Sunday, April 7, 2013


Food industry can be applauded for many of its pro-consumer activities including developing and offering new products that help millions of families to save precious time in the kitchen through the convenience factor built into such products. Unfortunately the confidence and trust reposed by the consumers on the sincerity of the industry seem to be disappearing fast during the last 2-3 decades as the same have been misused by the industry to build an economic clout unchallenged by any organized government in most countries and in that process indulge in many practices considered unsafe by dispassionate experts. Latest to come to surface is the blatant pressure exerted by the meat industry to allow them to use some chemicals which were banned earlier in the US. Here is a take on this tragic episode which can be a forerunner for many such pro active policies, hostile to the citizen but friendly to the industry for considerations other than merit.  

According to Courthouse News Service (CNS), sodium benzoate, sodium propionate, and benzoic acid will now be permissible for use in preserving and treating meat and poultry products, despite having been previously banned. FSIS has long been of the persuasion that major food corporations would attempt to use such additives to "conceal damage or inferiority in meat and poultry," but the agency's view has apparently changed. After Kraft submitted its own company-funded trials claiming that the three preservative chemicals are allegedly safe, and that they supposedly cannot be used to disguise sub par meat and poultry products, the USDA suddenly changed its mind about them. This is all according to its mouthpiece, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which made the announcement recently about the change. "Kraft submitted data collected from its in-plant trials and from scientific studies that show that these substances do not conceal damage or inferiority, or make products appear better or of greater value than they are under the proposed conditions of use," says FSIS.

The case of safety-suspect Genetically Modified foods still rankles millions of consumers as the industry is allowed to develop and market such foods without the consumer ever knowing about it through the front of the label declaration! There are many such instances, especially in the US where many law makers are beholden to the industry for favors shown to them during election time. The US government had the temerity to even give protection to the industry from legal challenges on what they do vis-a-vis GM foods! At this rate the food industry in this country may succeed in re-introducing many banned chemicals under the pretext that they are found safe under questionable in-house, biased research findings. Viewed against this the citizens in other developed countries like those in Europe, Japan or Canada are more fortunate in having governments much more sensitive to their interests than this "most powerful" county in the world!


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