sustainabilityfortheworld


Seven Foods So Unsafe that Farmers Won’t Touch Them
March 12, 2011, 10:05 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Most don’t think of foods being terribly bad for you, unless the food is pumped full of sugar.  But what about products that you can find everyday?  Those that you might use on a weekly basis?

The number one food that farmers won’t touch is canned tomatoes.  The lining of the tin cans that are used to can tomatoes includes a resin that contains bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen which has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and reproductive problems.  But the biggest issue is the acid in the tomatoes breaking down the bisphenol-A, allowing it to seep into the food, and in very large amounts.  If you enjoy the taste of canned tomatoes, purchasing those in glass bottles instead of tin cans save you from the synthetic estrogen and its terrible impact on your health.

Corn-fed beef is another food that farmers have deemed unsafe.  Cattle naturally eat grass, not grain.  To fatten animals, farmers feed them corn and soybeans.  While increasing their earnings, farmers are minimizing nutritional benefits.  Grass-fed beef has been found to be higher in vitamin E, omega-3s, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, and lower in saturated fats than corn-fed beef.

One food that I found to be relatively shocking was microwave popcorn.  The chemically-saturated lining of the bag includes a compound called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that, according to a study from UCLA, may be linked to infertility.  Microwaving the bag of popcorn vaporizes the chemicals, lining the popcorn with the harmful chemicals.  Some manufacturers have promised to phase PFOA out of their bags by 2015, but millions of bags of popcorn will be purchased by then.  The only way to avoid PFOA entirely is to pop your own popcorn in a pot.

As many of us know, non-organic, conventionally grown potatoes are not good for our bodies.  While chemicals may not be sprayed directly on the potatoes, they absorb the chemicals sprayed through the soil and water.  Potatoes, the nation’s most popular vegetable, need to be produced healthily to keep up with the demand.  Many potato farmers have said that they would never eat the potatoes they sell, and have said they have their own private plots for their personal potato use, where they do not use the chemicals they use on the potatoes they sell.  Buying organic potatoes is the only way to avoid all of the harmful herbicides and pesticides that make their way into conventionally grown potatoes.

Farmed salmon is yet another food that farmers will not eat.  When salmon is crammed into pens, fed soy, litter, and hydrolized chicken feathers, they’re levels of healthy vitamin D lowers as the contaminants (obviously) increase.  The contaminants include pesticides and carcinogens.  David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany, said, “You can only safely eat one of these salmon dinners every 5 months without increasing your risk of cancer…It’s that bad.”  The solution?  Make sure the salmon you purchase says “wild,” as “fresh Atlantic” salmon is farmed salmon.

Dairy cows today are fed growth hormones like rBGH and rBST to increase milk production. The problem is, while they may be making more milk, farmers are increasing their cows’ chances of udder infections, which can lead to pus in the milk. More than that, high levels of IGF-1 from the rBGH may play a role in the development of breast, prostate, and colon cancers, which is why Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO of the Oregon division of the American Cancer Society says that “it’s banned in most industrialized countries.”  We need to make sure we purchase milk that is labeled as organic or produced without the use of artificial hormones.

The last on the list, and one that I personally overlooked, is conventionally grown apples.  Apples receive the most pesticides of all fruits grown during the Fall.  Mark Kastel, former executive for agribusiness and co-director of the Cornucopia Institute, a farm-policy research group that supports organic foods, says, “Farm workers have higher rates of many cancers.”  If possible, purchase organic apples.  But if you can’t, you need to thoroughly wash and peel apples before eating them.

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