September 18, 2009
Back in the days when the buffalo roamed over vast grasslands, corn was wind-pollinated and self-fertilized. In order to maintain today’s corn- and antibiotic-stuffed feedlot cattle, farmers must buy new corn seeds every year. Today’s corn farmers are part of the industrial food chain. As Michael Pollan writes in his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, F-1 (first-generation) hybrid seed technology allowed corn “to adapt itself not just to humans but to their machines, which it did by learning to grow as upright, stiff-stalked, and uniform as soldiers,” and as dense as “thirty thousand to the acre.” Pollan also notes that today’s corn “had to develop an appetite for fossil fuel (in the form of petrochemical fertilizer) and a tolerance for various synthetic chemicals.” All this subsidized industrial corn is used, instead of grass, to fatten feedlot cattle. The natural result is meat that is a true health hazard. I stick to grass-fed-to-finish beef raised locally where possible.
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