Here we go again. More and more evidence is stacking up against our USDA and FDA approved foods to say they shouldn’t be qualified as ‘healthy’ at all. Did you know that most, about 80% of U.S. store packaged foods, contain harmful ingredients actually banned in at least 100 other countries? True story.
What ingredients? What packaged food you ask?
Well, 80% of packaged foods including vitamin drinks, frozen dinners, macaroni and cheese, sodas, candies, Chex mixes and many other American products are known to contain harmful contents. Ingredients such as potassium bromalate (which sounds harmless enough), found in most breads and pastries in your grocery store- causes cancer. It’s only allowed to be used because it became FDA approved in 1958 before the cancer legislation look affect. “In 1982, researchers in Japan published the first of a series of studies showing that potassium bromate causes cancer in the thyroids, kidneys and other body parts of rats and mice.” So, it was approved before any testing and legislation. Wow. I wonder how many other ingredients fall into this category?
Then there is the additive brominated vegetable oil, also known as BVO, illegal to use in over 100 countries “because it’s been linked to causing major organ damage, birth defects and hearing loss, among other side effects.” BVO is patented as a flame retardant and used in beverages such as Gatorade, Mountain Dew and Squirt. It used to be in Pepsi Cola’s Powerade drink until several months ago when a giant petition of over 200,000 people through Change.org encouraged Pepsi to remove it. The petition was started by 15 year old Sarah Kavanagh who says she is now going to approach Coca Cola to make the same change. Apparently these companies use BVO in order to help the flavor in their beverages distribute evenly and avoid collecting on the surface.
Have you ever thought ‘this red velvet cake is just a little too red?’ How about that blue Popsicle or lollypop? Artificial dyes like those found in candies, cakes, sports drinks, sodas and macaroni and cheese are banned in Norway, Finland, Austria, France and the United Kingdom due to the serious health risks they pose. Red 40 is an example of one that has been proven to cause cancer and thought to cause ADHD in children. For one thing, these unnatural dyes are generally petroleum based, something our bodies are not used to ingesting. Neuropsychologist Dr. Michael Wolf, who treats children with hyperactivity had this to say about the brain during ingestion of these dyes:
Planning, reasoning and making decisions are all areas that seem to be influenced by areas that are sensitive to food dyes. You can see that activation even a little more here as to how it develops that hot spot in the right frontal part of the brain. It’s too active and too engaged, it’s hyper excitable at this point.
Laura Kitchen, mother of 6 year old Thomas says she doesn’t need any research, as she can observe her son having a negative reaction every time he ingests artificial dyes. She explains how normally he would play for hours on his own, uninterrupted, but after eating food dye: “He was bouncing around non-stop just uncontrollably. Wouldn’t listen wouldn’t even focus on anything.” Laura is not the only parent who has noticed changes in their children after eating artificial dyes, I’ve noticed with my 6 year old as well. It’s like an allergic reaction they can’t control.
Azodicarbonamide is yet another additive used as a bleaching agent in foods like bread- who’s main production use is “in the production of foamed plastics”- also used in bleach and to make rubber for yoga mats. Yuck! But the FDA approves it: Azodicarbonamide is “approved to be a bleaching agent in cereal flour” and is “permitted for direct addition to food for human consumption.” While we approve azodicarbonamide in this country it is banned in the UK, most European countries, Australia and if you use it in Singapore you could be fined up to $450,000 and possibly serve 15 years in prison. What does that tell you about azodicarbonamide? However, if you go to a fast food restaurant and order a hamburger, chances are your bun has azodicarbonamide in it.
Let’s not forget about arsenic used in American non-organically raised poultry – which ingested in large enough quantities will kill you. And how about the synthetic growth hormone rBGH or rBST? Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (also known as rBGH or rBST) “refers to bovine growth hormone that is made in a lab using genetic technology.” rBST is prohibited in Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and in the 27 countries of the European Union. The effect of this growth hormone on animals, according to the Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research, is: “ reduced pregnancy rates, visibly abnormal milk, hoof disorders and a need for more drug treatments for health problems. Cows treated with rBST face a nearly 25% increase in the risk of clinical mastitis, a 40% reduction in fertility, and 55% increase risk of lameness.” This is just affects for the animals, what about us? rBST in cows increases levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in the cows, which can increase this level in milk. Increased IGF-1 is linked to both breast and prostate cancer especially.
Cancer, hyperactivity, organ damage, hearing loss, death? Might we suppose that using ingredients banned in much of the rest of the world puts us at unnecessary risk for health concerns we already are struggling to do something about? Let’s be smart here.
Why do our packaged foods continue to use ingredients in the U.S. which are banned in up to 100 other countries world wide? This is a great question and one that only each one of us can ask and collectively do anything about. My guess is the companies who provide the chemical ingredients are more interested in cash flow than good health. Write to your congress person or start a petition like 15 year old Sarah Kavanagh. Together we can make a difference and awareness always comes before change.
Written by: Stasia Bliss