Saturday, February 21, 2015

(#142-1) February 21 2015. Poisoning for profit—our food and the current American Business Model in action.



Why Are American Foods Routinely More Toxic Than European Versions?

If you accept that, subject to our genetic makeup and our environment (a separate topic of major concern), we are what we eat, then it is abundantly clear that the U.S. is in a state of crisis—at least comparable, it terms of it being an existential threat, to a major war. When casualties are factored in, a major war—like WW II—should be regarded as less serious. Our food crisis has already invaded successfully and is killing way more of us than the Germans and the Japanese ever did. 

As a matter of interest, the U.S. lost 420,000 dead in WW II (and the UK, with a  population of about one third of the size) lost 450,900.

This crisis is vastly more serious than  the terrorist threat or virtually any other immediate threat—although climate change looks like giving it serious competition before too long.

In fact, the incredibly disturbing problems associated with the U.S. food chain have evolved way beyond the status of a threat. They are no longer theoretical. They are in action against us right now. They now constitute a lethal scourge which is wreaking havoc on the health of the American population—and has for many years. Antibiotic resistance is just one side effect—and that alone is killing 23,000 a year—and rising.

When I say “A lethal scourge” I mean exactly that. Our food chain—starting off with the rapidly depleting quality of our soil and water (and the environment generally) and ending up with the food we buy (whether for home consumption,  in restaurants, or as Fast Food) is chemically contaminated, nutritionally inadequate, over-processed, laden with excessive sugar, fat, salt, fillers, and chemicals—and then frequently  wrapped, stored, and even cooked in chemically dubious packaging materials and storage containers.

Appreciate that in the ‘anything goes’ U.S., chemicals can be used without any check or hindrance until such time as they are proven to be harmful. In contrast, in Europe, chemicals have to be shown to be safe first.

Is there any proof of the problems with our food chain?

Yes, and it is overwhelming. Some examples.

  • DIE SOONER. Americans die roughly three years sooner than Europeans. (and about two years sooner than Canadians).
  • LIVE SICKER. While alive, Americans tend to be sicker than Europeans. For instance, roughly half the U.S. adult population suffers from at least one chronic condition.
  • OBESE.Obesity is rife—over 30 % of adults—and increasing. Include being overweight and the figure rises to about two thirds of adults—nearly 155 million people.
  • UNFIT. Over 70% of young Americans are too physically unfit for military service (other factors contribute to this statistic but lack of fitness is the dominant one).
  • FOOD COMMITTEE APPALLED. A recent government report by the Federal Diet Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) on the American report supports my observations. In fact,  insofar as a bureaucracy can do such a thing, the committee freaked. Its members seem to be appalled at the current situation and announced plans to “transform the food system.” We have heard that before—and little has happened.
  • SERIOUS WATER QUALITY ISSUES. Routine tests of water quality only cover traditional life-threatening contaminants like lead and arsenic. Non-standard tests have revealed widespread contamination of our water supplies by meds. More research is needed, but the implications of all this appear to be serious.

I would add that you have only got to people watch for a limited period of time to come to the conclusion that there is something very wrong with American health.

What and who are to blame for this?

  • US. We the People are for largely ignoring what is in plain sight—much as we have a tendency to most other important issues. The U.S. public has largely given up the fight. The ultra-rich, and the corporations they control, now have their hands on the  the levers of power and have no intention of giving them up.
  • BIG AGRICULTURE. Our agricultural systems which are largely based upon monoculture, artificial fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, and GMO. Add in CAFOs and antibiotics fed to food animals as a matter of routine, and you have a toxic mix which produces nutritionally inadequate and contaminated raw materials.
  • BIG FOOD. Our food processing industry takes in substandard and contaminated raw material, processes much of the inadequate nutritional value out of it, and then endeavors to make it enticing with a range of materials that it knows perfectly well are hazardous to our health—sugar, salt, fats, fillers, and chemicals.
  • BIG MEDICINE. The medical profession knows perfectly well that we are in the middle of a food crisis—but largely stays silent because ill-health brings the medical profession business.
  • BIG POLITICS. Our politicians could legislate most of our food problems away, but choose not to do so because they are heavily funded by the corporations which constitute the problem.
  • BIG MONEY. This is the root cause of the contamination of our food chain. It is the motive, the method, and the consequence—and it is killing us in large numbers. Feeding us mediocre food and then treating the inevitable negative heath consequences generates enormous sums of money for a relatively small number of people. Killing Americans pays. Killing us in quantity pays even better. Arguing that we have the freedom to chose what we consume is disingenuous. Not only are we massively conditioned to eat certain foods, but very few processed food are not substandard in some way.

The bottom line is that our food chain constitutes a much greater health hazard than tobacco ever did—and that virtually nothing is  being done to remedy the situation. In fact, it is scarcely being discussed.

Capitalism has great merit as the basis of an economic system, but like any human activity, it needs some ground rules linked to a moral core. As matters stand, the checks and balances that capitalism requires to function effectively and fairly—largely don’t exist or are being ignored.

The current ABM (American Business Model) based upon the theory that that management need only be concerned with maximizing shareholder value is a corruption of the free enterprise system—and is having a truly disastrous effect upon this country in innumerable ways from lowering the quality of life of tens of millions of employees to undermining their health. 

It is self-evident that it lacks a moral core—which is precisely why the food industry regards it as entirely reasonable—because it is not actually illegal—to diminish the lives of large number of their fellow citizens and eventually to kill them prematurely.

We are experiencing a very American Holocaust in the name of business. Are the numbers comparable? No, the American version is killing more.

Check out

More than 3,000 food additives -- preservatives, flavorings, colors and other ingredients -- are added to US foods, including infant foods and foods targeted to young children.

Meanwhile, many of these are banned in other countries, based on research showing toxicity and hazardous health effects, especially with respect to adverse effects on children's behavior.

This includes food colorings such as red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6, and/or blue 2, which has been shown to cause behavioral problems, allergic reactions, and even cancer.

In countries where these food dyes are banned, companies employ naturalcolorants instead, such as paprika extract, beetroot, and annatto. But if they can do it in a host of other countries, why can't they switch over altogether, and use natural colorants in foods sold on the American market as well?

Another example: the antifoaming agent dimethylpolysiloxane, found in the American version of McDonald's French fries, is a type of silicone with anti-foaming properties used in cosmetics and a variety of other goods like Silly Putty. Does it have to be used to make a decent French fry?  Apparently not. So why use it?

Ditto for TBHQ. Animal studies suggest there may be a number of health hazards associated with this chemical, including2 liver effects at very low doses; positive mutation results from in vitro tests on mammalian cells; biochemical changes at very low doses; and reproductive effects at high doses.

A question that really needs to be answered by each and every offending food company is: Why do you want to make Americans sick? You're keeping all this junk out of the UK and other countries' food supply, why not here?

The following infographic highlights 10 glaring examples where foods sold in the US contain ingredients shunned by other nations, due to their health risks.


10 Banned Foods to Avoid

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