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Indestructible Food: With Love from America, Inc.

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   2 comments
Message Cameron Salisbury

There can be no doubt that the United States has one of the most legally polluted food supplies in the Western world. Antibiotics and hormones have long been allowed in chicken and cattle feed, a practice forbidden in Europe. Plastics, which release compounds that interfere with normal cell division, are present in baby bottles, soda cans, and milk and water bottles We have more additives of all kinds: preservatives, dyes, color enhancers, taste enhancers, texture enhancers, sugar substitutes, emulsifiers, thickeners, all labeled ‘GRAS’, generally regarded as safe, by the porous safety net charged with protecting our food supply: the Food and Drug Administration. 


Especially since about 1970, as more chemicals and other ‘enhancements,’ like genetically modified ingredients, have inundated the grocery store, other things have also been happening. Consider that, with no known cause:  A girl entering puberty at age eight is no longer considered an anomaly; the U.S. no longer grows the tallest people on earth- in fact, we aren’t even in the top 5; our life expectancy has fallen behind many other nations; we are among the heaviest people on earth; the rate of the devastating condition known as autism is mushrooming.


There is no research linking these facts to our food supply because there seems to be no research whatever on the impact of a degraded food supply on human health.  But the incidental evidence is causing plenty of unease. The legal contamination of the food supply has now reached levels where no one can predict the outcome, and the adulteration just keeps on coming.


Like genetic modification. GM tampering can produce plants with ingrown pesticides, herbicides, color enhancers, preservatives or other.  The possible results of manipulating a plant’s (or an animal’s) DNA are limited only by the creativity of the scientist, the money and motivation of Big Agra, and the unwitting compliance of the uninformed consumer. The United States produces more genetically engineered crops than the rest of the world combined, and, unlike 35 other nations, requires no labeling.


Since virtually all corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. is now genetically manipulated, frankenfood is a staple in all but the most obsessively organic kitchens. It is now estimated that approximately 70% of everything in the grocery store contains genetically modified ingredients. That includes a clear, sweet, inexpensive sludge with an infinite shelf life that has almost replaced sugar in processed foods made in the U.S.:  High Fructose Corn Syrup. 


HCFS is  insidious not just because it contains genetically engineered ingredients of unproven safety, and not because of the unnerving list of health consequences seen in animal research, but because it bypasses the satiety center in the brain. We can eat almost all the pastries, pies, cakes, soda and candy we like without getting that full feeling that shuts down our compulsion to eat.  We and our kids get rounder and sicker.


We are consuming literally tons of other concoctions from the chemistry labs run by agribusiness that they would prefer we know nothing about. 


For example, have you noticed the other worldly quality of ground meat these days?  It can now last for months without losing that fresh pink glow.


That’s because of yet another hushed innovation of the food processing industry. The use of gases like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide to preserve meats poultry and fish is rapidly gaining ground and may soon replace safe and effective, and preservative-free, vacuum packing.  The healthy pink patina these gases give meat lasts far into the future, like Styrofoam. This poses a question about the safety of the meat at the end of, say, three months.  Does that deathless fresh color cover up organisms we’d rather not eat? The European Union has banned this method of preservation also.


Irradiation, another method of creating indestructible meats, fruits and vegetables, may soon be coming to a store near you, after agribusiness finishes pressuring the FDA into sanitizing the name of the process into something that consumers are more likely to buy. They prefer ‘pasteurization.’ 


Since zapping edibles with radiation kills germs and any other malfeasants that may be lurking about, food items become ‘sterilized’ quickly and cheaply. And by the way, it relieves Big Agra of the responsibility for producing clean food.  The filth they leave in the food will be germ free filth.


Possibly best of all for Big Agra, radiation increases the life expectancy of a food to what seems like eternity, another bonanza to the corporate bottom line and something the FDA lists as a benefit.


The statement in the FDA’s 2004 report that radiation induces “chemical changes [that] can ultimately have biological consequences” is neither explained nor integrated into their contention that irradiation “causes little change in the composition of food beyond that which would occur from cooking.” 


Although research has been done on the impact of GM, gas and irradiation on the vitamin content, taste and texture of foods, I could find no evidence that the impact of changes to the architecture of food on the people who will consume it has even been seriously considered, despite clear evidence from laboratory testing that all may not be well in the land of falsified edibles. 


Genetic engineering, irradiation and gas all work their magic by changing the molecular structure of food. The low-profile adoption of new, unadvertised, untested and often unlisted, potential toxins in the food supply, lobbied hard by corporations and decreed harmless by the FDA, is a walk into the unknown.


Millions of people who have or will develop severe allergies are critically sensitive to artificial changes in the chemistry of food. For an unknown number, the new world of deathless food, with the unlisted adulteration, will be a deadly disaster.

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Cameron Salisbury is a biostatistician, epidemiologist and grant writer living in Atlanta.
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