CHEAP FOOD THAT KILLS

CHEAP FOOD THAT KILLS

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I am old enough to remember the days in Japan where "you are fat" (Kappuku ga yii desune) was a great compliment. Few people could afford to gain weight so much during those days. "Kappuku" was a rare physical feature only successful people were able to acquire. Nowadays the buzz is about the menace of obesity. An alarmingly large percent of people are officially obese, and obesity causes many killer diseases. At the same time, tens of thousands of people die everyday elsewhere in the world because they don’t have enough to eat. What is going on?

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The basic problem is: some people eat too much because food is cheap. Only rich countries in Americas and Europe can produce food cheaply because of factory farming. But industrial farming has destroyed self-sufficiency in food production in Africa, as well as our own family farms in Canada. In the process of making foods cheap, they have become tasteless and unhealthy, even poisonous. That’s why there is more obesity among poorer people who can afford only cheap processed foods.

rn

Making food cheap may be a good idea, if it produces high quality foods and makes them accessible to all income groups. But this hasn’t happened. If it makes you eat too much and eventually kills you, what’s the point.

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