Various organizations and social movements often criticize Monsanto company. On the one hand, their way of growing food allows them to produce more and improve quality. Given the demand for food products, this is relevant. On the other hand, some studies speak against the use of GMOs and, therefore, against Monsanto. For example, the substance glyphosate, which is used worldwide as a herbicide, has been found in over 700 different foods, including bread. Studies in animals since 2001 have shown that glyphosate causes DNA mutations and chromosome damage, increasing the likelihood of cancer in mice tested. Monsanto dismisses such concerns and claims that this herbicide is safe for human health when used correctly. This and other facts are causing public controversy about the safety of Monsanto’s products.
The company is a monopolist in the seed market due to several factors. First, some of Monsanto’s managers are government employees. In addition, the economic development of the company allowed it to become the most popular and largest on the market. Thanks to this, Monsanto bought other companies and became a monopoly. This does not always have a beneficial effect on farming because people have no choice; they have to buy products from a single source. It can be expensive and contrary to their moral convictions. Consequently, Monsanto’s monopolization is not a positive tendency, although it does benefit the company.
The United States Department of Agriculture is one of the main agencies that regulate farmers and companies like Monsanto. There are several guidelines to follow to produce organic food. The principle of health is to avoid fertilizers, pesticides, veterinary drugs, and food additives that can adversely affect health. The principle of ecology requires an adaptation of organic production to be adapted to local conditions, ecology, and culture. The principle of fairness emphasizes that individuals associated with organic farming must build their relationships with others in such a way as to ensure fairness at all levels and for all parties – farmers, workers, processors, distributors, traders, and consumers. The principle of care indicates that prudence and responsibility are key issues to be addressed when making management, development, and technology choices in organic agriculture.
Heirloom foods are foods that people grow from old seeds or tubers. Usually, these species no longer exist and are not used in industrial agriculture. Farmers rarely use heirloom foods these days as it requires a lot of effort and expense. In addition, in many countries, the government has a negative attitude towards their cultivation. These plants are not common and proven, so their production and sale have unpredictable consequences (Mitran, Meena, & Chakraborty, 2020). However, now, due to various environmental and economic processes, they are gaining popularity again. People need new ways to grow food cost-effectively and without damaging the soil. Hence, by using the same plants many times, they can farm with less damage to the environment.
I believe there are pros and cons to every approach to growing food. They all have a right to exist since they pursue the correct goal: to provide the Earth’s population with food. In my opinion, Monsanto’s business practices are more productive because it is a large company. In addition, they can grow significantly more products than other farmers and are therefore more reliable suppliers. However, many people do not support the use of GMOs and other ways to increase production. Thus, in any case, it is important to devise a compromise method of food production that will suit people and will not harm the planet.
Kraft Foods Inc
Kraft Foods Inc. is the second-largest concern in the world for the production of packaged food (after Nestlé). The company is headquartered in Northfield, Illinois, USA. The company was founded in 1903 by James Kraft. He was the president of the company from 1909 to 1953. The president of the company is Irene Rosenfeld. Kraft Foods manufactures and markets its products in 155 countries around the world. Many of the company’s brands are world leaders in their categories: cheese: Kraft, cream cheese: Philadelphia, coffee: Jacobs, Carte Noire, Maxcafe, and Maxwell House. The company is the largest producer of processed cheese in the world.
The major foods that the company sells are coffee and sweets. The target audience for different brands of coffee is middle-aged and older people. They usually go to work regularly, and coffee is a daily part of their lives. The target audience for sweets (eg, Milka chocolate) is younger. These are children and adolescents who, at this age, love sweets and want to consume them regularly. That is why advertising for Milka chocolate is more “fairy-tale” and beautiful.
The safety of Kraft Foods products and customer trust are their top priorities. They only use food ingredients that meet stringent safety and quality criteria and meet all regulatory requirements. Kraft Foods is responsible for using biotechnology ingredients in accordance with scientifically based regulatory standards to ensure the safety and integrity of products. Environmental protection is also of great importance. Kraft Foods makes market-specific decisions on the use of biotech ingredients based on consumer preferences, national regulatory frameworks, labeling requirements, availability of required ingredients, and factors related to production and distribution.
Kraft pays significant attention to the quality of food, as it is a large producer. However, this organization cannot be said to comply with all the regulations of the USDA for organic food production. This is due to the company’s focus on quantity rather than environmental compliance. Despite this, Kraft can produce food that is safe for the environment.
