April 4, 2012
By Mike Barrett
“You know this wont stop anyone from smoking. There are too many ignorant people who have no problem giving all their money to evil companies who sell products that kill them.” –KTRN
In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration gained authority to regulate tobacco products, and now they will soon be exercising that ability.
Already releasing preliminary guidelines for the tobacco industry that can educate consumers on exactly what is in cigarettes, the FDA is making it so tobacco companies will have to report on the amount of harmful and unsafe ingredients used in their products.
Within one year, the FDA plans to share information on chemical amounts, while tobacco makers will be required to report on the amount of 93 substances used in their products. This means that harmful ingredients used such as ammonia and formaldehyde will need to be made known to the public.
This decision will certainly ignite a slew of ingredient-based information regarding tobacco products.
“We are forging new territory to ensure that tobacco companies provide accurate information and do not mislead American consumers. We are committed to stopping such practices that may cause people to start or continue using tobacco products that could lead to preventable disease and death,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement.
There are over 4,000 individual compounds identified in tobacco and tobacco smoke, with at least 60 of them being known carcinogens. How would you feel after finding out that with every cigarette comes a dose of insecticide, car exhaust, gas chamber poison, ant poison, floor cleaner, mothballs, and nuclear weapon material?
March 29, 2012
By Jonathan Benson
“If stinks that people are losing their jobs, but the company making pink slime deserves it.” –KTRN
For several decades now, the conventional beef industry has secretly been lacing ground beef products with an industrial, ammonia-laced byproduct known as “pink slime,” a disturbing fact that recently came to the forefront of national attention after Food Network chef Jamie Oliver first drew attention to its existence. And consumer backlash has been so strong ever since that a number of supermarket chains, restaurants, and even schools have decided to stop supplying it, which has caused its primary producer, Beef Products Inc. (BPI), to close three of its four manufacturing plants.
USA Today and others are reporting that Dakota Dunes, South Dakota-based BPI is temporarily closing its Waterloo, Iowa; Garden City, Kansas; and Amarillo, Texas plants for an indefinite period of time as a result of widespread consumer rejection of pink slime products. Workers at these plants will continue to receive pay and benefits for the next 60 days, but it is unclear what will happen after these next two months expire, should the plants continue to remain closed.
Meanwhile, BPI is launching an aggressive public relations campaign to fight back against its critics, which includes claiming that pink slime is “100 percent beef,” and that it is a highly-nutritious and safe product. And many in the media are jumping onboard this propaganda bandwagon by spinning the situation back against consumers, who are technically victims that have been been duped all these years into buying ground beef products that were secretly adulterated with pink slime.
In case you missed the original story, pink slime, which is officially known as “lean finely textured beef,” is basically a low-cost ground beef filler composed of beef scraps that are mashed, processed with a chemical ammonia solution, and turned into an unappetizing pink paste, the pictures of which have circulated the internet in recent months (http://www.naturalnews.com/035255_pink_slime_USDA_school_lunches.html).
This pink slime has been added to roughly 70 percent of all ground beef products since the 1990s, but few were aware of it. Pink slime is obviously not labeled on ground beef packages, and the only way consumers can know for sure that they are not consuming it is to buy local or organic ground beef, or to watch the beef being ground fresh before buying it.
January 30, 2012
By S.D. Wells
Aluminum Lake food coloring, used to heavily coat liquid medicines for children, contains dangerous amounts of aluminum and harmful synthetic petrochemicals. These “petrochemicals” are carcinogens containing petroleum, antifreeze and ammonia, which cause a long list of adverse reactions. Aluminum poisoning can lead to short and long term central nervous system (CNS) damage, such as memory impairments, autism, epilepsy, mental retardation, and dementia.
Research shows that just 4ppm of aluminum can cause the blood to coagulate. This is what causes Alzheimer’s Disease and has been documented to inhibit learning. Aluminum consumption can also be associated with the development of bone disorders, including stress fractures.
Also known as tartrazine, FD&C Yellow Aluminum Lake is a chemical concoction derived from coal tar. It is known to be a reproductive toxin. All artificial colors contain Aluminum Lake, so when your child gets to pick between red, blue or green medicine, they’re really choosing which poison they get to consume. Several chemically enhanced food colorings contain ammonia and therefore produce compounds proven to cause various cancers in animal studies, according to CSPI, the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
October 5, 2011
By: Pauli Poisuo
If there’s one thing in the world the food industry is dead set against, it’s allowing you to actually maintain some level of control over what you eat. See, they have this whole warehouse full of whatever they bought last week when they were drunk that they need to get rid of — and they will do so by feeding it all to you. And it doesn’t matter how many pesky “lists of ingredients” and consumer protections stand between you and them.
