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Sociology of food - Essay Example

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Sociology of Food 1) Mass versus Customized Production The natural tendency is for food production to move in the direction of mass production than more customized production. There are economies of scale and US government subsidies to farmers producing a few commodity products such as corn, soybeans, wheat and rice to keep production costs and prices low, discouraging the production of more diversified healthier organic foods which would require larger financial investment…
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Download file to see previous pages This artificial fertilizer, pesticides made from petroleum,. Farm machinery and modern food processing, transportation and packaging have resulted significant increases in emission of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, so that it now requires much more fossil food energy to produce a calorie of food than it did in 1940. Another significant human cost resulting from the dependency on mass produced commodity foods is an increased rate of chronic disease linked to diet such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer. This has resulted in increased health care costs at least offsetting the trend toward lower food costs. Food shortages an riots in the developing world are likely to threaten free trade as developed nations seek to ensure their food supply by erecting trade barriers .Countries forced to import food also have other concerns such as its’ safety. Food, whether imported or domestic, can be deliberately contaminated. Such risks have caused the American public to have second thoughts about the consumption of mass produced commodity based foods and shown more interest in healthier organic, local pasture-based customized foods allowing for political change in government policies to encourage the production by moving away from the promotion of the mass use of oil based fertilizers to more use of natural processes such as photosynthesis. The post World War II industrialization of farming produced abundance of cheap food but at a significant economic, environmental and social cost. What is needed to improve the situation is a shift in government policy spurred on by changing public opinion. For example, while hamburgers, French fries and coke are still iconic staples of American culture, there is a growing concern in the public of the harm that over consumption of such products can cause to both individual health and society at large as well. Even though shifts to more environmentally friendly, healthier food sources will require significant public, corporate and government investment, there is a growing realization that over the long term this is likely to be offset by substantial savings in health, transportation, and absenteeism costs and improve the overall health and strength of the nation. Government resources, subsidies, and incentives required to encourage healthier, more diversified, ecologically friendly production on the supply side and on the consumption side provide programs particularly to low income groups to enable them to buy healthier foods even though they cost more than less healthy mass produced staples in order to curb the obesity explosion within this group. Even the pillars of the fast food industry such as McDonalds and Burger King are responding to the shift in American culture with people now more concerned with the quality as well as the quantity and price of what they consume, and adding healthier alternatives such as salads to their menus. They are also using less cooking oil and fat in their food preparation. With public pressure and concern about the harmful effects of heavy consumption of mass produced commodity foods, there should be a shift from government policy promoting ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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