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Review of a passage from The Omnivores Dilemma

Michael Pollan (2006). The Omnivores Dilemma. New York, Penguin. Pp. 72 -84

Michael Pollan, a critically acclaimed award winning environmental author, takes an eye-opening look at what has happened to the American diet through the industrialization of food, in his book The Omnivores Dilemma. Pollen takes us on a tour of a feedlot, a factory farm for bovine. He gives us an excellent picture of the less then desirable conditions of not only the feedlot itself but also the diet fed to the animals it houses. He refers to the feedlot as a postmodern city that is built on Americas surplus of corn and is afloat on a sea of petroleum. Pollen states that on the feedlot, as in any city, you tend to lose sight of nature, and the transactions that occur between species that ecosystems rely on. He compares this to a ranch where the ecosystem relationships are clearly visible. According to Pollan we are what we eat, but also we are what we eat, eats. Americans eat more factory-farmed meat each year then any other country. Yet very few people who consume factory-farmed meat consider the living conditions or the feed that the animals receive. Yet when the health of the animals is a concern, why should we not consider the correlation that our own health is as well? It is illogical to feed the animals we intend to consume food we would never eat ourselves, and in the case of petroleum isnt food at all. Through the separation of our food from a natural ecosystem we may reduce initial cost to the consumer. However, if we consider the overall health of Americans it is clear we are paying a much higher more long term price for the cheap practices of raising the food we consume. The Omnivores Dilemma is an enlightening read for anyone who has ever asked the question what should I have for dinner. I highly recommend the read. It will change the way you think about your food and the politics that surround how it is raised. According to Pollan, What you eat for dinner will never again look, or taste, quite the same again.