WHAT IS FOOD SAFETY?
Years ago, food safety was not quite the problem it has become today. To ensure the safety of our food, people only had to make sure they bought food before the expiration date, cooked their food thoroughly enough and avoid things such as raw eggs. Food was not genetically modified nor did we have fish farms that raised millions of fish at one time.
But things have all changed. Bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella and listeria have become a pronounced threat in the foods we eat every day. Major health problems have become a thorn in the side of food manufacturers and protecting our food supply is the biggest obstacle we face when it comes to eating healthy.
HOW SAFE IS THE FOOD WE EAT?
Experts in food safety agree that bacterial contamination is the major culprit in America’s food production system. Since the food manufacturers rely on chemicals to process our food, we ingest not only the deadly types of bacteria but also the hormones, antibiotics, heavy metals, pesticides and insecticides as well as pollutants which our food has become overloaded with.
As a nation, families used to buy and prepare their own food but in this mass-produced world we live in, it has become much easier and cheaper to buy processed food. Just look at any supermarket and processed foods are the mainstays of these businesses. The bulk of the business that supermarkets earn comes from processed foods and it shows in how many instances of food poisoning happen each year.
But at what cost? Is technology to blame? Or is there a much sinister reason why food safety has become such a threat to our health?
Here Are The 5 Biggest Threats To Our Food Safety
#1 Biggest Threat – GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD
Since 1996 when GMO’s were first introduced into our food supply, the health of humans has been compromised. Inadequate testing and Monsanto’s hold over our government has meant that labeling GMO’s has been outlawed, making it easier than ever to push GMO’s on an unsuspecting consumer. Within the 2013 Continuing Resolution which funds the Federal government till the end of the budget year, contained a rider which was snuck in that specifically protects the biotech companies such as Monsanto and it’s seeds from any legal challenges of it’s use. This means there is nothing that can be done legally to stop producing, cultivating and selling GMO’s.
Almost 80 percent of all processed food is genetically modified including corn, soybeans and canola oil and as core foods, are in almost everything we eat.
Here is a small sampling of the safety problems plaguing GMO’s
1- More asthma, food allergies and cases of autoimmune illnesses
2- More chronic diseases such as digestive issues, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, fertility issues, DNA damage and liver and kidney damage.
3- The Séralini Study from Italy in 2012 showed the endocrine disrupting effects of glyphosate herbicides from eating GMO’s.
GMO’s have been responsible for mutations in plant’s genes as well as issuing lower yields, poisoning our water, air and indigenous foliage. But the most frightening aspect of GMO’s is how they have lost the fight against weeds. Many of the weeds have become pesticide resistant and this means the farmers have to use more herbicide to get the job done. This means more unhealthy chemicals will be found in our food.
#2 Biggest Threat – PESTICIDE USE
Pesticide use has reached epidemic proportions and we as humans are paying a high price for it. Most fruits and vegetable are sprayed with some type of pesticide to kill insects and weeds.
The EPA, the FDA and the USDA all say that pesticides and herbicides which contain and are classified as neurotoxins pose an insignificant threat to our health but since many former executives from the chemical and biotech industries run these government agencies, they are biased toward their former employers.
The high pesticide exposure affects children and pregnant mothers the most. A February 2009 study found in Environmental Health perspectives showed how children who were exposed to higher levels of common household insecticides were twice as likely to develop cases of brain cancer. A control study conducted in 15 hospitals in the Baltimore, MD area found a direct correlation to more children with brain tumors having had more exposure to insecticides than normal children without the exposure.
Washing and scrubbing fruits and vegetables still doesn’t get rid of all pesticides. Our food safety has yet to find a way to guarantee there is no residue left on our food.
So how do we lower our pesticide intake?
You need to switch to organic fruits and vegetables. A study from the University of Washington found that preschool children who ate organic foods have 75 percent less pesticide in their urine than children who ate conventional diets.
This is a significant study as it shows that eating organic food can and does eliminate much of the food safety problems our country is facing even though many of the food manufacturers have pressured food gurus such as Dr. Oz into stating that conventional food is just as good as organic. Those who are polluting our food have the political might to push unhealthy food on us for the sake of profits and Dr. Oz has taken the same path.
#3 Biggest Threat – SYNTHETIC HORMONES AND OVER USE OF ANTIBIOTICS
In order to produce bigger animals, food manufacturers have relied on using synthetic hormones to generate big profits. These farmers want bigger animals which require less feed thereby insuring higher profits. But this comes at a high price for our health.