Slow Food Movement
Slow Food is an anti-fast food movement originated in Italy in 1986 and then spread to many other countries. Now it is a part of the all-encompassing slow movement. The foundation of the Slow Food organization was the creation of catering establishments that are not like fast food: providing healthier food, as well as preserving the traditions of national and regional cuisine, supporting traditions (Siniscalchi, 2019). In 1989, the eponymous international movement Slow Food was officially created.
Today, Slow Food promotes a philosophy of a world where all people have access to quality food and enjoy food that is good for themselves, beneficial for producers, and does not harm the planet. The organization opposes the standardization of tastes and cultures against the unbridled power of transnational corporations in the food industry and the agro-industrial complex. Its approach is based on the concept of food quality, or conviviality, which is defined by three interrelated principles: delicious, clean, and honest. Delicious: fresh and aromatic seasonal produce that is pleasing to the senses and part of the local culture. Clean: produce and consume food that does not harm the environment, animal welfare, and human health. Honest: affordable prices for consumers, fair pay, and decent working conditions for producers.
As of 2020, according to the official website, Slow Food has over 1,000,000 like-minded people and 2,400 food communities in 160 countries. In the USA, the popularity of the movement is confirmed by its promotion in schools and kindergartens. For example, 100 school gardens in different US cities are funded to teach kids about the origins and ways of food production. Specifically, in New York, more than 1,500 children benefit from Slow Food NYC’s Urban Harvest Program. Thus, this movement is gaining popularity and helps people stay healthy by eating right.
Farm to Table
The Taste New York program is dedicated to supporting healthy farm products. Thanks to it, people can buy food produced without chemicals, which does not harm the environment. FreshConnect and Fresh Food Box serve the same purpose. These companies allow consumers to regularly order a grocery basket that contains organic products. This allows them to save money, eat healthy, and not think about shopping (Savin & Slafer, 2019). The Farm to Institutions in NYS initiative aims to produce on local farms for delivery to government agencies such as schools and hospitals. This allows different categories of the population to receive quality food and, therefore, maintain health. GrowNYC is dedicated to promoting environmental literacy and awareness in New York City. This company operates in different areas: education, recycling, gardening, and farmers markets. Thanks to its versatile activities, GrowNYC can effectively influence the state of the city.
The Farm to Table initiatives undoubtedly complements the Slow Food Movement effect. They make organic and healthy food more accessible to a wider population. Therefore, those do not need to buy cheap and unhealthy foods, as they can afford healthier food. It is becoming more popular and has a positive effect on more people.
Food Insecurity is a situation in which part of the population does not have access to sufficient quantities of healthy food. This is due to living in disadvantaged areas and insufficient earnings. Food bank is a charitable organization that collects food from manufacturers and suppliers and distributes them to those in need. The bank accepts food products free of charge, including those close to expiration, packs them with the help of volunteers and delivers them to hungry people. A food desert is an area that has limited access to inexpensive and nutritious food, as opposed to an area with higher access to supermarkets or fresh produce grocery stores called a food oasis.
SNAP provides food benefits to support the food budget of needy families so they can buy healthy food and become more self-sufficient. More than 2,700,000 people participate in SNAP in NYC. About a million of them are under 18. Thus, it is clear that multiple young people need government support.
Single Stop is a non-profit organization that aims to reduce poverty and promote economic mobility in the United States by connecting people to available government and non-profit programs, benefits, and services. In particular, this organization allows people to receive healthy food if they themselves are not able to provide for themselves. Thanks to this, even poor people can access the right food and live healthier lives.
One of the most interesting topics I found was the concept of slow food. In my opinion, it is gaining relevance in the modern world, since now the pace of life does not always allow people to eat right. However, nutrition is one of the vital factors in the life of every person, therefore, it is necessary to pay really great attention to it. If I explain the concept of slow food in simple terms, I will describe it this way: attention to the quality of food and the nutritional process. That is, it is important to spend time choosing food and consuming it consciously so that the body receives the necessary elements. Having learned more about this topic, I became more attentive to the choice of food and less distractions while eating, for example, on social networks or TV. Thanks to this, I understand my body better and feel healthier.
Mitran, T., Meena, R. S., & Chakraborty, A. (2020). Geospatial technologies for crops and soils. Springer Nature.
Savin, R, & Slafer, G. (2019). Crop science. Springer New York.
Siniscalchi, V. (2019). Slow food: The economy and politics of a global movement. Bloomsbury.