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These days, food is poison

Posted Oct 08 2009 10:02pm
By Alison
fruits and veggies Food is nourishing. It is preventive medicine.  It is fuel for our bodies.  Food makes us happy. It is social and defines culture. 

But these days, food is also deadly.   There is mercury in fish, BPA in water bottles, artery-clogging trans fats in baked goods, sodium-laden foods sending our blood pressure through the roof, and sugar rotting our teeth and making us a nation of energy-zapped zombies.  Maybe we should all stop eating. 

Two articles came out recently to cause more fear over what we eat.  The first, 7 Foods That Should Never Cross Your Lips, from Prevention magazine lists canned tomatoes, corn-fed beef, microwave popcorn, non-organic potatoes, farmed salmon, milk produced with artificial hormones and conventional apples as the deadly seven. The second, Where’s the Beef? 10 Unexpectedly Risky Foods (ABC News), is one of many recent articles based on a report released by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) on the ten riskiest foods regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). 

Prevention magazine’s article mentions so-called “risky” foods I have heard before, such as apples and milk produced with artificial hormones.  In recent years, peppers and apples being high on the pesticide hit-list. There has been a good amount of evidence to back up these claims, so I switched to organic apples. Organic apples are easy to find and in many cases, taste better. Organic peppers on the other hand are not an easy find, at least in my neck of the woods, and can be extremely pricey.

Canned tomatoes were also listed in Prevention’s article. I am a tomato connoisseur and will eat them from a garden, jar of salsa, or from a can. I always use canned tomatoes to zest up my meals. The article claims there is bisphenol-A (BPA) lining the tin cans, and that acid from tomatoes will cause BPA to leach out into the food. I am not 100% sold on this one yet, especially in light of some recent research that the latest BPA studies may have been flawed.

The list of the ten riskiest foods regulated by the FDA may confuse some:
  1. Leafy Greens
  2. Eggs
  3. Tuna
  4. Oysters
  5. Potatoes
  6. Cheese
  7. Ice Cream
  8. Tomatoes
  9. Sprouts
  10. Berries
Leafy greens are a greater risk than beef?   Please keep in mind that this is a list of the riskiest foods regulated by the FDA. The FDA regulates produce, seafood, shell eggs and dairy products.  The FDA does not regulate beef. The U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates meat and poultry, therefore you will not find ground beef or deli meats on this list. 

It is important for the public to be educated on food safety. However, many times news like this can scare people into avoiding foods that are very healthy, such as leafy greens, apples, fish and tomatoes to name a few.  Is it a better choice to start eating less healthy, packaged foods as an alternative? 

My advice is to not fall off the deep end every time reports like these come out.  If you hear of a food repeatedly causing health concerns, then you may want consider your alternatives. For instance, is an organic apple or organic milk a better choice for you? 

Here are some great websites to check into the latest on food safety issues.  Remember, some have strong opinions in one direction so it is important you keep an open mind and form your own opinion: 

FoodSafety.gov
Food Navigator – Science & Nutrition headlines
Food Safety News

Image from: www.istockphoto.com
 



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