Where does your food come from? (online writing)

Published November 10, 2014 by djlwsu

How often do you think about where your food comes from, who produced and harvested it, under what conditions; how often do you think about this in restaurant? Why or why not? Part 2 – pick 1 food you eat/drink (chocolate; coffee; sugar; bananas; chicken) and look into how it is produced, under what conditions – Trace all the way back to original spot of production. Trace from its origins to your plate, looking at working conditions of each person that has touched that food/ingredient.

Worth up to 50 points

400-500 words

Last Day to participate December 5

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96 comments on “Where does your food come from? (online writing)

  • I can honestly say that I rarely think about where my food comes from when it is set down in front of me at a restaurant or even when walking down the grocery store isles. I’ve never thought about the process that takes place just in order to get each individual ingredient to my meal on my plate (well, before this class that is). Now thinking back on it, each ingredient has been imported from somewhere involving hard labor and extensive transportation. From time to time while driving on the freeway I notice the hundreds of semi-trucks zooming by, but rarely do I make the connection that in fact they are making their way across the country to distribute different crops just to make it possible for all the restaurants and grocery stores to remain stocked in order to keep the consumers happy.
    Due to my sweet tooth, I decided to choose chocolate to research. The top seven cocoa producing countries in the world are the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Malaysia. I am going to focus on the Ivory Coast because they are the number one cocoa producing country in the world, more than one third of the world’s cocoa comes from the Ivory Coast. Smallholder farmers that are struggling to survive and support their family members with as little as $2 a day. Unfortunately, due to the little money the farmers are earning they have turned to child labor in order to make some profit from their hard work. These children are forced to work long days in the hot sun in order to help their families. These work environments are not suitable for anyone let alone young children. There are many large knives used in the process of cutting open the pods. The crop looks like pods that contain seeds and once they are harvested they are opened to separate the seeds and the pulp from the outer rind. The seeds are then dried and purchased by a traitant/buyer who travels through villages to purchase and collect the crop. After purchasing the crop the traitant takes the crop to a short-holding warehouse in a major town or city. This is where the major exporters purchase the seeds and plan the export from the Ivory Coast to countries all over the world. After imported into America, the cocoa is then transported to the various chocolate factories that have purchased the cocoa, such as Hershey Foods Corp., or Mars Inc. The cocoa is then mixed with sugar and other ingredients to create the sweet treat we call chocolate. Many cocoa farmers have never tasted the final product; chocolate.

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    • It’s interesting to note that (perhaps with the exception of Brazil), most of these cocoa-producing countries are rather poor. I think it’s an interesting example of how the first world obtains luxury goods at the expense of the third-world’s quality of life. I’d also venture a guess that French colonial laws affected agriculture workers along the Ivory Coast and that their legacy is still at work today.

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  • To be honest, when I go to a restaurant the thought of where the food being served to me comes from, hardly crosses my mind. There is the rare occasion although, where I find a restaurant dirty or unsanitary and become curious of the hygiene of those handling my food. When I am in the grocery store walking down the isles looking for next week’s food, my only concern regarding food is how it taste, the expiration date, and occasionally nutritional value to help me maintain somewhat of a balanced diet. There are times where meat or fruit may look like it has gone bad so I do not buy them, but other than that I shop without thinking of who processed my food, who harvested it, or where it came from. This approach may come off as naive, but as an American I have always felt blessed in a sense that I can assume I am being served food that is not detrimental to my health. I had figured that the government or companies serving the food would not be able to sell food that could become contaminated and harmful to the body. Unfortunately with more knowledge on this subject, I have found that this is indeed false. A food’s path to production is long and it is rare that the food we eat didn’t cross the path of workers who are sick, or obtain chemicals that are harmful to our bodies.
    One food I eat quite often is spam, it is processed and unhealthy, but I like the taste, it is cheap, and I am fortunate I do not have to watch my weight so calories and fat alone do not steer me from buying it. Hormel Foods Corporation is the biggest seller of spam, and is the producer of the spam I eat. They have meat shipped to one of their two plants in either Minnesota or Nebraska. The meat is pig’s meat from the shoulder, buttock, and thigh. They use hydraulics or manually cut the meat, then hand sort the fatty meats to a refrigerator for later use. The meat takes a gondola to a grounder, and is sampled to make sure it is the right consistency. The meat is then frozen to kill bacteria and spices are added. Next they gondola the meat to a machine that cans the spam. After that, it is shipped across the country into a store near you.
    This processing method seems to be efficient and safe to consumers, but I was still shocked to see how often the meat was touched along the way. Also the food goes through an elaborate processing system, which can lead to contamination.

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    • Spam is awesome!! People who say that it’s “stuff posing as meat” don’t understand that it’s actual meat and it’s actually good. Fried spam and rice, eggs bacon and spam, there are lots of dishes in which spam really shines, so I really appreciated that you followed its production in your post. My opinion here is that spam is okay in moderation: check the % of your DV of sodium on the next can of spam you buy.

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  • I don’t often think about the food I eat in terms of the workers who helped to harvest and process it. When I think about the origins of the food I eat, it is often only to assess the quality of the end product. In a restaurant, it is natural to give more thought to the food eaten: consumers are concerned with the food’s preparation in-so-far as it relates to their satisfaction. Say, for example, a steak is ordered medium-rare and received well-done. The consumer must think about the preparation of the steak, because there has clearly been some error in the cooking time by the chef. Similarly, if the steak were received medium-rare, the consumer must admit that the superb cooking was achieved by the chef who prepared it. Usually, this is the depth of my thinking about the origins of the food I eat in a restaurant. Seafood sometimes requires more thought, since its freshness can make or break the dish. I usually consider how far in-land the restaurant is (shipping time) and whether or not the seafood might be canned. I have some more experience when it comes to seafood, since I worked the seafood counter at a Kroger-owned grocery store before attending Washington State University. I’m familiar with filleting fish, shelling shrimp and crab, and receiving shipments of seafood of varying qualities. Thus, it seems that my personal experiences are what prompt deeper thinking on the origins of my food. Consistent with this explanation, I very rarely think about the actual growing and harvesting of foodstuffs and have no personal experience with it.
    In keeping with my area of expertise, I thought to follow the path of a typical farm-raised catfish from spawning ponds to my plate. Mississippi is the largest producer of farm-raised catfish and the majority of catfish farms lie in the area around the Mississippi Delta. Brood fish held in ponds are encouraged to mate in the spring by an increase in water temperature and the fertilized eggs are collected from spawning containers. These eggs will be cared for from fry, to fingerling, to full-grown catfish before their time at the aquaculture farm comes to an end. The workers who are intimately involved in this process are paid as any other farmhand would be: according to the Buereau of Labor Statistics these workers were paid a mean annual wage of $24,760 or $11.91 per hour. This wage is reasonable and is above the minimum wage in all 50 states. Harvested foodfish are then transferred to facilities for processing. The fish are filleted, the skin removed, and the fillets are then packaged for shipping to distributors. Here, the work conditions are poor and there have been multiple instances of exploitation in catfish plants. In the late ’80s, disturbing parallells were made between Delta Pride catfish plants and slavery-era cotton plantations. At the time, all owners of the factory were white and male while 90% of the work-force was black and female. Although unionized workers in these plants have won important victories in work conditions and wage increases, this remains a poorly paid job. Interestingly, this position-based segregation ties into one of Saru Jayaraman’s main points in her book Behind the Kitchen Door. Jayaraman observed substantial racial segregation between front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house positions, saying that “behind the kitchen door, you can almost find a replica of the segregated buses of the Jim Crow South.” (p. 117) Once the fillets have been packaged they are ready for delivery to vendors around the country. These fillets enter the restaurant, where they are prepared to taste for customers. As we’ve learned this semester, restaurant workers are among the most poorly paid and cared-for employees in the American marketplace.

    References:
    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2006-06-11/news/0606110164_1_catfish-delta-pride-hispanic-workers
    http://www.al.com/specialreport/birminghamnews/index.ssf?blackbelt/blackbelt13.html
    http://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu/content/mississippi-catfish-plant-workers-win-wage-increase-and-better-working-conditions-indianola-
    http://www.nytimes.com/1990/12/10/us/charges-of-exploitation-roil-a-catfish-plant.html
    http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes452093.htm
    http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us/articles/217/catfish-farming-in-mississippi
    http://msucares.com/aquaculture/catfish/

    Responses to other articles: Check under Colton Schwiesow’s and Natalie Kurtz’s posts.

