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Is the food we eat safe?





manfer
In this mad world we are leaving nowadays where the ruler of everything is money, do you thing the food we eat is safe?

In a world in which the industry is the one that produces our food, and more and more by huge corporates which only preocupation is to earn more and more money, do you thing the food we eat is safe?

I'm going to put just an example. In the 90s cows were being treated with growth hormones for cost reduction -still they are-. But testing demostrated that those hormones were cancerigenous when they reach a level. Some of the hormones are already naturally present in humans and if more amount is adquired by eating meat the levels in human obviously increase with the posibility to go beyond safe levels -and maybe being source of some cancers-.

But governments think about the money the industry can lost and decide there is no risk at all by using those hormones. They say those hormones had been studied for more than 50 years of use and it is enough to warranty they are safe. Well, when we don't know the source of many cancers in my opinion it is a little impresive to don't even think of those as one possible source.

If we consult scientifics I'm sure many will say that the studies on animals should be enough to ban the use of hormones. We can produce beef without the hormones. Not so much per farm probably and not so fast, but we can. So why to risk? But governments ruled by the huge corporates on the world that owns everything only worry about money and such a threat to human health is tolerable.

The EU decided to ban the use of hormones in catle and for that reason was not allowed to import catle from EEUU or Canada which motivated a dispute.

In 2004 EEUU made a new study. Look at this quote:
Quote:
"New evidence was released by the EC in 2003 about beef hormones. The EC made the scientific claim that the hormones used in treating cattle remain in the tissue, specifically the hormone, 17-beta estradiol. However, despite this evidence the EC declared there was no clear quantifiable link to health risks in humans. The EC has also found high amounts of hormones in areas where there are dense cattle lots. This increase in hormones in the water has affected waterways and nearby wild fish. Contamination of North American waterways by hormones would not, however, have any direct impact on European consumers or their health."

If I were from the EEUU and I read that I will really think what kind of mad government we have. Because what I understand is it says "we are contaminating our country to make profit with beef comerce and as that doesn't affect EU health, only our health by contaminating ourselfs, then why the hell they don't allow as to sell them the beef?".

We are already paying for all the things of the not enough controlled progress made in the last 200 years. With the huge level of contamination to the environment more and more second effects will be discovered that soon or later we will understand with no doubt which was the source.

The problem is there are people that think that something doesn't exists till you can demostrate it, so who care about this probable long term second effects that are going to appear in the future?. But it is not very clever to wait till things blow on our faces. Not very fair either the world we are leaving for future generations.
Bikerman
I think the hormone issue is actually not such a biggie (and I think the EEC are using it largely as a smokescreen to cover wider political issues). Of far more concern to me would be the continuing use of antibiotics in US Farming. Because of the intensity of many farms, antibiotics are given, routinely in food, to cattle and poultry.
This is an almost PERFECT environment in which to develop multiply resistant forms of bacteria. In fact this is pretty much how scientists do it in the lab - they introduce a population of the bacteria concerned to a growth medium which has progressively increasing levels of antibiotic. Resistant bacteria break through the first level, and through subsequent levels more quickly, until the strain is effectively immune to the antibiotic in question.

So not only should we not be surprised to see multiply resistant nasties, like MRSA and MRTB emerging, we should really have predicted it. There are now at least 5 potentially fatal bacteria-caused diseases that are resistant to ALL the normal antibiotics, and have been documented resisting even the 'weapons of last resort' - the Sulfonamides and Cephalosporins. Imagine a strain of completely resistant Tuberculosis (and we are VERY close to having one). It would kill hundreds of millions - possibly billions.
setfirework
Lots of foodstuffs are contaminated. Jaggery is cleaned and bleached with detergent. Milk with urea. Milk may already have traces of antibiotics, pesticides. It is all too alarming. Ignorance is bliss.
Bikerman
Misleading.
Firstly, milk contains urea - that is NATURAL (if the word has any meaning, which I doubt), and has always been the case. Modern techniques actually reduce the amount of urea rather than increase it.
Secondly, jaggery is indeed bleached. So what? Harsh chemicals are used in many processes in the food industry. Fruit segments in cans, for example, are generally soaked in acid to remove membranes - that is how you get such perfect segments of orange, lemon, grapefruit or whatever. The acid is then washed-out using another harsh chemical - caustic soda (Sodium Hydroxide) - which leaves a 'residue' of simple salt and water.
In the case of Jaggery (sugar cane), there IS an issue of adding Sodium Hydrogen Sulphite (Sodium Bisulphite - NaHSO3) to bleach the product, but I believe the use is being phased-out gradually and this is hardly a new issue.
darthrevan
It is hard to find anything these days that are truly good for the body. You always hear everything these days causes cancer, so I wouldn't be surprised to find foods that causes cancer as well.
Bikerman
Again misleading.
It is ridiculously easy to find things that are good for the body. Vegetables, water, protein, fish-oils - the list is very long.
Certainly some things that you could eat are carcinogenic but anything that you buy AS food is extremely unlikely to cause cancer.
codegeek
I would prefer to not have read this information, hehe. However, as long as the food is edible, clean and mostly healthy, I think it's fine. I mean even the air we breathe kills us in the long run (something to do with how oxygen behaves in our cells).
spinout
well i suppose we swedes are in the front of food securing. We have origin country labels on every meat package. Se have quite hard rules of what food can contain.
So if you want to be a good consumer you can buy food that is produced in a small radius from where you live, just by looking at the labels.

