Of all the elements that make up many convenience foods, preservatives are the ones that make the hairs on my neck stand up. Give me butter, fat, gelatine made from boiled cow heads, colouring that I know is crushed beetles, live bacteria and fungus. I'll take them all many times over before I knowingly consume food containing preservatives. Of course they tell us that all the additives they put in food are there to protect the food from invading pathogens, to add flavour; it's there for our own good! And it just happens to be cheaper. These additives increase the profit margin for manufacturers. While cancer rates are increasing around the world, our health is being traded for profit.
I came across this article recently and since then I've read it a few times. I knew food manufacturers were adding all sorts to our food, but when I read this article, I was shocked. And terrified. One of my fears is that it's being using on what is supposedly 'fresh' food too. How did things get so bad? Why have our governments allowed this to happen?
I don't have any answers. My only strategy is to stay away from highly processed food but I do think we should all contact our local politicians and talk loudly and publicly about our concerns. Personally, I'd like to see better food labelling laws in every country. Surely we have the right to know exactly what is in our food and to make informed decisions over whether to buy or not.
I have no magic wand that will make this better. It makes me resolve to continue to cook from scratch but I doubt even that will completely protect us. I hope you read the article and vote for it to change by using the power of your dollars when you shop. If we don't buy this stuff and start demanding better quality food through our politicians, then the "it just happens to be cheaper" will become less of a player in the way food is processed and sold to us. Because the problem isn't just the fact that our food can be tampered with in this way but also that the labelling laws help hide that it has been done.