#6. The Secret Ingredient: Wood
You know what’s awesome? Newspaper. Or, to be precise, the lack thereof. The Internet and other electric media have all but eaten up classic print media, with the circulations of almost all papers on the wane. Say, do you ever wonder what they do with all that surplus wood pulp?
“But Cracked,” you inquire, “what does this have to do with food ingredients?”
And we look at you squarely in the eye, then slowly bring our gaze upon the half-eaten bagel in your hand.
Oh, shit …
What do they do with all the cellulose wood pulp? They hide it behind a bullshit name and make you eat it, that’s what.
And everybody’s doing it. Aunt Jemima’s pancake syrup? Cellulose. Pillsbury Pastry Puffs? Cellulose. Kraft Bagel-Fuls? Fast-food cheese? Sara Lee’s breakfast bowls? Cellulose, cellulose, goddamn cellulose.
It turns out that cellulose can provide texture to processed foods, so food companies have taken to happily using it as a replacement for such unnecessary and inconveniently expensive ingredients as flour and oil. As the 30 percent cheaper cellulose is edible and non-poisonous, the FDA has no interest for restricting its use — or, for that matter, the maximum amount of it that food companies can use in a product. It is pretty much everywhere, and even organic foods are no salvation — after all, cellulose used to be wood and can therefore be called organic, at least to an extent.
But the worst thing about cellulose is not that it’s everywhere. The worst thing is that it is not food at all. Cellulose is, unlike the actual, normal food items you think you’re paying for, completely indigestible by human beings, and it has no nutritional value to speak of. If a product contains enough of it, you can literally get more nutrients from licking the sweet, sweet fingerprints off its wrapper.
#5. Zombie Orange Juice
Quick, name the most healthy drink your nearest store has to offer. You said orange juice, didn’t you? It’s what everybody makes you drink when you get sick. Hell, that shit must be like medicine or something. And the labels are always about health benefits — the cartons scream “100 percent natural!”, “Not from concentrate!” and “No added sugar!”
And why not believe them? When it comes to making the stuff, orange juice isn’t sausage. You take oranges, you squeeze oranges, you put the result in a carton, with or without pulp. End of story, beginning of deliciousness.
But what if we told you that “freshly squeezed” juice of yours can very well be a year old, and has been subjected to stuff that would make the Re-Animator puke?
Ever wonder why every carton of natural, healthy, 100 percent, not-from-concentrate orange juice manages to taste exactly the same, yet ever so slightly different depending on the brand, despite containing no additives or preservatives whatsoever?
The process indeed starts with the oranges being squeezed, but that’s the first and last normal step in the process. The juice is then immediately sealed in giant holding tanks and all the oxygen is removed. That allows the liquid to keep without spoiling for up to a year. That’s why they can distribute it year-round, even when oranges aren’t in season.
There is just one downside to the process (from the manufacturers’ point of view, that is) — it removes all the taste from the liquid. So, now they’re stuck with vats of extremely vintage watery fruit muck that tastes of paper and little else. What’s a poor giant beverage company to do? Why, they re-flavor that shit with a carefully constructed mix of chemicals called a flavor pack, which are manufactured by the same fragrance companies that formulate CK One and other perfumes. Then they bottle the orange scented paper water and sell it to you.
And, thanks to a loophole in regulations, they often don’t even bother mentioning the flavor pack chemicals in the list of ingredients. Hear that low moan from the kitchen? That’s the Minute Maid you bought yesterday. It knows you know.
#4. Ammonia-Infused Hamburger
Any restaurant that serves hamburger goes out of its way to reassure you how pure and natural it is. Restaurant chains like McDonald’s (“All our burgers are made from 100 percent beef, supplied by farms accredited by nationally recognized farm assurance schemes”) and Taco Bell (“Like all U.S. beef, our 100 percent premium beef is USDA inspected, then passes our 20 quality checkpoints”) happily vouch for the authenticity of their animal bits. Their testaments to the healthiness and fullness of their meat read out like they were talking about freaking filet mignon.
And aside from the rare E.coli outbreak, the meat is clean. It’s how they get it clean that’s unsettling.