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  • In the past I rarely thought about where my food comes from, I would only think about it when it said it in bold letters on the container. I also never thought about where it was produced or who was doing the harvesting and how. When I dine at restaurants, I seldom think about where the food is coming from, other than the times where the restaurant takes pride in where they get their produce and meats and share it with the customers. I think this lack of thinking comes from the modern society that we live in and how most people just go to the super market where all the foods that you want are there, even if they are out of season. This amplifies the general populations lack of awareness of what goes into their food. This being said, I have watched a couple documentaries in the past on the history channel about the production of certain foods. In these documentaries they give a general idea on how the foods are produced in factories and on farms, but they do not put much thought into the people that work for these big industries.
    Because I am a big coffee drinker, I chose to do my research on where and how the majority of coffee beans that come to my area are produced and shipped. In my research I found that coffee beans are grown in a wide variety of regions, so it is difficult to find out where your coffee beans come from unless is says it on the label. The region that the bean is produced in also plays a big factor in the flavor and aroma of the coffee. Since Starbucks is a massive corporation that caters to countries all around the world, I chose to focus on where the majority of their beans come from. Starbucks gets their Arabica beans from “three key growing regions, Latin America, Africa, and Asia-Pacific, and their signature coffee blends come mainly from the Asia-Pacific region (Pashman).” Coffee beans are actually a seed, which are planted in large beds until they are big enough, then transferred into an area where they will be permanently planted and grown into trees. After 3 or 4 years, the trees are ready to bear fruit, which is called a coffee cherry. The cherries are then picked by hand or machine, and at the end of the day, the pickers are paid fairly on the amount that they picked. The cherries then go through processing where they take the fruit off, drying and sorting and then exported to its respective destination. At every step of transportation, a “Cupper” tests the quality of the beans. When the beans get to its destination, they are tested again, roasted to perfection, and then ground down so that it can be brewed into a cup of coffee wherever you get it.

    Works Cited
    Pashman, Heidi. “Do you know where your coffee beans come from?” Shape.com 13 September 2013: 1.
    USA, National coffee association. ncause.org. 15 October 2014. 3 December 2014 .

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  • Every time that I go out to a restaurant, I usually end up sitting there and starring at the menu, indecisive about what I want. Since my mind is usually racing about what I want to eat, I clearly don’t give any thought to where my food is happening to come from, or how it got there. But it doesn’t have to just be foods that you order in a restaurant. Bananas seem to be one that may get overlooked on how it is produced and harvested. Bananas are primarily grown in countries that over look legalities when it comes to working. You will find that these countries may even have children working because they don’t have any child labor laws. And that is very dangerous, especially when it comes to jobs that are around food. Nowadays, you will find that all fruits are sprayed with a pesticide to protect it from bugs during the season. However, these pesticides that are being sprayed are actually very harmful to humans when we are exposed to them for a prolonged period of time. And since these places are allowing kids to be around this, it is becoming extremely dangerous to work in the fruit industry. Many people get very sick from the chemicals that it can eventually lead to an early death. This problem with exposure to chemicals is not a recent one. It has been going on for decades, and the problem hasn’t gotten very much attention. Back in the 1970’s, the well known company Dole was using a pesticide that was extremely harmful when exposed to it. The workers who were exposed, sued because the chemicals affected them drastically. People were claiming that the chemicals affected their body in such a way, they were unable to have kids. However, being exposed to chemicals is not the only we should be concerned about. You also have to look how they get into our grocery stores. Since the primary producers of bananas are from smaller countries with warmer climate, that means there is more opportunity for bugs to get over and be in the crates with them while they have a long journey over to the states. Once they get to the states, they are then taken out and separated and inspected to make sure they are good for the stores, then they are loaded in the trucks and shipped out. Through this process, many people get their hands on them, which if not careful, could spread bacteria on the product. While the conditions in the United states may be more sanitary, there still is a lot of exposure that bananas get and it seems very risky.

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  • I walk into a restaurant with one thing on my mind… What am I going to eat? My thoughts consist of; what sounds good? What do I want to eat? What is this restaurant known for? The last thing on my mind when I sit down at my table and get handed my menu is I wonder where my food is coming from. I would hope that all the food there are preparing for me is fresh and made right out of their kitchen but let’s be real. The cost for restaurants to maintain fresh food every day is unreal. I can only assume that the food getting put on my plate is pre-prepared and probably reheated. The produce is probably bought from a big corporation, buying local is expensive. Buying the cheaper produce means they are being delivered by trucks or ships. Once the produce finally gets to the restaurant its shelf life is not as long and that product is already older than probably what you would buy in the grocery store. My family recently bought four chickens to start having fresh eggs. I learned that it is bad to refrigerate eggs right after they have been laid. Eggs are to be refrigerated six weeks. That means that the eggs you are getting fresh from the grocery store are at least six weeks old. Probably more like eight to nine weeks because they have to get packaged and delivered to every grocery store. There are ten steps to produce my cup of coffee I worship every morning. It starts with planting a coffee bean that is actually a seed. Ut takes 3 to 4 years for a newly planted coffee tree to begin to bear fruit. After the fruit is harvested, it is processed and turned into a bean. After drying and milling the beans they are exported, tasted, roasted and grinded into coffee. Coffee in grown in Africa, Asia, and Latin America these areas make the coffee with a tropical taste from the soil and weather. The farmers who are harvesting the beans live in poor conditions. They stay in warehouse like buildings with bunk beds and little material things. These working conditions are unsafe, starting with not having the right protection equipment. There are also poisonous snakes and spiders that are in the coffee fields. Coffee pickers make as little as 2-3 dollars per day. After reviewing an article about the effort and conditions it takes to produce coffee, I defiantly take my cup of coffee every morning for granted.

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  • The only time the thought of where my food comes from dawns upon me is when I go to eat at fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Jack In The Box and Taco Bell. Even then I still can’t pin point out where the food is coming from. I’m blind to this situation because back at home in California my father cooks up a meal for the family every night and I automatically assume the food just came from right out of the kitchen; when in reality the food came from a farm somewhere or something. No matter where I’m eating or what I’m eating I don’t stop and think of where it came from. I may wonder who cooked the food but nothing more than that. I tend not to think about this because either I am too hungry to care or I trust that the food I’m going to bite into came from somewhere that passed the health inspection and it won’t kill me.
    Out of all the great foods out there, I would have to say chicken is my favorite. Back home, chicken is a main piece of the meal served at the dinner table, without chicken the meal is incomplete. My father usually buys chicken produced by Foster Farms. Foster Farms is located in Livingston, California and they are the top producing chicken brand in California. They grow, slaughter and then send off the chicken. They first collect the chickens from their boxes and take them to be slaughtered. People at the processing plants are the first ones in lines to have touched the chicken before they are packaged up and delivered. Then these birds are placed on a conveyer belt where they are cut at their neck and arteries. Then the carcasses are immersed in hot water to scald the skins. After that the next thing to touch them are rubber fingers that rub off a great majority of their feathers. Then a specialized machine finishes off picking the feathers and the carcasses go in for a wash and their internal organs removed. After all of this, the chickens are placed in chiller of cool chlorinated water for 40-50 minutes. After they are chilled, people working at the package room cut them into pieces to fit into the package. Finally, these birds are packed up and shipped off into markets for the public. After receiving knowledge about how chicken gets from the farm to my plate, I am kind of disgusted by the process and how the birds are killed, but yet they’re so tasty !

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    • I am glad you mentioned the place where your father buys chicken from. I honestly have no idea where my parents buy their chicken and it is good to know that Foster Farm is a reliable source when looking for a good brand of chicken to buy. I also decided to talk about chicken because I agree no meal is complete without chicken. I strongly agree with the fact of how gross the process of making the chicken is however, after researching it I guess I had never realized how gross all the stuff the farmers do to the chickens.

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  • On the rare occasion I think about where my food comes from, mostly because I’m curious about what country it comes from. But I never really think about the person producing it and harvesting and it never crosses my mind about the conditions they have to deal with.When ever I think about people harvesting I mostly picture immigrants that have come here and that’s the job they start off with until they make enough money to maybe go to school. But that usually doesn’t end up being the case. Especially in restaurants I never think about their working conditions, because on the outside the workers put on a happy front and seem to be enjoying what they are doing. And I also use to think about that as just a short term job, but some people end up staying in the restaurant industry their whole life. It wasn’t until we started discussing in class about how poorly they were treated is when it really first crossed my mind. Whenever I go to restaurants the one thing I worry about is my food and how quickly I’m given it. The product I chose to look into was chocolate, to produce chocolate you need cocoa and the cocoa industry starts in Africa, where the coco bean is. Children are trafficked and put on plantains to work and most of them are not paid. Some are lured by being told they that will be paid, however they are not. They are taking away from their family and most likely never get to see them again. The working conditions for those children are also very poor and most of the children are only between the ages ten to fifteen. After the coca beans are harvested they are shipped to the manufacturing factory to be cleaned and grind. Even in the cocoa factories there is still slave labor. Children are working well over 40 hours with many night shifts and backbreaking work. After the cocoa is done in the factory it shipped to other companies factories to make their final product. For example, the hershey warehouse, there are even poor working conditions there, workers went on a protest because of poor conditions and wages. As you can see throughout the whole cocoa industry none of the workers are being treated well and at each level most of the workers experience bad conditions and living wages that you can barely live off of.

