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GM, Gasses, Irradiation and Big Business: Subversion in the Grocery Store

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Headlined to H3 7/23/10

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Wouldn't you know it. Just when we thought that we had made choices that made the adulterated American food supply manageable, Corporate Agriculture finds new ways to quietly and unobtrusively pollute our lunch. We figured a way around the colors, texturizers, hidden gluten, preservatives, and taste enhancers with unpronounceable names and thought we were home free at dinner time.

That's the way it used to be. As the twenty-first century arrived, the dark clouds that had been gathering for several decades finally turned American food production into a torrent of bad news for consumers and a bonanza for agribusiness.

The new food productions and preservation techniques, like genetically modified seeds, irradiation of everything that doesn't move, and gasses that create the appearance of freshness no matter how old the meat, were originally introduced for commercial use in the latter years of the 20th century. None of these changes to the food supply were designed to benefit the health of the consumer. In fact, our regulatory watchdogs, the FDA and USDA have allowed their wholesale introduction into our food supply without serious testing or monitoring.

To keep the consumer in the dark, the USDA and FDA deliberately colluded with Corporate Agriculture by allowing them to introduce their spiffy new methods of polluting the food supply and enhancing their bottom line without the labeling that would have allowed the consumers to make his/her own decisions. The consumer no longer has even the illusion of protection.

We are on our own.

There has never been more than one purpose to the unending adulteration of the food supply in the U.S., and it certainly was not to benefit us. All of the new pollution methods have been to extend shelf life into infinity and beyond, to sell more and cost Monsanto and ArcherDanielsMidland as little as possible to do it. They have the full collusion of the major grocery chains.

Some of the changes to the food supply, like irradiation, indiscriminately kill organisms, the good and the bad alike, and eliminate the need for growers and processor to maintain sanitary conditions on the farm and at the factory. You may be buying and eating filth, but at least it has been sterilized.

Treatment with radiation also inhibits sprouting in potatoes and delays fruit ripening. In other words, it allows food to be transported long distances and extends shelf life far into the future with no change in appearance.

Public Citizen, the Center for Food Safety, and Food and Water Watch have declared the use of radiation on the food supply to be an experiment on the American consumer without informed consent.

Radiation-induced changes in human DNA can produce cancer. Do DNA changes to veggies create synthetic eats without the usual life supporting properties? No one knows what food irradiation kills besides pests, or if the food is functionally the same after.

And then there are the production problems with the radiation itself; there has already been radioactive leakage from a processing plant into the water supply in a suburb of Atlanta.

Thus far, despite continuing industry pressure, the FDA has maintained that irradiated food must contain a radiation symbol, which has limited its use since food processors fear that making consumers aware will hurt their profits. Lobbyists for Corporate Agriculture are working relentlessly to get the requirement for disclosure rescinded.

On the flip side of the disclosure issue are the growing and processing methods for which consumers may legally be kept in the dark. Almost all U.S. produced corn, soybean, cotton and beet sugar are now GM. But, have you ever seen a label in the grocery store that would alert you to the presence of something in your veggies, meat, or corn flakes that you might not want to eat or feed your family? No? Unlike European countries where an informed public has ferociously fought the introduction of GM food, it is probable that every pantry and frig in the clueless U.S. contains it.

And then there are the gasses, one of the newest unstudied innovations for contaminating food that is also legally allowed to remain undisclosed to the buyer. Most consumers are not aware that virtually all meat, fish and poultry sold at retail has been treated with a gas to extend the surface appearance of freshness.

In the old days, say, a year or so ago, only packaged ground meats were treated with gas. Since the gas created a tight, balloon-like appearance to the packaging, they were easy to spot and avoid.

These days, processors, with the collusion of large grocery stores, are in the habit of gassing everything possible. Even the fresh fish in the deli has almost always been gassed on its way to you, with the butcher often none the wiser. Packaged fruits and vegetables are also increasingly treated with gas.

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Cameron Salisbury is a public health biostatistician and writer living in Atlanta.
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Of deception. As a former dairy farmer, I just w... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Jul 24, 2010 at 9:56:29 AM
Actually low SCC allows milk to be stored for grea... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Jul 24, 2010 at 10:00:13 AM
Sorry these comments didn't 'organize' on the scre... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Jul 24, 2010 at 10:07:14 AM
What a travesty. Anyone in your circumstances woul... by Cameron Salisbury on Saturday, Jul 24, 2010 at 11:35:42 AM
Look at this. From Food Freedom. Talks about MN.... by Cameron Salisbury on Saturday, Jul 24, 2010 at 3:49:21 PM
For those who understand, no explanation is needed... by Mike Preston on Saturday, Jul 24, 2010 at 2:31:09 PM