Remember – good health begins with “clean food”. Here are 7 unhealthy practices that should encourage us to know where our food comes from.
1. Atrazine as a herbicide
What Europe did: Banned it in 2003.
US status: EPA: “Atrazine will begin registration review, EPA’s periodic reevaluation program for existing pesticides, in mid-2013.”
2. Arsenic in chicken, turkey, and pig feed
What Europe did: According to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, arsenic-based compounds “were never approved as safe for animal feed in the European Union, Japan, and many other countries.”
US status: The drug giant Pfizer “voluntarily” stopped marketing the arsenical feed additive Roxarsone back in 2011, but there are still several arsenicals on the market.
3. “Poultry Litter” in cow feed
What Europe did: Banned all forms of animal protein, including chicken litter, in cow feed in 2001.
US status: The practice remains unrestricted and US cattle consume about 2 billion pounds of it annually.
4. Chlorine washes for poultry carcasses
What Europe did: The EU not only bans the practice, but refuses to accept US poultry that has been treated with antimicrobial sprays.
US status: The USDA is preparing to roll out new rules that will increase the practice.
5. Antibiotics as growth promoters on livestock farms
What Europe did: In the EU, all antibiotics used in human medicines are banned on farms—and no antibiotics can be used on farms for “nonmedical purposes,” i.e., growth promotion.
US status: The FDA is floating new rules that would ban antibiotics as growth promoters—but the regulation would be voluntary.
6. Ractopomine and other pharmaceutical growth enhancers in animal feed
What Europe did: Europe not only bars its own producers from using ractopamine, it also refuses to allow imports of meat from animals treated with it—as do China and Russia.
US status: Rather than trying to decrease ractopamine use, they are actively seeking to force Europe and other nations to accept US ractopamine-treated pork.
7. Gestation pig crates
What Europe did: Banned them, effective this year.
US status: Pork giants Smithfield, Cargill, and Hormel have pledged to phase them out; several fast-food chains including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Subway have promised to stop buying from suppliers who use the crates; and nine states have banned the practice, HSUS reported, but the practice remains widespread.
Source: Tom Philpott
Dr. Wiseman’s Advice:
Knowing your food source is extremely important these days. Food production has become very mechanized in order to make larger profits. Unfortunately, these practices often make our food less healthy. In order to address this problem, I try to buy organic or local produce when possible, and I make sure my meat source is local and transparent. Whole Foods and many other natural grocery stores have great sources of locally-raised meat that is “cleaner” and, as a result, healthier for you and your family. When shopping for meat don’t be afraid to ask questions about where and how the animals are raised because this transparency is important for all of our future health.