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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Food Security, is it time to?

Northern Raider August 2011

Have you noticed the constant steady supply of news stories from across the world about problems with food security?

Droughts in Russia and Ukraine and parts of the US in the last 3 years causing wheat and other grain prices to more than double, and at times the grain itself being in short supply. In India and Indochina rice crops were so bad they stopped exporting rice overseas, Australian droughts then floods left much of their export crops ruined. Food safety issues from Foot & Mouth (again) Salmonella in European eggs (again), Various food poisoning outbreaks from wholesale suppliers in the UK. Salmonella and other problems from various sources affecting Bean sprouts, Lettuce, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Celery, Water Cress and other salad foods all in recent months. Some citrus fruits over treated with blight control chemicals etc. Reports (unconfirmed) of farmers in southern Europe and North Africa fertilising salad and other fresh food crops with UNTREATED human waste instead of treated and pasteurised which is safe. And it was topped off with the EU and European food standards agencies flailing around without success trying to identify the sources of the outbreaks.

Then if you look further afield reports of grossly excessive use of pesticides on some South American crops, the continued excessive use (according to some) of the use of Steroids in beef cattle (USA) and Antibiotics (UK).

Followed by the current break news stories coming from China and its satellite states about food stuff actually killing children, melamine found in baby formula, other poisons found in Bamboo shoots and noodles exported to Japan, Meat that glowed in the dark, Bread buns injected with die to make them look better, Poisoned milk and dairy products being openly sold etc.

Down Vietnam way the sea food industry rocked almost weekly about tiger and king prawns being injected with chemicals known to cause cancer to make them grow bigger. Fish coated with Formaldehyde (normally used to preserve dead bodies) to make them look fresher.

So we have some very serious issues facing us over what and how we feed our families as its clear many “Official” government approved food production systems are seriously flawed.

That of course is compounded by the HUGE increase in the costs of basic food stuffs from Milk, Cheese, Bread, Flour, Rice, Fresh foods, Fruit Juices, Root crops etc. I note on a personal basis our local COOP store and the local small Tesco has been struggling at times to keep even the essential supplies on the shelves at affordable prices.

Guys even most supermarkets own label budget brand foods are rocketing in price and apart from the extra impact on our wallets I find myself asking

“What economy steps and measure will the big farmers, producers and chain stores take to keep their products looking like bargains?”

Will they dilute fruit juices and milk even more?

Will they add more preservatives to make the shelf life longer?

Will they use bulking out agents to fill out the products that bit more

Will they use lower quality ingredients to keep the product “affordable”

Will they start using more hormones and growth boosting chemicals on the raw materiels.

The old adage of “We are what we eat” is starting to become rather alarming as I as a father find myself getting more and more concerned about food security, food safety and food availability in this worrying economic climate, so we have to start asking questions and looking for answers on how we can regain control over our food supplies for our families.

Is it time to start buying only from local growers and suppliers, small holders and allotment holders

Is it time to stop buying cheap imported veg from Southern Spain and North Africa

Is it time to stop buying farmed sea food from Asia and get to know your local trawlermen.

Is it time to stop buying Asian grown long grain rice and only buy Californian?

Is it time to buy only locally grown free range or semi free range chicken and eggs

Is it time to start keeping your own Chickens and Rabbits

Is it time to stop buying store baked bread and just buy flour to make your own?

Is it time to turn your yard or garden in part at least over to growing your own food?

Stockpiling and caching supplies of plentiful affordable food when it is on offer is only one preventative step we can and should take, especially for WTSHTF scenarios, but even on a normal day to day basis the issue of food security has moved much further up the list of “ To Do’s”

I think we must now at least look very close at the labels on the fresh foods to see where they come from, and where possible try and source locally grown food from known and trusted sources.

1 comment:

  1. Stockpiling only holds you over for so long. The food scene has been warped for 2 decades now.. and it shows just in the general health of the population.

    The seed companies however are also dwindling as they too are being snapped up and consolidated by a few global corporate giants. These same giants are also patenting the genetics of not only their own GMO crops.. but as well those in seed vaults of heirloom strains.

    In FarmWeek.. they babble on to the farmers that Americans don't care about what they eat. Indifferent about GMO. Then they push that crop harvests need to double in the next 40 years.. from the same acreage currently tilled.

    Every time we homogenize a crop.. catastrophe happens. GMO is dominant genetics. The answer for thousands of years was found in a sport (a naturally occurring mutation) in the wild. Those cradles (areas a crop naturally originated).. are vanishing as we not only construct over them, but otherwise cross contaminate them (case in point.. Mexico.. corn.. thousands of strains cultivated for many generations have shown GMO genetic contamination.)

    Loss of diversity will haunt us.. sooner rather than later. Europe is trying to hold out.. as the US, Canada and Australian influences try to bully them (or contaminate their crops like in the case of Uruguay and Paraguay).. into the market.

    You can't assume the seeds will always be there or easily gotten like in the past. No other time in history was there an attempt at global control over crops.. then add in the population growth, food demands.. and the shift in climate.

    Interesting times.. and it looks to be getting even more so.