I have recently been receiving comments on my Bolthouse Farms post about the validity of Bolthouse Farms’ health factor in relation to its “Natural Ingredients” label and the lack of transparency from its manufacturer’s when said ingredients are inquired upon. So I thought it would be good to inform everyone on my current position on Bolthouse Farms’ products and the current state of the U.S. food industry as a whole.
As stated to a previous commenter, my Bolthouse Farms post was originally published on April 26 of 2011. Since then, Campbell Soup Company has purchased Bolthouse Farms and I have severely limited my drinking of their beverages. This is partly due to the fact that Campbell Soup Company has been rumored to be using Genetically Modified Organisms (also known as GMO’s) in their food and carrying the listing of “Natural Flavors” which they reportedly won’t divulge upon request. With that said I think we must not simply single out Bolthouse Farms. We must have the broader conversation and discuss the state of the U.S. food industry as a whole. I’m willing to bet that about 95% of products distributed by major food corporations in America have “Natural Flavors” listed in their ingredients and I guarantee just about all of those manufacturers will not specify what those ingredients are if you were to call and ask.
So, the only surefire ways to know that what you are ingesting is healthy and safe from GMO’s, pesticides or other toxic chemicals is to either grow and cook your own vegetables, meats, et cetera (extreme) or the less time-consuming and expensive option of researching ingredients and only purchasing organic, Non-GMO labeled foods that keep their ingredients transparent for their consumers (practical). This is why I like to shop at Whole Foods Market or the green/organic section of my local grocery store. They carry an extended variety of healthy, properly labeled foods like the aforementioned.
But, just to be clear, while knowing exactly what is in my food is important to me, I do indulge in the culinary pleasures of a honey bun or fast food from time-to-time. I’m not totally anal about every single thing I eat or drink. The point is to educate ourselves and find a balance that works for us individually. So, I definitely believe we should educate ourselves on the pro’s and con’s of what is in our food so that at the bare minimum we at least know what we are eating. However, whether we decide to continue eating the bad stuff even after knowing it is bad for us is really up to the individual.
The sad aspect of technology is that large corporations now have the means to manipulate products and term it food or throw around health jargon to trick us into thinking that what we are buying is actually good for us. So, just to reiterate, I think the most we can do next to growing our own food is just being smart consumers willing to invest time into researching what we eat and knowing what is good food versus bad food. I have been trying to eat healthier and be more conscious of what I put in my body. But, I must admit, it is a challenge with how the food industry is set up today. Like many consumers, I too feel that the governments lack of transparency when it comes to ingredients in our food is where the biggest of health problems stem from. If the USDA and the FDA weren’t so relaxed on these issues and controlled by the monetary influences of large corporations, the U.S. food industry would be held accountable for their unhealthy and dangerous practices. But, as long as we have concerned citizens willing to educate and spread the word about GMO’s and detrimental chemicals in the food we can teach those who are ignorant of what they put into their body just what is in their Cola or their McDonald’s chicken McNuggets.
With all of that said, true change begins with a conversation and education and is followed by an action. So, to those who feel passionate enough to leave lengthy comments on posts and attempt to educate readers and writers alike, take action! Do more than just talk about it. Find a way to create real change in the world. Having the conversation is great. But, without action the impact isn’t nearly as large. Just a thought! And thank you to everyone who read and commented on the original Bolthouse Farms post. I highly appreciate it.