By TanyaG Latest Reply 2010-02-23 02:34:04 -0600
Started 2010-02-21 16:06:31 -0600

I want to know when, as a society, are we going to hold food companies accountable for the greatest epidemic of the early 21st century. They are adding things to the food that among many other things, making children hit puberty earlier, childhood obesity is growing rapidly. Why have they not made the food companies comply with full disclosure, especially restaurants. When you go to a restaurant they need to have nutritional information on site, not on a website. Not every diabetic in the world has access to internet. We deserve to have a night out on the town without checking a website first. Where is the fun in that?

34 replies

Crashnot 2010-02-22 08:19:39 -0600 Report

As one of the active participants in this lively discussion, I'm naturally giving a lot of thought to it. As a mother, lifelong diabetic and resident of a farm property, I'm also fairly well read in our food production methods and the alternatives that are available if we look for them and are willing to pay a bit extra.

I cannot force people to do the same research. But what may make things vividly clear to what is happening to our food system is a quick look back.

If you look at pictures from the 1970s, as highly processed food was coming into existence, how many people do you see who are morbidly, or even slightly, obese? Practically none. A fair number of beer bellies on the older guys. But the children, teen, and young adults were all fit and trim enough to be ads for a fitness center today.

What happened between then and now? Highly refined corn products, giving us goodies like fructose, dextrose, modified this and that… none of them exist in natural foods, and most of them are not recognized as food by your body. They are in EVERYTHING you eat. Unless you read the label of every food you buy, and I actually do as I cannot eat anything with wheat, barley or rye gluten in it, you have no idea what you're making your body process. And thus the roller coaster of weight gain and health problems begins.

Do a google and you'll be overwhelmed with the sites that can show you charts of how practically every affliction of modern man started to spike in the early '80s and practically doubles each year. Then look at what food additives came into existence at that time. Artificial sweeteners, modified corn and soy products, and a variety of others, all have a huge spike in problems taking off immediately after they became common in the market.

If anyone is accountable, it is us, the consumers, for ignoring the facts and continuing to consume the very products that are making us so sick. Government agencies ignore the facts, Congress ignores the facts, but if you're shelling out hundreds of dollars a month for medical prescriptions and care, I hope you are not ignoring them.

If you would like a few of my many, many websites that go on to explain all of this stuff, please let me know. Don't want to bog anyone down with more information than I've already filled the page with now :-)

Lisa, expat from Vermont, now in Canada

MAYS 2010-02-22 08:31:07 -0600 Report

Thank you !
Knowledge given, is knowledge gained !
We will definitely continue this discussion and exchange information !
" Mays "

MAYS 2010-02-21 18:03:13 -0600 Report


Forgive me for taking this from one extreme to the other.
I understand what you are saying it's just that it's much more complex than it seems because of the possible effect that it will have on business.
It's morally wrong on one hand, and economically right on the other.

MAYS 2010-02-21 17:25:11 -0600 Report

Consumers are also accountable, the corruption in government agencies was allowed and accepted not only because of a lack of accountability but also because of lack of knowledge and action pertaining to what you actually have control over, you can shake up and straighten out anything.
Everything business related is about money, stop the flow of money and you will get the results needed,
more government involvement creates more corruption !

Crashnot 2010-02-21 17:38:57 -0600 Report

Yes, on shaking things up. Yes on more regulations mean more money. But how about making clear guidelines on labeling? Big burr for me is "organic" and "free range." To those of us who live close enough to the country to either grow our own or buy locally, that logically means there are no chemicals on the organic and that anything free range was allowed to be out in the open. But that ain't the way it is. Free Range is loosely defined as meaning the animal had access to open air, but if you've seen a coop of 100,000 chickens you know that none of them is going to dare stick their head out a 10" opening in the wall to investigate the 2' x 2' pen that is out there to qualify them as free range.

I'm still trying to figure out how they are now mass-producing eggs that are hormone and antibiotic free, according to the carton, as you really can't do that when 50,000 birds are packed together with 1' of space per bird. But I'm sure there is a plausible explanation :-)

At any rate, I want to know that the word on the package meets what an average person would understand that term to mean. Not that most consumers even have a clue what a free range animal actually is, most are so many generations off the farm they don't want to know what end the egg or milk comes out of anyway!

MAYS 2010-02-21 17:50:13 -0600 Report

Do you really think that anything labeled organic is 100% organic ?
Meaning feed, water, fertilizer, soil, air, and medications given to livestock ?
(The organic tag is deceptive and misleading)

Crashnot 2010-02-21 18:05:12 -0600 Report

Nope, it's physically impossible in today's world. But at least I want to know what additives are hiding in there if they can affect my nutrition directly (i.e. feed additives, whether animals were fed grain or dead chickens and cows, or plants were raised with petro-fertilizers and feedlot runoff versus well water)

MAYS 2010-02-21 18:19:28 -0600 Report

Finally, someone who understands that it is impossible to do so, so you are wasting your money and being deceived !
Most people don't know that they feed animals, other dead animals ! (Some cows were fed the remains of mad cow's diseased cows)

MAYS 2010-02-21 17:00:51 -0600 Report

Most of the accountability relies with you concerning your health and well being and consumption, imposing the brunt of that responsibility on others for the sake of convience, is simply wrong !

