This article first appeared in Care2.com I ask the question: why are we so slow to remove harmful ingredients in our animals or our food here in the USA?
The holidays are upon us, a time of family, friends and food. I highly recommend this article and suggest you create a list to take to the supermarket. Every purchase we make casts a vote. What will yours be?
Americans are slowly realizing that food sold in the US doesn’t just taste different than foods sold in other countries, it’s created differently. Sadly, many U.S. foods are BANNED in Europe — and for good reason. Take a look at the plummeting health of Americans; what role might toxic foods play in our skyrocketing disease rates?
#1: Farm-Raised Salmon
Farm-raised fish is usually fed an unnatural diet of genetically engineered (GE) grains, antibiotics and chemicals unsafe for humans. To mask the resulting grayish flesh, they’re given toxic and potentially eyesight-damaging synthetic astaxanthin.
To determine wild from farm-raised salmon (sold in most restaurants), wild sockeye gets its red color from natural astaxanthin and carotenoids. The white “fat strips” are thin, meaning it’s lean. Pale pink fish and wide fat marks are a sign of farmed salmon.
Avoid “Atlantic Salmon.” Look for “Alaskan” or “sockeye,” which is illegal to farm and has very high astaxanthin concentrations.
Where it’s banned: Australia and New Zealand
#2: Genetically Engineered Papaya
Most Hawaiian papaya is genetically engineered to be ringspot virus-resistant. But research shows animals fed GE foods like corn and soy suffer intestinal damage, multiple-organ damage, massive tumors, birth defects, premature death and/or nearly complete sterility by the third generation. Dangers to humans are unknown.
Where it’s banned: The European Union
#3: Ractopamine-Tainted Meat
About 45 percent of US pigs, 30 percent of cattle and an unknown percentage of turkeys are plumped with the asthma drug ractopamine before slaughter. Up to 20 percent of ractopamine is still there when you buy it.
Since 1998, more than 1,700 US pork lovers have been “poisoned” this way. For this very health threat, ractopamine-laced meats are banned in 160 different countries! Russia issued a ban on US meat imports, effective February 11, 2013, until it’s certified ractopamine-free. In animals, it’s linked to reducedreproductive function, increased mastitis and increased death. It damages the human cardiovascular system and may cause hyperactivity, chromosomal abnormalities and behavioral changes. Currently, US meats aren’t even tested for it.
Where it’s banned: 160 countries across Europe, Russia, mainland China and Republic of China (Taiwan).
#4: Flame Retardant Drinks
Mountain Dew and other drinks in the US contain the synthetic chemical brominated vegetable oil (BVO), originally patented as a flame retardant.
BVO bioaccumulates in human tissue and breast milk; animal studies report reproductive and behavioral problems. Bromine alters the central nervous and endocrine systems and promotes iodine deficiency, causing skin rashes, acne, loss of appetite, fatigue and cardiac arrhythmias. The featured article explains:
“The FDA has flip-flopped on BVO’s safety, originally classifying it as ‘generally recognized as safe,’ but reversing that call, now defining it as an ‘interim food additive,’ a category reserved for possibly questionable substances used in food.”
Where it’s banned: Europe and Japan
#5: Processed Foods and Artificial Food Dyes
More than 3,000 preservatives, flavorings and colors are added to US foods, many of which are banned in other countries. The featured article noted:
“Boxed Mac & Cheese, cheddar flavored crackers, Jell-O and many kids’ cereals contain red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6 and/or blue 2 … (which) can cause behavioral problems as well as cancer, birth defects and other health problems in laboratory animals. Red 40 and yellow 6 are also suspected of causing an allergy-like hypersensitivity reaction in children. The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that some dyes are also “contaminated with known carcinogens.”
In countries where these food dyes are banned, companies like Kraft employ natural colorants like paprika extract and beetroot.
Where it’s banned: Norway and Austria. Britain advised companies against using food dyes by the end of 2009. The European Union requires a warning notice on most foods containing dyes.
Arsenic-based drugs are approved in US-produced animal feed because they cause animals to grow quicker and meats products to look pinker and “fresher.” The FDA says arsenic-based drugs are safe safe because they contain organic arsenic … But organic arsenic can turn into inorganic arsenic, run through contaminated manure and leach into drinking water.
The European Union has never approved using arsenic in animal feed; US environmental groups have sued the FDA to remove them.
Where it’s banned: The European Union
#7: Bread with Potassium Bromate
Bread, hamburger and hot dog buns are “enriched” with potassium bromate, or bromide, linked to kidney and nervous system damage, thyroid problems, gastrointestinal discomfort and cancer.
While commercial baking companies claim it renders dough more tolerable to bread hooks, Pepperidge Farm and others use only unbromated flour without experiencing “structural problems.”
Where it’s banned: Canada, China and the EU
Olestra, or Olean, created by Procter & Gamble, is a calorie- and cholesterol-free fat substitute in fat-free snacks like chips and french fries. Three years ago, Time Magazine named it one of the worst 50 inventions ever. MSN noted:
“Not only did a 2011 study from Purdue University conclude rats fed potato chips made with Olean gained weight … several reports of adverse intestinal reactions to the fake fat include diarrhea, cramps and leaky bowels. And because it interferes with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K, the FDA requires these vitamins be added to any product made with Olean or olestra.”
Where it’s banned: The UK and Canada
#9: Preservatives BHA and BHT
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are common preservatives in foods like cereal, nut mixes, chewing gum, butter spread, meat and beer. The National Toxicology Program’s 2011 Report on Carcinogens says BHA may trigger allergic reactions and hyperactivity and “is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”
Where it’s banned: Both are banned in parts of the European Union and Japan; the UK doesn’t allow BHA in infant foods.
#10: Milk and Dairy Products Made with rBGH
Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a synthetic version of natural bovine hormone is injected into cows to increase milk production. Monsanto developed it from genetically engineered E. coli bacteria, marketed as “Posilac.”
But it’s banned in at least 30 other nations. Why? It converts normal tissue cells into cancerous ones, increasing colorectal, prostate and breast cancer risks. Among other diseases, injected cows suffer exorbitant rates of mastitis, contaminating milk with pus and antibiotics.
In 1997, two Fox-affiliate investigative journalists, Jane Akre and Steve Wilson attempted to expose the dangers of rBGH, but lawyers for Monsanto – a major advertiser with the Florida network – sent letters promising “dire consequences” if the story aired.
In 1999, the United Nations Safety Agency ruled unanimously not to endorse rBGH milk, resulting in an international ban on US milk.
The Cancer Prevention Coalition, trying for years to affect a dairy industry ban of rBGH, resubmitting a petition to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg in January 2010, but the FDA sticks to its false position that rBGH-treated milk is no different than milk from untreated cows.
Action: Look for products labeled “rBGH-free” or “No rBGH.”
Where it’s banned: Australia, New Zealand, Israel, EU and Canada
Take Control of Your Health with REAL Food
If you value your health, avoid foods containing harmful ingredients and ditch processed foods entirely – even if they are permitted in the US. Opt for fresh whole foods, organic, grass-fed/pasture-raised beef and poultry, dairy products and eggs.
what are you personally doing to keep your menus healthy? I would enjoy hearing from you.