Ammonia. You know, the harsh chemical they use in fertilizers and oven cleaners? It kills E.coli really well. So, they invented a process where they pass the hamburger through a pipe where it is doused in ammonia gas. And you probably never heard about it, other than those times that batches of meat stink of ammonia so bad that the buyer returns it.
The ammonia process is an invention of a single company called Beef Products Inc., which originally developed it as a way to use the absolute cheapest parts of the animal, instead of that silly “prime cuts” stuff the competitors were offering (and the restaurant chains swear we’re still getting). Consequently, Beef Products Inc. has pretty much cornered the burger patty market in the U.S. to the point that 70 percent of all burger patties out there are made by them. Thanks, ammonia!
July 6th, 2011
By: Jonathan Benson
The accidental mixing of two unidentified chemicals at a Tyson chicken processing plant in Springdale, Ark., has landed 173 of its roughly 300 workers in the hospital, according to reports. The two chemicals, which Tyson refused to identify, somehow got mixed together to produce deadly chlorine gas, which sent five of the workers to intensive care, with another 50 remaining hospitalized days after it occurred.
Donnie King, senior vice president of poultry and prepared foods at Tyson, said that human error was partially responsible for the mixing of the chemicals, but did not provide further details. Gary Mickelson, a company spokesman, added that the plant does not actually use chlorine gas as part of its processing regimen, despite the fact that chlorine itself is commonly used as an antimicrobial treatment for factory chicken.
The whole incident is the type of scenario you might expect to occur at some kind of chemical or other industrial factory, not a food processing plant. And yet millions of people consume Tyson chicken, which apparently is processed with the help of some sort of chemical concoction that, when mixed, creates a gas that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says can cause respiratory illness and sudden death.
Last year, the country of Russia actually banned poultry product imports from the US because many chicken processors use chlorine to sanitize their chicken. Russian safety standards are apparently much higher than they are in the US, and the country basically announced to the world that it does not approve of chicken that is dunked in chlorine baths prior to being consumed by humans.
The New York Times also reported last year that much of the factory beef consumed in the US is injected with ammonia during processing, a chemical that is also used in most glass cleaners. By treating the meat this way, officials claim deadly bacteria like E. coli will be killed, and the meat rendered safe to eat .
The Tyson chicken plant incident serves as a wake-up call about what is lurking in the industrial food supply that millions of people consume every single day. If food is being subjected to chemicals during processing that, when mixed, are deadly, what does this say about the safety of the final end product?
For meat eaters, the only truly safe meat comes from animals raised humanely on organic, pasture-based farms, and that is processed without the use of chemicals like chlorine and ammonia. When it comes to food of any kind these days, knowing its source and how it was grown and processed is crucial to ensuring its safety.
February 17th, 2011
By: Susan Heavey
Some chemically enhanced caramel food colorings used in widely consumed cola drinks could cause cancer and should be banned, a U.S. consumer advocacy group urged the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday.
Pure caramel is made from melted sugar; but two other versions approved to color food products include the chemical ammonia and produce compounds shown to cause various cancers in studies of animals, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said in a statement.
The group is petitioning the FDA to ban the ammonia-containing caramels, which are also used in other dark-colored soft drinks.
Coca-Cola Co, the world’s top soft drink maker, said the caramel it uses does not cause cancer. It said its cola only contains one of the compounds cited by CSPI, and that the compound — formed in the “browning reaction” while cooking — is found in trace amounts in a variety of food and drinks.
PepsiCo Inc referred a call to the American Beverage Association, while Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc was not immediately available to comment.
Obesity is still a greater health threat from soda, the CSPI said. But the chemical reaction between sugar and ammonia can form carcinogens and “still may be causing thousands of cancers in the U.S. population,” the group said, citing animal studies conducted by government researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Program.
“The American public should not be exposed to any cancer risk whatsoever as a result of consuming such chemicals, especially when they serve a non-essential, cosmetic purpose,” several of the NIH scientists wrote in a letter to the FDA.
CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson, in a statement, also said use of the words “caramel coloring” on food labels was misleading and should not be allowed.
The American Beverage Association fired back, calling CSPI’s claim a “scare tactic” and said there was no evidence that the compounds found in caramel coloring cause cancer in humans.
July 14, 2010
By: David Gutierrez
The refrigerators that supermarkets use to keep products fresh for extended periods of time pose a major threat to the global environment, the nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has warned.
