from my office window I spot a young girl walking along the boulevard
actually I hear her before I see her.
She is yelling at a guy stopped in traffic,
"Don’t throw your cigarette butts out the window! That’s how forest fires get started!"
and he is yelling back,
"Mind your own fucking business!"
Which triggered her response,
"Forest fires ARE my business! Don’t throw your cigarette butts out the window!"
and I wanted to hear the next retort but unfortunately traffic started to creep forward, and the alleged culprit moved out of sight. She moved on too and I can hear her yelling at someone else now, though I am only aware that she is shouting and cannot make out her words. But never mind that, it is great to know someone is looking out for us.
The U.S. food supply is one big, hot mess. As Fran Lebowitz says, “If you’re planning on coming to America, bring your own food.”
Who’s Driving This Bus? Food Additives Linked with Dangerous Reactions Growing at Alarming Rate, FDA Does Nothing
The FDA has received thousands of consumer complaints about additives in recent years, saying certain substances seem to trigger asthmatic attacks, serious bouts of vomiting, intestinal-tract disorders and other health problems.-Washington Post
Food additives on the rise as FDA scrutiny wanes
The explosion of new food additives coupled with an easing of oversight requirements is allowing manufacturers to avoid the scrutiny of the Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for ensuring the safety of chemicals streaming into the food supply.
And in hundreds of cases, the FDA doesn’t even know of the existence of new additives, which can include chemical preservatives, flavorings and thickening agents…
“We simply do not have the information to vouch for the safety of many of these chemicals.” - Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for food.
The FDA has received thousands of consumer complaints about additives in recent years, saying certain substances seem to trigger asthmatic attacks, serious bouts of vomiting, intestinal-tract disorders and other health problems.
At a pace far faster than in previous years, companies are adding secret ingredients to everything from energy drinks to granola bars. But the more widespread concern among food-safety advocates and some federal regulators is the quickening trend of companies opting for an expedited certification process to a degree never intended when it was established 17 years ago to, in part, help businesses.
A voluntary certification system has nearly replaced one that relied on a more formal, time-consuming review — where the FDA, rather than companies, made the final determination on what is safe.
The FDA’s new system allows manufacturers to certify, based on research, that such ingredients are already Generally Recognized as Safe, or GRAS— which means food manufacturers no longer have to submit their research and raw data to the FDA. The companies can share just a summary of their findings with the agency.
The changes didn’t work out as planned.
For starters, most additives continued to debut without the FDA being notified. Moreover, companies that did choose to go through the FDA oversight process largely abandoned the formal approval route, opting instead for the new, cursory GRAS process, even for additives that could be considered new and novel, according to agency documents and an analysis of those records by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Companies often bypass the FDA altogether. Under the rules, companies may make their own GRAS determination. Sharing it with the agency and getting it to sign off is voluntary.
The result is that consumers have little way of being certain that the food products they buy won’t harm them…
In the five decades since Congress gave the FDA responsibility for ensuring the safety of additives in the food supply, the number has spiked from 800 to more than 9,000…Hundreds of food chemicals and ingredients have been introduced without notifying the FDA at all, according to agency officials, trade journals and food safety groups…
Here are just three examples of hundreds of problematic additives cited by the Washington Post:
1-Food additive “Mycoprotein” is an industrialized food chemical…a fungus-based meat substitute used in Quorn brand foods…Independent researchers published three papers in academic journals, between 2003 and 2009, describing severe and even life-threatening allergic reactions to mycoprotein… Consumer advocates have compiled lists of the dangerous allergic reactions it can cause. The Center for Science in the Public Interest cites anaphylactic reactions, nausea, cramps, diarrhea, vomiting so forceful it could break blood vessels in the eyes, and even two deaths.
2-Food additive “Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)” is a synthetic food chemical found in cereal, nutrition and energy bars, soft drinks, sports and isotonic drinks, energy beverages, fruit and vegetable juices, meal replacement and soft candies. According to FDA records there are more than a dozen scientific studies linking this additive with dangerous health consequences, including one that showed it could induce “toxicity in the liver, kidneys and intestine.” Another showed it could produce “defects in the brain and heart.” And still another said it may “contribute to infant leukemia.”
3-Food additive “Carrageenan”, an industrialized food chemical extracted from red seaweed, was one of the first substances that the FDA recognized as GRAS. It is used in low-fat foods, vegan foods, almond milk, nondairy creamer, ice cream, yogurt, cheeses, and many other processed foods. It has been linked in scientific studies and clinical reports to gastrointestinal disorders such as diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes.
See more of this Washington Post report here: Washington Post article
and an overview at Food Safety News: Continue Reading
Found Object on hiking trail. <soul mate. finally.>