I recently learned that many shiny American candies are coated in secretions from the Lac Beetle and dyed red by crushing the carcasses of yet another bug, the Dactylopius coccus, ice cream filler is sometimes made of human hair, ground beef has up to 15 percent pink slime* and my canned tomato sauce most likely has at least 3 maggots inside. All of this is legal by the FDA standards. Not only is this allowed, none of it has to be on the label because practices are classified as natural flavors, preparations, or unavoidable defects.
Now, in response to this I feel a little sick and a lot grateful to the people who gathered this knowledge and honestly reported it. I am also a little surprised by the other responses to this heresy. The majority of the comments to this reporter were indifferent to the food industry’s omissions and instead attacked the article’s author. They called the author a “germaphobe”**. Commenters stated that these practices were ok because these are the standards we’ve had for food for years in the USA, and the government continues to claim that this “food” is safe.
I began to comfort myself by saying I could change my own eating habits, and ignore these indifferent eaters. Then I thought about my job. I will soon graduate and start a career with Intel. I will work in one of their Fabs***. I will go in everyday and cover my street clothes with a clean-suit complete with hair and face mask, and booties. I will work in treated air so purified that no dust dare disturb the environment. We have spent and spent to build these facilities clean because we have accepted that a speck of dust can corrode and destroy a computer chip. We build technology in all this safety, but in the substance that sustains us we accept “Levels of Natural or Unavoidable Defects in Foods”. We accept this statement of no health hazard in the midst of a health epidemic and the proposal that these defects are unavoidable when we won’t let dust disturb our electronic parts. Why do we accept this conflicting information? Aren’t the things we eat more important than the things we work on and play with? How can we expect to produce at our greatest potential without fueling our brains and bodies with the highest quality of pure sustenance?
* See this article http://www.alternet.org/environment/144904/yummy!_ammonia-treated_pink_slime_now_in_most_u.s._ground_beef/?page=1 for the 4-1-1 on this microbe infested, ammonia treated mess.
***A fabrication plant for making silicon chips