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  • Part 1:
    Before this class I really never thought about where my food was coming from especially when eating out at a somewhat nice restaurant. After watching videos on the restaurant industry it is definitely something that crosses my mind now more and more. Especially since now I see how many restaurant workers come to work sick day in and day out. Knowing that somebody is sick with whatever sickness they have, they may be coughing on my food and things like that. Just having that in the back of your mind, makes the food look and taste a little different knowing that it could have germs on it. I’m not really too concerned with who produced it or who harvested it. Normally after all the harvesting process the food goes through cleaning and what not to be prepared to go to the public. My dad’s cousins own a dairy farm up in Lynden, Washington. I’ve seen first hand on how everything is done commercially with the handling off milk. While that is a little different then the food harvesting process, I would think it has to be a little similar on how it’s done taking precautions to make sure that it stays fresh and clean. So the harvesting process is not too concerning to me especially when comparing it to the actual preparation process in the restaurant.

    Part 2:

    According to http://equalexchange.coop/products/coffee/steps it takes a coffee tree four to five years before I can start producing coffee beans. Most of the World’s coffee beans are picked by immigrant workers on small farms 4-5 acres big. When is comes to depulping the beans many of the small farms have hand depulpers on site or share a hand depulper station with a local neighbor. So many of those beans are also being touched by the immigrant workers. They also have centralized depulping stations though too. 10-100 farmers could all use the same station so you might not know where those beans are coming from. After the fermentation process the coffee beans are washed using the “wet process”. Where coffee beans are washed in a series of concrete or wood channels with clean water. This process ensures that the fermentation process has stopped. The coffee is then dried, either by the sun or mechanically. After that process the next process is sorting. The coffee beans normally run along a slow moving conveyor belt and then the imperfect coffee beans are taken out by hand, usually women do the sorting. Then the coffee is sent through the roaster machine. This is where they can create the different kinds of roast you can drink. After this process the coffee is packaged and sent off.

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  • I am a bit of a freak when it comes to where my food comes when I am eating at a restaurant. I always check my meat and look around before I eat any of my food. However, I never really think about where my food comes from. In my opinion as long as it looks safe to eat I will but I don’t always take time to think about where the food comes from before I eat it. A couple of years ago I ordered ice cream at an ice cream shop and the eggs were not cooked all the way and I was sick with salmonella for two weeks. It was an awful experience and the most sick I had ever been. Ever since then I pay attention to the food I’m eating because I would never want that to happen again. I worked as a restaurant hostess this past summer and I learned some things I had no idea happened in the restaurant industry. It was a seafood restaurant and the amount of times the seafood was undercooked was appalling. I learned to never order seafood at that restaurant unless it was my break and I got to watch them make it. Every since working in a restaurant I do pay even more close attention to how my food is made and to make sure nothing I eat is undercooked.
    The food I decided to choose to research was chicken. It is something I eat almost everyday and I love adding it to all my meals to get some protein. After researching how it is processed and handled I had never realized how much goes into it. Chicken production for the most part happens in a complex that has a feed mill, a hatchery, a processing plant, and chicken farms where chicken are raised until they are ready for slaughter. The houses and complex are climate controlled for the chicken so they stay healthy and safe to eat. When chickens are old enough for slaughter, they are shipped to the processing plant. Chicken processing begins at the hatchery where hens lay eggs. The eggs are then collected and incubated while famers wait for them to hatch about twenty days later. Once the eggs hatch they live in a house and are fed a diet of chicken feed. Once these chickens grow big enough they are put on a mild electrical current in the water and the chickens are paralyzed. Once these chicken are paralyzed they get their necks got off and drain all the blood and get rid of their feathers. The farmers then need to clean and wash them to make sure they are safe to eat and cooled in chlorinated water for the next hour. After a bird is clean there needs to be quality control to make sure no bird is carrying a disease. It is also sometimes hard to tell if a bird is sick before it is paralyzed making it even easier to carry a disease. In order to prevent disease the birds are vaccinated to make sure they don’t pick up any diseases. Often time’s corporations that use a specific growing farm for chicken send someone to come and check on the chickens every week before they decide to buy them. Once the corporation feels the chicken is ready and the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector approves it the chicken is ready to be sold and cooked at a restaurant. However, if the restaurant does not continue quality control 24/7 it is very easy for the chicken to go bad. Often time’s cooks don’t pay attention and cook the chicken anyways. (Information from howmade.com)
    There are a lot steps that happen to the chicken before it is sold to a corporation and that makes me extremely nervous because just one small thing could go wrong in this process and no one would notice. It is very easy to become sick from a sick chicken and I would hate if that happened to me. I am going to make sure to ask where the chicken comes from before I order from now on at restaurants.

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  • Currently, when I go to grocery stores to buy food where the food comes from, who produced and harvested it do not really matter because I am a college student. But when I am back home and go grocery shopping with my parents I always look for the produce and vegetables from the areas known in producing good produce and vegetables. An example of this is during the summer when peaches and cherries are in season. I always look for the cherries and peaches produced in Yakima, Washington because they are known for producing great produce. Also, during the summer when it is watermelon season, I always try and get watermelons from Hermiston, Oregon. When I eat at fast food places and regular restaurants I usually do not think about where my food comes from, who produced it and harvested it unless the information is included on the menu. The only thing that really matters to me at these types of places is if the product looks and tastes good. But, when I eat at fancy restaurants such as 13 Coins, the Space Needle, Crab Pot, etc. I think about where the food came from because that effects the flavor of the dish. An example of this would be when you are ordering salmon, there are many different species of salmon and the location where the fish is from is important. Such as getting regular Sockeye salmon vs Copper River Sockeye salmon. Any type of salmon is good if prepared and cooked correctly and Sockeye salmon is known as one of the best tasting salmons. But, Copper River Sockeye salmon is known for bright color and amazing flavor.

    Acai Berries are the world’s number 1 superfood and produced in the Amazon rainforest in South America. Acai Berries are grown a tree called an Acai Palm, which can grow up to 25 meters high. Acai Berries are harvested off the Acai palm trees two times a year. Small villages mass produce the berries. Once the berries are harvested they are taken to markets or processing plants to be turned into Acai products. The entire process must take place in no less 24 hours after the berries are harvest because of their short life span. Once the berries are processed they can be frozen or turned into a powder. Also they can be turned into multiple types of drinks or juices. Then once they are packaged they are shipped to stores all across the world.

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    • Choosing to do Acai Berries was super interesting! I love those berries as well and I loved reading the process of where they come from. I had no idea that they had such short life span and everything must be done so quickly or else they will no longer be good. I am really glad I got to learn that information and know that about these berries.

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  • I usually do not have any thoughts of where my food comes from unless the food is instant. When I am at a restaurant, the only thought that comes to mind is consuming the food that has already been cooked and served for me. Although, there are certain fast food restaurants that I remain cautious about before I order food. The reason why I rarely think about what I am eating is that most foods are the same. Organic foods are often preferred to an individual’s diet due to being nutritious and safe for human consumption, but not all foods are like this. Certain foods are genetically modified. They can have a range of focuses such as providing more vitamins and creating a variety of tastes. During lecture for the biology course I am currently taking, my professor shared information to the entire class about the differences between two types of rice: golden and white. White rice does not contain any vitamins. If consumed, the person has an increase in vitamin A sufficiency and will have the likelihood of obtaining health issues such as diabetes. Golden rice on the other hand, is genetically engineered where a significant amount of vitamin A is produced.

    Aside from golden and white rice, there is one beverage I would like to discuss about: hot chocolate. This beverage originated as early as 1,000 B.C. while the Olmec and Aztec civilizations were still active. The production begins with hot cocoa beans where they are dried and fermented before shipped to factories to be thoroughly inspected. Then, the beans are cleaned, mixed, blended, stripped from their shells, and heated to annihilate any bacteria lingering. After being grounded and roasted, the cocoa beans turn into liquid cocoa mass leading to the process of cocoa butter. The fat is gathered from the cocoa mass as it is being pressed under high pressure turning into butter. Solid remains are removed after the butter is being filtered where manufacturers then proceed to supply the cocoa butter by pouring into tankers (liquid form) or cardboard boxes (solid form). Transitioning to powder, the butter is removed by having “cocoa cakes” all that is left. These are broken down, grounded, and becomes an ingredient for various recipes. The final process for the production of hot cocoa is chocolate. The cocoa mass from the chocolate is “conched” or thickened. Then, certain acids escape allowing the improvement of the aroma to happen thus, creating the ingredient for the hot beverage.

    References:

    “Cocoa Story: The Production Process – from Cocoa Beans to Semi Finished Products.” Eca / Resources / The Production Process. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.

    Friedman, Lois. “Read It and Eat It; Hot Chocolate.” Proquest. The Jewish Press, 16 Dec. 2005. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.

