Famine and Manufactured Food in the First World: Not a Good Omen

On Immaculate Heart Radio this morning, I heard a news item on nutrition. Sixteen of the largest food companies in the United States, including Coca-Cola and Kraft, have cut “6.4 trillion” calories from their products over five years, “exceeding a pledge made to first lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign.” You can read the story here.

The gist is that the companies, “…responsible for more than one-third of the calories in all packaged food and drink, created new products, lower-calorie options and smaller portion sizes to meet their pledge.”

A couple of comments: first, the key term is “packaged food,” and the reality is that packaged food is hardly food at all. It’s made from garbage. Trans-fats, sodium, simple (cheap) carbohydrates.The most substantial thing about packaged food is the packaging. The amount of packaging remains the same, while the contents within the packaging are reduced — less crap sold for the same price, advertised as “low-calorie” or “reduced-calorie”.

Second, “food” actually includes drinks. I’m sure there is food in Coca-Cola’s portfolio, but you can bet the most significant portion of the calorie reduction reported in the story above is in package sizes and artificial sweeteners used to replace or augment high-fructose corn syrup (used because it is cheaper than actual sugar) in soft drinks. Coca-Cola primarily sells (and derives most of its profit from) sugared water is a panoply of formats.

The First Lady’s anti-obesity campaign is fake, just like the calorie reductions by major food manufacturers are fake. The emphasis on calorie content over actual nutrition is what matters to manufacturers who manage to increase profit while selling less actual food, and there’s plenty of empty calories in manufactured food to reduce. But nothing about this will have anything to do with promoting health or actually feeding children good, wholesome food.

goodomensWhen I heard the story on the radio, I thought of a book I read recently, entitled Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

Good Omens is a humorous take on the Apocalypse. Mistakes happen — there’s a lot of incompetence in the ranks of good and evil, and there’s a kernel of truth to that idea. So you almost kind of believe the premise of the book, which is that when the Anti-Christ is born in a hospital in suburban England, he is accidentally switched with another baby in the nursery, and winds up getting raised by regular folks instead of the devil worshippers who were supposed to be his parents.

Famine is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. All of the horsemen appear in Good Omens not as horsemen, but in disguise. And the way that Famine is presented in the book is more truth than fiction.

Famine, or “Raven Sable, slim and bearded and dressed all in black” is a tycoon and multi-millionaire who has gotten immensely wealthy selling “food”, from “…the back of his slimline black limousine, talking on his slimline black telephone to his West Coast base.”

Famine starts a company called “Newtrition,” which begins by making diet food called “CHOWTM“, which “…contained spun, plaited, and woven protein molecules, capped and coded, carefully designed to be ignored by even the most ravenous digestive tract enzymes; no-cal sweeteners; mineral oils replacing vegetable oils; fibrous materials, colorings, and flavorings. The end result was a foodstuff almost indistinguishable from any other except for two things. Firstly, the price, which was slightly higher, and secondly the nutrition content, which was roughly equivalent to that of a Sony Walkman.” 

Next, he created “SNACKSTM” — “junk food made from real junk.”

And finally, his latest and ultimate project: “MEALSTM“, which was “CHOWTM with added sugar and fat. The theory was that if you ate enough MEALSTM you would a) get very fat, and b) die of malnutrition. The paradox delighted Sable.”

It’s a paradox that apparently delights our food manufacturers in real life, too, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Devil doesn’t mind fat Americans who eat themselves to death and starve themselves to death at the same time.

From Revelation (6:5-6):

When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

famineThe price of grain in Revelation was ten times the normal price, with an entire day’s wages (a denarius) buying enough wheat for only one person, or enough of the less nutritious barley for three, so that workers would struggle to feed their families. Prices of oil and wine remain unaffected, because these things were already out of reach of the normal worker. 

Today, actual food — fresh produce, dairy, whole grains, and good meats and other protein sources — is out of reach of many people compared to the packaged, processed and manufactured “food” containing mostly sugar, salt and fat. Packaged food costs almost nothing to make, but the packaging, marketing, advertising, etc., adds cost and drives the supply chain. Packaged food is better for the economy, we are told, because of all the jobs required to get it to market. 412px-Great_famineRetailers love to sell packaged food because most of it requires no refrigeration and, since it’s not really food, it lasts forever, so there’s less loss due to spoilage.

Who buys the most packaged food? The poor, because many poor people live in “food deserts” where supermarkets are difficult to get to, and they rely upon convenience stores, gas stations, and smaller markets without adequate selection of fresh and healthy food. They can’t afford what they and their families should actually have, so they opt for what’s cheap, plentiful, and tasty.

It may not be apocalyptic, but it’s definitely a form of famine, and it’s disgraceful in a country with such plentiful supplies of real food. I think it’s time to call these manufacturers (and our Ruling Class) out on their abuses to our food supply and their claims to be doing anything remotely related to anything other than the bottom line.

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One thought on “Famine and Manufactured Food in the First World: Not a Good Omen

  1. Reblogged this on EmergencePresenceBeing and commented:
    I blundered across the product Fairlife recently, Coca-Cola’s new “science milk,” and immediately thought of the quote from Good Omens about a product that simultaneously cause obesity and malnutrition. And searching for that quote brought me here… thanks for sharing!

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