still we have a lot of spice mixed that still have mono natrium glutamates (spelling?) but you can always spot it on the label and avoid it. Doctors say that ingredient is the ALS decease forcing...

Hm, also I wrote about indigo children in a another thread and autism, and in many cases in lands where pollution is massive you get digistive problems and autism problems therefore.
Autism is not digistive problems alltogeheter, but also genetics is the bigger problem. Still the same problem - environment can alter genes!

Right now we have big problem due to bad food!
nayakjyotirmaya
safe, no friends nothing is safe now a days.only organic farming is the correct approach for future.
Bikerman
Organic farming is most certainly NOT the answer to ANYTHING except middle-class guilt.
There is absolutely NO WAY that the population of the world could be fed using organic methods, meaning that millions (probably hundreds of millions) of people would starve to death and food prices generally would spiral out of control.
mkotsi
Only if we produce our own food we can be sure that the food we eat is safe.
Nowdays, mass production and capitalism have destroyed the quality of food.
Beggining from the production of the food:
-fruits, vegetables and grain are food of pesticides in order to avoid any reduction of production
-meat are full of ormones in order to increase the size of animals and so the production. Moreover the environment the animals live, is unhealthy and this affect the quality of their meat.
-fishes could be the healthier food, but with all garbage and pollutants we throw to the sea I am not so sure for how much healthy their are at all.
Insanity
I think with the advent of huge factory farms, most food prodduction is geared towards maintaining the minimum level of safety that is requried, yet still make profit. So they don't care too much about our health as long as they are meeting the minimum requirements set out by the various food regulation agencies. I think there needs to be more of a shift towards healthy food production, maybe even growing food in our own backyarsd more often. Like those victory gardens that were present during the wars.
Bikerman
There is too much hippy nonsense around. Since this is a science forum then let's start with the facts and look at where that takes us:
Organic and other non-intensive farming has a yield of somewhere between 0.25 and 0.45 that of intensive. So any move away from intensive agriculture immediately (within weeks, months at most) kills a few hundred million people).
Then next we have the meat issue. There are loads of spurious figures around and I do not want to add to them - stuff like 7 kg gain for 1 kg meat etc. These comparisons are spurious in several ways - they are often little more than guesses, they rarely factor the positives (eating stuff humans cannot, supplying fertiliser which means saving on production of same (very energy intensive) and similar. For that reason I'll stick with simple energy->protein figures. Prof Dave Pimentell at Agriculture Dept of Cornell University has produced a nice study of US livestock which is to the point, and since the figures seem robust so I'll use that:
Overall animal protein production uses around 8 times the energy that would produce an equivalent of plant protein. The nutritional value of that protein is slightly higher than plant protein, but only about 1.4 times. That gives around 5.7 times more energy being used to feed the same number of people.

In simple terms, if everyone went veggie we would have sufficient food to feed everyone, and that would remain true even if we doubled, or quadrupled the population (unthinkable and it will not happen) - in short, food surplus with no reason for anyone to starve or even go hungry. So any meat-eaters whining about intensive farming should give serious consideration to shutting the hell up until they change their eating habits.

300 yrs ago the farming we now call organic would have been intensive. It was able to feed the population of the time - around 600 million globally. Today we need to feed a whole order of magnitude more people - 10 times that at over 6 billion and rising. Talk of food quality for the rich seems a bit insensitive to put it mildly unless we have enough food for the rest of humanity to avoid starving to death. We do and it requires intensive production methods.

So now we can look at quality/safety considerations (you can't look at quality and safety until you have enough to eat - without that you eat it whatever the quality and it is guaranteed to be safer than starving to death even if it is carcinogenic connective tissue wrapped in toenails.).

