We all have meat suits requiring nourishment to keep us alive and thinking about stuff. Many of us don’t give a lot of thought to this nourishment, because there are so many other interesting things to peruse, such as the pros and cons of cat-shaming or the war against common sense in America. Yet the food or food-like substances we eat become us. Yes; we are what we eat, quite literally.
Consider the following but a small window into the realities of our food chain. The various FDA-approved substances below are but a peek into the vast world of the food industry’s lack of concern for consumer interests like safety and freedom from food poisoning. It remains up to us to hold them accountable with petitions and grass-roots efforts. Petitions and social media pressure have forced the hand of many companies to take harmful ingredients such as ADA or brominated vegetable oil out of their products. Public pressure has also caused the FDA to reclassify some substances previously approved as safe. So in the interest of public safety and information, here’s some food for thought on some of the disturbing things that are in our food supply:
Found in sodas, this BVO stuff is a flame retardant, and helps the citrus flavoring in sodas stay in solution. Is there anything it can’t do!? It also causes skin and nerve problems, as well as memory loss. The FDA has caved to pressure and has reversed the decision to categorize BVO as “generally recognized as safe” but has continued to allow it to be used as a food additive in the interim pending more research.
Not surprisingly, it is banned in Europe and Japan. Squirt, Mountain Dew and Fanta may contain BVO, as well as Gatorade. There are better ways to quench the thirst that provide electrolytes and trace minerals: actual citrus juice and coconut water. And even plain water has been known to slake the parched throats of the masses. It’s worth checking out. Water may also extinguish or prevent fires, except for grease or electrical fires. Don’t even try that. Don’t even try putting those out with Mountain Dew.
If you like vanilla or raspberry flavorings but aren’t sure if they are actually from a bean or berry, they probably came from this furry forest creature’s anal gland and its secretions. It’s also known as castoreum, or vaguely designated as “natural flavorings” much to the chagrin of vegans, vegetarians, or anyone else who might not want to chomp rodent rump while trying to enjoy dessert or a fancy coffee drink.
But hey, you have to hand it to the beavers for having such a tasty anal secretion, I guess.
This is the yoga mat, shoe, and Wonder bread chemical. Not only is it frightening just trying to pronounce this “food” additive, it is (or was) in a frighteningly large number of food stuffs, approximately 500 or more, until people heard about it. This ingredient shows up in everything from Little Debbie Honey Buns to Marie Callender’s Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.
The larger companies such as Subway phased this out of their recipes, due to public outrage, but it’s always a good idea to check the label. They could have just switched for this next one:
Dissolved human hair and duck feathers (mostly from China) are used to make the wonder chemical L-Cysteine. This is found in many commercial baked goods for its (probably magical) properties as a dough conditioner.
It might not be a good idea to try to make your own though. Just in case you were thinking it might be just the thing for that bread recipe you’ve been working on. Ewww.
That natural red dye in your yogurts, juices, ice creams, candies and syrups may be listed as natural red #4, carmine, crimson lake, or cochineal on the label. But what is it? A powdered beetle. The abdomen of the female Dactylopius coccus, an African beetle-like bug apparently producing an appetizing ruby red. Which is worse though: eating bugs or eating petroleum by-products?
The FDA determined them to be safe, but the EU has issued warning labels for products containing six chemicals we currently use in the USA: Alurra Red (also called Red 40), Ponceau 4R; Tartrazine (Yellow 5), Sunset Yellow FCF/Orange Yellow S, (Yellow 6), Quinoline Yellow; and Carmoisine. Erythrosine, or Red No. 3 is found in custards, pie fillings, unnaturally colored cherries, candies, printing inks, snack foods, and is used as a dental-plaque revealing dye. It is a familiar cherry-pink color, and is derived from coal tar.
It has been known to cause learning difficulties, and can lead to hyperthyroidism. In 1990 a scientific study concluded that it caused thyroid cancer in rats. The list of coal tar-derived dyes is long, including Red #2, linked to intestinal cancer, and Yelllow #5 and most of the EU banned dyes linked to hyperactivity. As if all the sugar and caffeine in colorful sodas weren’t enough.
Often times the meat industry encounters meat that doesn’t look so good. They still need to sell it however, and make a profit. As if their government subsidies weren’t enough. Damn welfare queens. Anyway, in order to make this not-so-fresh-feeling meat look appetizing, they package it, suction out the oxygen, and pump in carbon monoxide which gives the meat a youthful glow. The consumer, none the wiser, runs the risk of picking out a stale, bacteria-ridden slab of death. This process is also applied to some fish, such as tilapia.
All too often common grocery store meats are contaminated with staph, even the MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) strain which could literally kill you. Also meriting mention are other potential contaminants such as e. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and salmonella. It’s best to avoid bargain cuts, and discounted packaged meats, especially ground. Ask for the fresh, unpackaged meats and fish. Find the bargains elsewhere; it’s not worth risking potential explosive diarrhea and a bacterial rodeo in your gut.