I have talked before about this being the time for revelation and the stripping away of the veil of secrecy: the news recently about Glaxo SmithKline’s alleged bribery and fraud in China will lead to more uncovering of scandal in the pharmaceutical industry, and even today we learn that the Church of England invested in a loan shark company – there is more to be revealed here, too. It is about profit and gain at the expense of the poor, sick and innocent – how our values, as a society, have changed.
Corruption and greed in church and other corporate bodies may seem far distant from you and me, but when it affects our food and health, it pays to be interested. I heard yesterday from a client and friend about a recent health check which showed that her body was full of arsenic, which explained why she has not been feeling well. She is someone who pays meticulous attention to what she eats, following a strict and healthy diet based on grains and fresh vegetables: it seems the arsenic is likely to have been in the brown rice she bought in bulk, and as a result she is even more careful now as to where she sources her food.
Her story caused me to reflect on how little we know about what we buy to eat, and how easy it is to feed ourselves with what is polluted, unknowingly, just as we did not know until a scandal broke how our processed food industry really works. We trust the system of checks and balances to protect us, but it fails us often – and when it involves our food, the failure can be serious.
It is quite a dilemma: the call for cheap food grows as the population explodes and many people live in poverty, but in order to fulfil the demand there is a sometimes dangerous carelessness in growing and production, usually to maximise profit. All we can do is to be aware of the hidden dangers and do our best to buy the best we can afford, for “quality” food is likely to be untainted; even better is to grow our own food if we are fortunate enough to have the time and space, or to buy locally, so that we know where our food has come from. Knowledge is power, and with knowledge we can choose for ourselves what we want to do for our health and our lives. Our bodies, the vehicle for our souls, deserve the best.