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Top 5 things the food industry doesn't want you to know

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Top 5 things the food industry doesn't want you to know

These 5 truths of the food industry are the very same that inspired me to become a fitness & health advocate. The need to rally against practices so contrary to human & environmental wellbeing.

I was determined to offer an alternative; real food, grown in real soil by real humans and with real benefits for people & the planet. And that's how Enliven Organics was born!

Here are 5 outrageous things that happen to your grub before it hits the trolley.

1. Your apples have been in storage for a year


That dewy green granny smith you just chomped? If you bought it from a major supermarket it could have been sitting in storage for up to one year.


But...surely apples would rot after 12 months, right?


Not so. The technique to keep produce pristine is thus:


- harvest before fully ripe


- chill immediately after harvest to slow ripening & deterioration


- employ controlled atmosphere storage and packaging - modify the ratio of oxygen to carbon dioxide


- use 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) - a chemical which can slow ripening further (at the expense of flavour and texture). There have been no definitive studies as to the potential health risks of using this chemical.


- apply food-grade wax  


- consider spraying a fungicide to inhibit mould growth (imported produce must also be fumigated with methyl bromide to meet quarantine requirements)


The solution?

Buy apples IN SEASON (like now!), from reputable organic or pesticide-free suppliers (like us!) or find a generous local with a laden tree.




2. Supermarket meat is OLD and GASSY


Let me explain.


Packaged supermarket beef can last up to 44 days, and lamb up to 112. Thanks to new technologies involving vacuum sealing & preservative gasses, this rather aged meat stays deceptively red & succulent for the long-haul.  


The problem?


You won't know what those preservative agents are because they don't require labeling. (It's most commonly a cocktail of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide & nitrogen. You may recognize carbon monoxide as the poisonous & odorless gas emitted from car exhausts, lawn mowers and charcoal grills. Charming.)


Another issue is that bacteria can proliferate despite the meat looking fresh. Our ability to discern whether it's 'off' or edible is confounded by artificial means. Thorough cooking is required to negate the risks.  


The solution?


Like the apples, only buy from reputable butchers, local small-scale farmers (who won't do the dirty on their customers)or us!


3. Your potatoes probably contain round-up. Just sayin'.


Conventional potatoes. Always on the ‘dirty dozen’ list of vegetables to AVOID if not organic. Yet it’s easy to wonder - why? Aren’t they underground? How does a potato become covered in pesticide?


Here’s the truth.


Potatoes have a beautiful green leafy part that grows up out of the ground. Only when this part ‘dies’ - turns brown at a certain time of the year and shunts all the goodness from the leaves back down towards the tubers - are the potatoes ready to harvest.


But we humans are impatient. We want the spuds to be ready NOW!


So we kill the tops with Round-Up, then dig up the tots. Sounds logical, right?


The problem?


As I mentioned, the potato plant sends everything from the top part down, down, down into the tubers for winter storage. That INCLUDES nasty stuff sprayed on the top.


Not only that, but unearthing potatoes before they’re ready seriously affects flavour & nutrient value.  


The solution?


Do I sound like a broken record yet? Buy organic or pesticide free, local, seasonal and from producers you know.


4. Salmon are the battery hens of the sea


Even ‘wild caught’ and ‘Atlantic’. Yes! Don’t let the idyllic names fool you.


Giant salmon pens not only damage local ecosystems with their pollution & residues, but produce fish that are full of antibiotics, hormones & GMO feed.


Here’s a fun (read: horrific) fact: it takes around 4kg of fish meal to produce 1kg of salmon. Does that sound sustainable?! (I’m going to tentatively opt for ‘no’).


The solution?

Always choose WILD salmon. And luckily, we have one such source here in Aus - The Canadian Way. Check them out - you’ll see & taste the difference (hint: real salmon is tangerine red, not insipid pink. And tastes wild & wonderous).


5. Male animals are not of much use.


It’s easy to forget the realities of farming. Male chicks (save for a handful of necessary roosters) are obsolete. Ditto boy calves in the dairy industry. Something must be done with these living ‘by-products’.


Unfortunately, we’ve deemed roosters unsavoury eating options. Male chicks are therefore swiftly dispatched upon hatching - 13 million are killed in commercial hatcheries each year. This scenario is also the same for male poddy calves.


The solution?


There is no easy solution to this ethical conundrum, as our need/love for eggs & dairy necessitates it - to a degree. However, shopping SMALL and LOCAL means that thoughtful farmers - who find inventive & more humane ways of dealing with the gender issue - are given preference. The smaller the producer, the more likely it is that the male birds or cows can be put to other uses. Maybe one day we'll all become accustomed to eating the - slightly less tender - meat of a rooster. Or the not-dissimilar-steak of a male dairy cow breed.


Until then, let these food industry facts steer you in the direction of mindful consumption - always preferring seasonal, local, organic & small-scale vittles for you & your family.



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