The Lifecycle of Food

Life on the "farm" is not what is used to be. Modern-day agriculture is a radical departure from the iconic images of cows, pigs and chickens roaming freely beside nearby fields of vegetables. Today's agricultural system more closely resembles a car assembly line. From soil to plate, the aim of agribusiness is to deliver vast quantities of food with little regard for the long-term damage it creates in the process.

Through the eyes and ears of whistleblowers, the Food Integrity Campaign receives first-hand knowledge and evidence of the terrible state of the agriculture industry.

In this area, FIC focuses on systemic problems emanating from these "farms." Waste and contaminants from these facilities assault their surrounding environments. Violations of humane animal handling run rampant. Workers at these farms — often the only individuals capable of stopping outbreaks — enjoy little whistleblower protection. All of these issues are a direct threat to public health.

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FIC has encountered countless whistleblowers, both corporate and government, who have made startling disclosures about the dangers that arise during the processing of food. FIC is committed to giving these brave employees the freedom to speak out about these threats to public health.

When most people think of processing, they think of highly processed items like snack foods. In reality, some form of processing is applied to most foods available at the supermarket. Not all processing is necessarily dangerous to consumers ­ but it does increase exposure to harmful contaminants, and involve either potentially harmful additives or chemicals that may have health implications.

Many processing problems are the result of insufficient government authority to regulate the food industry. The current system of food oversight is unreasonably compartmentalized, inefficient, and allows federal regulators to become cozy with the industries they regulate.

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Transportation and retail food management are critical components of the food supply chain. But the sanctity of these areas ­ which pose serious risks ­ are often overlooked by consumers.

Food integrity issues involved with shipping range from incorrect temperature exposure on loading docks to bioterrorism threats. Distribution centers and warehouses hold a tremendous amount of our food on a daily basis ­ but the sheer amount of product and turnaround presents countless opportunities for contamination.

The conduct of retail establishments such as grocery stores or restaurants also gives rise to several issues involving both the safety and perceived wholesomeness of food product. Over the years, many acts of expired or unsafe food selling, or product mislabeling, have been revealed to FIC.

FIC works with whistleblowers to expose wrongdoing in these areas, and promote retail and transportation policy changes.

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The agriculture industry claims that it benefits global health because mass production is the only means to provide enough food to feed the world's growing population. In many ways, however, agribusiness actually hurts farmers economically and lessens access to food. Furthermore, the types of food that agribusiness produces contributes greatly to the American obesity epidemic.

Also, the sheer amount of food waste and disposable product containers produced in America is massive. These 'leftovers' act as pollutants that harm the environment and the areas that produce tomorrow's food. Other pollutants, such as chemicals from burning and dumping, also affect the quality of our food sources.

FIC supports citizen activists who speak out against problems with this system, and works closely with coalition groups that focus on these issues.

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