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  • Whenever I choose to eat food it is because I am hungry. When eating, most people don’t tend to think too much about anything else but the food that they are consuming. Personally I do the same thing, I don’t think about where my food comes from or who harvested it until someone brings it up. In restaurants, I tend to be a bit more conscientious of my food for the simple fact that I am trusting people I don’t know to make my food with hopes that it won’t make me sick because of the conditions the food was in. I think that it is common in our society that people don’t really see beyond their nose and think about the clouds. The majority of us, including me, just go through our daily routines not really thinking about the little things. In terms of the food I eat, I would categorize it as one of those little things that I rarely think about.

    A food product that I enjoy eating is beef jerky. I have been snacking on beef jerky for as long as I can remember and it is by far my favorite. Jerky is a name given to salted, dried meat. It’s name is originated from the Quechua word ch’arki which means dried meat. When the first Europeans arrived in the New World, the Native Americans had been making jerky for a long time and showed the settlers how to make the healthy snack. The making of this snack was continually passed down from generation to generation and it brings us here today. To follow the preparation process of beef jerky today I wanted to narrow it down to my favorite manufacturer which is Jack Links. Jack Links is made and manufactured in the United States with numerous locations but it central base is in Underwood, Iowa at huge manufacturing and production plant. The beef that the company uses in its jerky is 100% export quality New Zealand topside beef. Each cut has been trimmed of any fat or sinew by their suppliers to ensure the end product is 100% whole muscle. The beef is then cut into thin tiny pieces in order to make them bite size. After they are cut, they are seasoned with special recipe flavors that ensure the specific Jack Links taste. Next the beef is then taken to a oven roaster and is cooked for several hours and then put out to dry hence the name jerky. When the meat is finally done being prepared, it is packaged up and shipped off to stores all over the world. The workers at Jack Links main Iowa manufacturing and production plant are paid the states minimum wage of $7.25. While performing the duties of this position, employees are subject to a warehouse environment and frequently exposed to changes in temperature and humidity (-20° to 105°). The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate to high. Employees must be able to work weekends, holidays, day and night hours, and overtime as necessary and as assigned, and must be able to work in the conditions specified for 8 – 10 hour shifts.

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    • I was not aware that the workers that produce jack Links beef jerky were paid so little. It seems like a rough job to work for such little pay as the noise level is so high and the shifts are so long. Thank you for sharing about beef jerky and the process in which it is made.

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  • I sometimes think about where my food comes from. When it is processed food, like a box of crackers, I think about all the steps it took on big machines to make them and package them and ship them out. Or if it’s a fresh fruit or veggie I’ll imagine it somehow being harvested and then maybe rinsed, packed, and shipped as well. I think about where my food comes from when I’m at a restaurant a lot more. That is because I notice the way the food is presented on the plate and if it is an open kitchen I like to look at the chef’s preparing the meal. I’ve never thought about the chef’s as actual people who could be under stress until I started working in a restaurant myself. I think it is because I never have put any thought into how much work actually goes into the food that gets put on my plate. I never considered that there are prep jobs that the cook’s have- some of them come in before the restaurant opens to the public and cut vegetables, precook some of the meals, unload shipments of food, and more. Then there’s the actual cooking, there’s getting it all out at the same time, there’s the expo who runs the food to the table, the busser and the dishwasher. There may even be server assistants. All those people, and all that labor, just to get the food in front of me. Besides that, I have never given any thought at all to the individuals working on farms who harvest fruits, vegetables, wheat’s, and more. I think that is because I have no knowledge or exposure to farms and farming, so don’t even know what to think about that process.
    The food I am tracing back is coffee. I chose this food because I drink it every single day, sometimes multiple times and cannot imagine getting through college without it. They start by growing on a tree. The fruit is called the coffee cherry, which is picked by hand in most countries. This is a very labor-intensive process that proves to be quite difficult. Each worker’s is paid according to how much they harvest each day. The cherries are then brought to the processing plant. They are then processed by either a wet or dry method, and then hand arranged to dry. In some plants, this is done out in the sun as well. After they have dried, they are hulled, polished, graded and sorted. From there, defective beans are removed. This can be done by machine or by hand as the beans run along a conveyor belt. Beans could be removed based on size, color, over-fermented, those with insect damage or that are unhulled. Finally, it is exported and transported to its designated destination.

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  • Growing up I didn’t really question where did my food come from. I guess I assumed that it was grown naturally. Since all my life I worked in growing my own produce thanks to the family business. It didn’t occur to me that a lot of the meats I ate were often times treated with hormones, even radiation sometimes. I first started to learn about things they injected into animals when my mom started to work in the meat department in our local grocery store back at home. This was when i was around 12. She would say to never get cheap meat because it had all kinds of chemicals given to animals so they can grow fat, and big. My family has never really been big on can foods and I’m thankful since canned items usually are exposed to preservatives to extend life on the shelf. In restaurants it didn’t occur to me that all the food has to come from somewhere, a warehouse, farms, etc.
    How are french fries made?
    I decided to look into French fries because potatoes are a big product where I grew up. First, potatoes start off in the field and are unburied by a machine called a digger. This digger will then dump them into a semi truck which will either take them to a storage or directly to a potato processing plant. During harvest a digger and semi truck drivers will usually work anywhere from 14-17 hours a day. Since it is harvest time truck drivers will usually take breaks in their trucks when they can. Digger operators will usually have a backup so that production is not stopped. When a truck driver takes their load to a potato processing plant they back up into the plants receiving area. Potatoes are unloaded from the trailers and put into a conveyor belt. This belt will usually take potatoes thru a tank full of water that will separate potatoes from any foreign objects such as rocks, vines, and trash. Potatoes are then placed into a huge tank called a blancher where the sugars are taken out of the potatoes and the skin is removed. After leaving the blancher the potatoes will pass inspection. There people in the inspection line will take any rotten, potatoes with skin, and any foreign objects out of the conveyor line. These people will usually work standing up or sitting down. Spuds that continue on the line will then pass thru a set of knives that will vary by company. These knives are what defines the texture and cut size of the fries. Once they are cut they will enter into a fryer for about 10 minutes. After being fried they will go directly into a freezer. The freezers temperature is usually below 0︒ F and frozen for about 20 minutes. When the fries leave the freezer they will go to the packaging part of the plant where they are put into bags and boxes to be shipped to stores or fast food restaurants.

    References:

    Alex R. & Leticia B. (Workers)

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    • I am also from a area where potatoes are produced at great levels. Thanks for sharing. I was not aware of how much work goes into a small fry people order at McDonalds every day. The harvesters and truck drivers had long hours and don’t seem to be paid very well for the time they put in. I now realize there are a lot of people who play into the creation of fresh fries.

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  • I feel guilty saying that I almost never think about where my food comes from. The only times that I can think of are times that I have had food that is exotic and I will then wonder only what country the food traditionally comes from. Most of the time though I just eat whatever food is around and I put little thought into where it comes from or who had to work to get it there. The only other instance I can think of where I wonder how my food gets to where I eat is when I see food trucks on the highway. I just consider what it is like to deliver at varying times of day, I also often wonder what is inside the trucks, but even still, I do not think about the conditions under which the people who grew the produce in those trucks worked under.

    A food that I eat a lot when they are actually ripe is blueberries. I have never actually thought about where they come from or the process that they go through before they arrive in my hometown. Blueberries are grown in the United States, Canada, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. I had no idea that blueberries were so common around the world. Their commonality is due to the growing requirements of the blueberries. All blueberries really need is direct sunshine and acidic soil. The country that I chose to research for the next step of production is South Africa. In South Africa the growing of blueberries is funded by The Eastern Cape Development Corporation. It is because of this funding that the blueberry farms can afford to give their workers fair wages. The main blueberry farm in South Africa is Thornhill Farm. This farm is the farm that started the blueberry project in South Africa. The Eastern Cape Development Corporation intends to create 2,300 jobs in South Africa where they have a fifty-five percent unemployment rate. I had assumed that the existence of the blueberry farms in South Africa would have created a bad environment for those nearby, but instead the job market and the economy are both given a boost from these farms. Unfortunately the berries that are grown in South Africa are not the same berries that are sent to the United States, instead those berries are sent to the United Kingdom. Before any blueberries are sent over to the United Kingdom, they must make sure to comply with the rules of the Perishable Products Export Control Board in order to receive a certificate.

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  • Rarely do I look at a product and wonder how it is made, and under what conditions. For the most part, I unconsciously accept what goes on behind the scenes as invisible or nonexistent. Before this class, the only thought I had walking into a restaurant, or down the grocery isle was “what am I going to get?” It never occurred to me to think about where my food came from, and who was handling it. Not because I never cared, but because I had the privilege of being the happy consumer. I think about what I know. I was never told, never witnessed, or ever had to experience the racism, painful labor, and other conditions farmers, and restaurant workers have to endure. I was never told that the people doing all the work were earning wages under poverty level. Mainstream culture had taught me that poverty existed in third world countries. And unless exposed, exploitation is hidden. No business is going to willingly advertise that their workers are underpaid, and working under hazardous conditions. Unless told, I would have never guessed that the tomato in my salad could have been picked by a farmer in Immokalee, Florida who is only paid a penny per pound. When my server leaves me a little chocolate piece with my check, I would never imagine that I might be eating the product of child slavery. But after reading “Bittersweet Chocolate” by Caroline Tiger I cannot stop imagining it. In July 2002, the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture for the U.S. Agency for International Development reported that of “300,000 children (in Africa), more than half (64 percent) are under 14 years… Almost 6,000 were described as “unpaid workers with no family ties.” As of 2014 sources such as CNN, Huffington Post, and Forbes still site child labor as an issue in the industry. Because low cocoa prices “many farmers maintain their labor force through trafficking.” The children are “often at risk of injury from machetes and exposure to harmful pesticides” and work “80 to 100 hours per week” (McMohan, 2005). Next the cocoa goes to manufactures where the workers are typically “unskilled,” and subjected to exploitation as well. The pay is approximately an unlivable $21,420 per year (Net Industries, 2014). To no surprise the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that food manufacturers are likely to work in environments that “present a multitude of occupational safety and health risks.” In 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Exel (working for Hershey) $283,000 after failing to report 42 serious injuries. Furthermore, in 2012, three Hershey Contractors were fined for $356,000 in unpaid wages (Preston, 2012; Wenner, 2012). My eyes have been open to the working conditions of food production; I am still naïve, but not as naïve. I think more now about where my food comes from because I no longer have the mental convenience of being left in the dark.

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  • Before class discussion and reading the book, behind the kitchen door, I almost never thought about where my food is coming from. In addition, I never had consideration on the working conditions of the people who make my food at restaurants. The reason I never think of this is because, until this class, I was never aware of the harsh conditions that the workers go through in this career. Every time we watch a video in class or I read more in the book, behind the kitchen door, I am amazed at what these restaurant workers go through just to earn enough money to get by. Now when I go out to a restaurant to eat, I think about the workers and their conditions prior to eating at that particular restaurant.
    I choose to research coffee and how it is produced. I narrowed my search down and specifically searched coffee grown from Starbucks. Before Starbucks coffee ever gets to the consumer, it goes through many stages of processing before it gets to the consumers. Starbucks is currently making progress to ensure that the coffee that is purchased is being ethically grown. By the year 2015 the corporation plans on having one hundred percent of their coffee grown ethically. It is reassuring to see that larger businesses are making big strides in promoting a safe and friendly working environment. One way Starbucks is doing this is by protecting the rights of workers, and ensuring their safety by giving fair working conditions and wages. I think the public will recognize this and be more interested in buying coffee, or other foods by companies that also promote fair living conditions and wages. One of the biggest suppliers of coffee grounds for Starbucks is grown in the country of Columbia in South America. The process starts on coffee trees. It takes about 5 years for coffee to be ready to sell. Coffee cherries are picked by hand, then sorted before processing. The cherries remain on the ground until the seeds are picked out. The seeds are then put in large bags, and delivered to plants in South America. The seeds from Starbucks are bought and help support farmers and their families. The next step is to either cook or roast the coffee. A coffee roaster is made of a large heated drum. The seeds are then dried out. Then they are out into a trey to cool down. The next step is packaging and shipping to the corporate stores.

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  • Prior to taking this class, I really didn’t pay attention to where my food came from and wasn’t as aware of the multiple steps that are involved in growing produce and distributing them to groceries stores around the world. I’ve always have felt trusting enough about the supermarkets guidelines that are in place and are suppose to make sure we as consumers we are not ingesting anything that may be harmful to us. Not once has the thought of contamination or hygiene of food in a popular restaurant crossed my mind. I have never given a second thought of all the different possible ways a product can become contaminated but yet still make it on the shelves in a store near you. When I go to a restaurant I rarely think about how they got the ingredients or the conditions the food was prepared in. It’s safe to say that I also assume that the guidelines that are set in place and the conditions that the food is prepared in are safe. After reading some of the book Behind The Kitchen Door I understand that trusting those guidelines may not be enough to ensure consumers that what they are eating is 100% safe.
    The origin of the food I have chosen to look at is chicken since it has been since it has been a part of my diet for as long as I can remember. Chicken begins as an egg and is hatched usually in hatchery or incubators. As the chicks grow they are feed a strict diet, once they are big enough they are sent to the slaughterhouse. Once brought to the slaughterhouse the chickens are dumped out of their crates, inspected for disease and are immediately shackled so they wont escape. After they are restrained they are hung upside down in order to drain all the blood after they have their necks cut and begin their journey through the slaughterhouse afterwards they are then sent to distributors like supermarkets and grocery stores around the world.
    Along this process the working conditions of the workers in many cases are far from ideal and as a result makes the potential for catching diseases and injuries more likely. The employees of slaughterhouse and “meat” processing workers are predominantly people of color and are “at will” employees meaning they can be fired at any given time by a supervisor resulting in under reported injuries. Most injuries are a direct effect of the speed of the line at which the animals are killed and processed. A slaughterhouse makes its profit from the quantity of animals they kill and process subsequent hurting the quality of the poultry. Other conditions that workers face are long hours. The combination of physical and mental stress is exhausting for workers but have no choice in the matter and continue to work in harmful conditions out of the fear they may be fired even if they are visibly ill. Next time I go the store and buy chicken ill think back to this writing and appreciate more the work that was put in order to make my meals.

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  • I do think about my food and what I am eating often, unless it is my favorite food, then I can care less about it because nothing I here or read will change my mind about it. In fact, even after watching many videos, visiting farms, and factories I still do not care. To me its a way of life, I have not changed what I eat because of the things I heave heard and I am still healthy and alive. Granted I do believe that over the years the way that animals are treated has changed for the worse but at the same time, I am still okay. One of the main times I think about my food is at meal time in my Fraternity. Our chef cooks for a lot of guys so he has to cook in bulk. To make so much food its easier to buy pre-frozen and not fresh and it makes me think where did this come from? When I go out to eat I usually don’t think about it in nice restaurants. Only sometimes in fast-food places only because I have heard stories but It usually doesn’t bother me unless I were to find something with it or if I got sick from it.

    One of the drinks I drink almost everyday is Coffee. After doing some online reading I found that most coffee comes from large parts of Central and South America, Africa, and Indonesia, but not much of the USA or Europe. This is why the only “domestic” coffee in the USA comes from Hawaii, even though the US is the most coffee dependent in the world. Coffee is usually planted in large nurseries and is picked about 3-4 years later when the plant begins to flower and bear fruit. Coffee beans are actually seeds coming from these fruits often called coffee cherries. In most countries there is one major harvest per year but in countries like Colombia, there are two major harvests making it known for it coffee production. Once the cherries are harvested, the beans must be separated and then cleaned before being dried. There are many ways to dry the beans one includes sun drying and another method includes enclosing the beans into a parchment envelope. Next the dry husks are removed, and the beans are graded and sorted before being exported. Once exported to various places, buyers such as Starbucks, forgers and other coffee brands and companies and then made for and sold to customers!

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  • To be honest I don’t think about where my food comes from because I am use to having my parents going out and buying food for me and my siblings. But when I have thought of it I imagine when I go and buy fruits that it comes from a clean fresh field picked by people who are working to provide for their family. The people who are out picking the vegetables and fruits are working in conditions like extreme heat and probably don’t have a lot of breaks. Working in produce company demands a lot of labor so I imagine the workers who are in that job have a lot of physical aches just so we can get those produce and the company can get our money. Field workers don’t always get the best paid wages that they deserve. Also in our reading we learned that some times people that provide us service like a waitress don’t take breaks because they need the money to support the family. And when actually think about it food that i usually buy is processed and I don’t have a clue where and how it is made which should really get me thinking that i should care where it comes from and who worked to bring it to me. Restaurants have workers in the back who work on preparing food that customers order. But what we don’t know is how they are being treated because we are not conscious about the work it takes just the quality of the food. I have thought of how waitress, chiefs and all the staff is being treated because long ago my mother use to be a waitress and she really hated the job. She never had time for me and my siblings because the manager kept on calling her in for work and she would coming home tired and ached due to the fact that she was always walking even worked on days she was really sick. The video we watched about Behind the kitchen doors in class really reminded me about my mother and how hard she had to work to try and help support the family in a hard time when my father wasn’t getting a lot of work and the economy was low in the year 2000’s.
    My favorite fruit is a pineapple that originally comes from South America but are grown in the united states in Hawaii. The fruit is first grown for about 14 months until they are grown to perfection once they are grown from the Dole Plantation in Hawaii the pineapples are shipped to each state. Pineapples cant be automated has to be harvested by hands which creates a lot of labor from workers. The workers will expect during harvest season the heat from the sun will be 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit. But factory working conditions for pineapple workers are very hard for them because they work long shifts and get paid very little money, 4 cents for every euro a consumer spends on pine apples.