Crashnot 2010-02-21 17:13:13 -0600 Report

Have you watched the Food, Inc movie yet Mays?

There was a very moving part about how powerless the USDA has become. A little boy died from one of the e-coli outbreaks after eating a tainted burger. Several weeks after he died and they had identified the plant that produced the meat, there was STILL no recall and more people became ill. If the USDA had any power, they would have been shut down that day and sanitized until they passed all the tests. Happened up here in Canada last summer and that plant is still having trouble passing muster.

It's one thing to buy food produced in your area. Used to be thousands of meat plants across the country bringing you beef, pork and poultry raised in your area. Now, 90% of all beef comes from one of only FIVE plants, and they are not really monitored for food safety.

Our local butcher back home would have hung himself if anyone got sick from the meat he processed when I was growing up, he took accountability for everything that passed his hands. But these factories are rarely inspected and when there is a problem, are given a "warning" they seldom follow up on and keep on producing the same stuff.

That messed up spinach? Same problem. It's coming from mega-manufacturers who run the show from farm to factory to supermarket along with the government agencies that are supposed to govern them.

Watch the movie. I think it's stuff we all know, but it really strings it together and makes you stop and think about what you're eating and where it likely came from. And the fact is, there is no accountability. It only happens when we and the media make a big enough stink to put a dent in their profit margin.

TanyaG 2010-02-22 07:25:05 -0600 Report

We are not trying to lessen our responsibility. we are saying WE DEMAND THE TRUTH!!! That is also our responsibility!

MAYS 2010-02-22 07:42:08 -0600 Report

Do you really want the truth ?
Many more doors will open and what's behind those doors may shock or surprise you, as well as turn your stomach and your mind inside out !
You can't have one without the other coming into view !
" Mays "

Crashnot 2010-02-22 08:03:52 -0600 Report

Finding out what your hamburger is loaded with might just be the ticket to drive people away from factory-produced beef (and pork and chicken) and onto buying meat grown and processed locally. These services were taken for granted up until the 1970s, I think with enough awareness and drive, it could return to that. And would be better for the consumer, the farmer and especially the environment.

MAYS 2010-02-22 08:40:50 -0600 Report

I agree with that considering how much of that " meat " is actually fillers and where it comes from, but I can't go into that here !
" Mays "

donna13 2010-02-22 08:11:40 -0600 Report

Do you believe we are too stupid, or maybe complacent, to know the truth,. Yes, I want to know the truth and I think the food industry and the government owes us at least that much.

MAYS 2010-02-22 08:37:30 -0600 Report

I don't think that nor have I ever implied that anyone is stupid.
People are either Informed, Misinformed or simply don't care or care to know, everyone falls into one of those categories.
" Mays "

MAYS 2010-02-21 16:55:51 -0600 Report

You may not agree with this and it may stir up arguments and controversy but here goes :

There has to be a limitation of government in all aspects of your life, especially your personal life concerning many things.

If they start imposing certain duties and restrictions on things it will eventually lead to bigger things down the line which would affect your liberties as a citizen.

To tell the food industry that it must do this, will eventually trickle down to other industries,and the consumer in the form of added cost, giving them the reason justifiable or not, to raise prices.

( They may even start telling you what to eat, how much and when )

All states have different laws pertaining to foods produced and sold even in restaurants and this varies with the Federal Government setting the minimum guidelines allowing for flexability of such.

A little extra time and energy deciding what to eat, where to eat and the nutritional value of your meals may seem time consuming but some liberties gained simply are not worth it in the long run, just ask anyone involved in or with the tabacco industry (smoker, lawyer. executive), too much government involvement on any level, will mean less freedom of choice eventually for all involved, (in my opinion) !

donna13 2010-02-21 17:03:47 -0600 Report

I think you missed the point. She wasn't asking for laws to govern the food industry, just asking that they publish and acknowledge all the additives they are putting in our food. How many years did we have trans-fats in our diets, with no knowldedge of what it can do to our bodies. How long has it been that foods that are "lo-fat" have extra sugar in it to make it taste good. Again not publicized. The only government interference we need is regulations on food companies and restaurants to make sure they make full disclosure.

MAYS 2010-02-21 17:13:28 -0600 Report

Laws requiring restaurants to post nutritional information are in effect in Seattle, New York City, Nashville, Philadelphia and the states of California, Oregon and Massachusetts among other states.
The consumer cannot be relieved of their responsibility to be an educated one on their own behalf by putting all that responsibility on the restaurants.
" Mays "

donna13 2010-02-21 17:19:30 -0600 Report

How about another point that was made. Children hitting puberty earlier. From what I have read this can be caused by hormones given cows to make more milk, which then these hormones are in the milk. Where can we go to find out which dairy our milk is coming from and if they are using hormones. Is that our responsibility, too? Yes we can buy organic, but I am not too trusting of that label. And most people with children can't afford organic.

