U.S. Livestock and Poultry Feed Use and Availability: Background and Emerging Issues

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It could be argued that healthier foods do not need as much subsidizing but that would not explain the increase in excessive meat consumption in recent decades, while subsidies have helped make those unhealthier options become cheaper:. Side Note Note, the source for the above chart used a pyramid chart as an analogy to a food pyramid. However, pyramid charts are often segmented like stacked bar charts, based on height proportion. But a pyramid adds an additional visual dimension such as area 2D or volume 3D that should affect the segment size but often does not, so it can sometimes exaggerate, often unintentionally even Microsoft Excel and other office suites do this.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in the above article also note that the US government purchases surplus foods like cheese, milk, pork, and beef for distribution to food assistance programs—including school lunches. The government is not required to purchase nutritious foods. Despite some recent attempts to address this politics doomed the reform effort as politicians were afraid of losing seats in farm states. Addressing health and environmental costs would appear to put a government at odds with itself!

For years many governments have been under pressure to reduce health and other such expenditures. Individuals are typically blamed by industry unsurprisingly and sometimes by government for the increase in obesity framing it as mostly an individual choice issue, rarely admitting the distortions caused by decades of government and their own lobbying for such policies that makes the cost of healthy eating more expensive, as shown by the New York Times :.

As mentioned on the obesity section of this web site , industry also raises the fear of job losses or competition pressures as reasons not to change anything, while also saying that it is individual responsibility regarding diet knowing they can challenge a threat to their growth with advertising, marketing, PR campaigns and government lobbying.

Recent notions to tax individuals when purchasing unhealthy foods, in this context, misses the point; there is already a form of taxation, or government intervention that creates and encourages an unhealthy outcome with distorted prices, which all individuals already pay for.

USDA ERS - Cattle & Beef

Addressing that imbalance means individuals can not only avoid paying additional taxes for unhealthy foods, but their choices are likely to be governed by better information and prices — information and price signals that markets would take into account in a more balanced way if those harmful subsidies are not there. Or, if governments have the courage, they could remove existing subsidies but direct some or all, or more?

The environment may benefit from agriculture policies that are less intensive and livestock oriented. Additional benefits may include reduced health burdens and expenditure — which governments are already being pressured on — as well as allowing health services to concentrate on other important issues.

This may be an example where economic measurement of growth and GNP may not necessarily reflect actual aims and health of society.

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He also gives a hint to what could be considered a costly way to deal with this all:. Instead of focusing on the primary causes of meat contamination—the feed being given to cattle, the overcrowding at feedlots, the poor sanitation at slaughterhouses, excessive line speeds, poorly trained workers, the lack of stringent government oversight—the meatpacking industry and the USDA are now advocating an exotic technological solution to the problem of foodborne pathogens. The meatpacking industry is also working hard to get rid of the word 'irradiation,' much preferring the phrase 'cold pasteurization.

Hence without addressing some of the root causes of a lot of public health problems, more resources are spent dealing with the impacts of outbreaks of things like E.

Coli and other pathogens. Nationwide recalls of meat products can also affect those who sell and distribute, and require use of more resources. Children and adults can suffer terribly, even die from such poisoning, to which no financial cost can be attributable. While radiation may be a good fix, the additional problems of wasteful use of resources, etc cannot be treated. The powerful myth that industrial food is cheap and affordable only survives because all of these environmental, health, and social costs are not added to the price of industrial food.

When we calculate the real price, it is clear that far from being cheap, our current food production system is imposing staggering monetary burdens on us and future generations.

The British newspaper, The Guardian also reveals the extent to which companies will exert influence and political power:. The food industry has infiltrated the World Health Organisation, just as the tobacco industry did, and succeeded in exerting undue influence over policies intended to safeguard public health by limiting the amount of fat, sugar and salt we consume, according to a confidential report obtained by the Guardian. The easy movement of experts—toxicologists in particular—between private firms, universities, tobacco and food industries and international agencies creates the conditions for conflict of interest, says the report by Norbert Hirschhorn, a Connecticut-based public health academic who searched archives set up during litigation in the US for references to food companies owned or linked to the tobacco industry.

This does indeed happen in perhaps all industries, whereby those in a position to wield their influence and power will understandably try to do so. And with fatty foods more generally, the issues involved are numerous, more than just health issues, but matters of politics, economics, and culture, and how our tastes are influenced and shaped over time:. Many issues are bundled in the politics of fat: government responsibility versus individual responsibility; free enterprise versus government regulation; industrial profit versus public health.

