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The End of Food

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Thomas Pawlick delivers an in-depth exposé of the food industry with the comfort and candour of a neighbourly farmer/investigator who might be seated at our dinner table.

by Thomas F. Pawlick
Greystone, 2006
256 pages

Thomas Pawlick delivers an in-depth expos?f the food industry with the comfort and candour of a neighbourly farmer/investigator who might be seated at our dinner table. With a combination of almost 40 years of experience and awards won for science journalism, an editorship at Harrowsmith magazine, and years of farming experience, he is justifiably confident in his knowledge of where our food supply falls short today and where it is headed. Had the message of this book been brought to our attention by someone with a less intimate understanding of its subject, the result could easily have failed to hit the mark.

Put simply, the prevailing agri-food industries (and their elected politicians) are steering public health down a compromised path by permitting two concurrent actions: reduction of nutrients in the food stream and the increased addition of hidden toxins in factory-farmed foods. Pawlick easily proves how the nutritional content of common foods, such as tomatoes and potatoes, has declined dramatically in Canada due to changes in government policy since the 1950s. While some vegetables on store shelves are virtually devoid of nutrients, other foods are now commonly injected with flavour enhancers containing salt and fats that jeopardize the health of unwitting consumers. Those with existing health conditions such as hypertension are especially vulnerable to such additives.

Pawlick successfully blends a personal storytelling style with hard-hitting facts gathered from a wide array of global sources. Readers learn why outdoor food factories focus only on volume, size, shipping convenience, and colour while no consideration is given to flavour and nutritive content. The industry relies increasingly on the use of pharmaceutical chemicals to preserve the desirable visual appeal of food. Fertilizers such as nitrogen, deemed necessary to accomplish successful marketing, convert to recognized carcinogenic toxins once food enters the body.

Rather than closing with a gloomy outlook, Pawlick guides readers into reclaiming control by providing ample suggestions and resources. In California, a grassroots movement has begun to bring nutrients back into the food supply, but in Canada there is no law requiring that food contain any nutritional component. Because no one is yet responsible for regulating the toxicity content of food, The End of Food is a necessary read for anyone concerned about what they eat.

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