Not on the Label: What Really Goes Into the Food on Your Plate - Felicity Lawrence If a little out of date (published in 2004) Not on the Label is a solid exposé of the industrialization and globalization of food to the detriment of the environment, health, society, our senses and wallets. [a:Felicity Lawrence|237096|Felicity Lawrence|/assets/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66-251a730d696018971ef4a443cdeaae05.jpg] has spent 3 years investigating the global food system for The Guardian uncovering the hidden and scandalous practices involved in the journey of food from the dirt to our stomachs, offering up suggestions for improvements to the system for future security as '...our current food system is environmentally, ethically and even biologically unsustainable...' and how the average person can do their part if they wish, though she doesn't judge those that are unable to do so.ChickenAll chicken is diseased. It's not a stretch to make that statement since mass contamination takes place. It only takes is one sick chicken. Doesn't matter if it's organically reared, they go through the same processing plants. And if that wasn't enough, cheap chicken breasts can contain only 54% chicken - the rest is water and possibly pork and/or beef, which usually appear in ethnic restaurants to be eaten Muslims and Hindus. (In that case, the recent horsemeat scandal should've come as no surprise, though once again it was the Irish who brought it to light.) Furthermore, genetic selection has seen chickens appear like 'weightlifters on steroids' with their over-large breasts crippling their legs, putting undue pressure on their hearts and causing skin infections from rolling around in their own excrement. Limited living space from intense farming increases disease and treatment with antibiotics resulted in antibiotic resistance which may be being passed on to humans.SaladReady-to-eat salad is less nutritious, can be diseased, and the chlorine it's washed in has been linked to cancer.'Supermarkets rarely have written contracts with farmers or packhouses promising to buy certain quantities, although farmers are obliged to commit to supplying certain amounts to them. The farmers are both required to take the loss on any surplus and to meet any shortfall at their own expense by importing if their own harvest does not meet demand. [...] The prices paid to farmers are nowhere near the cost of carrying a permanent workforce large enough to cope with fluctuations in demand.' Half the workforce in food and catering are illegals - more than 2 million in the UK, procured and managed by dangerous and greedy gangmasters making more than £8m per year through intimidation, punishment, murder, expanding into prostitution and drug-smuggling. These illegals also travel to Spain - the salad bowl of the UK, where intense farming practices to satisfy our demand have polluted the environment with pesticides and dried out the land, turning it into desert.'Ninety-nine pence for a few leaves is a lot of money. But 99p for an unlimited supply of servants to wash and pick over it all, hidden not as in the old days below stairs, but in remote caravans or underneath plastic hothouses - that is cheap.'Food Miles & TransportWe're dependent on crude oil for agrochemicals, plastics and food miles. Tesco in 2002 covered 224,000km in 1.2m lorry journeys. Thirty years has quadrupled the number of products stocked by supermarkets yet the variety they offer is still limited. However, in an effort to cut costs supermarkets prefer to collect their goods from suppliers using their own lorries meaning small independents will have to do the same, contributing to their disappearance from our high streets.The 'falldown' begins when a customer buys something in one of the [supermarket] stores. Scanning the barcode at the till creates a new order for the product. The information is transmitted to head office, electronically collated several times a day and instantly converted into a delivery schedule for the farmer or manufacturer for the following day. The supplier will have estimated how much food to produce, but will only get a final order a few hours ahead of the time he or she is expected to deliver to the depot...The orders can vary dramatically. A spell of good weather can, for example, double the demand for lettuce. Failing to meet a retailer's order in full can result in a financial penalty. Suppliers can find themselves losing thousands of pounds. But then unexpected rain might halve your order. If you end up with a surplus there's hardly anywhere for it to go, since the big retailers control much of the country's total market.'To add to the pressure, suppliers can be delisted for refusing price reductions, trade with other supermarkets are restricted, and they're sometimes forced asked to 'contribute to the costs of store refurbishments or openings,' though absorbing volume and customer discounts such as BOGOF pressed upon them, sometimes retrospectively, have to be the most damaging to the health of their businesses. Demands for compensation for anything and everything or just having it deducted from invoices without discussion also screams unfair practice and treatment of suppliers by supermarkets.So our salad comes from Spain, our veg is also sourced from Africa, and traditional English apples are overlooked in favour of foreign types. Even 80% of organic produce comes from abroad. These food miles actually have a detrimental effect on nutritional value since frozen veg contains more nutrients than fresh imported stuff that's sat countless hours in refrigerated containers.BreadLess than 2% of bread is made by independent bakers yet a few bake from scratch. The rest rely on the Chorleywood Bread Process (CBP) which involves fats, E numbers, salt and 3% more water taking considerably less time to make than the traditional flour, water, yeast recipe. However, skipping the proving time aggravates gluten allergies - that's how these allergies came about.Fruit & Veg'The beauty parade' that disqualifies mildly discoloured or misshapen fruit and veg has led to 40% waste and harvesting earlier and earlier to prevent bruising giving you hard, odourless and tasteless results. 'Each cow may produce twice as many litres of milk a year, each chicken may grow twice as fast, and each hectare of wheat may yield nearly three times as many tonnes as fifty years ago, but in that time, 60 per cent of ancient woodlands, 97 per cent of meadows with their rich flora and fauna, and fifty per cent of birds that depend on agricultural fields have gone, as have nearly 200,000 hedges. Not only has intensive farming polluted water courses, it has also created problems of soil erosion and flood. Industrialization of livestock has left animals prone to devastating epidemics of disease.'The evils of ready meals and junk food containing corn, sugar, soya, palm and rapeseed oil which are heavily subsidized, are also extolled, though I've all ready been educated on this via [b:Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us|15797397|Salt Sugar Fat How the Food Giants Hooked Us|Michael Moss||21520265].Lawrence, in the Afterword, details ways to improve our food system and future security with policy suggestions and by providing resources for the individual to make an impact, enhancing their health in the process. She also confesses where and what she buys including the occasional ready meal. I find I'm jealous of all the independents like butchers, greengrocers, baker, etc. and farmers' markets located near her. I'd have to travel many miles to find these.Although I was aware of the enormous pressure on UK farmers and suppliers I didn't fully appreciate the abuse they've suffered at the hands of supermarkets and the need to cut corners in order to survive, yielding a host of further problems including hiring illegal migrant workers who are in turn abused by their gangmasters, and having to import food when they can't meet demand. Fast, cheap food has never been so expensive, not more so when the system inevitably collapses.