Saturday, November 29, 2008

Which Came First? The Chicken or the Meds?

Marketing and advertising are evil genius. You've seen the ads: "Got Milk?", "High fructose corn syrup is fine in moderation", and "Tyson chickens are raised with no antibiotics". Many Americans didn't grow up on a farm. We haven't the slightest clue about what it takes to raise poultry, livestock, and crops in quantities large enough to feed our communities and be sustained financially when doing so. Ever wonder how it is possible that food manufacturers can grow to become billion-dollar corporations while the average independent farmer is struggling?

Consider the following article excerpt from The Farmer entitled "The Farm is the Engine of Our National Life" by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu'min Muhammad of Muhammad Farms in Georgia (

"Minister Farrakhan told me to tell you that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, "The farm is the engine of our national life." The engine of our nation is what pushes the nation forward. Without the farm we are lost. Without agriculture we have nothing. Because of the bad treatment under slavery and under the sharecropping system, our elders left the land seeking a better life in the cities. They left with a bad taste in their mouth, so that when schemes were fashioned to take the land from them, they did not put up a real fight. They took the little money and let the land go. The national life includes food, clothing and shelter. You can get all of these, if you have the land. However, most of the countries in Africa import their food from their former colonial or slave master. No nation can truly be free with its mouth in the kitchen of their former colonial masters. We need the land not only for economic development and wealth, but our very health depends on it. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad gave us the "Economic Blueprint" in Message to the Black Man, and he gave us a pattern to sustain our lives in "How to Eat to Live". America has forced many of us off the land. America is now forcing many countries to destroy their seed and buy seed from American companies. Why? As the value of money goes down platinum, gold and silver go up. But these minerals are just a means of exchange. You can not eat, wear, live in or ride platinum, gold or silver. You must exchange these items for the land and the means of extracting and processing the raw materials from the land to make the items of necessity. Real value rests in land, seeds, clay and trees. Since our elders never got the real value for their work on the land, we have now lost respect for the land. Where will you work and live tomorrow? What are you doing to insure your future or do you still think that America will find a way for you?"

The point that I am making here is that our dependence on big business forces us to buy their products and trust that the quality will sustain our levels of nutrition and overall health. We have basically placed our lives in in the hands of businessmen whose goal is to MAKE MONEY. So, it should not surprise any of us that a few corners might be cut here and there to add a few more dollars to the bottom line. In the meantime, the independent farmer cannot compete price wise with mass-producers and are subject to greater losses due to drought, natural disasters, and the struggling economy. Why? Because they choose to grow foods and raise animals naturally "as Mother Nature intended".

Let's take a look at a story written by David Gutierrez about Tyson chicken and their claim that their chickens have no added antibiotics. This article can be found in its entirety at

"(NaturalNews) Tyson Foods, the world's largest meat processor and the second largest chicken producer in the United States, has admitted that it injects its chickens with antibiotics before they hatch, but labels them as raised without antibiotics anyway. In response, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) told Tyson to stop using the antibiotic-free label. The company has sued over its right to keep using it. The controversy over Tyson's antibiotic-free label began in summer 2007, when the company began a massive advertising campaign to tout its chicken as "raised without antibiotics." Already, Tyson has spent tens of millions of dollars this year to date in continuing this campaign. Poultry farmers regularly treat chickens and other birds with antibiotics to prevent the development of intestinal infections that might reduce the weight (and profitability) of the birds. Yet scientists have become increasingly concerned that the routine use of antibiotics in animal agriculture may accelerate the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that could lead to a pandemic or other health crisis."

Wow. And that's not all that is in your chicken. Dr. Joseph Mercola writes(

"If you really want to be sure your food is healthy and safe, you might want to try avoiding grocery stores altogether, as conventionally-raised livestock, including chickens, are not your best choice. And, adding insult to injury, about 30 percent of all fresh chickens sold in your supermarket have been pumped and plumped with as much as fifteen percent salt water, potential cancer-producing carrageenan, and other additives. This equates to cash strapped consumers paying about $2 billion a year for salt water! These chickens also contain about 800 percent more sodium per serving than expected. More and more people are buying food fresh off the farm from producers they personally know and trust, through CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), farmers’ markets, or other local food movements. When you can actually go visit the farm itself, you can see that it’s natural, fresh, and exactly as advertised."

Ok, so how do we find foods that are not manipulated to increase volume and profits at the expense of our health? Isn't it more expensive? Well, the long-term solution is to acquire some land, cultivate it, and produce your own food. We could start in our own backyards, window boxes, or even use flower pots. We could pool our resources and start a community garden. A great short-term solution is to support local farmers at farmers' markets or start and/or support your local co-ops. You can find one in your area at Buying direct will be much easier on your pocketbook. The motto of Muhammad Farms is "from the land to the man and no middle man". Here is a great article by Dr. Colleen Huber, NMD that breaks down the average costs of purchasing from big grocery chains versus your local co-op including weekly menus:

And lastly, for all of the fast food lovers, here are some video excerpts from Morgan Spurlock's movie "Super Size Me". Pay close attention to the end of the first video and the beginning of the second to learn about the "chicken" in Chicken McNuggets. Enjoy!

More next time...

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