Sunday, December 4, 2016

the Chemical Feast - America at its most profitable

When I was a youth, growing up in Arizona, my family ate all of the foods associated with the good modern life/ Meat, potatoes, white rice, frozen vegetables. And white bread. Everyone ate white bread. It was a staple. For pretty much every American wanting to live the American Dream. House, car, job, mortgage, taxes, a TV and two point five children playing on the swingset in the backyard. The American Dream. 

Back in the fifties, families bought white bread every couple of days. That's because the bread would go stale quickly, and within a week, it would grow mold on it. Back then, bread was made using enriched white flour, yeast, water, sugar and salt. They beat the hell out of it to whip air into the batter and that's why it was light and fluffy. It also wasn't exactly nutritious, the enrichment process developed back in the late thirties and early forties only replaced eight of the forty-six nutritional minerals and vitamins that occur naturally in real whole wheat grains. Eight, versus forty-six. Marketing and advertising helped to feed the desire for non-nutritive foods versus their healthier counterparts. White bread became the staple of the American Dream, lack of nutrition not with standing.

But it made great grilled cheese sandwiches.

While I was in high school, junior year I believe; I did a book report on a book written by an attorney under the guise of the Ralph Nader group. It was very critical of the FDA and their policies regarding the introduction of several hundred chemicals to be added to what has morphed into the GRAS, or Generally Recognized As Safe list of chemicals that food manufacturers can add to foods. At that time, it was about three hundred. Chemicals that did some extremely profit enhancing things to foods. Tricks, actually. Compounds that actually enhanced flavor, chemicals that allowed baked goods to st on shelves for months with no loss of perceived freshness, and the hardest one to believe; chemicals derived from coal tars, that were bright colors. Artificial food dye. This class of chemical compounds were added to the GRAS list, because no one ever tested to see just how carcinogenic they really are. It's only in the last twenty years that a number of them have been dropped from GRAS, but are still allowed to be used in food manufacturing because they are cheap, and the American Dream includes foods that have bright colors.

Things have changed dramatically in the food world since that book was published. Today, the FDA admits that they track three thousand chemicals on the EAFUS list. (Everything Added to Food in the US) However they also admit, that food manufacturers don't even have to submit new chemical compounds to the FDA for determination if they themselves, meaning those that manufacture the chemicals, find them to be relatively safe. There are over a thousand compounds on the GRAS list, and again, the FDA admits that they don't give a rat's ass about American Health and as long as the manufacturer of a chemical says they tested it and they themselves claim it is GRAS, then the FDA are fine with it being added to food. 

Isn't that like parents buying a hundred six packs of beer and putting them in the garage with a hundred cartons of cigarrettes and then telling their teenage kids that they are leaving for the summer. It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

Maybe that's the problem. No one has actually died from the Chemical Feast that is American Food. Well, at least they didn't just eat a burger and keel over dead anyway. I've never heard of that. However, what we know, WE KNOW is happening to the American Dream is that Americans are suffering greatly increased incidences of Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, Infant mortality, Autism, the list is endless. But the worst thing possible, greater numbers of Americans suffer from two, three or more degenerative long term diseases.


Poor nutrition, perhaps. Environmental toxin exposure, maybe. Definitely in some areas. Radiation from fallout, nuclear accidents etc., possibly. Chemtrails, REALLY? that one is kinda whacko. But how about the huge numbers of chemicals added to food to make it sweeter tastier less metallic tasting (from other additives) colorful lighter fluffier whiter more shelf stable and the big one, MORE PROFITABLE. Isn't that possible. When the manufacturer of a chemical gets to determine whether or not it is safe, that sort of sets the stage for greater amounts of chemicals to be added to food for that driving force in all of America, profit. 

Here's the big one though. Even if there was no motivation for getting approval for chemicals to be added to manufacturing processes, if the testing done on any one specific chemical compound was done in the true spirit of finding and testing said chemical, determining it it's safe and without any possible deleterious effects on humans; that testing could never encompass just how that specific chemical would interact with any other of the three thousand KNOWN chemicals that the FDA does track. Let alone the seven or eight thousand additional chemicals that Princeton University estimates are ACTUALLY being used in food manufacturing. And it isn't like the FDA has never heard of interactions. It happens all the time. In the drug industry, and in the food industry. And with eleven thousand chemicals to randomly select to interact, do we know where we are?

Then again, it isn't just chemicals directly added to foods during the manufacturing process. There are indirect additions of chemicals that get dumped in as well. (see footnotes below) Everything from machine oils, to sanitizing agents to pesticide usage inside manufacturing plants. And of course, these have nothing to do with the inherent contamination of the basic crops grown by modern mechanized farming techniques that liberally douse growing plant crops with weed killers, insecticides, fungicides and petrochemical fertilizers. 

Yeah, those are all allowed in the processed manufactured food that is part of the American Dream.

Back in the seventies, I got my first wheat grinder. I began to grind my own wheat into flour and then bake real bread. Over the years, I have stopped eating more and more of the processed foods that contain chemicals listed right on the packaging. Chemicals that when you look them up, are found to be, not so good for us. But the FDA allows them to be added because we are Americans, Living the Dream in our very own American, Chemical Feast.


Expose on FDA and one specific toxin allowed in food
Oops, FDA on GRAS and EAFUS numbers
FDA stating that the 40 pesticides are no longer reglated  
Chemical Industry report on total number of chemicals in use 
Indirect additives to food from the FDA viewpoint 
Because they can do these things 

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