Slow Food runs a number of campaigns to raise public awareness about various issues closely connected to health.
The main objective is to change the food system and food policies in order to ensure that everyone can access good, clean, fair and healthy food. Below are some examples.
In developed countries, the high consumption of animal protein is a public health problem. A diet rich in fats and protein encourages the development of heart disease, diabetes, high blood cholesterol and some forms of cancer. In addition, the meat industry uses 70% of all the world’s antibiotics. These end up in the food chain and in the soil through manure, contaminating groundwater. The resulting antibiotic resistance is making us more vulnerable to simple infections.
The poor quality of livestock feed in industrial farms and the characteristics of modern, highly selected breeds, developed to ensure greater productivity and lower production costs and generally with more fat than breeds reared in extensive systems, is making meat less healthy. To learn more >>
If we look at cured meats, the list of problems grows even longer. Most salami and other types of charcuterie are made using starters, preservatives, caseinates, thickeners, nitrites, and nitrates, which help extend shelf-life, preserve meat from microbial contamination, and improve texture and appearance. Even artisanal cured meat producers use these additives, but they aren’t essential; instead we can reduce storage times and return to traditional practices like the use of spices, herbs, and smoke or the application of modern techniques to naturally control fermentation without resorting to chemicals.
No to pesticides – Stop Glyphosate
Pesticides, or as the chemical industry prefers to call them, “plant protection products,” are substances able to control, repel, or destroy living organisms (microorganisms, plants, or animals) that could harm a specific crop. The most dangerous pesticides are systemic, meaning that when they are sprayed on the leaves or other parts, they are absorbed and pass into the rest of the plant, including the nectar, pollen, and sap. Then from the plant they pass into the animals who feed on them.
Pesticide residues, detected in high quantities within some foods, mimic the action of endocrine hormones and can cause serious disorders. According to the Endocrine Society (a professional, international medical organization in the field of endocrinology and metabolism), these dysfunctions can lead to the development of obesity, diabetes, hormone-sensitive cancers, thyroid disease, and other neuroendocrine diseases.
One of the most controversial pesticides is glyphosate, famously the main ingredient in Roundup, the weedkiller produced by Monsanto. This herbicide is sprayed directly onto corn, soy, wheat, and oat crops, and sometimes even used before the plant grows, for example on almonds and spinach.
While the agrochemical industry and Monsanto claim that the presence of pesticide residues under legal limits is not a threat to health, scientists are still debating the issue. It is not yet clear what effect prolonged exposure to a combination of different pesticides in the diet can have. Read more on Slow Food position paper Bees and Agriculture >>