    Reference:

    http://www.consumersinternational.org/media/485589/the%20story%20behind%20the%20pineapples%20sold%20on%20our%20supermarket%20shelves%20final.pdf

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  • When I order food, usually never look at it and think of where it comes from because i really never think of it as such a big deal. While I’m on vacation I do wonder where the food came from if I’m in a different country. With going into a restaurant now a days i well be looking at the food and wondering where it came from because I’ve been given a new look on food, because we have talked about this more often and seeing some of the videos in class has really changed my perspective. With most foods i really don’t worry about them, because when it comes to me in getting fruit I usually get it free because my grandpa owns a orchard field in Wenatchee, Washington.
    The food that strikes interest to me is Coca-Cola with producing coke the company gets most of its cane sugar from Columbia and Guatemala. One condition is its just like the chocolate companies getting there coca beans from fields that have underage child workers working for them at bad pay or even no pay. They even have the children trained that if they see a adult on the field they run the other way, because those adults might be looking for underage workers and get the companies in trouble that hire them. With this the workers that are even of the legal age are being payed bad and unions are trying to help them and stop coke from creating a monopoly. With certain work conditions they have to work in the blazing hot heat day in and day out, with the risk of possible getting bitten by a snake while picking up the cane sugar.
    When they are making the cokes in the factory they are put into a lot of a danger with it heating up to high temperatures while they are inside. With working there the government has very strict rules for anyone who works inside a factory and if they don’t have the criteria that is stated by the rules they aren’t allowed to work in the factories.
    To look at it the only people safe are the drivers who drive the coke products to each store where they get alright pay because they do delivers, the only thing they need to worry about is hurting themselves while they are unloading the car and bringing in the products to the stores for the workers to sign off that they got it. Those drivers also run the risk of losing sleep because they are driving big distances and have to unload ever car.

    Source 1.”Campaign to Stop Killer Coke | Tell Coca-Cola to STOP the VIOLENCE!” Campaign to Stop Killer Coke | Tell Coca-Cola to STOP the VIOLENCE! N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2014.
    Source 2. Yates, Jennifer C. “Experts: Coke Plants Full of Dangers, Can Be Safe.” Boston.com. The New York Times, 15 July 2010. Web. 05 Dec. 2014.

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  • In all honesty, it’s hard for me to even remember the last time I thought about where my food derived from. The only time I may have acknowledged the abouts of my food would be when I am consuming ethnic food. When consuming cultural food, only on rare occasions I would give a thought about who actually produced and harvested it. Furthermore, I would never really think about the conditions in which the food was made. The same applies to when I am eating food in restaurants. Only recently have I given thoughts about dangerous conditions in the kitchen that could affect my plate. I think I haven’t given much thought about all of these conditions and backgrounds of the food that I consume because I was never aware of the elongated process of bringing food from one place to my plate. Neither was I really concerned because I did not hear of my surrounding peers speak upon it. However, I just recently started to become aware of the production of the food I eat leading to me thinking more about where my food comes from.
    On another note, coffee would definitely be a drink that I regularly intake. The very first coffee beans were found in the country Ethiopia, and ironically that’s where my entire family was from. It’s produced by first planting these coffee seeds. They need to be “shaded from bright sunlight” (National Coffee Association) and watered regularly. Therefore constant attention is required. Harvesting coffee cherries is the next step. It could be picked in either individually or by the entire crop. After picked, processing the cherries quickly occurs. The first method to process the beans is called the “dry method”. People would spread the coffee cherries outside to dry off under the sun. Working conditions involve people constantly raking the beans throughout the day. The next method is named the “wet method” which is much more common nowadays. It’s when you use water tanks and constantly move the beans. A working condition regarding this method involves individuals using sticks to push the coffee beans down. Now, the next step is to dry the beans out in the sun once again. Before exporting, milling is required in order to remove defective beans. The coffee then get’s exported and tasted. When found in good condition, they roast the coffee to then be sold to the public. Once bought to customers, individuals grind the coffee to get the flavor to blend into the coffee. Lastly, they brew it and pour it into their cup to enjoy.

    http://www.ncausa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=69

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  • When I order food from a restaurant, I actually think about where it came from and how it was made quite often. A few years back, I watched a movie called “Food, Inc.”, which highlighted how poorly animals are treated by the large corporations (such as Tyson) that currently dominate the food industry. Ever since watching this film, I have tried to be more aware of where the food I eat comes from. In high school, I picked cherries near Lake Chelan for a day, and it was brutal. I couldn’t imagine doing that everyday for a whole summer. Because of this experience, I learned employees in the food industry don’t get paid well at all for a very physically demanding job.

    I decided to research chicken, since it is one of the foods I eat the most. Chickens start out at a hatchery. They are bred to gain weight at extreme rates. Once hatched, the chicks are vaccinated for common diseases. They are then sent to large houses which can contain up to 20,000 chickens. The houses are often so packed that the chickens can hardly move around freely. Quality control inspections are done by employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to examine the chickens for signs of disease or injury. They are fed chicken feed which contains mostly corn and soy. After they are big enough, the chickens are put on a conveyor belt where they are paralyzed. Then, they are hung upside down and sent through an automatic neck cutter. After this, they are defeathered and cleaned. Before the carcasses are sent to the chiller, they are inspected to make sure there is not fecal matter on the carcass. If there is, all of the chickens since the last check must be rewashed. They are inspected again once out of the chiller to make sure they core temperature of the meat is under 40 degrees. The carcasses are then sent to a cutting room where workers cut them by hand. The meat is also packaged by the workers and then kept in a cold warehouse until it is distributed to stores.

    The slaughterhouse workers can be fired from their jobs easily, and are often made aware by their employer that they can be replaced easily. This discourages workers from reporting injuries and safety concerns. They work long hours and have very repetitive jobs that are physically taxing. These workers are not paid well and often live at the poverty level.

    After doing this research, I learned that the inspections that must be done to make sure the chickens are safe to eat are fairly strict. I also did not know that the chickens were paralyzed before they were slaughtered, and that the chicken was cut by hand. I expected the conditions of the slaughterhouse workers to be a little better, but knew they were far from ideal.

    References:
    http://www.madehow.com/Volume-5/Chicken.html
    http://www.foodispower.org/slaughterhouse-workers/

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  • Honestly, growing up I never really thought about where my food came from. This is mostly due to how I was raised. Growing up in a suburban home where all of our food was purchased from chain grocery outlets such as Safeway, and QFC I did not get much insight to where the food was actually coming from. I guess you could say we were a typical American consumer family in that we do not purchase our groceries from a local market with locally grown produce. Also my family ate lots of fast food, so I can probably assume my parents did not pay attention to where foods were produced, harvested. I ate lots microwavable foods from the freezer isle. I never really cooked my own food either until I left for college. I would just use the microwave and assumed my parents knew what they were giving me. Also, I was never one to read the ingredients and I feel as if this would have helped me recognize certain things within the product that would have helped me identify how the product is produced. For example, I ate many Tyson chicken wings and I wish hadn’t and here’s why.
    Tyson has a 7-step process that takes place to get their product onto our plates. First the breeder flocks are raised to maturity where eggs are produced. Then pullets hatch from these eggs where they are then sent to breeder houses. The pullets produce eggs which are then sent too hatcheries. Once the eggs hatch the chickens are sent to broiler farms. Contract growers then raise the chicken to Tyson’s standers. Once raised the chickens are brought too the processing plants. The chicken are processed and sent to distribution centers then transported to customers who then sell the chicken to consumers. This sounds great and all but there is documentation that shows the conditions in which these processes take place are extremely poor. The company has been involved in Controversies of hiring illegal Immigrants, torturing birds in slaughterhouses, injecting antibiotics into live stock, and having poor relations with contract farmers whom are raising livestock in poor and disgusting conditions. Illegal immigrants were hired because they were willing to do work that most legal immigrants are not willing to do. Workers in these conditions are exposed to epidemic disease from dead chicken. Tyson foods have been viewed as unethical because its producing processes have below acceptable moral standards.

