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The Change in Food Production in Pollan’s The Ominvore’s Dilemma

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Food production has changed drastically throughout the span of this country’s history, shifting from small-scale farms into mega-facilities that horde animals inhumanely. In Pollan’s The Ominvore’s Dilemma, he showcases the transformative nature of food production throughout the years, by emphasizing the commercialization and industrialization aspects of this continual food evolution. Though Pollan expresses his opinions on modern-day methods of food production and categorization of these means of production, he experiences the dilemma that is commonly faced by many individuals in this day and age. Therefore, he undergoes the endeavor to find the solution to this national dilemma.

He poses the question: “what should we have for dinner?” (1). Many Americans would be inclined to answer with something they enjoy, such as hot dogs or burgers for example. However, if they were to be asked what is specifically in it, most likely the answers would be perhaps, meats and seasonings. Essentially, this simple question effectively showcases the absence of cultural awareness of what individuals are consuming. Presently, many consumers are deprived of this knowledge which is rightfully theirs. Thus, through the span of Pollan’s novel, he depicts of the inflicted ignorance of the American population, highlighting the historical and socio-cultural transitions that have occurred over time. The modernization of agriculture has also led to the mislabeling of items in food production. Throughout the novel, the readers can see that his objective is to find the best way for consumers to eliminate the conflict endured by many omnivores and ultimately find the optimal way for Americans to live. The author utilizes the crop corn to showcase the signific...

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....as good as any other number 2 corn. So there was no longer any reason for anyone to care where the corn came from...as it met the board's standards" (60). The standards have been set to ensure that corn is uniform; however, the lack of "care" has now contributed to the inability to trace the bushels back to where they formed. He points out that it is grown "nowhere in particular," meaning that it is not a product of nature but of nurture. It is virtually impossible to trace it genetically, casting great frustration on Pollan due to his disbelief of how complicated this simple food has become. Similarly, just like corn, all other produce share the same story. They cannot be identified of their origins as they now have become so over-processed and consequently altered into a visually identical but genetically different representation of what agriculture used to be.
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