ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Food and Cooking»
  • Farms & Farming

Do You Know What You Are Eating

Updated on July 8, 2011

Do you know what you are eating?

Industrial Agriculture has replaced the family farm. Most Americans have the picture of a cow in the field eating grass and lying in the shade of a tree. Industrial Agriculture has replaced this with crowded animal factories called confined animal feeding operations. These animal factories are profit centers for large corporations and to make a profit costs need to be held down. To shave costs animal feed has been redefined without regard for the animal or the consumer.

The animals confined to these factories are fed same species meat, diseased animals, feathers, hair, skin, hoofs, and blood, Manure and other animal waste, plastics, drugs and chemicals, and unhealthy amounts of grain. These ingredients are legal. Not necessarily healthy but legal.

Same Species Meat and Diseased Animals

Same species meat is exactly what it sounds like cows eat rendered cattle, hogs eat rendered hogs, chicken eat rendered chicken and turkeys eat rendered turkeys. Rendered is an industrial term for a process in which animal carcasses, parts and other wastes are ground up and further processes to make animal feed ingredients, bone meal, feather meal, blood meal and other rendered products.

Remember mad cow disease? Feeding rendered cows to factory cows raised concern for spreading the disease. Since the mad cow scare, the United States government has restricted the parts of a cow that can be rendered and fed to cattle. However, hogs, chickens and turkeys that have been fed rendered cows can be rendered and fed back to cows. This loophole could spread the disease.

Animal feed can also contain rendered road kill, horses, and euthanized cats and dogs. Feathers, hair, hoofs, intestine, skin and blood can be rendered and included in feed as “animal protein products”.

Manure and Animal Waste

Animal waste used for food is allowed to contain sand, rocks, dirt, wood and other such things. It may also contain cattle manure, poultry litter and swine waste which may contain antibiotics and hormones that have passed through the animal.

Cows fed chicken litter may also be eating rendered cow because of the digested and spilled chicken feed which contains rendered cow parts, another way to spread disease.


Animal factories use pellets made of plastic to replace the fiber that factory feed lacks. Animals need roughage (fiber) to move the feed through their digestive system.

Drugs and Chemicals

Animals raised in humane conditions rarely need medication. Animals raised in animal factories live in crowed, stressful, unsanitary conditions. To compensate corporations use 13.5 million pounds of antibiotics every year, the same class of antibiotics used by humans. This overuse of antibiotics increases the likelihood of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Have you been to a hospital lately? Have you heard of staph infection or MRSA?

Some antimicrobials used on poultry contain arsenic, a carcinogen in humans. Arsenic is found in meat and water supplies near factory farms.

Unhealthy Amounts of Grain

Cattle are grass eaters. The amount of grain fed to cattle in factory farms is unhealthy for them. They suffer acidic digestive systems, liver abscesses and other health problems requiring drugs for treatment.

What You Can Do

Buy grass fed beef and pasture raised pork and poultry. Also free range products.

Buy locally from a farmer or butcher you know. There are still a few cows raised in the field.

Buy organic products which are clearly labeled as using vegetarian animal feed.

Raise your own food.

This information was found on the website, Union of Concerned Scientist. ( I give full credit to them. It is a good example of how far corporations will go to make a profit. In Washington DC legislators are meeting on the 2012 Farm Bill. You may want to ask what they are going to do about this situation.

Just imagine what type of food we are getting from others countries.

I knew that this was going on but did not realize the effect it was having on our food supply. There are restaurants such as the Chipotle Grill that use food raised in sustainable way without antibiotics and hormones. You and your family will be healthier if you pay attention to what you feed them. I already go the local farmers market but I am going to check them out now that I know a little more. I may be growing more of my own vegetables in the future. I don’t have a place big enough for a cow. Eat Healthy!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • GNelson profile image

      GNelson 6 years ago from Florida

      tubergenp, good choice.

    • profile image

      tubergenp 6 years ago

      You are right about the corporations. It just goes to show you what is important(to some): health and conscience or MONEY. Take your pick; I pick the second for those who are in control.

    • GNelson profile image

      GNelson 6 years ago from Florida

      tubergenp, It is amazing what corporations will do for a profit.

    • profile image

      tubergenp 6 years ago

      GNelson, one does not really know is safe to eat anymore. You would think that because we are so modernized that we would produce foods that are safer for us not more harmful. I think I will do more research on the matter.

    • chefsref profile image

      Lee Raynor 6 years ago from Citra Florida

      Hey GNelson

      We are on the same page with this issue. Big Agribusiness is a disgrace and what we eat may end up being harmful to our long term health. Come check my stuff out, I have a few hubs on similar issues

      Excellent hub, voted up and a new follower!

    • GNelson profile image

      GNelson 6 years ago from Florida

      BobbiRant, I don't know if I can do a vegetarian diet but it made me think. I don't know where my food comes from....

    • BobbiRant profile image

      BobbiRant 6 years ago from New York

      I was a vegetarian for a long time, eating mostly only foods from my own garden. This makes me think I need to return to those days. I love local produce. Great hub.

    • GNelson profile image

      GNelson 6 years ago from Florida

      tubergenp, Yes we should pay attention to what the corporations are doing.

    • profile image

      tubergenp 6 years ago

      GNelson, this is some scary information which could make many people retink what they eat.

    • GNelson profile image

      GNelson 6 years ago from Florida

      StarCreate, Good for you. I can't say that about myself.

    • StarCreate profile image

      StarCreate 6 years ago from Spain

      All good reasons why I have not eaten meat in over a decade!

    • GNelson profile image

      GNelson 6 years ago from Florida

      Peter, I least you know the source of your food. In America the average distance that food travels before in hits a plate is 1000 miles. We get genetically engineered chicken from China. We need some of the food you are getting, grown locally.

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image

      PETER LUMETTA 6 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      GNelson, a good look at what we eat that we don't know or don't want to know about. You speak of what we get from other countries, probably a lot healthier food. I live in Thailand and we get fresh food daily in a city of 8 million. when we leave the city we get fresh grown food from the small plots of land that everyone has. My wifes mother grows our rice and chilis and has two cows I bought. And a lot more, so foreign foods may be a lot healthier than our factory farm foods. Peter