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  • In the time before being enrolled in this course, I can admit that I have never really thought about where the food I eat comes from, or how it is produced. Nothing ever really brought the amount of work and effort goes into the things on the shelves at Wal-Mart to my attention. Realizing that there are many steps and aspects that go into making these items consumable and purchasable, I was amused about how much I was looking past. All foods contain ingredients that come from all over the world. Those ingredients call for transportation services to be delivered for the creation of the actual food item. Someone with food making talents must then create the item, and from there it must be transported to a location where is can be marketed and purchased by consumers. This is a lot of people included in the up coming of say a box of Wheat Thins. Connecting this realization back to restaurants, my thoughts on who is making my food never really came up before being in this course. Before when I was at a restaurant, I was more worried about the people who I was having a sit down lunch with, rather than the people preparing and delivering my food. Its strange to think that the conditions in a kitchen in a restaurant may be let sanitary and practical than the kitchen you have at home, yet we all see restaurants as a low key easy was to enjoy a meal relaxingly with those we love. Knowing the conditions employees for the restaurant industry deal with, I have became a lot more picky about eating at restaurants, and tend to acknowledge and look to see those individuals that are preparing my food. I don’t like that fact that the people who are making our food could be sick and in no way shape or form healthy enough to be around food that is to be consumed by customers. Awareness of what goes on behind the kitchen door has made me understand the importance of knowing the conditions of the server and chef in the restaurant as you are putting them in the hands of preparing the food you plan to consume.
    I decided to do my research on the process of producing milk. Milk goes through 8 major steps before we take it home to have with our dinner every night. The first step is rearing, which is the process of increasing the cow’s milk production and decreasing the spread of infection and disease using growth hormones and antibiotics. Then the milk is harvested. Milking the cows each two times a day using milking machines does this. Then the milk is stored in vats or silos on the farm that are refrigerated at 38 degrees fro no longer than 48 hours. Each time they store milk they clean out the vats and silos before leaving fresh milk to be stored. From there the milk is transported, from tankers of which come to the dairy transport the newly harvested milk every 24 to 48 hours. Then the milk is taken to a lab to be tested for antibiotic s and temperature before being sent to the processing center. Then it is sent to the processing center where it undergoes pasteurization homogenization and separation. Then it is packaged and sent to the stores where it can be sold. Every step takes some one doing the job to make it happen, and realizing that these jobs don’t have the best working conditions, we must see just how much work goes into one gallon of milk.

    Work cited
    Parmalat Australia Ltd. “Student Info: How Milk is Made,” http://www.parmalat.com

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  • Honestly I can say that whenever I go to a restaurant I never think about where my food came from. The only times I might wonder where my food came from is when I get fruit and see it bruised, the only thought that might just run through my mind is that the restaurant didn’t get quality fruit but I won’t think about where the fruits were picked. Going to a restaurant I don’t think about where my food came I think of how the chefs prepared my food. Just because I don’t think about food in restaurants doesn’t mean that I never think of how my food is produced and harvested. Being Mexican-American I believe that I have a good understanding of how fruits and vegetables are harvested. I personally have never worked picking crops but I do have family members and friends who do, I have also stayed in a camper where the workers live in while they are working. The living conditions were not the best and I would witness how early the workers would wake up and how hard they would work. So at times when I’m at a supermarket and see fruits and vegetables that aren’t in the best conditions I don’t get frustrated because I know how hard the workers work and that not all of the crops they pick will be perfect.
    The food I chose to research are bananas. According to the website banana factories are located mostly in Latin America and require a great amount of money to transport, pack them, etc. The banana growing process is labor intensive and requires the workers to clear the jungle growth to allow the bananas to grow. The bananas are grown for nine months and are picked while they are still green and sent to warehouses to be sorted and packaged. Expectations are very high in the UK and buyers expect their bananas to be of the highest quality and if they are not they are sold to local businesses. While being transported to the UK, the bananas are in fridges for 6 – 12 days until they arrive in the UK. Banana exportation is one of the biggest economic products that are produced in Latin America. About 15 million tons are distributed each year. A lot goes into producing and harvesting bananas, workers have to make sure that the jungle growth is kept tidy and the temperature is correct, and they don’t have to check the bananas every week they have to check them daily for nine months.

    http://www.bananalink.org.uk/how-bananas-are-grown

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  • Personally, I try to eat the best I can with the budget I’m restricted to. Unfortunately, this means that I don’t always eat the food I want to be eating, which would be all organic, locally grown fair trade, vegan foods. I’ve been very conscious of what I eat since I was in high school. I decided to become vegetarian to be more environmentally friendly. In addition, I don’t support the treatment of animals on large scale corporate farms. I would say that I think about just about every aspect of where my food comes from and who produced it. However, I don’t always eat healthy and one thing I have never been able to give up, for more than a few months, is a cold glass of Coca Cola every time I eat at restaurants. For part two, I will research where Coke is produced and the environmental impacts, as well as human impacts, that its production is responsible for overall.
    Coca-Cola is a product of Atlanta, Georgia, however it is bottled all around the world. From just a quick amount of researched I found the Coca-Cola company has been criticized for alleged exploitation of labor as well as having high levels of pesticides in their products, for building factories in Nazi Germany which employed slave labor, environmental destruction as well as being monopolistic (Wikipedia). Coca-Cola was alleged to be indirectly involved with abusing the use of child labor in El Salvador sugarcane fields. The Humans Rights Watch (HRW) reported anywhere from 5,000 to 30,000 Salvadoran children are victims of child labor. Coca-Cola is able to utilize this cheap labor indirectly by buying from the sugar mill, which gets its sugarcane from these plantations (Organic Consumers Association). Coca-Cola is not the only corporation to outsource its labor to children in poorer nations. In order to see a difference in the treatment of laborers, we must all come together and demand to that fair treatment. Consumers run the market, if the demand was switched to favor products from fair traded companies than eventually the market would not demand the products that come from underpaid laborers. It is important to consider all aspects of where your food comes from before consuming it.
    If we were all more conscious of this, healthier food would be in higher demand and would eventually be affordable to everyone. This would create a healthier nation, which in turns generates a more productive society. Children can focus on school and learning instead of on how hungry they are.

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  • There are many things that I don’t really think about, and where my food comes from just happens to be one of them. I don’t think about how it is produced or even how it has been harvested, especially not the conditions under which all this happens. When I sit at a restaurant and look at the menu and what to order the first thing that comes to mind is, what tastes the best? Or what is cheap, yet still good? Never is the question, where does my food come from? When in a restaurant I sit and it’s usually to have a good time or to meet up with someone, not to think about the circumstances in which the food being feed to us is made. When I go into a restaurant it’s to enjoy a meal I don’t have to prepare.
    Coffee is the thing many of us drink in the mornings to get our day started, whether hot or cold coffee is delicious. Where does the coffee we drink come from? Most the coffee we drink comes from South America, Africa, and Asia. The origins of coffee come from Africa and then started moving west and east forming eventually a belt that was bounded by Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Coffee beans typically need moderate rain and sun and a temperature of about 70 degrees to be able to grow. There are some basic things that the coffee bean goes through before it actually makes it to our cup of coffee. The beans come from a tree called coffee cherries. These cherries are picked by hand from a branch one at a time, which is an intense manual-labor job. In some places, like Brazil, they have made it mechanized. A good picker can pick from about 100-200 pounds of coffee cherries a day. After picked the coffee cherries are put to dry and then they go through milling. Once ready the beans, green coffee, are exported to other countries and about 7 million tons are produced worldwide each year. The coffee is then roasted and infused in boiling water and the coffee is analyzed and tasted. We are then able to have a nice cup of coffee. They then go into a store such as Starbucks and we order our Grande Carmel Macchiato. But through this whole process we don’t think of those people who hand pick these coffee cherries in the heat for hours with only like one break. Many get blisters from doing such works. But like any other job they need to work to be able to feed their families. They make the pounds they pick. When I eat at a restaurant now i will no longer just think what it is that i want to order, but rather, where does my food come from?

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  • In the United States we are known to eat out at restaurants a lot. I am accustomed to rather cook something at home and eat then wasting money on food out in a restaurant. But on special occasions it is only fitting to go out and eat at your favorite restaurant. When I think back to the time I went out for my 18th birthday for dinner, I was eager and excited to celebrate the day with friends and family that the thought of where my plate of food came from did not cross my mind. All I seemed to care about is if my food is properly cooked well and has the great taste I expect from the Thai restaurant. I never think about it at a restaurant, which is totally normal. But it’s also normal to think about to think about where the food is from. Now when I think about the preparation of the food and where it came from. I don’t think about it often and the reason why is because I don’t have a general idea of where the certain restaurant’s food comes from.
    The preparation of the food, I am accustomed to trust the food because people come in expecting the best out of the dish they order. I decided to pick grapes. Some restaurants may or may not serve grapes. They are one of my favorite fruits and wanted to know a little bit more information about it. There are six different things that they do with grapes, starting with planting the grapes to the recipes. Planting grapes at the beginning of spring is best. Planting the grapes 12 inches into the ground and spacing the vines 6 feet apart is the best dimension for the grapes to grow freely. After of course planting the grapes its best to water for their health and growth. In the first couple of years the grape vines should be able to produce fruits. The reason why is because the vines need to strengthen to be able to support other fruits that will grow on. Pruning is the most important part about taking care of the fruits. We don’t want the fruit to be growing and spreading out of control. During March and April are when they are when their vines are most dominant. Removing 90% of the previous growth will ensure the best growth throughout other seasons. Fertilizing in not necessarily needed unless the soil you have is not cooperating. Keeping other animals away such as birds, it is best to use nets to cover the growing fruit. Now once grapes are fully ripened and ready to be picked off, they can be used to make different salads and of course wine.

