Monday, March 24, 2014

Some crap about your food. Literally.

Food is sort of a magical thing that varies all over the world with different cultures prizing things that some people would consider pretty gross and disgusting.  It is all about culture, and how your specific culture and the concepts and cuisine with which you were raised give credence to the foods of other cultures.  Some people eat head cheese, other people won't even touch pork.  I like snails, stinky cheese and the end result of grated vegetables fermenting for several weeks while other people think those things are the most disgusting things ever.  Spoiled, and rotten.  Well, to each his own I suppose, I draw the line at eating fish eyes and processed food.  And anything from most any fast food purveyor of their own specific poison.  Our government on the other hand has a problem with determining what is good for its citizens and what is bad for them.  Raw milk cheeses are illegal here in the US, but high capacity magazines for semi and auto weapons as well as a huge variety of weapons that are easily converted to full automatic, are available everywhere.  Something wrong there.  I mean really, the best cheese in the world, and it must be smuggled in.

But our government is trying, they do have people in positions to make policy that must in fact have some sort of ethics and so we have rules for manufacturers to adhere to in attempts to keep diseases and deaths to minimums.  And some of those rules are scary.  Take for instance the rules about some spices on the market.  For a container that holds about 10 grams of a spice, the jar can contain up to 30 parts of insects, a couple of rodent hairs and a part of a turd.  Peanut butter is even cleaner, the same stuff is allowed, but only in 100 grams, so it's one tenth as filthy.  But this one will scare you, for the same 100 grams of chocolate, twice as much stuff is allowed.

That's dead shit in all our food, and believe me, the FDA has standards of crap allowed in everything in the supermarket.  But what about live stuff.  One of the weirdest things that the FDA has ever done is to approve the use of bacteriophages.  Live viruses, bacteriophages are sprayed on processed meat in the concept that they will attempt to kill the listeriosis bacteria that are pretty deadly to humans.  Of course the all powerful and all knowing FDA and USDA would never think to clean up the cows raised in CAFO situations where the animals living in their own shit have listeriosis bacteria living all over their bodies and in their intestines.  And since modern slaughter methods are geared toward making money instead of keeping the meat clean, the spread of the bacteria all over the meat is a daily routine that constitutes the weird spraying of live viruses on the meat to keep us healthy.  Seems like a long convoluted path to follow where a simple solution, like cleaning up the method or raising the animals, is more costly than the bizarre.  The real weird part about it is that the FDA says meat processors don't have to put the fact they spray live viruses on their products on the label anywhere.  And in case you think this is fantasy, here is a great article on the practice (VIRUSES on our FOOD)

For me one of the weird things that the FDA allows into our food supply is silicon dioxide.  They say it's non-toxic, and it won't hurt you.  But why is it there?  Really, silica is about as close to ground glass as you can get and it is put in processed meat, spice mixes, anything dry, breakfast cereals and many pharmaceuticals.  It's a filler, and yeah you probably would have to eat a lot of it to die, we just don't know if the reason intestinal problems are so rampant in modern society is because of the large amounts of silica we ingest every day.

When I was younger I was a strict vegetarian.  For about eleven years I was very strict about it and one of the things that I wouldn't eat was any gelatin product.  After I began to eat some poultry again, and pork, I still wouldn't eat gelatin.  How they made the stuff just kind of grossed me out.  And today, it isn't any different, the method of making gelatin is still gross.  They take beef bones and hides, (see above stuff about how bad meat is) boil them down and retrieve the gelatin.  The really gross part about this is that the USDA emphatically states that brains and spines of steers that are over 30 months old can't be used for human consumption.  The reason is that they probably contain prions that cause Bovine Spongeform Encephalitis.  Mad Cow Disease.  The feds say they might be there, probably are, and that cooking them doesn't destroy them.  But it's okay to make gelatin out of them.  I can't figure that part out.  

A long time ago I decided that I would draw the line at cannibalism.  The Jeffrey Dahmer thing and the soccer team in the mountains, well, kind of gross.  Americans as a whole I think, probably think the same way.  But most people eat products every single day made from, well, humans.  I'm not making this up.  One of the ingredients that is very popular with the baking industry in America is L-Cysteine.  It is a dough conditioner and works amazingly when paired with some other nasty chemicals to make softer lighter fluffier bread. The problem is that L-Cysteine is made by taking human hair and dissolving it in solvents and from that they remove the stuff.  Most of the commercially available stuff comes from China, where a cottage industry exists that buys hair from anyone that will sell it to them.  Not exactly cannibalism, but it's mighty close, and just plain gross.

One last thing to gross you out about your food, is something called Castoreum.  This one is classified by the FDA as a natural flavoring and therefore doesn't have to specifically be listed by its actual name on the label as an ingredient.  Manufacturers can just put "Natural Flavor" on the ingredients.  Castoreum, in reality is harvested from beavers and a few other mammals in the same family.  It is a secretion harvested from the animal's anal glands.  It is very odoriferous, and when blended in foods it resembles vanilla and raspberry.  Not really crap, but right next to it.

So the thing I'm trying to point out to you the reader is that there is a lot of stuff in our food and it is up to you to decide what you are comfortable with eating.  Be aware, there's a lot of crap out there.

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