If someone told you that there was gasoline sprinkled on your salad, would you still want to eat it?
It turns out that oil, the kind made famous on the television series Dallas, is finding its way onto our dinner plates.
Who knew that oil was so pervasive in our food supply?
But in light of rising fuel prices and international debates that impact everyone from farmers to families, a report out of the UN sheds some light on the role that oil plays in the food industry. The report highlights industrial agriculture, in other words, our food growing system, and its oil-based inputs like chemical fertilizers and pesticides and what these products have to do with our food supply.
Research reveals that every 24 hours, the US spends $1 billion on imported oil with food production accounting for up to 19% of our energy consumption.
As prices continue to rise at the pump and a growing body of scientific evidence highlights the role that its playing in climate change, it is important to understand how dependent our food system is on fossil fuel and look towards new ways of reducing that dependency.
Conventional food production and distribution requires a tremendous amount of energy—one study conducted in 2000 estimated that at least ten percent of the energy used annually in the United States was consumed by the food industry. As highlighted by the Department of Energy, more recent studies suggest that this number is now closer to 17 percent.
• Most pesticides are petroleum-(oil) based
• Increasing numbers of food additives and colorants are petroleum-(oil) based
• All commercial fertilizers are ammonia-based and produced from natural gas
• Oil allowed for farming implements such as tractors, food storage systems such as refrigerators, and food transport systems such as trucks
• In the US, the average piece of food is transported almost 1,500 miles before it gets to your plate.