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16 March 2015

"it just happens to be cheaper ..."

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.

32 comments:

  1. Hi Rhonda, thanks for the link to Joanne's article. She's a great investigative journalist who's written a great deal on the food industry in the UK (http://www.joannablythmanwriting.com/books.html). It's really frightening to think what is being offered to us in our supermarkets and food markets. And we don't even get a say, we don't get to vote on this, we don't get asked - it's partly our fault for demanding cheaper food at any price but it's also the corporations fault for being greedy and seeking a profit at any cost - the big one being our health.

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  2. It's a crime.

    It's because there's nearly noboy a home anymore, cooking from what the grows in the garden and is for sell at the neighbour farmer.
    We have to know what -and where we buying. For me it's 'Bio', but not the 'industrial Bio'

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  3. An excellent post and article. The only answer is to grow your own and always cook from scratch if you want to know what you are ingesting.

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  4. I wish I could say that prayer changes men's hearts to stop selling processed foods, junk food and sugary nonsense.....

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  5. That was horrific. I think what surprised me most was the rosemary extract. Ugh.

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    1. Me too, time to do some research as previously that would not have been on my radar!!!

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  6. Excellent post, the article is shocking, I am certainly going to track down the book.

    Does anyone have a recommendation for an Ausralian relevant guide to additives and food production? I've always avoided the 'logical' scary additives and numbers in food, but have to admit that I have not paid much attention to 'natural' ones, now I will!!!

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    1. Soot, there is a publication available with that information, and I have just looked through my bookshelves, as I thought I had a copy, but can't tind it. I think Choice may have produced such a book, but can't be sure. If you googled what you have typed above, you might find the publication you are after.

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  7. Sadly, I am not even one bit surprised. Repulsed yes, but not surprised.
    I can only speak for the US here. People have come to expect tomatoes in January alongside grapes and apples. Year round demands for every food means technology and science need to come up with things to give the consumer what they want. No one wants to eat seasonally, not when people have become spoiled brats expecting to have what they want when they want it. I can only shake my head knowing deep down that even organic in a supermarket aisle is probably questionable at best. Damn shame.

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  8. For quite some time I have been asking myself the same question: "How did our governments allow this to happen?" It is very clear we have to educate ourselves and take charge of ourselves and our families! We have a new naturopath in our community and upon the first visit, about food he said "If it doesn't spoil or go bad within five days, do not eat it!" That has been very helpful for me to remember. It's got to be whole organic foods or it's not....well...food. Blessings!

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  9. Dear me, Rhonda. That article made me feel sick. Why is this being allowed to happen?

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  10. It is frightening and worrying. This wall of secrecy, and deception.
    Truly, no wonder the world is getting sicker – humans, our pets and the environment.

    I’ve been pulling back on as much “preserved” food as I can, but I see that there is so much more information that is hidden.
    Since when has the government ever really cared about what’s good for us? Maybe once, but not now. Not where profit is concerned.
    There are many blind eyes in parliament.

    It really is up to us to dig deeper - as deep as we can without hitting that wall - for relevant info, and to make decisions based on what we find.

    I’ve been slowly trying to get my grown family to adjust to the idea of eating seasonal.
    And supporting our farmers markets more regularly.
    Our bodies crave and require seasonal foods, but we are bombarded with year round availability from the likes of the “fresh food people”.
    Urban and suburban living is so... convenient.
    We’ve been “forced” to lead these busy, expensive, two-three job lives, so that we haven’t noticed how these things, that are so insidious, have crept into our lives.

    The thought of “matured” cheese in 72 hours!! Makes me long for milking goats, like we once had. Homemade goats cheese with fresh herbs can’t be beaten.

    I yearn for a change to slower, deliberate living again. One day.

    We need blogs, and books, like yours, Rhonda. To keep it real. And be informed.
    Thank you.

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    1. I think it's so true what you say about the convenience aspect and how things like this have slipped under the radar because a mainstream lifestyle supports it so easily. That's a great point, thanks for sharing it.

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  11. Yes. I, too ,have been thinking how the governments allow this to happen. But then I remember: WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT. We can vote people out, as well as in. We don't have to put up with this and we can boycott products that bother us. The sad thought is,, though: will we? Can we be bothered to put up a fight against these companies? I hope so.

