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article imageWhat's wrong with our food?

By lungta     Dec 14, 2006 in Health
E. coli at Taco Bell, Listeria in our Thanksgiving turkey, a report of unprecedented contamination in our chicken. Michael Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma," explains why.
The increase of biological add ons in our food is increasing at an amarming rate. The good news is that they are organic. The bad news is that they are stronger and have a very good chance of killing you.
This threat to our food chain is on top of the thousands of herbicides, fungicides,pesticides,hormonal growth enhancers, antibiotics and fertilizers added with intent for production.(Polodium for example,the poison used to assasinate that spy in Britian, is found in some fertilizers) and this threat is on top of heavy metals, industrial polutants, and other additives from the fallout of pollution.
The bioshere deposits the residue of chinese garbage fires all over western north america as example and add in a fact like there is not a single body of water anywhere in the world that does not have a detectable oil film on it from the use of petrolium products gives an idea of the ability of nature to spread a toxin.
Coffee beans , in 1985 were analysed and found to have 1500 identifiable compounds not naturally found in coffee. the harshest being all of the banned agricultural products banned in north america - exported resold used and brought back with no warning. Bananas are no different and all of the other fruits and canned products with foreign origins circumvent our limits to toxins as there is no regulatory laws in these cases
many of these substances are addative meaning the body cannot reasonably expel their novel chemisrtry and a blood analysis of virtually everyone shows carcinougenes at critical levels. Alarmingly the levels and concentration are higher in the young , the logical thinking would have a longer exposure in the old , but the case seems to be reversed.
Virtually every disease is linked to diet. Conditions such as autism, attention deficit disorder and chronic fatigue and alsheimer's suggest direct links.
And all this continues while governments like the canadian consevatives choose to reanalyse the world wide studies and opt to maybe do something in five years and the companies that brought every one in north america a carcinegenous level of the active ingredient in teflon get a wrist slap and conduct business as usual
......ok this is officially a rant ...sorry ...please excuse the spelling etal spell check this morning
By Alex Koppelman
Dec. 7, 2006 | The Great Spinach Scare of '06 is, thankfully, now behind us, but the bad news about our food keeps coming. Just this week, we've heard from Consumer Reports about a new study -- which, to be fair, the USDA disputes -- that says 83 percent of grocery store chickens are contaminated with either salmonella or campylobacter bacteria, or both. Then there are the 65 people apparently sickened by E. coli bacteria on green onions served in Taco Bells in New York, New Jersey and now, possibly, Pennsylvania. There may also be bacteria in the Razzamatazz at Jamba Juice, the smoothie chain, which has reported that some of the strawberries it used in the Southwest and California in the past week may have been contaminated by potentially lethal Listeria. And let’s not forget the unfestive and Listeria-inspired recall of ham and turkey by the HoneyBaked Ham company right before Thanksgiving.
Michael Pollan, the Knight Professor of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine, is the author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals." He spoke with Salon about the latest news, tracing it all back to a common root, the change in food production methods and the centralization of our food supply, which means, for instance, that hundreds of dead chickens can now lie chilling in the same vat of water. Bigger problems, Pollan warns, could be ahead: "Superbugs" with antibiotic resistance are becoming more common, and then there's always the risk of terror, to which such a centralized production system is uniquely vulnerable.
Has the latest news -- the E. coli at Taco Bell, the Listeria and the high level of contamination found by the Consumer Reports study -- surprised you at all?
Well, the extent of [the contamination] did. The problem has been growing over the past few years. I mean, food poisoning's always with us, there are always some nasty bugs that get into the food, but the scope of it has gotten a lot more serious. And why that is, I can only speculate, but the way we're producing meat is certainly conducive to these sorts of contaminations.
I don't know what strains of campylobacter or salmonella have been implicated in the chicken, but some of them are antibiotic-resistant strains. That's a particular problem with salmonella. Salmonella was not as serious a problem a few years ago; it was very common in the environment and most of us could fight it with antibiotics, but once you get an antibiotic-resistant strain, it's a big problem … We've been warned for decades about the prospect of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in our food supply. These antibiotics are precious public goods that are being wasted on agriculture. Now, you have to go back and ask why would we be using antibiotics and causing a completely foreseeable problem? And there are two reasons. For reasons nobody understands, they've found that antibiotics in small doses given to animals accelerate growth. The other reason is, though, that if you're keeping animals in close confinement, thousands of animals in a shed, you're very worried about them getting sick. It's a monoculture; they're genetically identical, so you need to protect them. And you protect them with antibiotics...
The E. coli O157:H7 that everybody's worrying about is the result of a normal E. coli, the kind that's in everybody's gut, the kind that doesn't make you sick or put your kidneys into hemolytic shock, but it evolved because we changed the environment we lived in and now it is a very nasty bug. In that case, too, you can point to industrial methods of raising animals. The first cases of E. coli O157:H7 were not recognized until 1982. They were recognized in feedlot beef, and the theory is that it's an acid-loving bug that evolved in the rumen of cattle getting a very acidic diet, which is to say a corn and grain diet, so that the very existence of this bug may well be -- and this is a theory, but I haven't seen it contradicted -- may well be a result of keeping cattle on feedlots.
The Consumer Reports study about the chicken noticed a rise in the number of contaminated chickens over the past three years -- in a previous survey, 42 percent of grocery store chickens contained campylobacter, and now it's 81 percent. Is there any reason for that?
Again, if it's antibiotic-resistant, if it's proliferating, that might explain it. But I don't know enough to say that.
Some of these problems have to do with sloppiness in the way we process meat. If you have slaughterhouses, or a chicken-processing plant, where the lines are moving too fast, you're going to get manure on the carcasses of the animals. It's just a function of care and scrupulousness. We've learned how to make meat very cheaply, and that means making it very quickly. In beef-processing plants, there are up to 400 head an hour, which is just -- it's impossible to keep manure off the carcasses. In chicken too, although it's a much more automated system, the very speed of this, when you're eviscerating these animals mechanically, a certain number of times you're going to break the intestines. There's going to be some mishap on the line and the manure, which I assume is the reservoir for, and again I don't know, for salmonella and campylobacter, is going to get in the bath of the water in which you've got your thousands of carcasses chilling, and it's going to spread.
I think one thing that these contaminations are a product of is the centralization of the food supply. How many different plants did those chickens come from? It's probably a number you can count on one or two hands now. We have so centralized our food supply that, if you look at the example of hamburger, we're grinding most of the nation's hamburgers in a very small handful of plants and most of the nation's chickens are coming out of a handful of plants where they've all been in the same water bath. This is a Petri dish. We've created a huge Petri dish for our food, and it's not just meat. We've seen it in spinach, too, with the Natural Selection story this fall. So even though you can get these problems in smaller agriculture, you don't get this kind of scale, you don't get the widespread contamination.
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