Friday, October 23, 2009


Puritans and old folks invariably blame the current health crisis being faced in many countries on the processed food industry which churns out thousands of new products every day from raw foods. It is no more practical for house wives to spend a better part of the day in the kitchen cooking foods from raw materials and food industry has been an ally in cutting down cooking time and increasing the variety of foods served on the dining table. Naturally any food processing operation calls for developing appropriate recipe and making it amenable to mass production. In the process, several additives are added to make the recipe acceptable to the consumers with highest common denominators.

There are many detractors who see danger in processed foods because of the use of additives, some for genuine purpose while others for making the product more attractive. "One glance at the back of a label and you'll see that the food industry has kidnapped real ingredients and replaced them with science experiments. And lots of them. Milkshakes with 78 ingredients? Bread with 27? Even more troubling is the possibility that if you recognize the name of one of these additives, it could be because it's been linked to bad news—think cancer in mice, or ADHD in children. It almost makes you want to eschew the devilish chemical you know for the one you don't. There are more than 3,000 ingredients on the FDA's list of "safe" food additives, but while researching Eat This, Not That!, we found more than a few preservatives, dyes, sweeteners, and flavoring agents that gave us a reason for concern. That's why we packed the book with a Food Additive Glossary—so that even if you don't have a Ph.D. in chemistry, you can still understand the foods you're putting into your body every day".

Organic foods which are becoming increasingly popular, do provide an alternative option for such skeptics, though wide scale use of unnecessary chemicals in foods needs to be curtailed. "Scare and fear" based on non-scientific arguments, cannot be accepted as such tactics can only demoralize the consumer.


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