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When you walk into a US grocery store the shelves seem to be teeming with choice, with countless brands appearing to offer every type of food and drink.

But a joint investigation published this week by the Guardian and Food and Water Watch showed how this choice is largely an illusion. In fact, a handful of mega firms dominate every link of the food supply chain: from seeds and fertilizers to slaughterhouses and supermarkets to cereals and beers.

And that is not good news for consumers in terms of choice and real competition on prices, or for small and medium-sized farmers given little choice on what they grow or which animals they raise, while food industry workers face low pay and high risks.

The planet also loses out when industrial agriculture is focused on extracting maximum profits for minimum costs – an exploitative model with grave consequences for animal welfare, water, land and global heating.

“It’s a system designed to funnel money into the hands of corporate shareholders and executives while exploiting farmers and workers and deceiving consumers about choice, abundance and efficiency,” said Amanda Starbuck, a policy analyst at Food & Water Watch.


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