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4 Never-ending Debates About The Food Industry

Amita Ray Mar 8, 2020
The world today tackling a number of concerns regarding food from malnutrition to childhood obesity to mislabeling and misinformation about food; the list is endless.
Here are some of the most controversial issues that needs to be tackled by the food industry.

Hunger Stats

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 805 million people out of the 7.3 billion people in the world, i.e., one out of every nine persons, suffers from chronic undernourishment.
Food is one of the most basic necessities of any living organism. Since ancient times, we have been able to support our need for food through various activities like foraging, hunting, and agriculture. No matter where we belong to, our traditions, beliefs, and culture have always been echoed in the food we eat.
Our need and the revolution of our lives around food has led to the creation of a multimillion-dollar food industry. From agriculture, logistics, research and development, to agrochemicals, the food industry encompasses all.
Although it may seem very fairly straight forward from the outset, there are many controversial issues that haunt this industry. Food shortage, animal abuse, growing concerns over food safety, diseases associated with unhealthy eating, are some of the most controversial topics discussed in this post.

Is Veganism the Right Way?


● Choosing to be a vegan is to adopt a lifestyle that refuses to use animals and anything related to them as a commodity. This helps prevent their mistreatment, force feeding, and culling of young ones for meat.
● By adopting vegan food habits, you're healthier as your diet is low in saturated fats, rich in fiber and antioxidants.
● It prohibits the consumption of fish and will help to replenish the depleting population of aquatic fauna as well as prevent heavy metal poisoning.
● A herbivorous diet would mean a lower level of archidonic acid and help keep depression at check.


● Turning into a vegan means insufficient nutrient supply. A vegan diet is poor in vitamin B12. 92% of vegans were found to have Vitamin B12 and iron deficiency; as a result, many of those studied were found to be anemic.
● An all-plant diet means low levels of cholesterol, although it may sound like a good thing, little amounts of cholesterol is needed for the proper formation of the cell membrane.
● Most meat substitutes are highly processed and high in sodium and might not be a very healthy alternative.
● Not all soy products are good for you, products like miso, tempeh, tofu, and soy milk are some of the healthiest; unfortunately a considerable amount of the population is allergic to soy.
● One can also argue that consumption of animals is one of things that helps maintain the balance of the ecosystem, or may be, consumption of meat can be one's personal preference.

Should GMOs Be Allowed?

GMOs are genetically modified organisms. Here, the gene of our interest from one organism is transferred by one way or another to the organism of our interest. GMOs that are usually used as foods and are called GM foods.


● Genetic modification would result in plants that have a greater resistance to pests and a higher yield.

● This in turn would help bring down the cost of producing food products.


● Transfer of genes from an allergenic organism to a non-allergenic one could mean that there is a transfer of the allergenic property. Unless it is proved that the protein product of the gene transferred is a non-allergen, its transfer is highly discouraged.
● Transfer of these modified genes to our system or the bacteria present in our gut is a potential possibility. The effects of this on human health could be fearsome. As this could mean that there is transfer of the gene for antibiotic resistance, that are usually present, along with the gene to be modified.
● Genetically modified organisms are usually grown in a controlled environment. If, however, some of these organisms were to be accidentally introduced in the natural environment, the impact of this on the ecosystem would be catastrophic as they would out-compete all the naturally occurring indigenous organisms leading to their extinction.

Should Synthetic Pesticides and Fertilizers Be Banned?


● Advocates can say what they want, but the bitter truth remains that sustainable agriculture to produce organic food cannot produce enough yield to sustain the ever-growing world population.
● It requires using a large portion of the land to produce relatively low yields, thus increasing the cost of production significantly.
● Even if means with greater efficiency are applied to boost the organic food yields, the production of such foods is not going to be feasible any time soon.


● The use of synthetic fertilizer to replenish the nutrients of the soil and boost food production results in growth of foods that are low in nutrients and antioxidants.

● Furthermore, the use of pesticides of may deplete the soil of organisms that are beneficial and help maintain soil quality.
● Continuous use of synthetic fertilizer/s would result in excessive damage to the soil quality, which would take years to replenish.

● Some amount of pesticide residues remain in or on almost all food products. These residues could be carcinogenic.
● Carbamates and organophosphates are groups of pesticides that have been in use until recently, which affect the health tremendously. These damage the nervous system, cause many developmental defects, and may also affect the reproductive system.

Fast Food Industry: The Reason for Growing Obesity


● Typical fast food products are usually highly processed, full of fat, and high in sodium content.

● One fast food meal contains a whopping number 1500 calories, whereas the daily dietary intake recommends 1500-1800 calories per day.
● Fast food joints actively allure customers with enticing advertisements of how delicious their food product is. While at the same time, they fail to effectively educate or communicate the health risks pertaining to regular consumption of such food products.
● The labels of food products that usually disclaim the nutritional facts are not accurately labeled. The FDA allows for a 20 percent error margin. The calorie content in food is usually underestimated. A cholesterol value of below 5 mg is usually ignored.
● Further, neither the government nor the FDA is responsible for carrying out qualitative analysis of these food products, it is left in the hands of the fast food company.


● Fast foods are there to cater to the demands of the people.

● There are many reasons that prompt the sale of fast food apart from advertising. The excessive busy lifestyle that leaves to time for anything else is perhaps one of the contributing factors.
● Economic crunch might also contribute to the sale of these products as they are usually more economical than home-cooked meals.

Many fast food joints these days, do offer many healthy and low-calorie substitutes for you to choose from.