Thursday, March 29, 2012

If it kills a bug, it's a drug. Put it on the label.

Food labelling is a controversial subject.  It shouldn't be. If it's in the food, put it on the label. 

More important, if it's a poison - it should be on the label.  What foods contain poisons?  There are two main types of poisons in foods.  Pesticides and herbicides. Many foods today are grown with pesticides to keep bugs from eating the crop.  The pesticides kill the bugs. GMO foods are designed with 'built in' pesticides to kill bugs. Many foods are grown with herbicides so the farmers don't have to weed. We get cheaper food. I believe cheap food makes us all poor. 

I like an occasional glass of beer. But I'm fussy, for a reason.  I used to think that beer gave me headaches. I was never a big drinker, but if I did drink two bottles of beer in an evening, I would be sick for a day or two. Then I discovered real beer.  Beer with all of the ingredients on the label.  I still don't drink more than 2 bottles in an evening, but I don't get headaches any more. 

A bit of investigation revealed the fact that beer manufacturers, read 'big companies that make beer' have a long list of ingredients they don't need to put on the label. Then I started to learn about beer that puts all of the ingredients on the label and limits the ingredients to water, hops, malt and yeast. I learned that if I only drink beer that meets those simple criteria, I don't get headaches. I started paying more attention to labels.  I read labels a lot nowadays.  But I'm often frustrated.  I know that there are many 'chemicals' included in or on foods that are not on the label.  And they are not required on the label.  What's up with that? 

Let's begin with toxins.  Drugs. How many foods have drugs in them - but not on the label?  It's actually difficult to tell. There are lots of chemicals that are 'not required' to be on the label.  And it gets worse.

What is a toxin in food?  It's designed to kill bugs. Bacterial, or perhaps real bugs. To prevent them from eating the food, multiplying and give us health problems.  Or perhaps, to prevent them from eating the crop - and giving the farmer less produce or poorer quality produce. 

The problem is that toxins in, or on food - come back to us.  And they are toxic to us too, although generally we don't know 'how toxic'.  It probably depends.  Eg. Some chemicals are more toxic to some people, than to other people. It depends how much you eat at one sitting and how much you eat over a long time period. 

But, if it's not on the label, how can you know?  If it's not on the label, how can you choose? 

Isn't it a bit strange that the label tells me how much fat, how much protein, how much carbohydrate, etc. but it doesn't tell me what, and how much, of each toxin is contained in the food? 

It gets worse.  

Many foods are grown using toxic pesticides and herbicides.   Not on the label.  Why should I search for 'organic' food, not knowing what I'm going to get?  I want to be told what I'm going to get.  If an apple was treated with a pesticide - I want to know.  So, it's difficult to label every apple. Find a way. Put the label on display and let me take it home, or let me take a picture. 

And some foods are designed with pesticides built in.  Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) foods are often designed with pesticides built in - to keep the bugs of the field from eating them.  But that means we eat the pesticides instead.  I want the right to choose between healthy bugs and unhealthy pesticides. I can't choose if I don't know. 

Many of the foods in grocery stores are 'processed foods'.  If a processed food is made with a pesticide treated apple - it should be on the label.  If a processed food is made with a Genetically Modified food - put that information on the label. What's the good of buying 'organic' apples, if the apple turnover is not required to list the ingredients? How can I buy healthy cornflakes if I can't choose those that are not GMO cornflakes?  Do cornflakes manufacturers have the guts to tell the truth?  Not yet. 

Many foods in grocery stores are treated with preservatives to ensure a long shelf life. But that means I eat lots of preservatives.  Are they healthy?

If it kills a bug, it's a drug. We need pesticide, herbicide, preservative, and GMO labels to enable our rights to health freedom.

How can you have health freedom if you don't know what you are eating? Freedom requires accurate, complete food labeling - to enable healthy decisions, healthy choices. 

Everyone has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of healthiness.  That starts with a right to information about the foods we are buying. 
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: