Food: United States vs Europe
Don’t tell my husband but I agree with him that I subscribe to many too many magazines. I will admit that I put some issues in the recycling bin before even trying to read them. Tonight though I picked up the latest edition of Yes!, a magazine whose tag line reads, ‘powerful ideas, practical actions.’
Yes! magazine publishes themed issues quarterly. Their winter issue is titled, “How to Eat Like Our Lives Depend on It.”
Tonight, when I opened the magazine, I flipped to a chart that consolidated research conducted by Food and Water Watch. I have always known that the United States and Europe have very different food rules but somehow seeing so much research consolidated in to one spot made the differences really obvious.
A few striking examples include:
Cultivation of genetically engineered crops
United States: Widely Grown
Europe: Two Crops
Labeling for Genetically Engineered Food
United States: None
Antiseptic Washes on Meat
United States: Widely used on poultry
Europe: Ban on use or import
Antibiotics used to promote growth of meat animals
United States: Widely used
Artazine (herbicide used on fruits, soy, corn, sugar)
United States: Widely Used
This issue like so many others right now (gun control, economic inequality, education) feels so big that I would prefer to hide under a blanket than do anything about it. It seems though that the people at Yes! might have a point. Perhaps we should be eating like our lives depend on it. The Europeans already are. I wonder why we are so far behind?
Bravo! I think I need to pick up a copy of Yes! I try not to be a food Nazi — i.e., my kids are allowed to eat whatever they like at friends’ houses and when we’re out and about and we definitely have a package of Oreos in the pantry more often than not — but I’ve been quite concerned about US eating habits, GMOs and farming practices. Claire was born in SF, and in 2001, I thought the city was far ahead of its time as far as organic regulations and alternative methods of farming — Alice Waters, anyone? I had access to information, produce and health food stores that most people in the country didn’t have. Why? Why isn’t healthy, clean food available to all Americans? Food for thought. (Forgive the pun.)
The whole thing really is mind boggling. I try to walk the same line you do and it is hard- especially when you read things like this.
We get produce delivered on Thursdays from Door to Door Organics – you can also order other groceries and meat. I like that they are thinking about local (when possible) and organic so I don’t have to read so many labels. Check it out: https://tristate.doortodoororganics.com/
Karen- Thank you so much for the recommendation! I can’t wait to check this out. I try to buy mostly organic produce and meats in the stores but it does mean driving to multiple grocery stores to find things that are both fresh and somewhat affordable. This looks like it might be a great option!
It is pretty sad isn’t it?
Kim- so sad. I really do wonder when, if ever, this country is going to open it’s eyes to this problem.
I realized the food-related laws were different, but not that different. Interesting and alarming. I’ve never heard of Yes! magazine. It sounds like something I’d like, but I’m like you – I don’t have time to read the magazines I do get. Your “don’t tell my husband” statement made me smile. I do the very same thing with my husband. I know he’s right about certain things I do that are silly, etc. but I just don’t want to own it … yet 🙂
I totally agree. I knew that our laws were much more lenient (in a scary way!) but had no idea the extent of it.
Alas, I don’t think Europe is “ahead” – I think we’re heading the US way, so in a sense we’re behind (though I am MUCH happier to live in a country where rules on food quality are so much tighter). Big business drives so much of this. We need to be prepared to pay what good food actually costs – and that for us, for example, means we have to change our diet. We have meat only once a week now, so that we can afford high quality, high animal welfare organic. Lots of people only pay lip service to wanting better quality food.
Gosh- I hope you are not following our ‘lead’. That would be so sad. And I totally agree with you. We try to eat only organic meat and produce but it does sometimes become cost prohibitive. I admire the stand you are taking.
I echo Zoe’s comments–it’s so driven by big business and you know how we Americans are–we like BIG. The good news is that many of us are changing how we eat and there is a growing abundance of healthier food options to meet this growing demand. The more awareness we have the better–so kudos for this post!
So true. Big business and big money. What a sad state of affairs. But you right I think- the more people who are paying attention, the better!
please don’t hide under a blanket 🙂 I know it’s EXHAUSTING to fight so many battles. But this is SO important to be aware of. We need all our voices shouting in unison to demand our health and the health of our children comes first.(and yes as always, it’s money and in this case pharma and big agriculture you need to SHOUT over to be heard!) That’s who’s currently blocking all the efforts at labeling foods, so at least you know what you’re eating BTW: read the labels on your tuna cans – if you still eat it. We’re now adding SOY !!!! Another blog you might be interested in following is wellnessmama… she has it down to the extreme, but there are some really interesting tips there.
Good luck. This is a BIGGIE! Loved you post.
Thanks Elaine. I know, I know, I know… there are just so many battles. This one is just nuts, isn’t it!?
Oh dear, so not true! I live in Romania, one of the last european countries GMO’s got to, but boy did they take over! Before, we were complaining that we didn’t have McDonalds or Coca Cola, now it’s hard to find a tomato that actually tastes like a tomato! GMO crops are all over Europe and especially in eastern countries where laws can be bent, but the produce is exported to other countries, don’t be fooled! So yes, maybe in the US it’s on a larger scale, but in no way is Europe all pure and bio! It’s a sad future for us in terms of food!
Daria- I am so glad you found your way here. Thank you for reading. I am sad to read your post. How sad that real food is so hard to find!