Tuesday, August 27, 2013


The sturdiness of man against all odds in sustaining himself is a remarkable natural trait ever since his advent on earth, say 40,000 years ago. In ancient world it was fight against fierce carnivorous animals and fight for food in competition with them which provided the challenge. To day the odds are same, the only difference being that hundreds of chemicals finding their way into the foods in the name of processing and preservation may be slowly killing him in stead of the quick kill happening to the Paleo man during fighting with wild and ferocious animals. While enemy in old days was clearly visible, the unsuspecting chemicals in the food added deliberately are silent and invisible slow killers. Here is a shocking revelation about the way chemicals are added to foods by the processing industry while the so called safety authorities either close their eyes or are unaware of this practice.

"If you are shocked to learn that industrial chemicals are routinely in the food you are feeding to your family, you will be even more shocked to read about a study published this week in the professional journal Reproductive Toxicology by researchers from the Pew Charitable Trusts — which funded the work — and the Environmental Management Institute. Problems in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food programs look even worse than the problems I know so well from EPA! After extensive research into what manufacturers add to our food, the researchers report that about 1,000 additives are in the food supply without the FDA's knowledge. And, for those additives the FDA does actually know about, fewer than 38 percent of more than 8,000 FDA-regulated additives — including those manufacturers intentionally add directly to food and materials that may come into contact with and contaminate foods — have a published feeding study. (Feeding studies comprise the basic toxicology test — the first test a scientist would do to evaluate the safety of a chemical additive.) For direct additives, added intentionally to food, only 21.6 percent of the almost 4,000 additives have undergone the feeding studies necessary for scientists to estimate a safe level of exposure, and the FDA databases contain reproductive or developmental toxicity data for only 6.7 percent. It appears the FDA and the food industry were often making safety decisions by comparing one chemical to another rather than doing an actual toxicology study. In making such decisions, they were building a house of cards based on assumptions and unsupported extrapolations instead of direct scientific evidence. How has the oversight of our food regulations gone so terribly wrong? The researchers have a few insights. First, many chemicals were grandfathered into the system in the 1950's, and so they are in our food supply without information on their safety. Once a chemical is cleared for use in foods, the clearance is forever, so there are no requirements or incentives for a manufacturer to support additional testing. And, under the outdated U.S. Food Additives Amendment of 1958, the FDA doesn't even have the authority to require testing if it has questions about a chemical. Also, industry can self-determine if its chemical food-additives are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS), and therefore free from the usual regulatory requirements for food additives. If the industry makes a GRAS determination, it is not even required to notify FDA that it has put the new GRAS additive on the market. Allowing industry to determine the safety of the chemicals it creates is a textbook example of the fox guarding the chicken coop. Last week, many of the same Pew researchers published a report in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine showing that "financial conflicts of interest are ubiquitous" in the industry-driven process leading to determining that a chemical is GRAS. In that article, Pew reports that all — that's 100 percent — of the members of expert panels that review food additives to make GRAS determinations have financial relationships with companies that manufacture the food additives being reviewed".

If whatever has been said in the above critique is true, is humanity hurtling towards calamity in a few decades from now with all people suffering from one or the other health disorders lowering the quality of life dramatically compared to what they were about 100 years ago? One can only pity for the future generations to come as they are being consigned to a life of ignominy by the reckless actions of those who live to day! Of course there are a few people who are still aware of these contradictions and thanks are due to them for spawning the organic food industry which does not use chemicals in raising any crop or processing it into edible preparations. Unfortunately such people are far and few at present to make any impact but there is the promise that organic food consumption is growing albeit slowly which will leave at least a few people with normal health to carry forward the torch of human civilization! 


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