10 Gross FDA Regulations the Government Doesn’t Want You to Think About
Taking shortcuts on occasion is understandable, but we really don’t want shortcuts being taken on our food, and especially not by our government that’s supposed to be protecting We the People. Unfortunately, there are 10 dangerous little food shortcuts that have come up recently in a Huffington Post article that may shock and scare you, but really, we shouldn’t be so surprised in an economy that focuses on getting the most bang for your buck at any cost. The good news and bad news is, all of the information is public record, if you have the stomach to dig through it.
1. Mold, Excrement, and Bugs
If you don’t mind getting a little nauseous in uncovering the truth, try reading the FDA’s Defect Levels Handbook and the levels of contaminants your food can contain. It labels it off as “maximum levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods for human use,” including “insect filth,” “rot” and “Mammalian excreta.” But reading what exactly insect filth can entail (canned or frozen asparagus is permitted to have “10% by count of spears or pieces infested with 6 or more attached asparagus beetle eggs and/or sacs,” and berries are allowed a specific amount of larvae or rodent hairs, yay!) is enough to make you wonder why the hell we’re just letting this happen. Um, can we hold all of the beetle eggs, mammal poop, and rodent hairs, please?
2. Genetic Engineering
According to the Organic Consumers Association, the United States is the only developed country that does not require testing for safety of GE foods. It’s not required, and it hasn’t been done by the government. So all these people decrying the push against GMOs don’t really have a leg to stand on, when the positive or (most likely) negative effects of genetically modified foods have not been proven by our government. GMOs…bon appetite!
3. Ammonia in meat
This practice has been around a long time, very notably, it cropped up in a lot of McDonald’s burgers (they’re really batting a thousand for their healthy choices!). It’s commonly known as the “pink slime” factor on your meat. Ammonia is the FDA’s first choice to kill bacteria in meat. “But wait,” you may say, “is it the same stuff I use to clean my house or that I use in my fertilizer?” Yes. Yes it is. The FDA claims it’s fine because, “it eliminates E. coli to the same degree as if you cooked the product.” You may have internal damage from ingesting it, but at least you won’t have a case of E. coli from your tasty hamburger!
Monsanto has been putting forth all kinds of farm products that we aren’t so sure about, such as Round Up Ready Crops and GMOs up the ying. In most recent news, their Round Up Ready herbicide has been labeled as responsible for the eradication of milkweed, the food of the beautiful monarch butterfly, and the following eradication of the butterflies by 81%. So maybe they don’t care as much about butterflies. Do they care about humans? Meet Michael R. Taylor, a guy with his fingers in all kinds of pies. He’s had jobs both at the FDA and Monsanto, one after the other, there and back again. He’s also a heavy advocate for the government’s controversial “revolving door” issue. The FDA’s current Deputy Commissioner of Food is responsible for the substantial equivalence policy, which is used as a weapon against the “right to know” argument for GMO labeling.
5. Arsenic for livestock
Sometimes bad things come in good packages. In September 2013, the FDA stopped allowing a few arsenic-based drugs from being in farm animal feed (it’s been around since the 1940s). The Huffington Post has this to say about it, “While it might seem like a step in the right direction, consider this: The FDA only passed down the decision after food groups threatened to sue the agency. Before the ban, about 70 percent of U.S. poultry were being fed arsenic-based drugs, and even with the new legislation, one of the 4 banned drugs can still be fed to turkeys.”
6. Artificial Coloring
Even when studies are done, the FDA doesn’t do a thing about it. Red #40 (think Doritos and Cheetoes), the most widely-used food dye, and Yellow #6, the third most widely-used food dye, are linked to hyperactivity, migraines and possibly cancer. Europe is, as usual, ahead of the game and has had them banned, but the FDA still isn’t budging to take them off the US market.
7. The “Whole Grain” Myth
We can all agree that whole grain foods are pretty much the healthiest option. We envision untouched grains just full of unaltered vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. But there’s a terrible truth behind what the FDA allows to be called “whole grain.” As long as the naturally occurring nutrients and parts are added back into the food at the end, you can take them out along the way and add in a number of other additives and flavorings. Sigh.
