December 29, 2010

100% Real Chicken!

Go to a fast food restaurant. Or drive around and check out billboards. Or just turn on the TV and watch some commercials. I guarantee you'll be promised 100% real chicken. Or real cheese. Or real beef. Real food. At restaurants.

Am I the only one who thinks it's silly that restaurants feel the need to advertise that they sell real food? Are the ones that advertise real meat implying that the ones that don't are selling fake meat? Is there any chance that we're eating fake food products? If there isn't any chance of that, why would some restaurants advertise that they sell real food?

This is a scary thought. The thought is made more scary having just finished The Jungle. That is a scary book, especially because it's all real. Sinclair went undercover in a Chicago slaughterhouse in order to write the book. He got a job, toiled as a worthless cog, saw the insides of the meat industry, and wrote so the rest of the world could understand. And understand they did. Well, kind of. The Pure Food and Drug Act and Meat Inspection Act were passed, which was a step in the right direction, but his goal was a bit loftier. He wanted to expose the lies of America for what they were: lure people with the promise of wealth and the American Dream and crush their hopes for a decent existence. But that book was written waaaaay back in 1906, over 100 years ago. No way food is still produced the same way, especially after all the regulations we have now.


That's what I'm not sure of. Sure, sausage isn't made from the scraps of beef on the slaughterhouse floor anymore (I think...), but would we be proud of how our meat is made? Probably not. A new report came out showing the amount of antibiotics in the livestock we eat: an insane 80% of all antibiotics consumed in the United States is consumed by livestock. Americans only consume 20% of all antibiotics in the country. But if we feed our animals all these drugs, aren't we consuming them in the end when we eat the animals?

And what does 100% real mean???

Turns out I'm not the only one asking this question. There's a Facebook page wondering what McDonald's served us before if now they're serving us "100% real" chicken. It seems that the more I learn about the food I eat the more questions I have. Now I understand why there are people who only eat "dead" plants (like, apples that fell from the tree on their own accord) and why there are people who will spend 4 times the regular cost of produce for organic. There has to be a happy medium somewhere, a way to eat food responsibly and healthfully without going into debt. It seems the search for answers continues.

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