|Know what you're eating|
In this day and age, it is crucial consumers educate themselves and read the labels on the foods they purchase. By doing so, they'd easily learn that stores like Wal-mart and discount groceries like Save-A-Lot sell foods grown or manufactured outside the United States. I'm not talking about bananas or citrus fruit either. For example, a recent trip to a Save-A-Lot revealed a startling number of canned fruits and vegetables from China! There is no reason we should be importing food from China that can and is grown in America. One specific example which comes to mind are canned peaches. While American canned peaches were stocked, Save-A-Lot had surrounded them with discount "gourmet" peaches and "snack packs" from China. Other Chinese imported foods observed were holiday cookies and candies. Corporations like Save-A-Lot are trying to adapt the Wal-mart model of selling cheap merchandise made in China to retail food. Isn't it bad enough we've handed over our manufacturing to Chinese wage-slave factories? By buying these food products, you are endorsing the destruction of our agriculture by an economy predicated upon captive and forced labor -- not to mention their questionable safety record. Remember all those babies who died after they were poisoned by contaminated baby formula?
Read the label!
While seeing "Made in China" on your can of peaches or maraschino cherries is easy enough -- if you take the time to look -- many processed foods made in America contain ingredients sourced outside the United States. Even such "all American" snacks like Twinkies and Little Debbie cakes use these foreign ingredients and, if you're serious about buying American, you may want to keep what follows in mind. Sorbic acid is a very common ingredient. Flip over your snack and see if it's listed. Sorbic acid is imported from Germany, Japan, and China. Vanillin is an artificial vanilla flavoring. It's made in one of two plants -- one in China and one in Baton Rouge, LA. Neither of the plants is American owned. At least one of them is in the States. Palm oil is used a lot because of its excellent shelf life. The palm oil tree can not grow in the United States and the vast majority is produced in Malaysia. Stearic acid and sodium steryl lactylate are made from palm oil so, you guessed it, they're from Malaysia too. Glycerin is added to foods to keep them moist or creamy. Most of it comes from Mexico or Malaysia. Same goes for mono and diglycerides. Sodium and calcium casinate are common ingredients in many convenience foods. Almost all of both of these ingredients originate in Ireland or New Zealand.
Flip over the package of your favorite snack cake or junk food and there is a very good chance you'll encounter more than one of these pro-globalization anti-American labor ingredients. I'm of the opinion that processed foods made in the United States with ingredients from halfway around the world by a multinational corporation are not only of questionable nutritional value for your body but also that of the country as a whole. Be informed when you make your purchases. Junk food isn't necessarily bad -- if you don't eat too much of it -- but why are we clogging our national arteries or developing "all American" obesity and diabetes with foreign ingredients? Just for the record, the following "food" ingredients are made from crude oil or national gas: sorbic acid (a two-fer), polysorbate 60, 80, & 20, many artificial sweeteners, red #40 and yellow $5. OPEC, Russia, China, and Norway profit when you dig into those. Enjoy.
What's the solution? The easiest I think is self apparent. Buy locally produced foods -- preferably non-processed foods -- and cook for yourself. Unfortunately, not everyone can do that. What is most important is to educate yourself and learn where your food is coming from and then make informed pro-American labor choices. Not only can you improve your health but also that of the country. Buy American food made from American ingredients by American workers!