Agriculture, the Fast Food Nation(s), and Genetically Modified Organisms

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Agriculture, the Fast Food Nation(s), and Genetically Modified Organisms. Outline. Fast Food Fries Big Macs Chicken Nuggets Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Risks and benefits Types New Areas. Fast Food Nation. The Jungle - Upton Sinclair (1906) Super Size Me - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Agriculture, the Fast Food Nation(s), and Genetically Modified Organisms

  • OutlineFast FoodFriesBig MacsChicken NuggetsGenetically Modified Organisms (GMO)Risks and benefitsTypesNew Areas

  • Fast Food NationThe Jungle - Upton Sinclair (1906)Super Size MeFast Food Nation by Eric SchlosserMore money on fast food than higher educationHow has fast food changed agriculture??

  • French FriesThe potato: a brief historyBecame popular in the 1920s in NAImportant to the early success of McDonaldsPotato and NA/European diet $0.30 -> $$6.00 (Profit!!!!)Of $1.50 worth of fries, $0.02 goes to farmer->corporate farms

  • ImpactFast food needsUniformity One world, one tasteConstant supplyIncreased productivity (Idaho)Tonnage of potatoes (doubled)Yield/acre (increased 30%)Increased inputs, I.e. mechanization, fertilizer, irrigation, pesticidesNeed for larger farms and less farmers

  • Big Macs and youCattleSoil compactionOvergrazingErosionLoss of biodiversityBSE?

  • Big Macs and youFeedlots, AestheticsRunoffslaughter houses and meatpackingThen: A respectable, well-paying union jobEnter the disassembly lineNow: A job for illegal, illiterate, immigrantsVery dangerous

  • The Chicken NuggetHistoryHealth very poor choiceBulk agricultural commodity into a manufactured, value-added productBusinessEnsure constant supply Tyson FoodsChickens

  • Genetically Modified OrganismsFood supply15 crop species and 8 livestock species = 90% of worlds food supplyArtificial SelectionWhat is a GMO?Reduced breeding cyclesNew and improved agricultural varieties

  • Pest controlInsect controlBacillus thruringiensis (Bt)Gene for Bt toxin introduced to plantsBenefits: Decreased pesticide useCosts: Resistance?

  • Weed control and herbicide resistance275 million kg of herbicide/year in USDamage crops and increase pests/pathogensHerbicide resistant cropsHeavy use of herbicideLess use: the timing must be rightRapid break down of pesticideTransfer genes to wild species = super weed

  • New areasPest control2000 plants have insecticidal properties700 substances in bacteria and fungi have fungicidal propertiesWhat about super bugs??Disease resistance (less fungicides)Vaccines for livestockDrought resistance5 million l of water for 1 ha of corn

  • New Areas (cont)Salt toleranceNitrogen fixation in cropsPerennial grain cropsImprove recycling of toxic wastesImproved palatability of fruits

  • Questionable areasBovine Growth Hormone

    Native organisms

    Crops to weeds?

  • GMO,ethics, and the real worldGMOs are very expensiveYields are no better than existing varietiesBanned in EuropePatenting life?The Monsanto caseIs it playing God?Alternatives: Integrated Pest Management!!


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