Following a recent doctor’s visit for a semi-annual check-up I reasoned it a wise idea to take his advice and change my eating habits. Some pride was taken in the fact, aside from the necessary “Whopper” a few times a year I’d pretty much done away with fast foods a decade ago. One directive my physician suggested was to simply not eat anything that has a label but that proved much more difficult than I’d imagined.
The second and most viable option was to simply become more informed about what I put into my body. In the quest to educate myself, I began spending much more time in the supermarket reading (and trying to decipher) the labels of food packages. For many “common” products on the typical grocers’ shelves one would need a degree in chemical science to even understand what’s inside the container. It was somewhat appalling, a little shocking, and even frightening in some cases when I realized the ingredients comprising foods American citizens eat on a daily basis.
As the most capable government agency, it is the responsibility of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to regulate the products to which people of this country are exposed. Taken from the agency’s website; “The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation” to offer the short list of functions. This definition details only some of the agency’s responsibilities as the Food and Drug Administration’s role in looking out for the best interest of citizens in our great country. The organization is charged with operations on a number of fronts and basically controls what foods Americans eat as well as the ingredients that comprise them.
Factually speaking, we are left to the mercy of the FDA when it comes to permissions granted farmers, manufacturers and other food producers. Why then, would we find ingredients in such simple products like bread bought at the grocery store that may include an additive that has been linked to cancer? The culprit in this case; potassium bromate, has been identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a “potential human carcinogen?” In short, this ingredient, whose purpose is only to make bread rise higher and appear whiter, has been determined by way of certifiable clinical research to be a cancer causing agent.
This and many potentially harmful ingredients are allowed in the foods distributed to unknowing Americans every day. A representative from one major bread distributor stated in an interview, “All ingredients in our products are used at levels approved by government agencies and regulations.” But potassium bromate is listed as “possibly carcinogenic” by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, Mike Doyle, stated the FDA hasn’t banned use of the ingredient but merely “suggested” bakers stop using it.
Olestra is synthetic oil used as a substitute for dietary fat which can’t be digested or absorbed by the human body; it’s another ingredient that has come under scrutiny as any substance the body is unable to identify is simply stored as fat. So cunning manufacturers, to maximize damage control and revenue simply changed the name of the ingredient from Olestra to Olean which amounts to little more than psychological trickery at the expense of the unlearned consumer.
It is utterly appalling to think the FDA permits “allowable” amounts of the following ingredients in foods marketed to consumers after all have been linked to some type of cancer: Partially hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, all artificial sweeteners, BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene), Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite, Propyl Gallate, Sodium Benzoate and Benzoic Acid, and Food Colorings. It would behoove everyone to become educated on what our foods contain because government doesn’t seem to care.
The “Cancer Facts and Statistics” annual report provides the anticipated numbers of new cancer cases and deaths; in 2015, there will be an estimated 1,658,370 new cancer cases diagnosed and 589,430 cancer deaths in the US. Each U.S. resident stands a 38.6% chance of developing cancer in their lifetime.
If so many doctors, independent researchers and organizations have identified the potential dangers of a specific ingredient, what justification is there in the fact “our” government (FDA) still allows use of that agent. Companies are in business to make money so they can’t be expected to place the consumer’s interests above their precious “bottom line.” But the FDA is a government agency designed to protect the people though they don’t appear to be doing a good job of it. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.