Due: 12/02 Go Fix It! Whitney Novotny Industrial farming has created environmental, economic, and political sustainability issues. The reason that industrial farming has become such a rampant part of society is because consumers have been able to enjoy reduced food prices and turn a blind eye to the harmful effects of industrial farming. As the population has moved away from the farm people have stopped being connected to their food and that has allowed many unhealthy and unsanitary practices to arrive in the farming industry. A prime example of the horrors of industrial farming can be seen in the beef industry. The Problem Beef has historically been raised on a natural diet of grasses from their environment. This allowed for a nice cycle where cows spread grass seed through digestion and then the grass was converted into a high-quality protein through rumination in the cows stomachs. This system of mutual benefit is missing from the current industrialized farming methods where the main source of food is corn. In order to quicken the weight gain of cows and mature them quicker, modern cows are fed a cheap diet of corn and protein supplements. A few generations ago a cow would take 4-5 years to gain enough weight for slaughter, now this process takes only 14-16 months (1). Corn feed is often also substituted with protein supplements. The protein in the corn feed often is made up of “blood products” which are a notable exception to the law that bans feeding ruminant protein to ruminants. This means that the blood from the slaughter house can be recycled back and fed to the cows. Besides the problem with the cows diet, there also exists a problem with the food libel laws in place that are meant protect agribusiness from criticism. While the number of food libel laws has increased, the health concerns related to food has seen an increase. Each year 48 million people in the US get sick from food borne illness and 3,000 die (2). Food libel laws are meant to protect the industry from false claims but have begun to allow the industry to hide what is really going on in all these farms. To prove a false claim the defendant or the prosecution needs to be able to prove the claim was false using scientific face. As Cain points out “science is capable of delivering merely a version of the ‘truth’ which has its roots in the premises, methodologies and values of the system within which it is articulated” (2). Thus companies can often take down dissenting individuals with “scientific fact” if they can find an expert to agree with them. Some might say that feeding antibiotics to cows has harmful effects on humans but a beef company could fund a study that concludes the exact opposite. These laws prevent people from spreading information about the farming practices. The Solution Information is perhaps the most effective way to move the US from industrialized farming to more sustainable farming practices. Umberger’s study found that people were willing to pay more for grass fed beef once they understood the human and cow health issues related with grain Due: 12/02 Go Fix It! Whitney Novotny fed verse grass fed cows (3). This is demonstrative of the power that information has to help move people towards a more sustainable food diet. My solution is to increase the information of food is to introduce barcodes on meat packaging that can link the consumer to information about what farm the meat came from and the conditions of the animals. These barcodes would contain basic information about the farm, the feed the animal has been fed, and other factors. These barcodes would help inform the consumer about the farm in an easy and convenient way. This would also put pressure on farms to more towards more sustainable farming methods because the market would hopefully move towards making the meat industry more sustainable. Today meat producers are not transparent about their practices. Forcing the market to be transparent would hopefully motivate the consumer to buy sustainably and the producer to be more sustainable. Bibliography 1. Pollan, Michael. Power Steer. michaelpollen.om. [Online] 31 2002, March. http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/power-steer/. 2. Food, Inglorious Food: Food Safety, Food Libel, and Free Speech. Cain, Rita Marie. 2, s.l. : American Business Law Journal, Summer 2012, Vol. 49. 3. Role of credence and health information in determining US consumers' willingness-to-pay for grassfinished beef. Umberger, Wendy J., Boxall, Peter C. and Lacy, R. Curt. s.l. : The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 2009, Vol. 53. Annotations 1. Full citation. a. Food, Inglorious Food: Food Safety, Food Libel, and Free Speech. Cain, Rita Marie. 2, s.l. : American Business Law Journal, Summer 2012, Vol. 49. 2. Where does the author work, what else has s/he written about, and what are her/his credentials? a. Author: Rita Marie Cain b. Credentials: Professor of Business Law, Bloch School of Management, University of Missouri-Kansas. c. Other Works: Her research and writing is focused on regulation of marketing, most recently she has focused on marketing by local and organic farms. 3. What is the main topic or argument of the text? a. The article looks at the negative impact the introduction of food libel laws have on food safety. The argument is that 2011 Federal food safety law needs to be strengthened in order to have an effective impact. Due: 12/02 4. Go Fix It! Whitney Novotny Describe at least three ways that the main topic or argument is fleshed out. a. The articles exams the 12 civil food libel laws to determine what constitutes a violation of the law and how the laws reach across states despite being only state not federal laws. b. The article exams the 2011 federal food safety law particularly the whistleblower protection and how this might interact with current food libel laws. c. The article looks at the effects that food libel laws and other laws that limit the criticism of industry can have on the health and lives of people and whether the laws are a violation of free speech. 