“Improving the Health of Citizens and the Environment”
Research Question: Should the governments set standards for the food producing multinational companies to ensure the safety of its citizens and the environment? Introduction
As a necessary part of human survival, food is a human right. Small, local family farms were the bedrock of traditional rural communities and the global food security which was the ability of countries to produce the food they need to survive in a more sustainable way. Yet the global food supply is increasingly falling under the control of giant multinational corporations with policies that are not environmentally sustainable. Sustainable agriculture preserves biodiversity, maintains soil fertility and water purity, conserves and improves the chemical, physical and biological qualities of the soil, recycles natural resources and conserves energy. Furthermore, sustainable agriculture produces diverse forms of high quality foods, fibers and medicines. Likewise, this system respects the ecological principles of diversity and mutually dependent and uses the understandings of modern science to improve rather than displace the traditional wisdom accumulated over centuries by countless farmers around the world. Although the food industry encompasses all those who are involved in growing, processing, manufacturing or distributing food, from the farm to retail shops and restaurants, the threat to human health and the environment is ignored. The major problem is that there is not a sustainable agriculture system anymore with the start of the “Green Revolution” in Mexico. Sustainable agriculture is a model of social and economic organization based on an fair and participatory vision of development which recognizes the environment and natural resources as the foundation of economic activity. Agriculture is sustainable when it is ecologically sound, economically possible, culturally appropriate and based on a general scientific approach. The global corporatization of agriculture has had disastrous effects on farmers, food security, and the environment. To minimize these effects, governments of the world should set policies for the companies that produce food in order to protect their citizens’ health and for a more sustainable environment. Pesticides
Industrial Agriculture contaminates fruits, vegetables and water with pesticides. Pesticides have been known to start illnesses and contribute to the increase of deaths caused by diseases. They seep into the soil which creates contamination of the crops produced and the nearby water sources. They are a costly and a time consuming form of insecticides and herbicides to clean. They are used greatly and without proper regulation in the entire agricultural environment. Standards for toxicological and microbiological hazards, and instituting procedures and practices to ensure that the standards are met should be set. In his writings, the Andrew Kimbrell shows evidence about this problem, “Since 1989, overall pesticide use has risen by about 8 percent, or 60 million pounds”(Kimbrell 11). This article was written in 2002. At the present year, 2012, this number has undoubtedly increased. Issues here include leaching of nutrients and pesticides, water extraction and drainage and flooding. Contamination of both ground and surface waters caused by high levels of production and use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers is a serious problem, particularly in areas of livestock or specialized crop production. Agricultural practices have been found to contribute to non-point source water pollutants that include: sediments, fertilizers (nitrates and phosphorus), pesticides, and manures. Pesticides from every chemical class have been detected in groundwater and are commonly found in groundwater beneath agricultural areas which are widespread in surface waters. These reduce the water quality which impacts agricultural production, drinking...