Posts Tagged ‘Food Inc.’

I’m sure you’ve seen the promotion that KFC’s doing for breast cancer. If not, I’ll give you a quick summary. For every pink bucket of chicken you order through May 9th, they’ll donate a whopping $0.50 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® campaign. Nice, right? Especially since breast cancer is a huge killer, and I’m sure any donation would help.

Well, it’s not quite $0.50. If you read KFC’s own press release, only “Twenty-five percent of the funds raised from this promotion will go directly to the local Affiliates of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.” Where does the other 75 percent go?

Seems kind of ironic that a fast food chain selling fattening, salty, and generally unhealthy food supports finding a cure for breast cancer, when they could very well be one of the contributors to the disease in the first place.

KFC uses low-quality ingredients and all sorts of chemicals to bring you the famous “bucket” at an affordable price. Let’s examine their original recipe bucket. Since I couldn’t find nutritional information for the entire bucket as one serving, we’ll have to look at a single drumstick and then multiply it by 15, which is about how many of them are in the Pink Bucket (this information taken from the KFC website):

One drumstick

120 calories

60 calories from fat

7 grams of fat

1.5 grams of saturated fat

50 milligrams (mgs) of cholesterol

340 mgs of sodium

15 drumsticks

1,800 calories

900 calories from fat

105 grams of fat

22.5 grams of saturated fat

750 mgs of cholesterol

5,100 mgs of sodium

The chicken is marinated in salt, sodium phosphate, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Isn’t MSG linked to cancer? The chicken is then breaded with wheat flour, sodium chloride, and anti-caking agent (tricalcium phosphate), nonfat milk, egg whites, and their secret recipe seasoning. The last step, of course, is frying it in oil. Doesn’t sound like there are many healthy ingredients there, unless you thrive on salt. Sure, chicken is a source of protein, but I highly doubt the mass-farmed chickens they use are great, either.* Probably pumped full of antibiotics and synthetic hormones. Same with the cows who make the milk and the hens who lay the eggs. We all know the health concerns related to hormones being used to mass-produce enough chicken, eggs, and milk to feed our ever-growing population. And by ever-growing, I mean in number and in size.

They probably get their chicken from Tyson Foods, which is the world’s second-largest processor of chicken. Tyson sells chicken to 90 percent of the largest restaurant chains. In order to get that much chicken, they work with independent contractors, mainly in southern states, who raise the chickens that Tyson breeds, slaughters, and processes. The typical poultry farmer has three houses, which hold 25,000 chickens each. All are controlled by Tyson, and many are in debt. However, this isn’t about the deplorable conditions of the chickens themselves and the “farmers” who raise them. If you want to know more about that, read Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser or watch the movie Food, Inc.

Back to my original point: If KFC was really concerned about the health of America instead of trying to make a quick buck, they’d put their money and energy into creating healthier meals that don’t contribute to obesity and disease.

* Since writing this entry, I read Eating Animals and found the following quote:

“KFC insists it is ‘committed to the well-being and humane treatments of chickens.’ How trustworthy are these words? At a slaughterhouse in West Virginia that supplies KFC, workers were documented tearing the heads off live birds, spitting tobacco into their eyes, spray-painting their faces, and violently stomping on them. These acts were witnessed dozens of times. This slaughterhouse was not a ‘bad apple,’ but a ‘Supplier of the Year.’ Imagine what happens at the bad apples when no one is looking.

On KFC’s website, the company claims, ‘We are monitoring our suppliers on an ongoing basis to determine whether our suppliers are using humane procedures for caring and handling animals they supply to us. As a consequence, it is our goal to only deal with suppliers who promise to maintain our high standards and share our commitment to animal welfare.’ That is half true. KFC does deal with suppliers that promise to ensure welfare. What KFC doesn’t tell you is that anything the suppliers practice is necessarily considered welfare (see CFE).

[CFE – page 50

Common Farming Exemptions make legal any method of raising farmed animals so long as it is commonly practiced within the industry. In other words, farmers—corporations is the right word—have the power to define cruelty. If the industry adopts a practice—hacking off unwanted appendages with no painkillers, for example, but you can let your imagination run with this—it automatically becomes legal.]

A similar half-truth is the claim that KFC conducts welfare audits of its suppliers’ slaughter facilities (the ‘monitoring’ alluded to above). What we are not told is that these are typically announced audits. KFC announces an inspection meant (at least in theory) to document illicit behavior in a manner that allows plenty of time for the soon-to-be-inspected to throw a tarp over whatever they don’t want seen. Not only that, but the standards the auditors are asked to report on do not include a single one of the recommendations recently made by KFC’s own (now former) animal welfare advisers, five of whom resigned in frustration. …

How were these five board members replaced? KFC’s Animal Welfare Council now includes a vice president for Pilgrim’s Pride, the company operating the ‘Supplier of the Year’ plant at which some workers were shown sadistically abusing birds; a director for Tyson Foods, which slaughters 2.2 billion chickens annually and where some employees were also found to be mutilating live birds during multiple investigations (in one, employees also urinated directly onto the slaughter line); and regular participation from its own ‘executives and other employees.’ Essentially, KFC is claiming that its advisers developed programs for its suppliers, even though its advisers are its suppliers.”

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