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Feb 29, 2012 08:21 AM

Something doesn't add up

About 50 million americans A DAY! eat at a 'fast food' place such as McDonalds. Supposing that at least half of the hamburgers etc contain a slice of processed cheese that amounts to A TON! of slices. Where are all the cows? Forget the fact that A TON! of people also drink milk where are all the cows? What about olive oil? Where are all the olive trees needed to produce so much oil? Yes I know about the fraudulent labeling. But surely 'some' olive oil goes into even the crappiest olive oil. What about all the truffle oil? Yes I know about the fraudulent labeling but even cheap truffle oil must have al least a drop of the real thing. Or am I being naive?
What about a lot of food items which are being consumed not just in the states but all over the world. There is fresh salmon on the menu in just about every restaurant in the Western world. Where are all the salmon coming from? How much longer can the well known food items everyone eats last before the last fresh wild salmon steak is eaten? When does the fertilizer needed to help grow the silage for what must be millions a dairy cows run out? I guess that would be the same time the crude oil used to make the fertilizers runs out or gets so expensive a quart of milk will set you back fifty bucks.

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  1. Farms.
    and ranches.
    and animals have babies, more than one.

    1. Not sure if you're really looking for specific responses, but in answer to some of your questions:

      Cheese: Total U.S. cheese production in 2010, excluding cottage cheese, was 10.4 billion pounds, up 3.6 percent from 2009. Wisconsin led the nation in cheese production in 2010 with 2.6 billion pounds, accounting for 25 percent of total U.S. cheese production. Likewise, California continued to rank second, producing 2.2 billion pounds of cheese. Other top cheese-producing states include Idaho, New York and New Mexico.

      Olive oil: Three countries are the major olive oil producers in the world. First is Spain, second is Italy and third is Greece. Together, they produce more than 75% of the world production. The U.S. imported 47,800,000 US gallons of olive oil in 1998, of which 34,600,000 US gallons came from Italy.

      Salmon: Most salmon is farm raised. Salmon aquaculture production grew over ten-fold during the 25 years from 1982 to 2007. Leading producers of farmed salmon are Norway with 33 percent, Chile with 31 percent, and other European producers with 19 percent.

      Fertilizer: Oil isn't used in the production of fertilizer, natural gas is, and the world is basically awash in natural gas, at least for te time being.

      The short answer to the questions you raise is that the world is an extremely large place, with lots of suppliers and lots of consumers.

      1. I have often wondered about potato production when you think of all the chips, fries etc that are consumed every day. I learned that the US produces almost 18 million tons of potatoes a year, and that is only the 5th in the world. China produces the most @ 72 million tons.

        The top producing states are Idaho, Washington, Wisconsin and North Dakota.

        The per capita consumption in the USA is 126 pounds a year which actually pales in comparison to Belarus which consumes 745 pounds per capita per year.

        The numbers, really are mind boggling and potatoes are only the 4th largest crop in the world behind wheat, corn and rice.

        1. There's a very simple solution for the cattle silage problem--let them eat grass. Cattle are natural ruminants, plus their poop fertilizes the grass and helps the soil and gets into that whole circle of life thing. Of course Big Agro and Big Oil will never let this happen, but I can dream.

          1. as for truffle oil, most of it is produced using a synthetic essence. no truffles are even waved over the bottles.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hotoynoodle

              And even the real stuff is not oil squeezed out of truffles a la olive oil, it is oil flavored with truffles.