Food Industry In Oryx And Crake

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Food is one of the most important resources on Earth; everyone needs to eat to live. The worldwide need for nutrition creates a massively wealthy industry. Food production is a large scale business, and maximizing profits is the most important element of this industry. Margaret Atwood creates a parallel of this greed in her book Oryx and Crake. The food industry in Oryx and Crake is much more dramatically adulterated: meat and other food products have been mostly replaced with soy, and some foods seem to not exist anymore, like cheese. There have also been innovations to mass produce food products, as is shown with the ChickieNob and Happicuppa coffee. Atwood created this fictional food industry to compare it to the modern food industry. It …show more content…
New farming methods, equipment, fertilizers, and pesticides have revolutionized the way a farm works. They are no longer small fields owned by a family who grows an assortment of crops and raises an assortment of livestock. Modern crop farms are several times larger than those of the past and only grow one or two different crops. Farms no longer raise crops and livestock together either. Corn and soybeans are grown in massive monocultures, and chickens, cows, and pigs are fattened and slaughtered in concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. Over the past fifteen years, genetically modified crops and livestock have been introduced to the food industry. These products are genetically altered in a lab, rather than by selective breeding, to make them heartier, resistant to pesticides and herbicides, and to make them produce higher yields. The food industry in the United States works like an assembly line, producing food as fast as it can for as cheap as possible. In Atwood’s dystopia, the reader is not given much information on the delicate workings of the food industry, but she is introduced to the products the industry puts out. In the beginning of the book, a young Jimmy watches a pile of animals burn (15). The sheep, pigs, and cattle have been infected with a disease, and the only way to get rid of it was to kill the infected livestock and destroy the bodies. As time progresses, meat products become very hard to come by, due to disease or environmental degradation. Jimmy’s school advertises the “Monday Special Fish Fingers” as “20% Real Fish” (60). Instead of beef and dairy products, there were “SoyOBoyburgers” and “SoYummi Ice Cream” in flavors like “chocolate soy” (74, 173). Livestock can no longer be raised like it used to be, so crops that can handle the changing environmental conditions replace them. No matter how much genetic engineering is done to animals, there is still a certain

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