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Globalization of Food Supply

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Globalization of Food Supply

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  • October 1, 2013
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Who knew that the food you bought at the grocery store down the street was an international smorgasbord with a huge carbon footprint? Such is the case for the meal described in this unit’s assignment. Between growing, packaging, shipping, and marketing foods to our nation, the globalization of our food supply has no limits, but potentially dire consequences. The food items in question come from a variety of places and were processed and packaged in numerous ways. At my local chain grocery store, Ralph’s, most of the beef comes from factory farms in the Midwest, primarily from a vendor called Nebraska Beef, Ltd. (Luna, 2008). Nebraska is over 1,500mi away, so the beef travels a great distance and uses much fuel to get to consumers’ tables. In addition to the fuel cost, some of the mid-grade quality steaks are packaged in Styrofoam and cellophane, both of which contribute to the product’s carbon footprint since these materials use some form of petroleum. There are local cattle farms only about 25mi away from my city, so the alternative to chain-grocery steak is to seek out steaks produced from these farms. These locally-raised steaks are available at our downtown farmer’s market, and in small grocery stores within the city in which the cattle is raised…but nowhere else. Personally, I am a pescetarian and have been for seven and a half years now, so I choose to eat different protein altogether as an alternative to steak. As for the jasmine rice, there are few U.S. manufacturers who produce this product, therefore the rice must come all the way here from Thailand. Because Thailand is also thousands of miles away, the rice is expensive due to fuel and handling costs. The main concern with growing rice is the levels of arsenic found in it, however both CA and Thailand-grown rice have been found to have lower levels than rice grown in other areas (Eng, 2012). It seems illogical to ship rice to the states from another country when CA is one of the leading growers of...