MAYS 2010-02-21 17:38:38 -0600 Report

I could tell you some things about food and additives that would shock you, but unless you seek these things out you would never know.
( It's not appropriate to say here on this discussion board)

All I'm saying is that the consumer has a certain amount of responsibility also !

MAYS 2010-02-23 02:34:04 -0600 Report

There is no such thing as truly 100% organic today !
The cost of doing so would be passed onto the consumer and would be astronomical !

Crashnot 2010-02-21 17:17:47 -0600 Report

Thank you Donna. The more I learn about food "additives" the more scared I get to feed my young kids. 90% of the stuff in the supermarket has either corn or soy in it. I'm fine with those products, it's grown in the fields right outside my windows. It's all those "modified" corn and soy products you have to fear, they're chemically modified to the point they aren't food, they're more like filling your body with synthetics. And from what I've read on the health sites, they are largely responsible for our bodies going haywire in so many ways.

MAYS 2010-02-21 17:43:59 -0600 Report

Do you know of the lead way given to the food industry by the government ?
I worked in a food processing plant at one time, and you would be surprised at what is actually allowed there but the consumer is told otherwise, all allowed by the governing powers above.

Crashnot 2010-02-21 17:51:01 -0600 Report

So if they are cranking out meat with e-coli, and most of them are I believe, do you think we should put up with it, or insist that USDA actually carries through on testing the meats and fixing it? At our Costco here in Canada, the meat room actually tests all the burger it grinds right before it goes in the cases. If it doesn't meet the standards, it's trash. But remember Canada has health care, so if there's a rash of people in the hospital with e-coli or salmonella, it's at the country's and tax payers' expense!

MAYS 2010-02-21 17:56:50 -0600 Report

No, my argument is this, most people want to believe that the government has their complete interest at heart and it doesn't, business comes first, people need to know how the government is structured and the limitations of such, it must make sure that business always thrives in this country, no business creates a bad economy, among other things, so business will always win out on that level.

Danni-the-diabetic 2010-02-22 00:33:49 -0600 Report

That's true Donna and I point it out to others, that if food are low-fat than they are higher in sugar; if foods are lower in sugar than they are higher in fat (sometimes). The best one to get are food products that are labeled "light", that way it's 50/50.

TanyaG 2010-02-22 07:16:06 -0600 Report

Exactly! How many times have you bought something that is "sugar free", but it actually has more carbs than the regular?

Crashnot 2010-02-21 17:15:00 -0600 Report

Wasn't it the massive group-claims that finally brought tobacco to it's knees to "improve" their product with proper warnings and age limitations?

MAYS 2010-02-21 17:32:21 -0600 Report

Yes and there was a multi billion dollar byout which relieves the tabacco industry from being continously sued, that warning on the side of a pack of cigarettes is there not only to warn you, but to also lessen the liability and responsibility of the tabacco product producing companies protecting them from individual lawsuits.
The legal system and the government says that because of that disclaimer, you were warned, use at your own risk !

TanyaG 2010-02-22 07:10:27 -0600 Report

If the restaurants have nutritional unfo on the internet, it would be minimal cost to get it in print. They have brail menus yo help the blind, why not take a small step in the right direction. I do agree that complete accountability could lead to control. But we need to stand up for our right to knowledge.

MAYS 2010-02-22 07:19:08 -0600 Report

Your right to knowledge starts with self, it's your responsibility to develope a desire to know and pursue that desire, the overall picture is a lot more complex than it seems to be, try to see it from all angles.
" Mays "

MAYS 2010-02-22 07:36:33 -0600 Report

Let's do it your way, put it in print and post it.
Many factors change that nutritional value, is it before or after cooking ?
Before or after adding entree's, condiments and other items ?
Change your source of aquiring this food, methods of processing, substitutions and this nutritional value changes also.
Along comes someone who decides to test this meal against this printed, legally binding, nutritional document and it doesn't add up, what happens ?
Lawyers and lawsuits because a printed document, regardless of how old it is can be binding in most cases because unless you state disclaimers such as, " These values vary and can change due to methods and procedures used to store and process such as well as place of origin ", blah, blah, blah, etc.
It's a very, very complex situation !

Crashnot 2010-02-21 16:43:32 -0600 Report

If you watch any of the talk shows this past winter, or have read any of the plethora of books out there exposing the dictatorship we call the food industry, I think we may be hitting the tipping point of making them be more accountable.

True nutrition is probably decades away, but we now have labels on all food identifying the contents. (If you have a chemistry degree you might be able to read them!) There are more organic products, albeit many are not truly "organic" and things seem to be picking up steam.

I just watched the DVD on "Food, Inc." which has spurred me to raise our own chickens on our farm again for meat and eggs. But that quality of food is not cheap, even if you grow it yourself. We have been raised on $1 burgers thanks to the corn cartel, and those who have low incomes are paychecks away from being able to afford a truly well-rounded diet.

The more you insist on healthy foods though at the places you buy, and the more you encourage friends and acquaintances to understand where the food they eat comes from, the sooner we can hope to see things where they belong.

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