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Capizzi 1 The Ever-Changing Food Industry: From Farming to Frozen and Back Again Somewhere between the years

11,000 and 9,500 B.C., the first grain farming is said to have started by accident. Quickly following suit, the idea of agriculture spread like wildfire across areas such as Jericho, Catal Hyk (modern day Turkey), India, and China (Koster). Food has proved a vital component in the survival and development of mankind, and has evolved greatly throughout the years. Simple, wholesome methods such as hunting-gathering quickly became agriculture: farming and raising animals. Fast forward about 13,000 years to todays modern-food world, where a BigMac is often considered a sufficient dinner and children are being sent to school with nothing but a Lunchables. Supermarkets are lined with aisles of premade, preservative filled packaged and frozen meals and snacks, and nothing seems to be made with real ingredients anymore. In todays modern food culture, a majority of consumers blindly reach at supermarket shelves without considering what chemicals they may be ingesting. Taking time to thoroughly examine ingredient labels is a foreign concept to many; and even if attempted, half of the materials listed are typically unpronounceable. However, within the past forty years, a very distinct shift in thinking has become evident. Amidst the junk foods, fat frees, and unnaturally plump tomatoes, a new trend is appearing on supermarket shelves: the novel idea of all natural. Now practically every company plasters their boxes with the words no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, no additives, all natural, or USDA Organic. Why then, all of a sudden, are we reverting back to the early days of food production? Why, after all the effort of learning how to extend shelf life and make food more convenient, are people looking for real, wholesome food that actually comes from the ground? In analyzing the history of the changing food industry, there is clear evidence of a shift from wholesome agriculture to a

Capizzi 2 packaged, frozen, and fast-food culture, and evidence of another shift back to the all-natural, simple basics. Agriculture has always been mankinds main source of sustenance, but throughout the years has shifted from locally grown and sold at farmers markets to machine-run and mass produced. Farmers once grew to support their families, now farmers are producing food for hundreds of companies and millions of mouths. Because of this, they have had to cut corners to save money and lose as little produce as possible. Since the 1800s, agriculture has been tainted by herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), hormones, and unethical procedures in an effort to maximize production while minimizing costs. As Earl Butz, President Richard M. Nixon's Secretary of Agriculture, put it, Adapt or die, resist and perish agriculture is now big business (Katel). And adapting to big business is exactly what farmers did; unfortunately, as business grew, the more they needed to produce to maintain a livable income, and thus the more dependent they became on yield-boosting chemicals. For example, in order to fight against the Colorado potato beetle that was destroying crop, the first insecticide, Paris Green, was created in 1867. What is lesser known, however, is that this chemical was arsenic-based (Koch). In short: your food can kill you. Over the years, there has been an adverse reaction to these chemicals, but despite many advancements and improvements in this area, sales of chemical pesticides still top $5 billion a year (Katel). In addition to modified and chemically-ridden crops, the age of convenient, frozen meals arrived in the early 20th century, creating food that was even further away from the original product. The act of freezing foods as a means of preservation is a practice that has deep historical roots:

Capizzi 3 The first to harness the power of freezing foods beyond the winter months were the Chinese, who used ice cellars as early as 1000 B.C. The Greeks and Romans stored compressed snow in insulated cellars, and the Egyptians and Indians discovered that rapid evaporation through the porous walls of clay vessels produced ice crystals in the water inside the vessels (NFRA). The process of freezing has come a long way since then, and in the early 1900s, the first refrigerators were invented and sold by companies like Kelvinator and Servel, although mass production didn't start until after the end of World War II (Guide2Freezers). Clarence Birdseye and his American company finally made frozen foods a practical reality in 1924 (The Library of Congress). The industry faced a plethora of consumer resistance at first because retailers were unwilling to buy refrigerated display cases for the new products; and if it werent for World War II during the 1940s, frozen foods might have died out all together. The U.S. government placed controls on tin cans in an effort to conserve the vital metal which opened the door for frozens, which used less crucial materials such as paperboard, waxed paper and cellophane. The frozen food industry continued to flourish with the introduction of the TV Dinner in the 50s, and the diet craze of the 60s which birthed products such as Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers (NFRA). Its not surprising, however, that frozen dinners are on Jonathan Bensons list of Nine Foods You Should Never Eat Again. He says, they are loaded with preservatives, processed salt, hydrogenated oils and other artificial ingredients, not to mention the fact that most frozen meals have been heavily pre-cooked, rendering their nutrient content minimal at best (especially after getting microwaved again at home). In the same way and around the same time, the United States was experiencing the boom of the fast food industry. Fast food's hassle-

Capizzi 4 free quickness is winning consumers away from intricately prepared meals in which fine food is savored. In a 1988 Consumer Reports survey, three of five respondents said they went to fastfood restaurants to get in and out quickly rather than for quality (Clark). The introduction of fast food chains came at an ideal time when the typical, leisure lifestyle was turning into a race toward a finish line that will never be reached. The mindset is no longer, oh, I have time but rather, it has to be done right now! and my kids have practice and games every night this week! The addition of convenient foods only catered to the rapid development of these full speed, frantic days. At the time these enhancements were created, there was no initial backlash due to convenience and lack of knowledge. No one questioned the use of pesticides since they kept the bugs off of crops and produced a nicer looking yield. In addition, frozen dinners and fast food were a great addition to societys fast-paced lifestyle. However in the past forty years, more and more people have become aware of the frightening truth about the foods that they were ingesting. It is said that todays organic movement was a result of the backlash to the agricultural community over its use of the pesticide DDT (organochlorine insecticide) (Koch). The National Pesticide Information Center created a fact sheet about DDT stating that the product was canceled in 1972 by the EPA and that it is toxic to wildlife and that People excessively exposed to DDT while working with the chemical or accidental exposure report a prickling sensation of the mouth, nausea, dizziness, confusion, headache, lethargy, incoordination, vomiting, fatigue, tremors in the extremities, anorexia, anemia, muscular weakness, hyperexcitability, anxiety, and nervous tension (NPIC). Needless to say, people had a right to be concerned.

Capizzi 5 Health concerns have proven to be another reason for a shift back to a simpler, healthier way of food production. After the first Earth Day in 1970, small groups of Americans returned to pesticide-free farming. Although they first produced just enough for themselves, others developed an appreciation for organic food, and the demand grew. Health-food stores sprouted up, often in college towns. However, as environmental consciousness grew, health food and other natural products trickled into mainstream outlets (Katel). It was evident that Americans were quickly acquiring a taste for nutrition. National Restaurant Association polls in 1989 found that nearly 70 percent of Americans worried about nutrition, up from 62 percent in 1986 (Clark). Nutritionists have long complained that fast food contains too much fat, sodium, sugar and calories, and many fast-food companies have begun posting nutritional information in stores. Medical experts have warned eaters to go easy with these dietary bugaboos because, as a fast-food eating guide published by the Washington-based Center for Science in the Public Interest noted, they promote obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and probably cancer of the colon, breast and prostate (Clark). Two major health issues plaguing modern day America are cancer and obesity. These diseases have caused many citizens to change their entire lifestyles in an effort to help self-cure. These problems have caught national attention, such as First Lady Michelle Obama joining in the fight against childhood obesity and advocating for healthier living. Today, even fast food chains are catching the health bug. An industry that has long been derided for its greasy foods and low-skill, low-paying jobs, now scrambles to attract customers with new products that are still convenient and tasty, but that appeal to the wave of heath seekers in an effort to hold onto business.