When concern over the depletion of the ozone layer entered the mainstream in the 1990s, supermarkets widely phased out the use of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), replacing them with ozone-neutral hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The problem is, HFCs have 3,900 times the global warming effect of carbon dioxide, and they inevitably leak from fridges as a normal part of everyday use and maintenance.
A single ton of HFCs produces a warming effect equivalent to one billion car trips to the supermarket.
According to the EIA’s Fionnuala Walravens, the group has had trouble raising awareness about the issue, particularly in comparison with recent widespread moves to get consumers to start using reusable shopping bags.
“Fridges are not sexy,” Walravens said. “The environmental impact of supermarket refrigeration is a big issue but little understood … it is a hell of a lot bigger than free plastic bags.”
Refrigerator emissions are responsible for 30 percent of an average supermarket’s direct climate footprint.
For two years in a row, the EIA has produced a report ranking supermarkets for their efforts to address the problem. To date, only 0.5 percent of U.K. stores have switched to less damaging refrigerant gases, such as ammonia, hydrocarbons or carbon dioxide.
“Though some supermarkets have made a good effort over the last year, the survey results are disappointing,” Walravens said.
Lowest ranking of all British supermarket chains was the “ethical” Co-operative Group, which recently refitted stores with new HFC refrigerators and shows “heavy reliance” on HFC fridges at its distribution centers. Although megachain Tesco ranked in at number two, as the United Kingdom’s largest grocery chain it is still also its largest HFC polluter.
The EIA is calling on all stores to phase out HFC fridges by 2015.
February 1st, 2010
By Zoe Wood
Greenhouse gases used in supermarket fridges and freezers pose as great a threat to the environment as plastic bags, according to a study by campaigning group the Environmental Investigation Agency.
Chemicals released by fridges account for 30% of supermarkets’ direct emissions, yet only 0.5% of stores have been fitted with greener equipment, according to the report, called Chilling Facts.
The research points the finger at “ethical” grocer the Co-operative Group, which scored the lowest marks of the major grocery chains.
The EIA has faced a struggle to raise awareness of the problem. “Fridges are not sexy,” said Fionnuala Walravens. “The environmental impact of supermarket refrigeration is a big issue but little understood … it is a hell of a lot bigger than free plastic bags.”
The EIA is concerned about the widespread use of damaging HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) gases as coolants. Supermarkets are the biggest industrial emitters of HFCs, which were hurriedly introduced in the 1990s as a safer alternative to ozone-depleting chemicals such as CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).
HFCs do not damage the ozone layer but their global warming potential is significant. One tonne of the widely used gas called R404a has a warming effect equal to 3,900 tonnes of CO2 over a 100-year period. The level of leakage of the chemicals is equivalent to 1bn car journeys to the average local supermarket. The gases escape in normal use and maintenance.
There are alternatives that can be used for refrigeration. More climate-friendly chemicals have been adopted in Sweden and Demark and by major multinationals including McDonalds and Coca-Cola. But British supermarkets have been slow to make the change.
“Though some supermarkets have made a good effort over the last year, the survey results are disappointing,” Walravens said.
The Co-op scored just 19 out of a possible 100 because recent store refits included old HFC-based refrigeration. According to the EIA, there was also “heavy reliance” on ozone-depleting HCFCs in its distribution centres. The company said the report was based on “dated information” and ignored recent steps to reduce leakage, which was cut by almost 30% last year.
“We are currently upgrading our entire distribution network and robustly progressing the removal of HCFCs,” said a Co-op spokeswoman. “The main reason we have been rated badly is that the report falls into the trap of rewarding distant targets and not hard-won improvements in performance. The Co-op’s commitment to reducing emissions is clear and, unlike some of the other retailers featured, we have openly disclosed our emissions data to the EIA.”
Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Aldi all refused to share emissions data with the researchers. But even without their figures the EIA said the “reported” industry tally was the equivalent of 1.13m tonnes of CO2, suggesting the total release of climate-damaging HFCs is significantly higher.
Now in its second year, the survey asked supermarkets to supply details of the refrigeration used in their supply chain and stores. It found that 46 out of more than 8,300 stores used climate friendly systems, up from 14 in 2009. Asda, the UK’s second largest grocer, was criticised by the EIA for reneging on previous promises, with no new HFC-free stores since the previous year’s survey. The Wal-Mart owned grocer countered that the technology was “not ready” so it was concentrating on stemming leakage. Frozen food chain Iceland was also slammed for its failure to grapple with the issue.
