le 4 mars 2012
The Great food gamble is a truly great book, very well written, easy to read and although mostly about the reality in the UK, worth reading for people from all over the world! This is a book about how the world is being destroyed. John Humphrys writes about modern day agriculture, comparing it to how it used to be, talks about the food we eat and all the problems it brings us, how the soils are completely depleted, the horror of farmed fish and battery chickens, the dangers of abuse of antibiotics by people and antibiotics given to animals that put our lives in danger and GM food. At the end he answers quite a few questions in the form of an interview, a really very interesting chapter! This is a very well researched book that should be read by everybody. It should be read by the children in school because nowadays they are so often bombarded with useless information and finish missing out on what is really important!
I do have a few question marks! The first one is the idea that the public has a choice in the kind of food sold to us. It is true that we now have organic food but too little and too expensive. As far as other products we don't seem to have much choice, especially because many times we don't even have any idea about what is in our food! The average person is far too busy to be looking into it in detail and ends up buying whatever is on offer! Should we have been more demanding? Maybe! Maybe we put too much trust into the people who were supposed to be looking after our interests!
The idea that salt is the source of cardio-vascular disease doesn't seem to be true, as isn't high blood pressure (many people who have a heart attack have average or low blood pressure!). But we can't forget that this book was published in 2002 (a pity the author never thought of writing an update...). He also says that apricots can't be sold unless they contain sulphur dioxide but in the meanwhile there are unsulphured apricots in the shops. In the meanwhile food is not that cheap anymore either! The concept that we live longer than we ever lived is one that seems to be quite debatable and at the end the author says that the new generation is the first one that will die before their parents! The older generation is living longer, whether we will, remains to be seen! Lots of young people, even babies, are dying of the most horrendous illnesses. He also says that nobody suggests that women should stop breastfeeding but with the terrible pollution we are surrounded by and all the chemicals in our food I think babies would be better off with formula that most resembled mother milk without all the dangers of it! He says that Alzheimer's is now found in people as young as 30 but in the meanwhile it is even found in children! I don't think people still smoke in the workplace but whether before we could refuse to share the office with someone who did.... I doubt it! Nowadays there are experts who doubt that vaccines are as useful as the author thinks they are. Are vaccines really as life-saving as he says they are? I am starting to doubt it! As far as doctors not being allowed to sell drugs in Britain, that is a great thing! Here in Switzerland they are and you see them trying to sell you as many drugs as they can get away with! I find it very worrying! Sometimes if feels as if they are selling candy to a child! As far as GM seeds go I know too little about the matter to comment but I would think that if farmers have their own conventional seeds they should be able to use them? Why is it that all of a sudden they find themselves with no seeds at all, other than the GM seeds they have to buy every year? Certainly other seeds must still exist or am I being too naïve? I am always amazed at how centuries of agriculture all of a sudden become "organic" and the chemical stuff of the past 50 years or so became "conventional". The same applies to medicine... the old type, centuries old, is "alternative", the new one is "conventional". Puzzling....
If you want to go on eating farming salmon (the only kind now sold in many countries) skip that chapter because after you read it no way you will touch this poor fish again. But then.... A British newspaper has just published an article about a new illness attacking fish in over fished areas: a predator that eats fishes tongues and then settles where the tongue used to be! I think that I will skip eating fish for the rest of my life!
As I was about to write this review I came across an article in a British newspaper about how commonly used cosmetics are full of toxins.... It really makes one wonder what kind of world we live in! I have to say that I came across this book by chance while looking for something else but I am glad I did, this is one of the best books I have ever read and let's hope John Humphrys will update it very soon!