Food safety concerns regarding the use of hormones have been stifled by the food manufacturers and the FDA because huge profits are at stake. Even though they say these hormones do not pose a threat to human health, many researchers are finding that these synthetic hormones are disrupting the endocrine system, especially in developing babies and young children.
Over 80 percent of beef are routinely given six different hormones by farmers to increase their size. The most common types are synthetic estrogens and testosterone. The problem with estrogens is it’s link to breast cancer. Continued use of estrogen has caused a spike in the amount of breast cancers in this country.
Dairy cows were given rGBH (recombinant growth bovine hormone) which helped increase milk production but it caused a wide array of health issues with the cows. Mastitis as well as short life spans and diseases were commonplace with dairy cows.
Former Monsanto Vice President and now head of the Foods Division of the FDA, Michael Taylor, was the man who issued the milk label that stated that milk with the rGBH hormone in it was just as healthy as milk that didn’t have it. Only 15 percent of all milk in the USA is still using the rGBH hormone. Many large chain supermarkets refuse to carry it especially after a 1997 investigation done by two prominent Tampa news anchors which showed the unhealthy effects rBGH had on both animals and humans alike. The two news anchors where bullied by Monsanto and fired after refusing to lie about the problematic health effects of the hormone.
Antibiotics are used regularly on both fish and fowl to prevent diseases from happening to these animals who live in crowded and unsanitary conditions. The use of antibiotics by the food industry is directly responsible for drug-resistant bacteria that has become so prevalent.
Animal farmers have been using antibiotics since 1946 because antibiotics helped animals to grow bigger faster as well as fight the diseases that accompany unhealthy living conditions.
Every animal grown on the factor farms is a candidate to spread germs and disease. These animals are specifically bred to grow bigger and because they are genetically prone to disease antibiotics are the last line of defense between us and a food epidemic. Bacteria which is antibiotic-resistant has become a public health crisis and is difficult to treat.
The only way to stop the use of antibiotics is to allow animals to be fed and treated organically. Organically fed animals have a much lower rate of sickness and are not prone to genetic abnormalities.
#4 Biggest Threat – FOOD POISONING
Food poisoning has become one of the biggest threats to our food safety and is on the rise. E. coli, calcivirus, salmonella, listeria and campylobacter sickened close to 80 million people a year and over 5000 lose their lives to this treatable disease.
So why is it happening so frequently?
Most food is either processed or comes from the huge factory farms so the chances of getting sick are increasing every year. Unlike organic food, many of the conventional grown food is combined and this increases the chances of sickness. When meat from different animals and vegetables from different areas are combined to form their own single packages, they can harbor bacteria that can infect the entire food production process and spread contamination.
But food-borne illness isn’t relegated to just the handling of the food processors. The way many of us handle food before we cook it has a pronounced effect of whether or not we get food poisoning. Learning how to handle food properly is the best food safety you can practice.
Another reason why we have become so susceptible to food poisoning is the fact that many people are at risk because they are on dialysis, are undergoing treatment for cancer and even diabetes increases the risk.
Those who take prescription medications, use antacids or take inflammatory drugs can also lower one’s immunity for suffering food poisoning.
#4 Biggest Threat – IMPORTED FOOD
Everyone loves imported food but much of the food from thirds world countries are contaminated with banned substances such are unapproved drugs, antibiotics and preservatives.
Many of the food-borne illnesses have started on foreign soil which has been infected with banned chemicals because these countries do not have food inspection laws in place and those that do, cannot enforce them. Many of the workers in the fields do not wash their hands when picking fruits and vegetables and contaminate and pass along the bacteria to the food as well as the other workers.
Even though we have laws in this country to inspect our own food, we have done a lousy job of inspecting imported food ourselves. Much of what passes through to our kitchen tables comes from fields infected with unsanitary conditions. Runoff from chemicals and heavy metals is also a concern as we cannot control what happens in other countries.
It doesn’t take much to contaminate food yet our own government has not done enough to insure our food is free of pathogens. Food safety must take a bigger role in the food process before food-borne illnesses can be controlled.
Eating more organic food, learning how to handle food and being smart about what food you buy can also insure you do not get sick from the food you eat.
To learn how to eat healthier and stop food poisoning in it’s tracks click on the picture below: