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11 August 2009 2,725 views No Comment

Food companies have engaged in some of the worst, self serving fraud to exploit American consumers that threaten public health and are direct contributers to the health problems in this country such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes.

If some readers are old enough to remember, in the middle half of the 20th century, there was a law put into place by Congress issuing a food label on food products that were not what they said they were. In Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food he describes that these food items were given the name ‘imitation’ food. The law was called the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The law read, “…there are certain traditional foods that everyone knows, such as bread, milk, and cheese, and that when consumers buy these foods, they should get the foods they are expecting…[and] if a food resembles a standardized food but does not comply with the standard, that food must be labeled as ‘imitation.'”

It would sound like that was the government working to protect American citizens from adulterated food with artificial chemicals, sweeteners, or preservatives. The law stood from 1938 (this law was put into place during the most liberal time in our country’s history under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt) until 1973 (under President Nixon) when the food industry successfully got the Food & Drug Administration to throw out the rule. Unfortunately, as citizens, we did not give the FDA power to repeal laws of Congress. Does it not take another law passed by Congress to repeal a law?

So now Americans do not have to know that certain food is genetically modified, pumped with pesticides, or full of artificial chemicals. Why? There is no law that says they have to tell consumers this information. Rather, they convinced the government to buy the idea that consumers will read nutrition labels for ingredients on packaging to tell them what is in their food. The problem is that most people do not look at the ingredients in food. Rather, they look at the price. As long as the price is low, who cares right? Well, you should care because since the repeal of this law the rate of cancer infections and incidences of cardiovascular disease have increased significantly. At the same time, Americans have also gotten larger and unhealthier contributing to skyrocketing health care cost.

American citizens have the right to know if certain foods have been modified or have artificial ingredients not normally found in them. Someone who walks into a Whole Foods supermarket (like the one in Green Hills) might be surprised to see the higher prices of the food products. However, look again. 50 years ago, every supermarket had food products just like Whole Foods and they were not as expensive. The food industry does not want normal people to understand what TBHQ is. Briefly, TBHQ is an artificial preservative that preserves food freshness. If a human being ingests one gram, he or she can experience nausea, uncontrolled vomiting, and feelings of suffocation. If a human being ingests five grams, it will kill him or her.

This is the kind of stuff that is in the food. Are you also aware how the food industry tries to trick you with food labeling? According to labeling laws, the food industry lists ingredients by the majority content. The ingredient that is mostly in the food is labeled first and then subsequent ingredients that make up smaller portions of the food are labeled second. In David Kessler’s book The End of Overeating, a food industry insider explains that they use this system against parents. For example, a breakfast cereal could be composed of 25% sugar. However, when a parent reads the ingredients, he or she will find that sugar is not one of the main ingredients. At closer inspection, a parent will find that there is not just sugar, but four to five different kinds of sugar in the food product. Since each sugar composes only fractions of the total amount of sugar they can be labeled towards the bottom of the ingredients list. This is how high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, molasses, sugar, brown sugar, maltose syrup, etc can be hidden within the ingredients of a traditional breakfast cereal.

It is a conspiracy and it is a fraud the food industry is engaging in against the American consumer. Why? It wants the American consumer to buy their products and take his or her money for profits. The food industry does not give a hoot about the health of Americans. It cares about the bottom line.

Spread the word and tell Tennessee leadership that this fraud can no longer take place. With over 30% of Tennessee citizens obese already, it is a matter of public health safety. Demand better labeling standards on the food that is put into your body.

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