Sunday, December 17

Chemicals in Food

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Chemicals in Food

It seems like every day something else pops up in the news about unpleasant and possible dangerous substances in our food. The latest news is about polybrominated diphenyl ether, which was found in butter. This stuff is a flame retardant, used in furniture and some other stuff. How did it get into butter? They think (which means maybe) it was transferred from the paper used to wrap the butter, but nobody has a clue how it got onto the paper. It is a substance associated with reproductive ailments and cancer, as well as some other health problems.

We have hormones and antibiotics in our meat and fish, heavy metals in fish, pesticides everywhere, BPA in plastic water bottles, and who knows what else. What have we done? More accurately, what have we allowed to happen? The companies that make (and sell (there is always money involved) the plastic bottles assure us that the bisphenol-A in the bottles is not hazardous. The tobacco companies told us the same thing about cigarettes.

I bought a couple of tomatoes in the grocery store the other day. They were red and firm and looked great. And they tasted about the same as the box they were shipped in. I cannot grow tomatoes where I live, or I would certainly grow my own. If I want chicken, I have to buy it in a store. The same with beef and (usually) fish. Occasionally, I get a chance to catch fish, so we do get the freshest fish sometimes. I do not go fishing for sport. Catch-and-release is not a part of my agenda. I catch fish to eat and we eat them. The ones that are not suitable for eating I throw back.

At the stores we buy foods that have been engineered to look fine and endure travel well, without regard to taste, nutritional value, or contaminants.  The companies that produce and sell these products tell us they are all safe. We are left with little choice. It is possible to get some locally grown products, but only some products and only at certain times of the year. Mostly we have food products available that have travelled a great distance, packaged in something that may or may not be contaminated.


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