Is There a Food Cartel?

I woke up yesterday morning thinking of cartels. I guess I was influenced by the CSI:New Orleans episode I watched the night before. We usually think of the drug trade south of our borders when we use the word cartel. I decided to look it up because I realized that I really didn’t know what it meant. This is a definition from one of several sites.

car·tel

  1. an association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition.
    “the Colombian drug cartels”
    • historical

      a coalition or cooperative arrangement between political parties intended to promote a mutual interest.

When I read it I thought this seemed awfully familiar. The definition below is what I remembered from a business class I attended.

 OLIGOPOLY
A situation in which a particular market is controlled by a small group of firms.An oligopoly is much like a monopoly, in which only one company exerts control over most of a market. In an oligopoly, there are at least two firms controlling the market.

When a market is controlled, doesn’t that include prices and restricting competition?

There is a campaign going on against foods containing genetically modifies organisms. The battle is mainly against the Monsanto corporation. But it doesn’t seem like they can have the kind of power they are having without help. Some believe members of our Congress have been bought by Monsanto. Others believe the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is in the mix. The things that have been happening certainly make you wonder. I just read an article about the meaning of “natural” on our food labels. This is an excerpt

“What is important to understand is how natural flavors are created. Scientists, or flavorists as they prefer to be called, blend natural or synthetic chemicals to create flavorings. The only difference between artificial and natural flavorings is the original (natural) source of the raw ingredients/chemicals. The formulas for both are the same although a small change can result in a different flavor.” The bold is mine.

These are FDA approved foods. Is this what you think of when you want natural? If you are like me, you thought natural meant devoid of artificial or chemical anything. I was in the 2/3rds mentioned below. Are you? We have been deceived for years.

“When we see a product labeled as such we perceive it as better for us, in fact a Consumer Reports survey found that two-thirds of Americans think the word natural on the label means it contains no artificial ingredients, pesticides or genetically engineered organisms and as a result has launched a campaign to ban the use of the word “natural” on both packages and in all marketing for foods and beverages.”

Read the rest of the article. The FDA has no clear definition of what “natural” means.

So now we have Monsanto and the FDA appearing to be working together to control what is in our food. What part is Congress possible playing in this. Antitrust and fair trade agreements? All I know is that it seems others profit at our expense.

The last parties to this perceived cartel is the medical profession and the pharmaceutical concerns. I don’t mean all doctors. I am referring to the system that they have to operate in. Treat the symptom, don’t search for the cause. Prescribe a pill because it cost too much to spend the time searching for the cause. Doctors are required to operate in that 15 minute window unless they are private practices that control their own offices. I had an interesting conversation with one of my husband’s doctors. Because of some heart problems, he has been prescribed Warfarin or Cumidin, rat poison. I asked the doctor if he could regulate the situation with foods that are natural blood thinners. She said no. I asked why. She said because they could not track it. This is how they track it. Take a certain number of tablets and check the blood. If the thinness is in a certain range you are okay. If it is too high, decrease the number of tablets. If it is too low, add more tablets. If the blood test is the telling factor, you could eat more or less of the vegetables depending on the thinness level. They rather he take poison, so they can regulate the dosage, rather allow him to eat fresh, certified organic vegetables and get healthy. Does that even seem reasonable to a rational, thinking mind?

I love my country but “the love of money” has removed standards and logical reasoning that can be trusted. What cartel should we fear first?

The end of the article mentioned above states the only way you can be sure your food is natural is to purchase USDA certified organic products. I am also buying from stores who have verified their products as non-GMO. I don’t know what those organisms will do to us.I am choosing to go that route. I hope I can trust the USDA.

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