Friday, December 10, 2004

Warning: Food May Be Hazardous To Your Health!!

The Federal Food & Drugs Acts require foods, drugs and cosmetics be labeled respecting their contents so as to not represent a “false, misleading . . . or erroneous impression regarding its . . . composition . . . or safety.” The Acts also state that “no person shall sell an article of food that (a) has in or on it any poisonous or harmful substance and (b) is unfit for human consumption.” These regulations, of course, are intended to safeguard the consumer from being targets of malicious rogues or acts. As such, consumers trust that what they buy is exactly what they read. The problem is there may be much more in any product than perhaps even the manufacturer knows, and the most trusting person must question the quality and safety of their food and drugs.

In light of certain revelations concerning some common food products, this is even more true. Just recently, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration tested traces of perchlorate, a rocket fuel chemical that can affect the thyroid, found in organic milk, lettuce and bottled spring water in four different states. What did officials say concerning this matter? An Environmental Protection Agency spokesman said in one interview, “alarm is not warranted . . . it is important that EPA and FDA and other agencies come to some resolution about the toxicity of this chemical.” So, while the U.S. government works to know more “about the health effects of perchlorate and its occurrence in foods,” Americans should continue to “eat a balanced diet, choosing a variety of foods that are low in trans fat and saturated fat, and rich in high-fiber grains, fruits and vegetables.”

While such nutritional information is helpful, how is alarm not warranted? It might be just a minute amount of chemical, but it is rocket fuel! How about a diet low, i.e. without, toxins like rocket fuel? With states able to set their own standards, the EPA has suggested a conservative level of one part per billion (ppb) of perchlorate in drinking water. A better conservative suggestion might be . . . 0 ppb! After all, if one would like rocket fuel on their salad or with a splash of water, they can simply go to their local auto shop and purchase a whole bottle of fuel injector cleaner. Of course, you will be required to show identification before purchase just in case it will be used for something other than for food or a car.

When asked whether the level of toxicity was worrisome, officials continued to calm citizens by stating that  . . . “the answer is, we don’t know yet.” However, several Federal agencies, including the FDA and EPA, have been studying perchlorate since the 1990s to determine its level of safety. Yet, officials state they “don’t know.” How much time is needed?

The issue of toxins in food is not a new one. The argument has been around for decades. Coupled with other environmental issues, such as pollutants in the air, it is understandable why there is not a current cure for cancer, let alone the common cold – such ailments could be caused by any number of conditions in our daily lives. However, the singular issue of perchlorate coupled with those arguments reinforces the idea that the government is not doing the job of protecting its citizens from harm. While the fight against foreign threats is necessary for our country’s survival, that point is mute with the potential threat our food supply poses on a daily basis with every bite – no matter how minute the levels. While the FDA and EPA study the affects of known toxic chemicals on our health, rather than protecting our health from them, the agencies do nothing more than reinforce their own ineffectiveness. It is no wonder that many are looking to Canadian pharmaceuticals for cheaper drugs to treat their ailments.

©2004 Steve Sagarra

No comments:

Post a Comment