Essay: Food Choices

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Food Choices

Food politics:

Would you like a side order of pesticides with that chicken parmesan?

Food politics:

Would you like a side order of pesticides with that chicken parmesan?

Protein: Chicken

Chicken is often thought of as 'the healthy alternative' to beef and pork, presumably because of its lower fat content, particularly its breast meat. However, the ways that chickens are raised in conventional factory farming is arguably even more inhumane than cows or pigs. The chickens have been bred "to grow so rapidly" that their "legs can collapse under the weight" of their "ballooning" breasts because of the demand for white meat by American consumers (Williams 2010). Birds are kept in such close quarters their beaks and claws must be clipped or amputated, to prevent self-harm or harming other birds. Chickens are forced to live in dim lighting, denied the ability to engage in normal resting or roosting behavior (Williams 2010). Birds are fed antibiotics to make them more easily digest the foods they are fed and given hormones to speed growth. When slaughtered, birds have high levels of stress hormones, due to rough handling and being unaccustomed to being handled by humans for most of their lives.

Organically-raised chickens, according to law, must not be fed with chicken feed grown with conventional chemical pesticides, antibiotics, or growth hormones, or bioengineered materials. Organic farms must be inspected to make sure that they meet USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) standards. But in terms of the way chickens are raised, ethically speaking, techniques may vary. Some small farms use traditional raising methods, giving chickens free access to peck, move, and do not tamper with their natural behaviors. But regarding official U.S. organic standards the only regulations for poultry raised for slaughter or eggs is that "the birds are uncaged inside barns or warehouses, and are required to have outdoor access" and having their beaks clipped is acceptable (Speier 2009). Some small farms advertise that their chickens are humanely as well as organically raised.

Produce: Tomatoes

Organic produce must be grown without conventional pesticides or fertilizers and must be certified as organic by the USDA. Conventionally grown tomatoes, even when washed, clearly have "remnants of pesticides" on the surface (Foreman 2008:1). However, while the long-term effects… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Food Choices.  (2011, February 10).  Retrieved August 18, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Food Choices."  10 February 2011.  Web.  18 August 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Food Choices."  February 10, 2011.  Accessed August 18, 2019.