Pesticides, Preservatives and Poisons
The more I learned about the use of pesticides, the more appalled I became. I realized that here was the material for a book. What I discovered was that everything which meant most to me as a naturalist was being threatened, and that nothing I could do would be more important.Rachel Carson – authot of Silent Spring
Why are we putting this on our site?
Why? Because we have become aware of the appalling way big business has adulterated our food. We were raised at a time when wide ranging and wholesale use of pesticides, preservatives and poisons were less common and food tasted of food, not flavour enhancers and chemicals. It was just post-WW2 and rationing had only recently been discontinued. Homes had gardens and ‘grow your own’ was a way of life to our parents; it never dawned on them not to do so. Everyone planted potatoes, beans and root crops and seed sharing was the norm.
So what happened? when did it all change? It wasn’t overnight but slowly and insidiously things did change and not for the better. Oh, back then, processed foods were hailed as time saving and preferable and our hardworking elders greeted these changes with joy along with all the time-saving devices that were becoming more readily available and affordable.
Only now, looking back, can we see the harm that was infiltrating our lives. Manufactured food slowly became more acceptable and cooking from basic ingredients became a time consuming chore. People started looking for cheaper alternatives when they shopped at the new supermarkets and the supermarkets vied with each other to acquire and retain the market share of revenue. Food became BIG business and people became used to ready-made everything. Why bother cooking when all could be bought ready to be reheated without any real effort? Easy!
That was not the end of the downward spiral though, far from it. A new way of eating was becoming fashionable… fast food from take-away food establishments. Cooking was becoming even less desirable or necessary when a different cuisine could be sampled every night. No longer was it just the local chippy providing an instant meal.
During all of this time the manufacturers were looking at ways to make our food tasty but to use cheaper ingredients and fillers so that it all looked wholesome. Clever marketing duped the population still further and advertising ran riot. There were supposed to be checks and balances to prevent misinformation and outright lies but, in the main, these failed. Money was the all important driving force and the producers – the farmers and growers – were being forced to provide more goods for less pay. In this climate of corporate greed the only option was intensification. Thus was born the perfect conditions for impoverishing our food.
In order to meet the unrealistic demands of the supermarkets, which had swept aside local small retail businesses by undercutting them at every point and on every product, farmers had to artificially enhance their crops. From here onwards nearly every commercial crop was grown using pesticides to control insect predation, chemical fertilisers to maximise yield of crop per acre, and greater mechanisation to reduce labour costs. It was a recipe for disaster and we are now reaping that harvest. Only a few dedicated and passionate growers remained true to traditional farming practices and these became the organic farmers we have today.
What no one realised was that all these pesticides and fertilisers were introducing toxins to the soil and to the crops themselves. This, in turn, introduced those toxins into us, the consumer. The intense farming methods impoverished the soil and the nutrients of the crops being grown and increased the poisons we, as a nation, ingested. To combat the lack of real taste new toxins were added to the food in the form of flavour enhancers and artificial sweeteners.
People became addicted to MSG and aspartame without even realising it. These compounds create a desire for more of the same thereby increasing the demand for them; very clever manufacturing but not very ethical or moral. By now everyone was so used to consuming these additives nobody questioned it. It took a long time for anyone to challenge the use of these additives and when they did, few understood the implications. Today we are much more aware of such things but still our Government allows these practices to continue and they are set to worsen with the relaxation of the strict rules regarding food standards following the withdrawal of the UK from Europe.
It is little wonder that illnesses like MS, ME, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Cancer have been on the increase too. Undoubtedly, many other illnesses have burgeoned as well. Scientific study of this is hard, if not impossible, to find. The ‘Powers That Be’ do not want lesser mortals to become aware of the systematic degradation and poisoning of our food and its correlation to our health as a nation.