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Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain

Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain
Like Other Countries Do

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Whats Not On The Labels

The Food Industry's Dirty Little Secrets
Share Article | Mar 24, 2010 Jill Anderson

There are things that consumers should but often do not know about their foods before they wind up on the table.

Many of today's consumers want to know where their foods come from, especially meat. They want to know how it was raised, what it was fed or subjected to and what other chemicals or pharmaceuticals it may have been treated with or exposed to. In other words, they want to know what has happened to it before eating it.

These are valid and reasonable concerns. Why is labeling required on some foods and not on others? Why are manufacturers who want to make certain facts or practices public knowledge not allowed to do so? Many of the answers to these questions are addressed in Dr. Marion Nestle's book, Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety.

According to a Consumer Reports National Research Center survey conducted in 2008, three fourths of responding consumers believe that companies who want to disclose practices and information should be allowed to do so and companies who withhold information should be compelled to disclose.

Meat Industry Facts That Should Be Made Public

Just before biting into that big slab of steak, stop and think about whether or not it was tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy more commonly known as Mad Cow Disease. The answer is probably no since only 1 percent of the 400 cattle an hour slaughtered in the USA are tested for BSE. Some meat packing houses would voluntarily perform testing but the USDA will not allow it.

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Wouldn't it be nice to know if the meat in the supermarket has been treated with carbon monoxide? Consumers should not rely on color as a means of determining carbon monoxide contamination however, treated meats can retain a bright, fresh look long past the normal spoilage time. Labels are not required to disclose that contents have been treated.

The most disturbing hidden fact of all is the sale of meat and by products from cloned or genetically modified animals. Five digit codes beginning with the number eight on produce stickers signify genetically altered plant foods but there is no such labeling slated for the genetically altered meats that are soon to reach American supermarkets. There will be no disclosure of cloned meats which may already be in the stores.

Genetic engineering is the insertion of DNA from one species into the DNA of another. There are plenty of disgusting examples of plant manipulation such as tomatoes with DNA from Flounder, potatoes with jellyfish DNA and worst of all rice with human DNA. Genetically engineered animals for consumption is the new target in the never ending quest to improve upon nature!

The Scoop on Growth Hormones
Wet cows or dairy cattle are routinely given the hormone RBST or Recumbinant Bovine Somatotropine to stimulate milk production. Some dairies, though not organic are voluntarily labeling their milk products as having no RBST and yet some states are trying to pass laws that forbid disclosure of this information. The reason given is that percieved value (to consumers) of the hormone free product gives those comapanies an unfair advantage over those who choose not to disclose.

Cows treated with RBST routinely suffer from more utter infections thus requiring more and stronger doses of antibiotics. These are linked to increased tumor growth in the animal and more output of an insulin type hormone that stimulates growth. Studies are continually looking at how this affects humans in regard to increased cancer rates, especially in children.

How COOL Is That

COOL in this case refers to Country of Origin Labeling which until recently was only required on plant products but has been expanded to include retail meat, fish and fowl. While this is certainly a step in the right direction it does not include packaged processed foods or even pre-bagged salads or dried fruit.

Enabling US markets to purchase from approved sources helps in avoiding foods from known areas of contamination or other issues. There are problems though. There is still much controversy over farming and growing practices in other countries with which the US trades.

It simply is not possible to shop mindlessly anymore. There are so many hidden dangers waiting for the uninformed consumer. Best shopping practices should include buying local, sustainable whole foods as much as possible, shopping for organic meats and dairy, avoiding processed foods and purchasing from reputable supermarkets who attempt to provide clean, quality products.

Safe Foods: The Politics of Food Safety by Dr. Marion Nestle

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

Cornell University's Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research


Read more at Suite101: Whats Not On The Labels: The Food Industry's Dirty Little Secrets

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