Salmon and avocados are popular but there’s a dark side to that trend. A lot of salmon raised on fish-farms are treated with anti-biotics which can cause health problems. Avocado production uses a lot of water, which is bad for the environment.
Salmon are usually found in the oceans of the northern hemisphere — but they also grow well in fish farms off the coast of Chile. In the 1980s, salmon was considered a luxury, but now, it’s become trendy. Avocados have also become more popular — especially with vegans, vegetarians, and hip young people in big cities. But the mass production of salmon and avocados is causing a lot of problems. Salmon produced on fish farms in Chile are given massive amounts of anti-biotics. Norway, by comparison, has all but eliminated the use of them. Environmental protection laws are tougher in Norway than they are in Chile.
Salmon are predatory fish — but in Chile, they are fed largely on soybean meal. The soybeans are imported from Brazil, where they are grown on huge farms. A lot of forest in Brazil has been converted to agriculture. Also, the soy pellets that are fed to salmon in Chile have been treated with harmful substances that are banned in the EU and the US.
Mexico is the world’s leading producer of avocados. José Gonzalez has been working in the avocado business for 35 years, and it’s made him a wealthy man. But it’s also changed his life dramatically, for the worse. Gonzalez has been threatened by criminals. His son was kidnapped — and now, when Gonzalez visits his plantations, he travels with armed bodyguards.
Organized crime gangs are trying to take over the avocado business, particularly in the state of Michoacán. Cartels are fighting each other for access to this “green gold.” Violence is common, up to and including murder.
Globalization and the boom in food production have now spread to Latin America, and it often has serious consequences. People and the environment are being exploited — simply to provide food for those who live in the northern hemisphere.