To the editor: How many times have you heard someone say, "It's just not like it used to be" or "It doesn't taste the same as I remember"?

I know time marches on and we have modernized and upgraded everything from years gone by. Most of the changes have made our lives easier; however, some things have endangered our health and well-begin without us even being aware.

I am talking about the meats and produce we buy from our local stores. The chickens purchased years ago were not as plump as the ones you get today, but had a much better flavor. Why? Most chickens today are mass-produced in CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations). These birds are fed a steady diet of antibiotics, hormones and, although it's finally going to change, even arsenic. The corn they are fed is also genetically modified. The corn we eat and feed our families is also genetically modified. If our government officials are serious about wiping out childhood obesity problems, they should put a halt to this method of mass production and go back to sustainable farming.

Some of you may have read the recent article in this newspaper concerning a study Geisinger completed that established a link between MRSA and pig manure. What most people don't realize is that the pig manure spread on the fields is stored for six-plus months and at that point contains more than 160 chemicals due to fermentation that takes place during this process.

Another article in the newspaper recently addressed the problem of early onset puberty our children and grandchildren are experiencing. The study completed by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to buy organic produce hormone- and antibiotic-free meat and dairy products in order to reduce kids' "toxic burdens."

Another disturbing fact, according to Natural News.com, involves hamburgers and conventional beef. Chicken litter containing arsenic is fed to cows in factory beef operations. So the arsenic that's pooped out by chickens is consumed and concentrated in the tissues of cows, which is then ground into hamburger to be consumed by the clueless masses who don't even know they are eating second-hand chicken poop.

I am a wife, mother and grandmother who is very concerned about what we're doing to our environment, but most importantly what we're doing to the health of our families. If everyone would have one meatless day per week, we would be able to return to sustainable, humane farming, which would reduce demand and eliminate the need for hormone and antibiotic use in animals. We need to get back to basics. The alternative -- synthetic meats as described in the October issue of Popular Science, must not be considered an option or solution.

Try being informed instead of just opinionated. Pass the information on to your friends, family and neighbors. Together, we can make a difference.

Johanna Lucid

Elysburg