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  • On a day to day basis the thought of where my food comes from doesn’t usually cross my mind, but there are those rare occasions where I am faced with food that looks nothing like it should. The food that makes me think of where it comes from the most are the McDonalds chicken nuggets. I enjoy cooking at home, especially chicken, so I know that not all chicken looks the same, even if they come from the same part. My research focused not only on where McDonald’s chicken nuggets came from, but also what are they really made of and why do they look the way they do.
    McDonalds acquires its chicken from three different suppliers, Keystone Foods, Tyson and Dorada. All three companies follow the same production regulations. All the chickens are bread cage free and fed seeds. The biggest roomer that I have heard and I think about when getting McDonalds chicken nuggets is that the food is not completely chicken, but rather has an unknown pink slime. The more I researched the more that was proven wrong, in fact it seems as though the origin of that myth came from one of the companies rival fast food chains. The other major worry of mine was how every nugget was exactly one of four different shapes. I had speculations of how the shapes were made and none of those speculations were appealing, but luckily the truth put my mind and stomach at ease. The chicken nuggets get their shape from using a cookie cutter like tool to cut out the four shapes out of whole chicken breasts. The cut out pieces are then battered with bleached flour and McDonalds special seasonings then deep fried in vegetable oil and served.

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  • There has been a discovery in the past that shows how much of a difference our food has changed. Not just food but our food pyramids as well. I eat a variety of food, as well as at so many different places. However, I admit I usually don’t think about where my food comes from. Often I will think about what animal it comes from, but not what factory, city, or any other various items that it has to go through before it reaches me. I don’t think about it that often because usually I’m more focused on satisfying my appetite and I don’t have to worry about being allergic to anything. The few times I do think of where my food is coming from is when I’m eating at fast-food restaurants like McDonalds, Jack in the Box, and Wendy’s. Ever since I’ve seen videos on social media about processed foods and genetically modified food, I have been aware of my choice of food.

    Chocolate is made up of Theobroma cacao seeds, also known as cocoa seeds. Majority of the production of cocoa seeds are located in West Africa, where child labor is very common in growing and obtaining this product. Cacao pods are harvested from a tree and are prepared for fermentation. After fermentation the beans are dried to prevent mold growth, but only in warm, sunny weather. The dried beans are then transported to a chocolate manufacturing facility where they clean, roast, and grade the beans. After the liquidation into chocolate liquor, the liquore is blended with cocoa butter to make different types of chocolate. Then the chocolate goes through cinching for about three days which smoothens and increases the quality of the chocolate’s texture and taste. The chocolate is then stored in a certain temperature, depending on which of the six different crystal forms of chocolate is wanted. After crystallizing, chocolate must be stored between 15 and 17 degrees celsius. Then the product is transferred to chocolate industries for labeling. The biggest issues with the production of chocolate is slavery and children trafficking in the Ivory Coast of Africa. It has been stated that these child slaves are working at harsh and abusive conditions. 200,000 of children are trafficked every year in West and Central Africa in result to $7 billion of profit a year. Mainly the harms of these children come from higher authority. They abuse children violently if they don’t do the work that they are required to do. Also they live in inhumane conditions, as well as starvation.

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  • In general, questioning food sources and processing is typical among all people, but how it frequently happens depends on many facts such as restaurants locations, conditions and food prices. I personally ask this kind of question many times, as I am highly aware of health and food. I have watched some documentaries about food preparing by famous food industries and I am definitely not happy with what I have seen, which tights me much to not have any food served by these industries. Still, I always ask questions about where this food comes from even in fancy restaurants. Before illustrating my statement, I believe that food safety is not limited only to the places where food is being prepared and cooked. It is obvious that hygiene is a main point in judging food safety, but that is not enough. We may need to think about where the ingredients come from and how they are delivered. For example, I usually check fish source whether it’s farmed or wild. I have read that farmers raise thousands of them in a relevantly small volume of water, which becomes a good environment for parasites. I also found out that, farmed fish has higher rate of mercury, which is absolutely bad for our health.
    In another aspect, racism is involved in this regard. Many people, including myself, are tight in having food from restaurants in poor neighborhoods (people of color) or third-world-countries cuisines. It mainly comes down to how restaurants in there look, and what impression the workers in the kitchen can give us, I believe. But some people think that the workers might not be educated enough in food safety and hygiene, which makes the food sounds not qualified. I really hate to say this, but this is a fact we can’t ignore. Up to this point, I think that’s enough reason to always ask questions about the meals we order.
    Part 2
    One food I hardly ever eat is Big Mac from McDonald’s. I can say most people agree to how unhealthy this meal is. Still they often have it at tables due to its low price and great taste. Regardless of the great number of calories that meal has, there are other things we should take into account when we address the bad things about this meal. Let’s start with the meat first. How they treat the cows in the farms and slaughterhouses. Many videos show how workers in the industries treat the animal brutally. The rooms where they lock up animal are small and look polluted. The animals are injected with antibiotic, which makes the meat bad to eat in long-term. Those poor animals meet brutal kill, which lead to the question: how to stop that abuse? The lettuce in the burger is a critical topic to discuss. I’ve told that the farmers use fertilizers treated with chemical stuff to make plants grow faster so they can meet the huge demands. Consequently, the unnatural grown plants are not healthy and might be contaminated.

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  • I rarely think about where my food comes from. I know I should think about it more, but I always forget to think about it as soon as the food enters the room. I probably never think about where my food comes from or who produced it because of my privilege. Even though I am a young woman of color I still have privileges that other people might not have. So, I want to start by acknowledging my privilege because not having to worry/think about where my food comes from is a perfect example of: “first world problems.” It is a privilege to not have to think about the people that help harvest my food. I don’t want to over generalize, but more often than not the people harvesting my food aren’t getting paid a fair wage or are subject to poor working conditions. When I go into restaurants I never have to think about the source of my food I just order it from the menu and it comes perfectly cooked and prepared.
    My favorite food is potato. I incorporate them into many of my meals: french fries, chips, baked potato. There are so many options when you cook with potatoes. The bag of potatoes I have are called “Living Organic Potatoes.” These potatoes are from Spokane Washington. The company that distributed them was called “Spokane Produce.” This company does not actually grow and harvest the potatoes they are just a distribution company that is based out of Spokane. I had a really hard time finding the growing partners for Spoken Produce. Maybe this is intentional because tracking one’s food might mean lower sales and higher production standards. That could mean bad business for large corporations that have monopolized the certain crops. But, from the research I did on Spokane Produce it seemed like that distribution company was independent and small. The website said that they have over 250 employees working for them so it is a small family operation. The company belongs to the Higashi family. Spokane Produce also believes in personal relationships with their growers and harvesters (at least that’s what they claim on their website). Spokane Produce delivers produce to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. These particular potatoes that I have were grown and harvested in Spokane, WA. However, I can’t seem to find exactly where the potatoes were harvested. I just got a general idea of where they are from. I also couldn’t find any information on workers conditions at Spokane Produce or the harvesting process. Again this could be a very intentional thing, to leave out the workers and the working conditions. I wish I could have found where the crops were actually produced but that information was not available. I couldn’t find the exact spot they were grown and harvested. I just know they come from a farm in Spokane, Washington and ended up in a grocery store in Pullman, Washington.

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  • I often think about where my food comes from, who produced and harvested it as well as the conditions under which this took place because first I am of Chinese origin. When I am in a restaurant I always check the menu and choose the best food I can get putting in mind its source and associated issues. I do this because first I care about the quality and mostly the nutritional value of the food as well as how likely I may benefit or get food which is substandard. Normally, I choose foods from a number of companies which are associated with long experience in food production and therefore I feel the food I am eating safer. I also prefer Chinese foods since they are native to my culture and my family usually orders these types of foods.
    Normally I drink chocolate from time to time on a regular basis. It is produced from milk cream and cocoa imported from West African countries the sugar is another ingredient in this food and the producer is Cadbury. The production of this chocolate is a process that involves mixing the cream and the cocoa in refined form in a very precise ratio. It is produced using very state of the art technology to ensure hygiene, flavor and quality. The end product is high calorie and sweet product which loved and consumed globally. It is then packaged and distributed to outlets which are connected to the production company. The mode of transporting the product is designed to ensure the product gets to the delivery point intact and in clean condition. The favorite chocolate is eat is intended for fun moments and some consume it to relieve stress.
    When being served with chocolate I normally look at the state of the person who has served me since personal hygiene is critical in the waitress business. If the apron and appearance of the waitress is good I will eat the food without any doubts but if it’s the exact opposite I will decline to take any food from that restaurant. I am very precautious when it comes to health since I consider it my greatest wealth. I normally check the condition of the restaurant from the entrance, the tables, the utensils, and the people who are serving me. Lastly, I think the fact that lesser people care about the source of their food is the cause of poor health. I also eat some foods if they are associated with helping certain just cause or the fact that cocoa supports poor farmers back in Nigeria and Ghana. I also advocate for cleanliness in restaurants to promote good health for all.

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