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Healthy Living: Genetically Modified Food

I always read news about my country from one of the Kenya's local online newspaper and I came across "Dose for healthy living' article under budget analysis which was read early this month. The finance minister want Kenyans to eat healthy by eating white meat. To do that he has exempted some import duty on chicken feeds.

In the newspaper they went on outlining the dangers of the red meat that it causes cancers and diabetes.

In Kenya chicken is the most expensive meat followed by mutton and beef is the cheapest. I have never seen or heard of factory farm producing red meat in mass production. All the cattle and goats in Kenya are free roaming on pasture and feed on grass, they are
commonly known as ‘organic’. Only the broilers and layers chickens are brought up in closed spaces and I know one company that do mass production and some individual people.

Most Kenyans are oblivious of the dangers of genetically modified food and although there is some truth about red meat not being so healthy in Kenya, the chickens are even worse.  It is the animal feed that is dangerous, full of chemicals and antibiotics which is absorbed in their bodies and skin and later on passed on to humans when consuming the meat.

The cattle in the US and other parts of the world are fed on corn, not their natural food and are not designed to digest corn and as a result there bodies becomes a breeding ground for E-coli (which is harmless to cow but deadly to humans) and other pathogenic bacteria. As a result they are given high doses of antibiotics. Corn makes the cattle gain weight rapidly.

Meat from grass fed cattle is lean and have far less fat than the corn fed ones. Grass-fed beef also contains higher amounts of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. It is also more expensive and it's harder to find in the western world.

Broiler chickens are selectively bred and genetically altered to produce bigger thighs and breasts, the parts in most demand. This breeding creates birds so heavy with soft bones that cannot support their weight, making it difficult for them to stand. The birds are bred to grow at an astonishing rate, reaching their market weight of 1 to 2 Kg in just seven weeks a process that normally takes 14 weeks in naturally raised free roaming chickens (also known as organic chicken).

According to some sources, in the US almost 50% of all antibiotics are administered to farm animals. These drugs form a toxic residue in animal tissue. It is much of this same tissue that is sold to consumers as food products. Each year, we see an increase in the number of salmonella poisoning cases from contaminated eggs, meat and milk. These strains of salmonella are difficult to treat because they are antibiotic resistant.

Antibiotics are not the only chemicals administered to factory farm animals; many animals are fed growth-promoting hormones, appetite stimulants and pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides and aflatoxins that collect in the animals' tissues and milk.

Australia, France and Switzerland are among countries that have banned the use of any antibiotics in animal feed. Australia and France also disallow the use of hormones.

The US has banned nitrofurans, chloramphenicol and ampicillin in animal feed, whilst Germany forbids penicillin and tertracycline, and the Netherlands has prohibited penicillin and tetracycline.

E. coli has been in the news as a particular strain of this bacterium (E. coli O-157) has caused Japan's most serious outbreak of food poisoning, in which over 9,000 people have been stricken and seven killed.

The outbreaks of Mad Cow Disease in Europe and the above food poisoning are warnings that cannot be ignored.

So far in Kenya we are safe because the red meat animals are still brought up they way nature intended and we should keep on doing that.

Most politicians in Kenya are very malicious and callous, we don’t trust them and I believe there is an ulterior motive to this move. I’ll not be surprised to learn later on that he owns one of the biggest
chickens supplying company in the country.

Food safety for the public must come before profits of a few.

What is your opinion?


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