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Yet there is more to the fat issue than is suggested by these pre-digested media reductions…. But food preferences are so personal and so emotionally charged that they are highly resistant to rational arguments about change. Dietary choices are developed from early childhood through cultural, regional, ethnic, familial and commercial influences…. The balance of influences on our dietary choices has changed dramatically over the last two centuries.

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Regional, cultural, ethnic and familial influences on diet faded as all regional and ethnic preferences were homogenized by the universal presence of fast food franchises. Moreover, modern parents, who were raised on television, supermarket shopping, and convenience foods pass on to their children the food preferences that they developed under these commercial influences. Eating cereal for breakfast, for example, is a manufactured food tradition created by industry and the media…. The opponents of lawsuits against the fast food industry argue that everyone knows that McDonalds and Burger King sell high-fat foods and that those who eat these foods do so by their own free choice.

Yet, knowledge alone is not enough to combat the power of life-long exposure to the media and to the omnipresence of fast food franchises and convenience foods. Partially hydrogenated oils have been used in American food manufacture since the s—time for several generations of Americans to incorporate trans fats into their everyday diet and to normalize the consumption of hundreds of foods containing trans fats. Precisely because food preferences are formed over time and are deeply ingrained in our lifestyle, it is difficult for people to change their dietary habits, even when it is revealed that some ingredients in these foods are unhealthy or dangerous.

What is really at stake in the politics of fat is the extent to which government should restrict corporate and media influences on the American diet. There is no choice for consumers when every street corner and highway is crowded with fast food franchises and no healthy alternatives are available. There is no possibility of informed consumer decisions, when saturation advertising entirely overwhelms the cautionary messages of doctors and health professionals.

Only the food manufacturers have the resources and the media access to balance their own marketing and distribution power with cautionary labels and informational campaigns. Only economic pressure can force food manufacturers to eliminate their use of trans fats and other dangerous ingredients, especially in foods that are aggressively marketed to children. Playing on the theme of the hit film, The Matrix , the Meatrix web site includes an animation describing how agribusiness in general, not just for beef, has led to.

Beef and the related industries therefore, provides a vivid example of how our tastes are influenced, as well as giving an indication of the enormous input and output costs that are associated with it, while the reasons for those who are so influential in this area are typically in making a profit. More information about this report can be viewed below. People and organizations associated with either the creation of this report or its content. Serving as both a federal and a state depository library, the UNT Libraries Government Documents Department maintains millions of items in a variety of formats.

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Dates and time periods associated with this report. You Are Here: home unt libraries government documents department this report. Showing of 31 pages in this report. Creation Information Creator: Unknown. Findings emphasize that current animal feeding practices can result in the presence of bacteria, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, prions, arsenicals, and dioxins in feed and animal-based food products.

Animal production | FAO | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Despite a range of potential human health impacts that could ensue, there are significant data gaps that prevent comprehensive assessments of human health risks associated with animal feed. Increased funding for integrated veterinary and human health surveillance systems and increased collaboration among feed professionals, animal producers, and veterinary and public health officials is necessary to effectively address these issues.

Animal-based food products derived from cattle, swine, sheep, poultry, and farmed fish constitute a significant portion of the current U. In , the U. Data from animal-production researchers demonstrate that the quality of these products is directly related to animal feeding practices Capucille et al. Therefore, given the high consumption of animal-based food products in the United States, the ingredients used in animal feed are fundamentally important in terms of both the quality of the resulting food products and the potential human health impacts associated with the animal-based food-production chain.

In the early s, animals produced for food in the United States were raised on small family farms where cows predominantly grazed on pasture and young chickens were fed primarily a corn-based diet Erf However, in the past 60 years, farms and animal feed formulations have undergone significant changes.

Animal production | FAO | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Small family-owned and -operated farms have been replaced almost entirely by a system of large-scale operations where individual farmers contract with vertically integrated corporations. High rates of food production have been achieved through these systems in which the scale of operations requires the high throughput generation of animals for processing. Animals are raised in confinement and fed defined feeds that are formulated to increase growth rates and feed-conversion efficiencies.

These present day animal feeds contain mixtures of plant-based products, as well as other ingredients ranging from rendered animals and animal waste to antibiotics and organoarsenicals. The inclusion of these ingredients in animal feeds can result in the presence of a range of biological, chemical, and other etiologic agents in feed that can affect the quality and safety of animal-based food products and pose potential risks to human health. Since December , when the first U.