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Lecture 19

AMST 1154 Lecture 19: Definition industrial food (4-12)

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University of Iowa
American Studies
AMST 1154
Rabinovitz Lauren

Definition industrial food “any food whose provenance is so complex or obscure that it requires expert help ascertain.” Modern agricultural industry • Federal regulation • Marriage between chemical companies and food producers • Cultural authorities Chemical companies and agriculture • Monsanto & Dupont: adapting to post-WWII peacetime market • Fertilizers, pesticides • Genetically engineered corn: denser yield; insect-resistant; herbicide-resistant; drought- resistant; pesticide producing • Make more than 50 % of all corn seed Fertilizers • 1947: huge surplus of ammonium nitrate (the chief ingredient used in making explosives) • Also an excellent source of nitrogen for plants- helps them to convert sunlight into carbohydrates • Munitions plants convert to fertilizer plants • Modern day fertilizer born: born in synthetic fertilizer allowed farmers to grow vast quantities of corn without bankrupting the soil Pesticides • Similar trajectory: modern pesticides derived from poison gases developed for military use • Production plants converted to pesticide plants after WWII ended • Market flooded with modern, more effective pesticides Genetically modified organism • Any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques • GMO • Corn engineered to be herbicide (roundup Ready) and to produce its own pesticide (Bt toxin) • Genetically modified corn crops begin in 1994 • 59 countries authorize GM corn either for growing and or importing DuPont Pioneer TC1507 • 1999 – DuPont buys out Pioneer and becomes largest producer of hybrid corn seeds in the world; sells to over 70 countries • 2014: EU debates whether or not to ban DuPont Pioneer TC1507 • TC1507 – an insect resistant corn variety used only for livestock feed and biofuels; kills insects that fee on the corn; question whether or not it is safe for human consumption Monsanto MON 810 • 1993: insect resistant variety of corn • 1998: licensed to Pioneer as well (Dupont takes over in 1999) • 2014: March 15, banned in France as harmful to the environment Starlink: herbicide resistant • Contains Cry9c, a protein that last longer in the digestive system than other previously modified proteins in GM corn • 1998: EPA raises concerns about use in corn destined for human consumption • May 1998: approved for livestock feed only • 2000- found in human food in U.S., Japan, Korean – 51 US citizens report allergic reactions to the FDA; CDC investigates; result of Taco Bell corn taco shells • Company recalls massive amount of Starlink corn • 2001 – US monitors corn supply for presence of Starlink proteins • 2005: corn exported to Central America found to have Starlink proteins; the nations rejected the corn • 2013: Monsanto develops a new drought resistant GM corn ( Droughtgard) • GM corn accounts for 40% of the sweet corn market Monsanto says: • Reduces need for insecticides & herbicides • Fewer trips across the field for farmers • Able to grown corn in places previously not possible • Amount of acreage has gone up •
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