Most of us just assume that we’re buying safe food when we go to the grocery store. After all, the government protects us, right? Well….some laws are in place, but whether they’re being enforced is another story..
This just became more evident when the scientific nonprofit, USP, United States Pharmacopeial Convention, announced that new reports of fake and contaminated food products submitted to its Food Fraud database rose a whopping 60% this past year alone.
So now what, does our food need to be fingerprinted? Well, maybe, but as Americans, we’re really asking for it. We eat 31 percent more packaged food than fresh, consuming more packaged food per person than nearly all other countries. A good chunk of the American diet is ready-to-eat meals, like frozen pizzas and microwave dinners, and sweet or salty snack foods.
There’s no question about it, processed foods are more easily contaminated. But they also contain larger amounts of fat, salt and sugar, and other things to which we've nowbecome addicted. Epidemiologic studies have shown that these lead to higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Read my cut-to-the-chase analysis of “The State of Our Health: Our Modern Food and Agriculture Systems” chapter in my comprehensive book, Truly Cultured: Rejuvenating Taste, Health and Community.
Food Industry Foolery. The food trickery we’re talking about here is right in line with many common, often confusing (though not illegal) food marketing tactics.
These range from shrinking package sizes while price remains the same, distracting emotional-based marketing, addicting food technology, hiding chemical ingredients in nebulous phrases like “natural” flavoring, using many types of sugar to keep it from being listed first on the label, and one of the biggest insults -- NOT labeling some ingredients at all -- like GMO’s -- because according to the government, “there’s no difference.” Phoeey.
But how would you know? You probably wouldn't, unless you’re a food chemist or like me, have worked for the large food corporations. Did you know that some foods, like ketchup and mayonnaise, aren't even required to list their ingredients on labels, if they comply with the “Standards of Identity” for that food product in the FDA databases in Washington, DC. Nothing wrong per se, this is supposed to promote honesty and protect consumers.