So, is intensively farmed food less safe than organic (a handy split to apply some basic metrics). Simple answer - seems not.

The first thing you have to do when addressing this sort of question is to sort out the propaganda, guesses, anecdotes, urban myths, misleading information and plain bollox.
It may surprise, but after a day on this I can say with some confidence and much feeling that most of the industrial-strength effluent comes from one direction - and it ain't the intensive farmers.
Most of the really toxic stuff comes from supporters of organic or other niche production methods. Frankly, they lie their friggin' tits off.

For example, I just read a report from the Soil Association (UK)* from which I extracted these gems:
Quote:
Sir Albert Howard, whose research in the 1930s did much to inform the development of organic farming and inspired the foundation of the Soil Association, believed the health of the soil, plants, animals and people was ‘one and indivisible’. But how much evidence is there to validate the hypothesis that farming methods have an important effect on the nutritional quality of the food we eat? This report examines over 400 published papers considering or comparing organic and non-organic foods in relation to key areas of food quality important to the promotion of good health – food safety, nutritional content and the observed health effects in those consuming food.

Good, thinks I - some quality peer-reviewed science - yum yum, just the ticket.
Continuing with the abstract, in the very next paragraph we get what I suppose the authors consider a précis of the main results - a bullet=point guide for the impatient, the inarticulate, the innumerate and the politicians.
Quote:
It points out that organic standards specifically prohibit the use of certain additives and manufacturing processes linked to health concerns such as osteoporosis and heart disease, and argues that there are no grounds for complacency about the long-term effects of pesticides and additives on our health. It asserts that there is indicative evidence suggesting nutritional differences between organic and nonorganic food. More research is needed, it emphasises, but if the indications of the available evidence are confirmed there could be major implications for public health.

What what what? Have I fallen asleep and entered a nightmare world where the words 'published paper' are used on the same page as this excremental work of misinformation, third-rate semantic game-playing, and downright dishonesty?
No grounds for complacency? What sort of f***ng statement is that to summarise scientific findings?
Indicative evidence suggesting nutritional differences? Well, I should bleedin coco. Use of a mass spectrometer and an index finger can show 'indicative evidence suggesting dietary intake of bulimia sufferers, which we can compare to, say, Sumo wresting veterans after they have eaten a couple of relatives and a passing herd of goats. I should think we will find some bleedin 'indicative evidence of nutritional difference' there no bother. SO BLEEDIN' WHAT? Is this science or psi?

I forced myself to read the rest and it was at least as bad as I was now expecting. I'll just give one example as indicative of the rest:
Claim in introduction:
Quote:
Vitamin C and dry matter contents are higher, on average, in organically grown crops. • Mineral contents are also higher, on average, in organically grown crops, although the small number and heterogenous nature of the studies included mean that more research is needed to confirm this finding.
• Research indicates a clear long-term decline in the trace mineral content of fruit and vegetables, and the influence of farming practices requires further investigation.

Seems clear - organic has more vit C and higher mineral content.
So now I dig into the actual papers. They used 5 meta-analyses - basically that is where researchers combine lots of previous smaller-scale studies to see if any stats emerge when the results are combined to give a larger sample size. They can be problematic if done badly and can sometimes give false positive results (appear to find an effect where there is non). Nevertheless they are useful and valid methods of scientific research and the 5 chosen seem actually at the top end in quality terms. We have
Woese, Germany (1997) - Review of “the results of 150 papers”.
Worthington, USA (1998) - Sixty or so papers comparing nutrient contents and animal health.
Diver, USA (2000 – revised) - Discusses declining food quality in the industrialised food production system;*
Brandt & Molgaard, Denmark (2000) - Examines potential health effects of consuming organic or non-organic produce.
Williams et al, UK (2000) - Looked at nutrient content, nutritional value, microbial toxicity, and pesticide residues.
Straight away we see that two of these are useless - Diver is a discussion paper and Brandt & Moloaard is a study which says 'if we feed a population x, and x contains y and z, then what results' - it isn't an empirical study of whether organic or intensive food actually CONTAINS y and z.
So ditch those two (included I suspect because they have pro-organic comments which are easily harvested).
Now what does the Woese study conclude? trend toward higher vitamin C. Inconsistent or no difference in mineral contents.
And Worthington? Examined 1,230 individual nutrient comparisons. 56 per cent showed better nutrient levels in organically grown crops, 37 per cent favoured nonorganically grown crops.
So we drill down and find out more about the paper and authors. What journal? THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINEBugger me barney, bollox detector begins beeping like blazes. The paper is written by...what what what.....?...the Editor and publisher of the Journal - Mary Ann Liebert. A most noisome stench fills my nostrils...

So....some more manure mining and we find that Qwackwatch have it as a "nonrecommended periodical" because it is considered "fundamentally flawed"
Onwards, and we note that this very organ was the source of a 2005 Paper claiming to show the efficacy of homoeopathy. This caused much gnashing of teeth for the BBC researcher who took it at face value, and unwisely proceeded to made a documentary on the strength of said paper. The critics were unkind, nay, merciless, in their excoriation of both the ill-judged documentary and then the aforementioned paper. Dr. David Colquhoun took on the necessary role and performed the required forensic dissection of the piece. He concluded that the paper was nothing more than a questionnaire and not really research at all", that the conclusion drawn from it was quite ludicrous. and he finished his critique with the sentence "papers like this do not add to human knowledge, they detract from it. It makes me angry."
Nice one Dave - you and me both.

So that leaves the Williams et al study which, upon examination, contained:
Quote:
No new review of nutrient content...we relied on Woese and Worthington...
stated that there was
Quote:
no reliable data to compare beneficial secondary nutrients
, considered
Quote:
natural plant defence compounds and synthetic pesticide residues as being of equal risk
and concluded that
Quote:
the widely held public view that organic foods are safer and healthier is incorrect for the great majority of consumers.

THAT is what we are dealing with - and the Soil Association is seen by most as being at the moderate and evidence-based end of the eco-farming lobby

I will finish this and provide some sort of quality evidence summary when I can face looking at more papers - right now I need either a quiet lie down in a darkened room, or sub-lethal quantities of industrial-strength pharmaceuticals...

* I'll do the necessary citation and linking in the next episode - right now I'm too depressed.
BigGeek
Bikerman that is a great post - I laughed until tears were coming down my cheeks!

You are going to drive yourself crazy reading all that double speak BS!

Equally you will drive yourself crazy worrying about what foods are the purest to eat!

Unfortunately science everywhere is corrupted with this sort of BS and misinformation - Want a great laugh - read some of the kinesiology studies by PHD folks - just freakin nonsense - stuff like your hamstrings don't come into play doing a full squat - and more!

When it comes to food - lean meats and veggies - moderate fruit intake - eat less sugars and limit your grain intake and drink plenty of whiskey to kill any unwanted bugs in your food and to keep you from going insane reading this crap!

When it comes to these types of articles the one who lays out the biggest amount of BS wins the misinformation contest - RIGHT?

Your point about the "super" bugs is quite scary - leave it to the US farmers to develop them Sad

I give up - I figure life is terminal - AND if you keep reading these crazy papers you will end up in a straight jacket in the nut farm - Have a couple of shots and forget about it Very Happy In Colorado you can always go down to the local dispensary and buy some great Marijuana - that will get it all off your mind Wink
loveandormoney
setfirework wrote:
Lots of foodstuffs are contaminated. Jaggery is cleaned and bleached with detergent. Milk with urea. Milk may already have traces of antibiotics, pesticides. It is all too alarming. Ignorance is bliss.


What is the most dangerous food out of Your view?
tonberry
Popular science is the devil! It sucks that science has sort of lost its credibility recently. You can't argue facts, but one methodology is more sophisticated than the other, some are blatantly set up to give expected outcome and when ordinary Joe reads about it, how is he to distinguish between the real thing and the hoax?

Corporations want to make money so for many decades they invest in science heavily to help shape the public opinion in the direction which will make good business for them. Climate change is one of many examples - to speed up the process of transition to alternative types of energy, "sponsored" studies are common and newspapers post fake calculations to prove that those sources are more finantially viable than the tech currently allows.

Because we live in a world where endless supply of information is competing for our attention, development of various popular science websites, Youtube channels etc. was a logical next step - to give us interesting scientific info, but packed in a way so we don't have to spend 12 hours to begin to understand it. Unfortunately, together with this language came tabloid mentality of creating controversial, attention-grabbing headlines and the authenticity of claims had to take a second seat to clickbaiting.

I subscribed few of popular science websites until once or twice I encountered articles about subjects of which I had some decent knowledge and when I read what absurd statements have been made, it became clear that I have no way of knowing whether other stuff that I know nothing about isn't the same bullcrap that those articles were. It's hard to find good, reliable sources of information in the information age, ironically.
Insanity
I mean I think safe is relative.
assencess
I think yes. But it depend of more detail. I'm live in county and eating natural food(maybe it's wrong opinion because it depends of ecology in my area...). And if think globally we all eat rotten food and nothing happen with us)
P.S. Please, correct me if you find some mistakes. English ot my native language and I study it by myself.
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