn. This poses a huge risk in terms of contamination of the meat we eat.
How do they handle this problem, you ask? To combat this, they often treat beef with ammonia, to try and kill the bacteria.
Yes, the same ammonia that can be found in floor cleaners. It might be in your ground beef. It can also comprise up to 15% of fast-food burgers. And it’s all completely legal!
On top of all of this, there’s still something to be said for the treatment of cows, who don’t live a very great life before going to the slaughterhouse. They live in stressful conditions, produce way more milk than they naturally would in the wild and some are even saddled with heavy chains for their entire lives. Overall, it seems that cows have a pretty rough life.
Number 2: Male Chicks are Ground up Alive
Companies in the egg industry don’t have a use for male chicks. After all, they can’t lay eggs. They aren’t used for reproduction, plus, they can’t be bred for meat, for example, because egg-laying chickens are different from the type used for meat. That’s why, as soon as they hatch, male chicks are sent directly into the grinder.
Another shameful little secret from the poultry industry is that the label “free range” doesn’t really mean much when applied to chickens. When we talk about “free-range,” most people might picture happy chickens roaming around beautiful green pastures, living freely. That’s only really accurate for organic chickens, but they only equate to around 3% of all produced.
In reality, so-called “free-range chickens” are still raised in giant, overcrowded sheds. Free-range chickens get access to the outdoors, but since there are no limits on flock size, many are still so cramped together they can’t even spread their wings. They also live in filthy conditions, with manure-laden flooring that’s only cleaned every 2 or 4 years.
Number 1: Chickens Have Really Changed
We’ve actually been shaping the way chickens grow and look like for quite some time. This is so companies can make as much meat, and hence profit, as possible.
Intensive breeding turned these animals into what we could call “super breeds,” made to grow faster and produce more meat. We selectively bred them to accentuate preferable traits. For example, most people like white meat. So chicken breasts increased significantly over the years. The breasts of a modern meat chicken, also called a broiler chicken, is 80 percent larger than of chickens from 60 years ago.
Wild chickens of old actually looked more like pheasants than the massive ones we have today. Take a chicken from 1925, for example. It usually weighed around 1.2 kilos before it was slaughtered at the age of 112 days old. Nowadays they weigh around 2.6 kilos, and are slaughtered after only 47 days.
That’s because we control all aspects of their lives. They live a strictly-regimented life, in controlled and confined environments. Chickens are usually raised in close quarters so that they don’t waste energy. That makes them grow faster and get bigger in a shorter period of time. But those conditions are also very stressful. That’s the reason most farmers elect to clip or burn the beaks from their chickens. This is done to prevent the chickens from pecking each other to death.
All of these food industry secrets show a side to farming that might not be pretty to look at, but is important to know. No matter if your next lunch will be a good chicken sandwich or a tasty salad.
Did something on this list really shock you? Are there more secrets you would like people to know? Share your thoughts with me in the comment section down below!