Hard to Stomach? Now You Can Know More About What’s Really in the Food You Eat


OK, try to swallow this: 10,000+ food additives are now in use in the United States. We’re not saying all are harmful, of course, but some are “linked to health concerns.” And most of us—unless we have some kind of “death by Doritos wish”—want to avoid them.

How to do it? Well, it’s pretty easy when the snack and soda industry creates something like PepsiCo’s Doritos flavored Mountain Dew. Whoa! How many naturally neon orange drinks do you know? But what about the potassium bromate in bread, the propyl paraben in tortillas, the nitrites in salami? You need help, and there are groups out there leading the way in uncovering the truth about what’s really in your food.

Here’s a sampling:  

A new consumer guide: a few weeks ago, Environmental Working Group launched their comprehensive Food Scores which simplifies healthy shopping. Be sure to give it a read.

On the milk front: The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recently filed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with the FDA in order to access data from two-year-old survey that relates to illegal drugs in our milk supply. The FDA originally conducted the survey after a prompt from CSPI, who found from the 2011 data, that dairy animals accounted for 67% of reported drug violations. From the CSPI press release:

Consumers have a right to know what's in their milk, and if there are dangerous drugs in it, they need to know what FDA is doing about that," said CSPI senior food safety attorney David Plunkett. "Why are those dairies that either can’t or won’t follow the rules, allowed to continue to market milk?"

The FDA has been audited, and the news isn’t good: with more news about potentially dangerous chemicals in our food supply, Kimberly Kindly of the Washington Post writes about a report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). She tells us that a recent audit of the FDA by the GAO determined that the agency is only testing for pesticide residues in less than one percent of domestic produce, and less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all imported produce. A scary thought. The FDA’s reaction might be even scarier:

In its response to the GAO, the FDA said it would consider creating a better testing model to ensure outcomes are “statistically significant,” but it did not commit to doing so, citing cost concerns. The GAO doesn’t have the authority to order federal agencies to follow their recommendations.”

Kindly explains that the GAO was particularly concerned with the false sense of food safety that the FDA testing conveys to consumers.

In her recent book We the Eaters, Ellen Gustafson concludes with a list entitled “Action Steps: 30 Food Shifts to Better Health and a Better World.” Our Facebook page is currently rolling out a few of Gustafson’s food shifts each week to engage Wellness Warriors and spread Gustafson’s powerful ideas. If you are worried about what might be lurking in the food that you are buying, swing on over to EWG’s Food Scores to check it out. If you can’t get an answer there, then you may want to try a new kind of food vendor (say a local farmer who you can talk to) or new kinds of food that you can trust.


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