5. What three quotes capture the critical import of the text? a. “In the 60 Minutes case, one commentator described the parties’ eight competing experts as “all over the map” on the safety question.40 And how many defendants could mount a defense as CBS could? Or as Oprah Winfrey could? Potentially, a food libel plaintiff could “actually win a case even though the defamatory statement is true simply because the defendant is not evidentially or financially able to prove its truth.” b. “Far from being fixed or universal, science is a highly contingent social construction whereby a plethora of nonscientific factors influence the methodologies and assumptions adopted by scientists.” As a result, science is “capable of delivering merely a version of the ‘truth’ which has its roots in the premises, methodologies and values of the system within which it is articulated.”” c. “the new federal food safety law specifically states that nothing in it shall alter the respective authorities of the Secretaries of Agriculture and HHS or limit the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or the Egg Products Inspection Act. Accordingly, fruits, nuts, dairy, seafood, and vegetables are within the scope of the new federal food safety law but not meat, poultry, or eggs. All these foods fall within the state “perishable” food libel laws discussed above.” 6. Explain how the argument and evidence in the text supports your research focus. a. I think that if people were more informed about where their food came from they would be more likely to each environmentally friendly choices and well as socially conscious choices. Food libel laws are a big obstacle to knowing where food comes from because people who try to be honest about it can be sued. 7. List at least two details or references from the text that you have used in your presentation and wiki post a. The spread of food borne illness in the United States and how the issue of food health is not adequately addressed because of food libel laws. b. How scientific fact can be bias and is not in fact as clear cut as many might believe. Due: 12/02 1. Go Fix It! Whitney Novotny Full citation. a. Role of credence and health information in determining US consumers' willingness-topay for grass-finished beef. Umberger, Wendy J., Boxall, Peter C. and Lacy, R. Curt. s.l. : The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 2009, Vol. 53. 2. Where does the author work, what else has s/he written about, and what are her/his credentials? a. Author: Wendy J. Umberger b. Credentials: Director of the Global Food studies Program at the University of Adelaide. Received her PhD from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Agricultural Economics. Research focused on understanding the drivers of consumer and producer behavior and the implications of changing behavior for global food systems. c. Other Works: “Determining Retailer and Wholesaler Demand and Market Potential for Regionally-Grown Beef in South Australia”, “Examination of Consumers Perceptions of Various Wine Product and Health Related Labelling Policies”. Many of her works are focused on the effect of consumer perception on food markets. 3. What is the main topic or argument of the text? a. The article analyzes the willingness of the American market to pay for premium grass fed compared to grain fed beef. 4. Describe at least three ways that the main topic or argument is fleshed out. a. To determine the viability of grass fed-beef the study looked at three different aspects of taste and quality to determine if there was a preference for grass fed beef. The study consisted of a blind taste-test, a visual evaluation with no taste information, and a taste test with complete visual information. b. The study then did an economic analysis where they analyzed through a bidding system how much people are willing to pay for premium beef. c. The study also looked at how marketing of grass fed beef effects the buyers decision to chose the more expensive grass fed beef over grain fed beef. 5. What three quotes capture the critical import of the text? a. “Information related to beef production processes increased the probability consumers would be willing to pay a premium for grass-fed beef. However, it appears that health-related messages are more important drivers of willingness-topay, on average, than the absence of antibiotics and supplemental hormones and traceability.” b. “Considering the mean ratings of 11 different attributes, humane treatment of animals, traceability and no growth hormones were the most important attributes. On an average, 54.6 per cent, 48.3 per cent and 40.0 per cent of consumers indicated a belief that the nutritional value, eating quality and food safety, respectively, of grass-finished beef was higher than conventional beef.” Due: 12/02 Go Fix It! Whitney Novotny c. “The growth of an economically viable grass market in the US will likely depend on the palatability (e.g. tenderness) and quality of grass beef being similar to grain beef, as well as having consistently available and affordable supplies of grassfinished beef.” 6. Explain how the argument and evidence in the text supports your research focus. a. This study showed that people prefer to choose grass fed beef over grain fed beef when they were properly informed, if the quality and taste were comparable, and if the price could be justified. This is important because it demonstrates that people are willing to pay more for health reasons. 7. List at least two details or references from the text that you have used in your presentation and wiki post a. The fact that consumers were more willing to buy grass fed beef when they understood the concerns with grain fed beef. b. The difficulty in introducing grain fed beef to the American diet due to the leaner quality of grain fed beef. Grain fed beef creates the marbling quality the Americans appreciate.