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  12. Rhonda I haven't read the article yet but it is bookmarked for later today. Yesterday our little Sydney DTE gathering discussed additives in everyday foods and came to the same conclusion as you.

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  13. Big Companies around the world should be supplying us with all the true details of what is in our food, and the governments should be the monitors of the food industry. Don't they realise that their own families are consuming these horrid ingredients too!

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  14. Wow - mind blowing article. As you said Rhonda, even cooking from scratch may not completely protect us. The labeling laws really need a huge overhaul. Was absolutely astounded at that "Rosemary Extract" bit.

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  15. Good heavens, I have just read this article and it had frightened me to death. I know a lot of subterfuge goes on in the food industry but this is absolutely horrific. I knew some of these facts - eg, not to buy ready washed salads etc and I don't buy processed meats or those individually-wrapped slices of cheese - but now I shall be buying even less than before.

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  16. Ugh. Like MissFifi said - completely appalling but sadly unsurprising. I find it ironic sometimes, hearing so much about this and that "healthy" diet (and of course, the accompanying marketed foods to support them), and yet our collective health continues to decline. We are looking in the wrong places - the supermarkets instead of the backyard/local farmer/CSA; Fad diet cookbooks instead of grandma's recipe box. Getting our hands on untainted food should not be so difficult.
    -Jaime

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  17. The real problem is *greed* it's all about money and it shows how the multinationals can blind fold everybody, especially government agencies we are trusting to protect our health, while you get sick eating those *additives* you go to visit your doctor whom most of time will prescribe you some medication from another multinational and they are probably funded by the same investors.

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  18. I am not really surprised but like Missfifi I am repulsed. It is a sad fact that you can't seem to trust anyone these days when it comes to manufacturing and profit making etc. I try to cook from scratch and mainly organic and so on but even then how do we know? The real cost of things is never the price we pay but rather the cost to our health, the environment, other people who are paid a pittance for their labours etc etc. Mmmn I feel a tant coming on and maybe a post will result!

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  19. I'm stunned. I knew things were bad, but not that bad. One of my daughters favourite treats is tinned spaghetti. I have just put a date on the calender for the two of us to make a huge batch of our own 'canned' spaghetti. One little positive step at home and a decision to use my dollar differently but I secretly feel like its a drop in the ocean.
    kxx

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  20. I've just put this book on hold for myself at our library - I'm second in line, but I reckon there will be a long queue behind me soon. The situation is even worse than I thought, and I've been reading books warning about this kind of thing for many years, watching people around the world get sicker and sicker despite all the do-gooders telling us what to eat, how much to exercise, and so on. You only have to look at milk in the shops; I remember when I was in the USA 40 years ago, and being astounded by the different milks on their shelves. Back home in Australia, all we had was milk. Just plain milk! Wish it was still like that....

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  21. I had heard all this on a radio programme on BBC Radio 4 and found it depressing first time around. I have read all of Joanne Blythman's books and will be reading this one too. I think the worst thing aside from all the additives, which are terrible in themselves, is the chemicals being used to prolong the shelf life of fruit and veg it seems that even the raw ingredients are no longer sacred.

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  22. Thanks, Rhonda! For doing your part to spread the word about how important this issue is to all of us.

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  23. Thank you so much for this aticle, I have been trying to get my friends and family to cook more from scratch for their families, I hope this makes them take notice of all the harmful Muck in our food.

    I have put the article link on Facebook....could everyone PLEASE do this too, if we saturate the social media with this it might go viral and that can only be a good thing.

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  24. The issue runs deepen many countries. In fact now the developing ones are being lured away from their home cooking to fast foods and less wise choices.
    I agree with home made being best.

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  25. We are experiencing a health crisis (most evident in the obesity epidemic) that coincides with the rising consumption of processed foods. A couple of years ago I listened to a talk by a professor at a nearby college. She described the relationship between processed foods and cancer rates and the many peer-reviewed studies that have confirmed it. I was stunned. If this a known scientific fact then why aren't there warning labels on the food (as there are with cigarettes)??!!

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  26. I try to do my best, but of course there are times where some convenience foods are a help (frozen veggies and fruits, for example). I'm not sure how I would ever find the time to cook every single food from scratch, starting with produce in its most natural state, and now I have to worry about the actual basic ingredients and what has been done to that nice bunch of broccoli. (Gassed? Dipped?) I already grind grain for bread, etc.

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