Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Is Your Food Artificially Dyed?

Is Your Food Artificially Dyed?

by Martha Rosenberg
July 6, 2013

Many people know--or suspect--that farmed salmon is not naturally pink. They are right. Farmed salmon are dyed with the chemicals astaxanthin and canthaxanthin to produce an appealing, though unnatural, pink. In the wild, it is the crustaceans and algae that salmon eat that makes them pink; on the farm they would turn gray. Salmon farm operators can even choose the exact color they want.

Are the dyes safe? Canthaxanthin at high dosages has been linked in humans to retinal damage, partial loss of vision and a serious blood disorder called aplastic anemia.

Another method to keep food looking fresh and colorful is curing it with nitrites and nitrates. Bacon, Slim Jims, most processed meat and canned hams are made with the chemicals which give it color, flavor, a long shelf life and protection against bacterial growth. Are the chemicals safe? According to the American Cancer Society nitrite and nitrate have strong links to cancer. Eating just one hot dog a day increased the risk of developing colorectal cancer by as much as 21 percent in a 2008 report from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund. Nitrite and nitrate become nitrosamines in the body which are linked to colorectal cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer, stroke, coronary heart disease and diabetes mellitus. Hot dogs are the official favorite food during the US Independence Day celebration held on the Fourth of July.

Coloration is also important to the poultry industry and the FDA permits chicken and turkey to be given feed that has arsenic in it. Yes, arsenic. The metal is allowed in poultry food for feed efficiency, weight gain, to control parasites and for the color it imparts. In 2011, the FDA announced that it found higher levels of arsenic in the livers of chickens treated with arsenic-laced feed and Pfizer, the drug company which also makes many animal drugs, withdrew the product. The problem is--other commercial poultry feed with arsenic in it is still sold and presumably in commercial poultry eaten.

Still, the poster child for artificially colored food is probably red meat which is treated with gasses to keep it looking red. Treating meat with carbon monoxide keeps its oxymyoglobin, what makes it red, from turning brown or gray. In defending the use of gasses to keep meat looking fresh, the meat industry says that meat turning brown is no different than apples turning brown when exposed to the air--a harmless discoloration that does not affect wholesomeness. But the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service and the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Food have voiced concerns about meat food appearing fresher than it is because of the artificially hues.

As always, US food consumers should have a dose of cynicism since most chemical additives are not on the label.

*************

Find out more about underreported food risks in Martha Rosenberg's new food and drug exposé Born with a Junk Food Deficiency (Prometheus Books, 2012).

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Use Of Existing Drugs To Reduce The Effects Of Coronavirus

So now, we’re all getting up to speed with the travel bans, the rigorous handwashing and drying, the social distancing, and the avoidance of public transport wherever possible. Right. At a wider level…so far, the public health system has ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Oil Market And Regulation Crusades

Safe to say, Vladimir Putin did not expect the response he has received amidships from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Earlier, Russia chose to walk away from the OPEC talks in Vienna that were aimed at reaching an agreement on how to reduce world oil production (and protect oil prices) in the light of the fall in demand being caused by the coronavirus. No doubt, Russia and its allies in the US shale industry probably glimpsed an opportunity to undercut OPEC and seize some of its customers. Bad move. In reply, Saudi Arabia has smashed the oil market by hugely ramping up production, signing up customers and drastically cutting the oil price in a fashion designed to knock Russia and other oil suppliers right out of contention. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On 22 Short Takes About Super Tuesday

With obvious apologies to the Simpsons….Here’s my 22 short takes on the 14 Super Tuesday primaries that combined yesterday to produce a common narrative –Bernie Sanders NOT running away with the nomination, Joe Biden coming back from the dead, and the really, really rich guy proving to be really, really bad at politics. In the months ahead, it will be fascinating to see if the real Joe Biden can live up to the idea of Joe Biden that people voted for yesterday – namely, the wise old guy who can save the country from the political extremism of the right and the left... More>>

Gordon Campbell On Shane Jones: A Liability No-One Needs To Bear

New Zealand First has needed a diversion after weeks of bad coverage over its dodgy handling of donations, but it really, really doesn’t need what Shane Jones has chosen to provide. According to Jones, New Zealand has ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Strong Man Legacies: Burying Mubarak

Reviled strongmen of one era are often the celebrated ones of others. Citizens otherwise tormented find that replacements are poor, in some cases even crueller, than the original artefact. Such strongmen also serve as ideal alibis for rehabilitation ... More>>

Caitlin Johnstone: Humanity Is Making A Very Important Choice When It Comes To Assange

The propagandists have all gone dead silent on the WikiLeaks founder they previously were smearing with relentless viciousness, because they no longer have an argument. The facts are all in, and yes, it turns out the US government is certainly and undeniably working to exploit legal loopholes to imprison a journalist for exposing its war crimes. That is happening, and there is no justifying it... More>>

Gail Duncan: Reframing Welfare Report

Michael Joseph Savage, the architect of the 1938 Social Security Act, wouldn’t recognise today’s Social Security Act as having anything to do with the kind, cooperative, caring society he envisioned 80 years ago. Instead society in 2020 has been reduced ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Addiction To Chinese Student Fees

Last week, Australian PM Scott Morrison extended its ban on foreign visitors from or passing through from mainland China – including Chinese students - for a third week. New Zealand has dutifully followed suit, with our travel ban ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Coronavirus, And The Iowa Debacle

As Bloomberg says, the coronavirus shutdown is creating the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment. On the upside, the mortality rate with the current outbreak is lower than with SARS in 2003, but (for a number of reasons) the economic impact this time ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Dodging A Bullet Over The Transport Cost Over-Runs

As New Zealand gears up to begin its $6.8 billion programme of large scale roading projects all around the country, we should be aware of this morning’s sobering headlines from New South Wales, where the cost overruns on major transport projects ... More>>


 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog