Bigger Food for Bigger People

Most people who are Americans are of European origin. The Europeans, one way or another, got rid of most of America’s indigenous population centuries ago in a frenzy of genocide. It seems that when Europeans reached America they wanted to do things bigger, better and cheaper than they were done in Europe; such is the American dream.

One part of the American dream is about food. There should be plenty of food produced by all means possible because part of the American dream is to be well food, or even fat. So America is the home of meat produced with large amounts of hormones to stimulate growth and genetically engineered crops lavished with pesticides. Quantity wins over quality every time.

Those Europeans who still live in Europe are suspicious of the means of food production in the United States. Their food is a nice place to visit, as it were, but Europeans would not like to eat it permanently. Also Europe has many small farmers run by small family farmers. Europe does not want these farms to suffer as a result of cheap hormone meat or GM cereals imported from America.

The European Union and the United States of America are engaged in tarde talks in Brussels. Both sides feel that by encouraging trade by relaxing rules will stimulate the economies of both regions by $100 billion a year, although I am not so sure that such a magically high and round number will be achieved. However the trade talks are faltering because at present the EU exports $16.6 billion of farm produce to the US, while US farmers exported $9.9 billion to Europe. The explanation of the gap is largely blamed by Americans on the EU ban on GM food imports, as though the quality and variety of EU food had nothing to do with the gap.

The EU bans the import of beef from cattle raised with growth hormones. It is suspicious, rightly so, of the US’s attempts to sell GM crops in Europe and fearful of the impact of them of wildlife and existing markets. It is better to be safe than sorry, say the Europeans, but the American dream of bigger better and cheaper regards the European attitude as unfair and foolish. No one needs bigger cheaper food for people that are already too big.

The problem is one in which consumers in both regions may ultimately decide. If you are offered a cheap good looking steak for half the price it can be difficult to resist it, growth hormones or not, if you are struggling to make ends meet. Nevertheless, Europe has enough wrong with many of its farming practices without importing new vices from abroad. As with most things small is beautiful and that particularly applies to food production.

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