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spikegifted - Random thoughts

 

Organic Food

September 17, 2003

quote:

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I canít say that I notice a real taste difference though. Do you think you could tell the difference in a blind trial?
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You'd be pleasantly surprised... I can bet that if you go on the organic stuff for 1 month - every meal; then go and cook yourself a meal using non-organic stuff... You'll taste the difference.

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September 21, 2003

Well, that is entirely dependent on your eating habits. For example, the Ruler_of_spike and I cook nearly every evening. When we shop at our local supermarket, we are very careful with what we get - if there's an organic alternative, we'll either give it a try or head straight for it. When I was working, I used to eat at the company canteen. Ok, it's not a greasy spoon (it was not that great either), but I could definitely taste the difference. Simple things like vegetables is most telling. Also, things that require freshness will give away the difference - things like fish, seafood, fresh pasta, etc...

In some cases, you can see the physical difference! Say you go to the fish counter in your supermarket, take a look at salmon fillets or salmon steaks. The 'farmed' variant appears intensely orange while the 'natural' stuff has this pale orange look. It's not because the 'natural' portions have gone, but that's salmon's natural color. But I've seen so many shopper commenting that they 'natural' ones doesn't look fresh and the guys behind the counters won't even bother to correct them. What a waste!!

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September 22, 2003

In a modern Western society, it requires a small amount of effort and a small additional cost to go down the organic route...

The reason is simple and relatively straight forward - it's about a question of economics (or economy of scale). Imagine a simple item like "boneless chicken breasts"... There're several different types available - normal, free range, organic and organic free range.

"Normal" is the run-of-the-mill product of intensive farming. Hundreds or thousands of chickens are packed into a small warehouse size building which has artificial lights and automatic feeding equipments. The chickens practically spend their entire lives standing next to the feeding bowls. Since they actually don't exercise aside from standing there, their muscle lack tone, hence the meat is 'spongy'... Don't ask what these chickens are being fed. It's collectively called 'feed'. Chicken, being a bird (but not a bird of prey), lives on grains - like pigeons... What's in the 'feed'? I think a significant part of it made up of ground-up meat! This, by the way, is how BSE is supposed to have spread to cows and possibly sheep.

"Free Range" is from chickens from farms that supposed to have the space where the animals can move around... Well, that's the definition, but it is not necessarily followed. At least we're not talking about 200 birds in a 10'x10' room, but more like 50-75 (or more). The farm is therefore less productive per square yard - hence the price is higher. They've a little space to move around and guess what, the meat is less 'spongy' and more tender... A small step in the right direction. However, they're still fed on the rather dubious 'feed'.

"Organic" is intensive farming using 'organic feed'. I don't know what's in the 'feed', but I'd hope there's less meat in it... Since this type of feed doesn't boost as body mass as quickly as the 'normal feed', it take longer for the animals to achieve the 'slaughter weight'... It's more expensive to produce the same size animal.

"Organic Free Range" is the most expensive product and I hope you can see why - it needs space for the animals to run around and it takes longer for them to achieve the 'slaughter weight'... But, guess what, the taste of the meat is different - it isn't 'spongy', it tastes fresh, it feels tender... In a word, it tastes 'real'.

As you can see, the odds are stack against those who're on a tight budget to eat organic - it's relatively expensive. Since the majority of the buying public don't really care how something tastes like, as long as the label says it is what it is, they're not going to spend the extra amount to get the 'real thing'. A lot of people see eating at home as something to do to stop them feeling hungry... And if that's your philosophy, why would you spend more on your ingredients?

In this day and age, nearly all of us get our food from supermarkets. If people don't want to go for the expensive 'real things', why on earth the supermarkets want to devote more real estates on these things? And if supermarkets are not buying as much of the 'real things', their prices will remain high as there're fewer producers of these products and hence less competition. It's a "Catch 22"...

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September 22, 2003

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They even put flavouring in freshly squeezed juice ffs
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That is just crazy!! Why do people need artificial flavoring when they already have the real thing??!! My guess is that people, in general, has been exposed to so much artificial flavoring and 'enhancements' that if you give them the all natural 'real thing', they'd find it strange and just won't accept what it is... Scary!

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September 22, 2003

Oh, no... It makes all the difference! The steroids you've been prescribed is only for relatively short-term and they would've been tested to make sure that they are 'safe' to use - side-effects notwithstanding...

Once upon a time, chicken farmers used to boost the animals' body weight by injecting them with hormones - oestrogen!! The result? Well, the worst I've seen on newspapers were men growing t!ts and low sperm count (amongst other unmanly symptoms); girls used to have periods earlier and earlier and 8-year olds start having to wear bras...

That was 15 years ago. They've apparently stop injecting chicken and other livestock with oestrogen. However, do you what's in their feeds? Somehow, the farmers have to produce animals with similar or higher body mass!

I'll let your imagination do the work from here...


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