As consumers, we often assume that someone has our back- our first mistake. Apparently no one has our back. An article posted in the Huffington Post a few days ago, and the related ABC News Report, serve to wake us up- shake us, stick an elbow in our sides- because the regulation we thought existed with regard to our food supply has gone into hiding and refuses to come out from under the bed. According to this report, an estimated 7% of our food supply contains fraudulent ingredients.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety, is clearly incapable of navigating us out of this maze of inadequacy. They apparently let go out this steering wheel a long time ago and this car is driving itself.
The United States Pharmacopeial Convention, (the USP) , the official pharmacopeia of the United States, sets the standards that prescription, over –the- counter medications, health care products, as well as food ingredients and dietary supplements are required to follow. So, when they publish a report about how our food supply is severely damaged, it should and does, raise eyebrows. A study by the USP clearly highlights that what we think we are placing in our shopping carts, is all too often not at all what it appears to be. The report states that fraudulent ingredients in our foods, ingredients not labeled and used as cheap substitutes are up 60% from last year. This is what happens when no one is minding the shop. When will the FDA step up to the plate and take responsibility for their lack of involvement and their obvious inability to monitor and control the safety of our food supply? They claim to “take the new finding very seriously”. Really, where were they when this was all unraveling?
The Food Standards Agency (Great Britain’s equivalent of the FDA) has pages dedicated to food coloring and the effects they may have on hyperactivity in a broad range of children, and yet the FDA continues to stand by and declare that they are not a problem. Bovine growth hormones, believed to be responsible for early onset puberty and endocrine disruption, are banned in the Europe Union; in the United States no such ban exists.
Antibiotic resistance is one of the most prevalent concerns of the 21st century and yet 80% of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used to raise cattle, completely unmonitored by any government agency. The European Union banned the use of antibiotics to encourage animal growth. Banned by the EU- unmonitored here in the States. Fifty countries across the globe require that genetically modified foods be appropriately labeled; the United States requires no such identification. The list goes on: pesticides that are implicated in cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, damage to unborn fetuses, and impaired brain function continue to make their way into our food supply while the FDA continually cups their hands over their ears like a child that simply does not want to hear the truth. Although the article that grabbed my attention was focused on inaccurate labeling, the main concern, for all of us, is who is in charge here?
If I am buying olive oil- I want it to be olive oil and if it is not, I want to know exactly what is in the product that I am purchasing. If there is food coloring in my paprika to make it a prettier red, I want to know. If my Atlantic salmon is genetically modified by injecting genetic material into its fertilized eggs from an eel-like fish so that it continues to grow in the winter …I want to know! Is this too much to ask for?
As a health coach, I am continuously trying to impress upon my clients the relevance of reading labels to ensure that the products that they are buying are what they appear to be; I am no longer convinced that this can be accomplished for obvious reasons. Buying organic does increase the odds in your favor since we know that there will not be hormones, pesticides or artificial ingredients in the product but according to this report it does not stop companies from filling our tea bags with lawn grass and fern and not listing them as ingredients. However, I must clearly state that buying organic is still a much safer option given the Wild West atmosphere that has taken hold of our food supply. (See the excerpt below from the article by the National Cancer Institute)
When Dr. Oz stated, not too long ago, that organic is not all what it is cut out to be I cringed. How very misleading such a statement is from such a high profile doctor. It certainly knocked him down a few notches in my eyes. Okay, I’ll admit- I don’t think I will ever forgive him for that statement. The truth is this: the reason “organic” is becoming such a buzz word is because people across the globe are afraid of the pesticides, chemicals, hormones, antibiotics and artificial ingredients that have marched into our food supply under the nose of the very agencies that are meant to protect us, while they look the other way, whistling as though nothing wrong.
I don’t know about you but I feel as though I have woken up from a nightmare screaming, in a state of panic, only to realize it is not a dream at all. Years ago there was a movie, Network (I am no doubt dating myself) and the main character, a depressed news anchor, entirely fed up with the situation at hand declares in a powerful speech, “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take this anymore”, and encourages people everywhere to join him- opening their windows and shouting, “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take this anymore!” He shouts out, “We know the air is unfit to breathe and our foods are unfit to eat…as if that is the way it’s supposed to be.” Well, that is what we need to do; we need to stand together and unequivocally state that we are not going to allow this injustice thrust upon our food supply to exist a moment longer. We need to demand that the government step up to the plate and DO THEIR JOB. We need to get mad! (By the way, you really need to watch this clip- it’s very powerful.)
Demand that GM foods be labeled, sign petitions to have your voice heard. Even though recent polls show that over 90% of Americans feel GM foods should be labeled, the FDA is dipping their pens in ink as we speak, ready to approve GM salmon, and allow it to slip onto our shelves unlabeled. Sign up for newsletters, sign petitions, and visit websites such as, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Just Label it, and the Environmental Working Group, in order to stay on top the issues and ensure all of our voices are heard. Let’s promise ourselves that we will do everything possible to ensure that the purity and safety of our food supply is once again taken seriously by the agencies that are responsible for our safety, our health and the future of our planet.
I don’t know about you but “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take this anymore!”
Facebook: Label GMO’s
Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)
Just Label It (There is a petition that you can sign for GMO labeling on this site)
The Environmental Working Group
Links and References:
Network – movie clip
Food Group Raises Concerns
Huffington Post Green
Quote from article: Doctors have good reasons to recommend organically grown food, one being cancer risk. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that, “Despite overall decreases in incidence and mortality, cancer continues to shatter and steal the lives of Americans. Approximately 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, and about 21 percent will die from cancer. The incidence of some cancers, including some most common among children, is increasing for unexplained reasons.” The NCI report states, “The entire U.S. population is exposed on a daily basis to numerous agricultural chemicals” and recommends choosing foods grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, and growth hormones.
Food Colors and Hyperactivity
European Ban on Bovine Growth Hormones
Pesticides Found to Increase Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
Pesticides cause diabetes? What a New study says
Common Pesticides “Disturbs” the brains of children
Genetically Modified Salmon, What does it mean?
© 2013 InnerMom
Judy Banks, Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor, Holistic Health Coach
All right reserved- Reproduce with Permission only