Can You Smell It?


Ruth Pedro, Reporter

Can you smell it? The wonderful scents of turkey and apple pie being baked in the oven? Or how about the thick and fluffy mashed potatoes being cooked in the stove?  Can you smell it? The poorly ventilated factories used to farm turkeys for human consumption? Or better yet the pesticides and fertilizers full of chemicals like zinc, lead and chromium, used to “protect” your food? Can you smell it? 

No, you can’t. That’s because big corporations like Kraft Heinz Co., Tyson and even the federal government have been conspiring to keep consumers in the dark about the shady and arguably disgusting ways we get our food. For many of us, it isn’t surprising news that our food has been processed with chemicals and abused, but a lot of us fail to realize the extent of the processing and breeding that comes with every meal. 

In factory farms, when animals “misbehave,” they are disciplined through beatings, shock and other forms of punishment by the humans handling them. Just like every other human, pigs are capable of feeling fear. While their fellow pig companions are being punished, they watch frightened at the same thing happening to them. Chickens are often debeaked; the stress of living in a cramped and stuffy room makes them agitated, and they end up harming each other. For farmers this is bad news as injured chickens have a lower selling price, which lowers the profits made by the farmer. Oh yeah, we can’t forget about the unhealthy levels of ammonia you could be indirectly ingesting. Factory raised animals all defecate in one area; some of the chemicals found in this excrement, specifically urine, is known to contain ammonia. Ammonia is often used in cleaning supplies and smelling salts. Prolonged exposure to ammonia can lead to burning of the throat, nose and respiratory tract, and corrosive damage to the mouth, throat, and stomach. As those animals frolic in their waste all day, they are constantly breathing in ammonia and their ammonia plagued bodies will eventually land on your plate. However, it would be unfair to the agriculture industry to say that only factory farm- raised animals are the only unsafe foods you may be eating, as they are just as guilty.

Pesticide toxicity is prevalent among most, to all industrial farms. To prevent unwanted vegetation and insects from interfering with the growth of the crops, farmers will douse their plants with herbicides and incestides. These liquids are laced with chemicals that will eventually get into your system and wreak havoc on your body. Also, fertilizers used on the farms lead to water pollution; the fertilizer runs-off into streams and contaminate the water. Your once drinkable water is now undrinkable, and to purify the water, costs a pretty penny. Roughly 2 billion dollars of taxpayer money goes to fixing a problem that should have never occurred in the first place. Finally, some of the crops grown, like corn and soybeans, are used in the processed foods millions of Americans consume every. All those high calorie, sugary, junk-food we like to consume, are readily available for our taste-buds delights, thanks to industrialized farming.

By no means should you feel intimidated to change your diet after hearing about the inner workings of the food industry. However, you should be a bit more aware of what you are consuming. At the end of the day, it is your body and your wallet that may or may not be suffering. As opposed to asking you, “Can you smell it,” let me ask you, can you eat it?