Capizzi 6 Aside from farmers and chains attempting to curb their ways in order to appeal to the changing society, individuals are beginning to alter their ways of shopping and eating as well. Eating awareness, health and well being are important topics nowadays. By purchasing organic food they are easing their conscience; not only is the food good for them, it has also been produced in more ethical ways (Jaff). It is also evident that there is a growing demand for a return to simplicity. Consumers are opting for more simple produce, often times locally grown, in an attempt to revert back to the good life, before the use of mechanization and chemicals. People are also becoming more wary of allergies and sensitivities to certain ingredients and additives. The food industry has seen a huge push towards free from foods and many food companies are catching on to this. Products now need to contain buzzwords such as gluten free, dairy free, wheat free, etc. The growing demand for healthier products not only affects the food industry, it also has an impact on the beverage industry. Consumers are asking for flavorful drinks with less sugar and artificial colors and flavors. This demand has spurred new laws to stop drinks companies from branding their products in erroneous ways and making misleading claims about the drinks ingredients (Jaff). It is sometimes difficult to tell which labels are honest and which are deceptive but consumers are hoping that laws such as these will increase the integrity of companies. The ever changing food industry has taken some major strides in the past few centuries. It seems as if society has come full circle in its food production demands: what started out as simple farming - nothing fake or harmful added - quickly evolved to the addition of pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified organisms, and hormones, among others. As the years progressed, the country also witnessed the invention of frozen foods and the boom of the fast

Capizzi 7 food industry. However, although it seems as if this health craze just recently began, citizens have been raising their voices about healthier and more ethical food productions since the 70s. From the individual standpoint, there has been a demand for more organic, all natural, and additive free products. And with this growing demand, companies and fast food restaurants have no choice but to comply with their consumers. Nowadays with the internet, media, and various literature, there is well-known and ever growing knowledge on the topic of health and wellness and the effects of food on our bodies - and with the First Lady as an advocate, it has to be important. People are finally beginning to get it. What you put into your body is what your body is going to give back to you. You are what you eat, so dont be fast, cheap, easy or fake.

Capizzi 8 Works Cited Clark, Charles S. Fast-Food Shake-Up. CQ Researcher 8 Nov. 1991: 823-48. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. Benson, Jonathan. "Nine Foods You Should Never Eat Again." Shift Frequency. Natural News. 26 Dec. 2013. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. <http://www.shiftfrequency.com/jonathan-bensonnine-foods-you-should-never-eat-again/>. DDT Technical Fact Sheet. National Pesticide Information Center. Oregon State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. <http://npic.orst.edu/ factsheets/ddttech.pdf>. Greene, Alan, M.D. "Why Going Organic Matters For Your Family." The Dr. Oz Show. 3 Oct. 2012. Web. 24 Oct. 2013. <http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/why-going-organic-mattersyour-family>. "History of Frozen Foods Is Long and Varied." NFRA. National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association, 14 May 2009. Web. 23 Oct. 2013. <http://www.nfraweb.org/resources/ articles/details.aspx?ArticleId=18>. "How Freezers Work." Guide2Freezers. 2013. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. <http:// www.guide2freezers.com/using-your-freezer/how-freezers-work.aspx>. Koch, Kathy. Food Safety Battle: Organic Vs. Biotech. CQ Researcher 4 Sept. 1998: 761-84. Web. 23 Oct. 2013. Koster, John. "The First Farmers: Older Than You Think." Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, n.d. Web. 03 Nov. 2013. <http://www.mofga.org/Publications/ MaineOrganicFarmerGardener/Spring2011/FirstFarmers/tabid/1862/Default.aspx>.

Capizzi 9 Jaff, Jeremy. "Back To The Future." Food Chain. Schofield Publishing Ltd, 5 Mar. 2012. Web. 23 Oct. 2013. <http://www.foodchain-magazine.com/article-page.php contentid=15463&issueid=447>. Martin, Carley. "Nutrition in a Nutshell." Consider It All Joy. 5 June 2013. Web. 23 Oct. 2013. <http://consideritalljoy.com/2013/06/05/nutrition-in-a-nutshell/>. "The Fast-Food Industry and How It Was Built." Web. 25 Oct. 2013. <http:// www.socialistalternative.org/publications/fastfood/ch2.html>. Weeks, Jennifer. Factory Farms. CQ Researcher 12 Jan. 2007: 25-48. Web. 23 Oct. 2013. "Who Invented Frozen Food?" Everyday Mysteries. The Library of Congress, 23 Aug. 2010. Web. 07 Nov. 2013. <http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/frozenfood.html>.