The EIA wants the supermarkets to promise to remove HFCs by 2015 and replace them in new stores with less damaging options, such as CO2, ammonia and hydrocarbons.
Waitrose jumped from near the bottom of the league table in the 2009 survey to the top, scoring 60 out of 100, after promising to put greener systems in all new stores and major refurbishments. Tesco was second, reflecting its plans to install alternative systems in 120 stores. However, by virtue of being the country’s biggest food retailer, Tesco is the biggest emitter and as yet has set no date to phase out HFCs. Sainsbury’s was disappointed to rank fourth behind Marks & Spencer, arguing its work in the area was “industry-leading”.
“We are in the process of switching to CO2 technology, which will be in 135 stores within four years and all new supermarkets from June,” said Sainsbury’s environmental affairs manager, Jack Cunningham. “We don’t believe the EIA has taken into consideration the scale of our plans and the size of our estate when compared to some of our smaller competitors.”
The EIA campaign is backed by sustainability consultant Julia Hailes, author of The New Green Consumer Guide. She said getting supermarkets to switch to “green” refrigeration would be “vastly more significant than cutting back on carrier bags”. Supermarket HFC emissions were on a par with the production of 5.6bn plastic bags, according to EIA figures.
Amid concerns about the cost of replacing older systems and the energy efficiency of the systems being ushered in, the EIA wants the government to take the lead. Walravens said the response from supermarkets was “good” compared with the “inexcusable inaction” of the government. “Many organisations are looking for clear direction and deadlines for the elimination of HFCs.”
January 5, 2010
By Mike Adams
If you’re in the beef business, what do you do with all the extra cow parts and trimmings that have traditionally been sold off for use in pet food? You scrape them together into a pink mass, inject them with a chemical to kill the e.coli, and sell them to fast food restaurants to make into hamburgers.
That’s what’s been happening all across the USA with beef sold to McDonald’s, Burger King, school lunches and other fast food restaurants, according to a New York Times article. The beef is injected with ammonia, a chemical commonly used in glass cleaning and window cleaning products.
This is all fine with the USDA, which endorses the procedure as a way to make the hamburger beef “safe” enough to eat. Ammonia kills e.coli, you see, and the USDA doesn’t seem to be concerned with the fact that people are eating ammonia in their hamburgers.
This ammonia-injected beef comes from a company called Beef Products, Inc. As NYT reports, the federal school lunch program used a whopping 5.5 million pounds of ammonia-injected beef trimmings from this company in 2008. This company reportedly developed the idea of using ammonia to sterilize beef before selling it for human consumption.
Aside from the fact that there’s ammonia in the hamburger meat, there’s another problem with this company’s products: The ammonia doesn’t always kill the pathogens. Both e.coli and salmonella have been found contaminating the cow-derived products sold by this company.
This came as a shock to the USDA, which had actually exempted the company’s products from pathogen testing and product recalls. Why was it exempted? Because the ammonia injection process was deemed so effective that the meat products were thought to be safe beyond any question.
What else is in there?
As the NYT reports, “The company says its processed beef, a mashlike substance frozen into blocks or chips, is used in a majority of the hamburger sold nationwide. But it has remained little known outside industry and government circles. Federal officials agreed to the company’s request that the ammonia be classified as a ‘processing agent’ and not an ingredient that would be listed on labels.”
Fascinating. So you can inject a beef product with a chemical found in glass cleaning products and simply call it a “processing agent” — with the full permission and approval of the USDA, no less! Does anyone doubt any longer how deeply embedded the USDA is with the beef industry?
Apparently, this practice of injecting fast food beef with ammonia has been a well-kept secret for years. I never knew this was going on, and this news appears to be new information to virtually everyone. The real shocker is that “a majority” of fast food restaurants use this ammonia-injected cow-derived product in their hamburger meat. It sort of makes you wonder: What else is in there that we don’t know about?
“School lunch officials and other customers complained about the taste and smell of the beef,” says the NYT. No wonder. It’s been pumped full of chemicals.
There are already a thousand reasons not to eat fast food. Make this reason number 1,001. Ammonia. It’s not supposed to be there.
You can get the same effect by opening a can of dog food made with beef byproducts, spraying it with ammonia, and swallowing it. That is essentially what you’re eating when you order a fast food burger.
It’s almost enough to make you want to puke. If you do so, please aim it at your windows, because ammonia cuts through grease like nothing else, leaving your windows squeaky clean!