I’m Lovin’ the Irony

May 24. In El Salvador, this is the day McDonald’s donates a certain percentage of their Big Mac sales to a local charity that helps give surgeries to children with heart problems. The organization is called Sana Mi Corazón, which translates to Cure My Heart (or My Healthy Heart, but I’m pretty sure it’s the…

A Quarter Pounder with Cheese, and a Side of Toxins

Copper, arsenic, dioxin, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, lindane, penicillin, Flunixin, Sulfadimethoxine, Florfenicol, Sulfamethazine, Ivermectin…some of these may sound familiar, some may sounds vaguely like something you learned about in biology class some years back. But nothing sounds like something you’d expect to find on your dinner plate. And yet they’re there. They snuck in, as uninvited guests….

Cutting Down Livelihoods

El Salvador. A country that’s situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire (prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions), where 50% of the rural population lives below the poverty line and there are huge rates of underemployment; 40% of Salvadorans are subsistence farmers, 21% are officially employed in agriculture (which accounts for 12% of the country’s…

Price Supports Lead to a Black Market in El Salvador

A black market for food. When one hears the words “black market,” the first images that come to mind are most likely not food, but other things such as drugs, prostitution, cigarettes, and perhaps TV or movie piracy (or if you really have a good imagination/listen to too many urban legend stories, human organs). And…

School Food Program Falling Short in El Salvador

Wait…there’s a school food program in El Salvador?? Well, yes and no. Recently (within the past few years, although I could not obtain the exact date of initiation), the government of El Salvador, through the Ministry of Education, launched a school snack program. It is called a “snack” program as opposed to breakfast or lunch…

Cheap Chinese Beans ~ Imported

In a bean-producing and bean-consuming country, smack in the middle of a bean-eating, bean-growing part of the world, beans are being shipped in from nearly 9,000 miles (14,000 km) away. And amazingly, despite the miles traveled from field to fork, these beans sell for 35-50 cents less per pound than locally grown beans. It was…

Worried about food dyes? Eat local food!

Certain dyes and preservatives used in foods have long been known to have carcinogenic effects, as tested on laboratory animals. One dye or preservative at a time. But now recent studies are further linking these same chemicals that pervade our foods with the increases in hyperactivity in kids. And other studies are finally (FINALLY!!!!) going…

Round ’em Up

I am a champion of local foods. And I am a huge promoter of organic foods, but not if it’s industrial organic because that seems antithetical to the intrinsic organic principles. I definitely do not support growing and eating genetically modified plants for the myriad reasons I outlined in a previous post. And while I…

El Salvador’s Slaughterhouses

*CAUTION: GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS & PICTURES* Six years ago, the municipal slaughterhouse in La Union, in the southeastern region of El Salvador, was ordered to be closed by the Ministry of Health because it did not meet the health standards outlined by the ministry. Yet still it continues to operate. If you are picturing an image…

The Current GMO Debate: Know Your Food!

GMOs – Genetically Modified Organisms – have invaded our food system. It is a fact: the majority of items on the supermarket shelves contain genetically modified corn or soybeans. The meat and dairy items displayed in their refrigerated cases come from animals fed genetically modified grains (again, primarily corn and soybeans). Even the farmed salmon…

Salvadoreño Chickens

Chickens are everywhere in Latin America. Literally, they’re running amok in nearly everyone’s backyards, streets, and trash piles in rural places everywhere. They’re a little more contained in the city, but still the rooster on the other side of our complejo wall crows religiously at dawn…and several times before and after dawn as well! However,…