Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Carbon Monoxide in USA Packaged Meats

Found this interesting article on the FoodUSA website:

In 2003, the EU prohibited the use of carbon monoxide for meat and tuna products. In its decision, the European Commission's food safety regulator stated that "the stable cherry-colour can last beyond the microbial shelf life of the meat and thus mask spoilage."

Several countries including Japan, Canada and Singapore also ban the use of carbon monoxide in tuna.

Carbon monoxide when used in the modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) technique makes meat appear fresher than it actually is by reacting with the meat pigment myoglobin to create carboxymyoglobin, a bright red pigment that masks any of the natural aging and spoilage of meats, according to a petition filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Michigan-based Kalsec.

"At the very least, the public has a right to know about the use of carbon monoxide in their food," states Don Berdahl, Kalsec's vice president and technical director. "If the FDA won't prohibit it, the government should require a label that informs consumers about the presence of carbon monoxide and the health dangers it presents."

You can read the rest of the article here.

Personally, I think new meat labelling laws are urgently required so all consumers can make informed choices about the food they buy. For example, maybe a label indicating whether the meat came from a factory-farm (and may contain antibiotic residue and/or other other basteria/pathogens) ...and even WHICH FARM the meat is coming from, for point of origin traceback in the event that any serious outbreak occurs. Just my humble thoughts on the subject.

Food Safety, Chrons Disease, and More

The views expressed in this article are the author's and do not imply they are the views of this website, nor any other related website referenced through this article.

With that said, let's dive in...

While the FDA keep pulling the reins on food and supplement producers, in effect preventing most consumers from finding out anything truly useful regarding "natural" sources of highly health beneficial foods, they appear to be rather "friendly" in their support of the pharmaceutical giants and the large factory-style farming operations spreading like an uncontrolled virus across the USA.

Additionally, the USDA for their part are very supportive of large factory-style farming operations ...in fact, part of their mandate is to open up new markets and increase trade for the "agricultural" industries here at home.

But when it comes to food safety, I'm sorry to say that I have to give BOTH the FDA and the USDA a giant F.

The recent "final ruling" that requires all manufacturers to register with the FDA was designed to ensure that the country's food supply remains safe from possible attack. Bio-terrorism is their big motto, protecting their citizens using the tired and worn "war on terror" motto while safety from terror still remains high in the populations' eyes.

While this new law goes into effect, they seem to be ignoring threats already circulating in our Food Supply. For example, take a look at all the mounting E. coli and salmonella contamination occurring in the USA meat supply. I'm thinking both the FDA and the USDA might be turning a "blind eye" to the many clinical studies that are revealing problems here at home in regards to Food Safety ... and the problems are getting worse, not better.

Even the FDA's very own study shows there is a problem:

"From March 2001 to June 2002, a total of 981 samples of retail raw meats (chicken, turkey, pork, and beef) were randomly obtained from 263 grocery stores in Iowa and cultured for the presence of Enterococcus spp. A total of 1,357 enterococcal isolates were recovered from the samples, with contamination rates ranging from 97% of pork samples to 100% of ground beef samples."

Meanwhile a new study conducted at the University of Minnesota found that corn, cabbage, and green onions absorbed antibiotics from manure fertilizer obtained from pigs, and one has to wonder how many antibiotics exist in retail meat products -- something not ordinarily tested for during USDA inspections BEFORE meat reaches our tables.

There have been plenty of studies completed in the last 7 years or more proving E. coli and salmonella can in fact be absorbed by vegetables (such as lettuce, spinach, even radishes) ...and yet, nothing seems to get done about it until an outbreak happens -- or someone dies.

Why is that?

Take for instance, the Johne's Disease/Chrons Disease link to a certain little bacteria called M. paratuberculosis often found (when tests actually look for it) in lakes and streams near large livestock operations -- and showing up in tap water, and even pasteurized milk!

The dramatic rise in Chrons Disease in Europe (a non-reportable disease here in the USA) has spurred a flurry of new studies on the issue in countries such as Ireland, the UK, Czech Republic and even Australia.

But here in the good ol' USA, both the FDA and USDA refuse to do such a study claiming their first study completed a few years back proves it's not a problem. There are many experts and scientists in other parts of the world who strongly disagree, and some experts who actually claim that particular USA study was highly flawed.

A properly conducted study would prove things one way or the other, right? So why aren't either the FDA or the USDA doing what's necessary to confirm or deny the possibility?

Yes, it might hurt the dairy industry in the short term.

But in respect to human health, and the often agonizing effects of Chron's disease, I think the benefits of knowing and possibly stopping a problem far outweigh the economic considerations. Also, in my humble opinion, thorough screening/testing for the disease in cattle and culling from the herds now, could potentially save our dairy industry 15 years from now. Doing nothing hurts both the industry and the public.

Here's a thought...

Now, wouldn't it be something if citizens took matters into their own hands and hire scientists to study how much bacteria is really leaching into our soils, our waters and our food supply from current farming practices being encouraged (and often subsidized) by our Federal Government.

Is this what it will take?

A wise man once said, "When science and business conflict, ethics must prevail."

Let's hope so -- for all our sakes.

Packaging Chemical Dangerous to Developing Young Brains

Bisphenol A (BPA), a packaging chemical, works by disrupting the important effects of estrogen in the developing brain, according to a new clinical study completed at the University of Cincinnati.

The research adds to a growing body of scientific evidence indicating that BPA should not be used for food contact materials. BPA shows negative effects in brain tissue "at surprisingly low doses" researchers say in two articles in the December 2005 edition of the journal Endocrinology.

"In the face of more than 100 studies published in peer-reviewed journals showing the detrimental effects of BPA, the chemical industry and federal regulatory agencies have resisted banning BPA from plastics used as food and beverage containers, despite the fact that plastics free of BPA and other toxic chemicals are available," states Scott Belcher, head of the University of Cincinnati research team.

"While plastics are typically thought of as being stable, scientists have known for many years that the chemical linkage between BPA molecules was unstable, and that BPA leaches into food or beverages in contact with the plastics," adds Belcher.

FoodProductionDaily/Europe reports:
Scientific research has often implicated BPA in disease or developmental problems. The chemical has long been known to act as an artificial estrogen, the primary hormone involved in female sexual development.

BPA has already been shown to increase breast cancer cell growth. In the January 2005 edition of the journal Cancer Research, another University of Cincinnati research team reported that it increased the growth of some prostate cancer cells as well.

Warnings about other possible long-term health risks associated with fetal exposures to BPA have also been discussed in recent scientific literature.

They also report, "BPA is used in the production of epoxy resins and polycarbonate plastics. The plastics are used in many food and drink packaging applications. Resins are commonly used as lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans, milk container linings, bottle tops, water supply pipes and dental sealants."

Like I've mentioned many times before, this is just one more IMPORTANT reason supplement manufacturers NEED to step up on the side of health and wellness and start using pharmaceutical grade bottles/containers.