Wednesday, May 9, 2007


In my article called “The Poisoning of America” I talked about the issues regarding the safety of America’s food supply in light of the recent concern over imported grains from China that were contaminated with melamine. The recent Washington Post article by Rick Weiss added more concern to this issue since the actual contamination was found to be in not just the gluten but also wheat flour. Apparently, this flour has also made its way into food for fish farms raising new concerns that fish stocks may also be contaminated.
According to Rep. Rosa DeLauro who chairs the subcommittee that funds the FDA, “Our food safety system, is broken.”
This is not good news for the American consumer. “Our food system is broken” is actually an understatement. Not only are we being poisoned from without, but much of our problem comes from within our own food supply and processing system. The following is startling news regarding food produced in the U.S. The information comes from the UNEP/UNESCO:

Are consumers at risk when eating meat from animals that have been treated with growth-promoting hormones? Are women in particular at a higher risk from ingestion of hormone-laden meat?
· In the United States, every year approximately 36 million cattle are raised to provide beef for US consumers; 2/3 of these cattle (about 24 million cows) are given hormones to help make them grow faster.; (1)
· According to the Cattlemen's Beef Association, 90% of all US feedlot cattle are hormone implanted;
· According to expert scientists appointed by the European Union, the use of growth hormones in food animals poses a potential risk to consumers' health. The scientists reported that hormone residues found in meat from these animals can disrupt the consumer's hormone balance, cause developmental problems, interfere with the reproductive system, and even lead to the development of cancer;
· Children and pregnant women are most susceptible to these negative health effects. Hormone residues in beef are also thought to cause the early onset of puberty in girls. This puts girls at greater risk of developing breast cancer and other forms of cancer; (3)
· As a result of these health risks, the European Union has banned the use of substances having a hormonal action for growth promotion in farm animals, and has prohibited the import of hormone-treated beef since 1988; (4)
· The US and Canada contested the prohibition and in 1997 a panel of the WTO ruled that the EU measure was not in line with the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS); (5)
· In April 2004, revelations that up to 90% of US veal calves are being fed synthetic testosterone illegally sent a shock wave through the meat industry, causing a government crackdown and new worries about the impact of hormones on the food supply. In interviews with the media, veal industry officials said that calves have been fed growth hormones for decades. Officials with the Food and Drug Administration, however, say this has never been legal and the safety of this practice has not been tested. (6)
Scientists are also concerned about the environmental impacts of hormone residues that are found in cow manure…
· When manure is excreted, these hormones can contaminate surface and groundwater, thereby harming local ecosystems. Aquatic ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of hormone residues; recent studies have demonstrated that exposure to hormones has a substantial effect on the reproductive capacity and egg production of fish;
· A study of cows treated with melengestrol acetate (one of the artificial growth hormones approved for use in the US) revealed that 12% of the hormone passed directly through the cows into their manure.
The British newspaper, The Guardian also weighed in on the additive issue. In a may 8th article by felicity Lawrence, she presented some early findings from a study at Southampton University.

“Researchers at Southampton University have tested combinations of synthetic colourings and preservative that an average child might consume in a day to measure what effect they had on behaviour. A source at the university told the food industry's magazine the Grocer last week that their results supported findings first made seven years ago that linked the additives to behavioural problems, such as temper tantrums, poor concentration and hyperactivity, and to allergic reactions.”

The article went on to say that some of the additives used are banned in the U.S. but there can be little doubt that the issues discussed in the British study are also major issues that appear in American youth. There is little doubt that American children are obese, prematurely sexually active, plagued by an increasing array of behavioral and allergic disorders and they are certainly hyperactive. We are poisoning our own children and ourselves with concoctions of chemicals and hormones that will prove to be our undoing.

There is a slight ray of hope, but it is scant. It seems that the dairy industry may be listening to consumers and at least taking hormones out of our milk supply. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle on March 7th notes the following:

“Richard Cotta, CEO of California Dairies Inc., the nation's second-largest dairy cooperative, is guided by a simple business philosophy: "If you want milk with little blue dots, you'll have it, as long as you are willing to pay for it.''
So, when a string of major customers, including supermarket giant Safeway, came to his co-op saying they would no longer accept milk from cows treated with a genetically engineered growth hormone, the co-op bowed to the inevitable.”

This is a start but there is no question, as Rep. DeLauro says that our system is broken. Who needs terrorists when we have our own corporate terrorists’ right here at home? Is our food safe? Let’s support the Rep. DeLauro’s call for reform. We may have lost several generations to chemical poisoning, let’s not loose any more!

1 comment:

Torilink said...

this is so important, yet the media just barely covers it -

When we moved to the country from the city a few years ago, it was AMAZING the difference in my kids health and well being, just AMAZING.

They not only get lots of fresh air, but I believe it is also the FRESH goats milk (our grass fed goats), fresh farm eggs from free range chickens, chicken without hormones or medications in their system, local grass/free range beef from people we know (most from adjoining land so we know for sure they are free range, hormone and med free), and only veggies we grow or from the local farmers market.

I even buy our bread from a local farming family that grinds their own grain and make it all from scratch!

In addition, there is a large Amish community in this part of Iowa and so we have access to PURE food supplies - for which I am soooo grateful.

My point - My kids are SO HEALTHY and vibrant compared to when we lived in South Florida and in Little Rock, I know a lot of that is the food they are eating.