I came across an article from The Guardian this morning that, unbelievably, still managed to make my jaw hit the deck - even amid a world regularly fringing on lunacy. You can check it out here. The rest of what I have to say will make a lot more sense if you do.
The piece by Maryn McKenna is from last year, but as I say, I've only just encountered it. Which possibly says something in itself: as everybody should probably know about this. I'm pretty sure they don't. They're likely to know Ant and Dec won best presenters at the recent National Television Awards for the seventeenth time, but not that Brexit could potentially bring with it chickens that wipe out humanity.
Holy shit. And I thought chicken was the 'healthy option'.
I didn't know any of this. Yes, I knew American food was generally bland, stodgy, and pumped full of chemicals to make it mutant-sized; I've spent a fair bit of time in the U.S, and even if we put aside the veritable horror stories that are our Yankee cousins' notion of things like bread and chocolate (I have never tasted anything as disgusting in my life as Hershey's), I also remember the first time I encountered their bizarre, warped 'puffy' fruit. I remember chowing down on an apple the size of a very large male adult fist, which somehow didn't feel particularly healthy to be eating, even to someone who generally eats crap back here at home in the UK. As for the bananas, they looked like they could possibly be used to bludgeon someone.
So much of the food I encountered in the U.S didn't 'feel right'. A problem I never really encountered in Europe, or elsewhere in the world. However, the rabbit hole goes far deeper.
The biggest threat to humankind's existence other than climate change, is antibiotic resistance. And apparently it is literally being invited through mass produced food. More specifically, in America, chicken. It's a ticking time bomb (or rather, a clucking one). And now developing nations are hopping aboard the drugged-chicken-gravy-train too.
As for the fact this is being done in America to a mass-produced food that is... how can I put this delicately... stereotyped as being quite popular with the poor and certain oppressed ethnicities? Ethnicities that America doesn't have a great history of looking after so well? However you spin it, the bottom line is that people/groups who've been overexposed to antibiotics in cheap mass produced food will be the first wiped out, if and when a super-bug arrives.
Doesn't look good, does it?
In fairness, it should probably be mentioned, some U.S companies have bowed to pressure from consumer watch groups, agreeing to stop using antibiotics in their chicken, like McDonalds. KFC and other larger fast food chains are also following suit. However, domestic food sold in supermarkets is not quite as under the microscope.
Also note the American author starts off the whole piece by comparing these U.S 'mutant' chickens to those found on a French market place.
"I had eaten chicken all my life: in my grandmother’s kitchen in Brooklyn, in my parents’ house in Houston, in a college dining hall, friends’ apartments, restaurants and fast food places, trendy bars in cities and old-school joints on back roads in the south. I thought I roasted a chicken pretty well myself. But none of them were ever like this, mineral and lush and direct."
McKenna speaks of what real, authentic, chemically un-enhanced chicken tastes like by comparison, and how she finally enjoyed flavours denied to her in her native America: land of the mass-produced. You see, the E.U do things a little differently to the U.S - they generally try to protect their citizens. They look out for them. For example, they don't unethically poison them (or risk wiping out humanity) just to increase the profits and turnover of large greedy corporations.
Ah, you've gotta love capitalism.
So basically, rich Americans are selling mostly poor Americans stuff that could eventually kill us all. And then are using the exuberant proceeds they've earned from doing so to live the life of Riley. (And, one would imagine, to buy posher food not laced with chemicals.) If it was someone selling cheap knock-off Rolexes en mass, and using the proceeds to buy proper ones for themselves, no doubt the law would intercede; but when it concerns the future of the whole human race, well... it's apparently not worth the time and effort.
Today's capitalists care nothing for the future of humanity. That seems to be the era we're in. Like they've done a deal with the devil, and simply decided: "the whole world is screwed, we're on borrowed time, so WE might as well all get as rich and fleece it while we can, fuck everyone else". And really, no group or government in any modern Western society represents that attitude as much as Trump's America, or indeed Brexit Britain under the Tories.
What a wondrous tag-team they are.
Brexit means breakfast (a really bad one)
There are so many aspects of Britain's departure from the E.U that sadden me; the list is endless. But as a man who enjoys his food, who was born and grew up in a Britain that enjoyed easy and cost effective access to fresh produce from across the European continent for nearly forty years, this aspect of what Brexit will do to our availability/price of staple foods really depresses me. And even worse, that Britain seems desperate to plug that trade gap of 40+ years with closer U.S trade. Eg: the one country in the world with lower food standards than just about anywhere, where any Martin Shkreli dip-shit can pump it full of turpentine if he's greased the right people in congress.
Britain is selling its soul for corporate greed. (Ironically, the one thing Brexit was supposedly an antidote to.) Swapping European pragmatism and cooperation to become the 51st state: under a mad orange orangutan who'd sell his own Nan to the highest bidder. It just makes no sense to me.
I've teased my American friends about their crap, bland food for many years; joked how eating too much of it might cause one to 'grow gills', or maybe just additional nipples. Well, thanks to Brexit, British families might soon get to put my theory to the test.