TITLE: Problems that industrial chickens pose to Guatemala's income generation, food security, health, and nutrition. AUTHOR: I. Fenton. KEYWORDS: corporations; poultry; Guatemala.

Ioulia Fenton, PhD.

doi: 10.15868/socialsector.36569
April 1, 2020

The full title of this Guidance Memo is: Changing chicken in Guatemala: Relevance of poultry to income generation, food security, health, and nutrition.

It brings to the fore public health, food justice, and other significant issues that should be emphasized in campaigns to defeat “industrial chicken” in Guatemala.

It also exposes assertions and myths that help to hold in place chickens’ current popularity with consumers. For example:

  • It is often asserted that producing chickens with the industrial system is important to the country’s economy. But the fact is that “economic benefits accrue mainly to the country's most powerful families, like the Gutiérrez-Bosches who own Pollo Campero and Pollo Rey”.
  • Another claim is that for the longest of time a meal is not a meal, is not complete ("comida completa,") for Guatemalans unless it includes chickens or other meat. But this does not accord with reality. “Historically, animal foods featured in local diets in small doses and most meals were considered complete if they contained maize products. Chickens came to the continent with colonialism but became a big part of Guatemalan diets only in the last few decades.”

Practical strategies and actions that one can take to turn things round are offered. For example: Challenge industry claims through magazine articles and social media; valorize indigenous culinary knowledge and promote consumption of nutrient-rich native legumes; form alliance across permaculture and other food movements.

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