Oct 26, 2009
I worked in a multinational before. I know the pressures. I know the incessant need to look for 'growth' and profits. Which is why I think corporations should not be allowed to do farming. The culture and the ethics are worlds apart!
The temptation to listen to 'smart' guys in the board room when you are under pressure is tremendous. I think that brought down Wall Street last year.
If you are a corporation and under pressure to reduce feed costs, and if a 'smart' guy suggests 'recycled' cooking oil from either a supplier or better yet, from your own chain of restaurants, would you even lose a night's sleep before giving the go-ahead? If it means 30%, 50% savings?
Don't believe me? Don't believe that they feed chickens with recycled cooking oil? Then read this:
The use of recycled cooking oil for animal feed is a 'smart' idea. It saves disposal costs, reduces pollution and the animals don't know better. It is an idea that is surely born out of a corporate board room. And the guy who came up with the idea most probably received a medal.
The BBC called me a few months back asking about animal husbandry practices in Malaysia. I mentioned about the use of vegetable oils to fatten animals. I am sure the interviewer yawned. And he replied that they do the same in the U.K. With the addition of fats, the chicken will reach the desired weight maybe two weeks earlier (you don't need hormones, enzymes, etc. as fats work better). The Authorities are happy that food production is going up. The food scientists have done their job. The corporate farmers are happy as cash-flow have improved.
But nobody from the industry looked at the effects from eating meat produced in such a manner. Who's responsibility is that? There's only so much education one man can do (I raised the issues in my talks since 2001).
The high fat intake will cause the body of the animal to manufacture more of its own saturated fats thereby increasing its ratio in the meat. Chickens fed fats can have a saturated fat content that's as high as red meats - 8 to 10%. The higher the saturated fats, the higher the cholesterol content. Chickens fed fats can have cholesterol content that's as high as, or even higher than beef. One chicken I tested had 72mg/100grams. That's the level of beef and lamb!
And since we eat more chicken meat more often than red meat, without realising it we have piled on the saturated fats into our diet. Especially we Asians who love the 'drum stick'. The total lipids of the darker meats can be as high as 30%, excluding bones. And don't forget the omega 6: omega 3 ratio. With the fats and the grains, that's screwed up too. One factory chicken I had tested recorded a ratio of 59:1. That is a nutritional disaster! The recommended ratio is 4:1 or less.
What can you do?
1. Support small farmers, in particular local farmers.
2. Reduce purchase of food produced by faceless corporations, in particular meat products.
3. Ask yourself this question: why am I trusting the production of food for my family to a faceless corporation? Don't just trust a brand-name. Take back some of the responsibility of providing food for your family by finding out more about the food producer, check out the labelling, read, check the internet, ask people. Plant your own, grow your own; even if it is to meet just a small part of your requirements.