8. The “Trans-Fat” Myth
Once again, the labeling system seems to have fallen through the cracks of the FDA’s radar. When you’re picking through the snack section of the supermarket and find a package with “Zero Trans Fats” slapped across the front, you may want to think twice. If a food contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving, the label can claim it has “0 grams of trans fats.” Although the FDA recently began a campaign to claim that partially hydrogenated oils are no longer GRAS (generally recognized as safe), legislation has yet to be made against them. If you consume a number of these foods per day, you could be racking up dangerous fats without even knowing. Time to cut back on the chips.
9. Crackdowns on Crime
Would you bust your pals for things they were doing wrong? Probably not, and the FDA is no different. They actually had to be told to prosecute misdemeanor crimes in 2010. A governmental report found the agency to be too soft on corporations that break the rules. Congress found that the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations fell short in comparison to similar agencies, in response to which the FDA admitted they were working on “developing meaningful performance measures.” Excuses, excuses.
Once again, other countries seem to be more on top of things than the United States. rBGH is a hormone that has been banned in more than 25 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and the European Union. Although we consumers have gotten smarter (and tend to pick the products that claim rBGH-free), a 2009 USDA study found that less than 17 percent of cows were being injected with the hormone. The FDA, on the other hand, insists that rBGH (also known as rBST) is both safe and effective.
Biotech Company To Send Woman to Space to Birth First E.T. Baby
There’s a long list of activities expecting mothers are typically told to avoid and often they’re pretty mundane; prolonged physical activity, amusement park rides, and getting a tattoo. Not included on this list – because any sane human would consider it to be pretty much implied – is space flight. But now a biotech company called SpaceLife Origin, wants one lucky lady to cast those overly cautious maternal instincts aside and take a trip into the exosphere, so she can give birth to the first (technically) extraterrestrial child.
SpaceLife Origin is founded on the premise that humans are getting close to colonizing other planets and that Earth is becoming an increasingly hostile environment, due to climate change and other unnamed threats. Accordingly, its founders set up a series of missions that involve launching the precursors of life into space over the next few years, and eventually launching a pregnant woman into space to give birth by 2024.
Their first launch, planned for 2020 and titled Mission Ark, is being marketed as mankind’s ultimate insurance policy, offering individuals the ability to store their “Seeds-of-Life” in a satellite hovering in low-earth orbit for the next several decades. Those with the means to afford it can buy themselves piece of mind, knowing their potential progeny will be stored safely off-planet, impervious to any anthropogenic or natural disasters down here amongst us plebeians.
Their second project, set to launch in 2021 and titled Mission Lotus, involves the first attempt to conceive a human being in space – though not by traditional means. Human egg and sperm cells will be launched up to a space station, where they will be used to artificially create an embryo that will mature for a few days, before being returned to Earth, where gestation will continue inside the mother. Nine months later, she will give birth to the first child conceived off planet.
Finally, Mission Cradle hopes to enact the first birth of a human being in space, technically creating the first “extraterrestrial” baby ever. But how would they get a pregnant woman into space without the G-forces, radiation, and other extreme conditions affecting her unborn child? And what about the trip back? All great questions.
SpaceLife says it’s possible though, and that it’s necessary for us to learn the technical aspects of this process if we ever want to colonize distant planets.
“It’s a small step for a baby, but a giant baby-step for mankind,” said Dr. Egbert Edelbroek, SpaceLife Origins Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer.
It’s hard to tell if the company has achieved the necessary funding, partnerships with space agencies, or humans willing to donate their seeds, but if we had to guess, the latter part of that equation is likely the easiest box to check.
SpaceLife’s website includes a promotional video that shows the evolution of mankind’s achievements in a quick montage of stock images, followed by a video of Elon Musk speaking at a SpaceX event. It’s unclear whether the company is actually in talks with Musk, but it’s obvious they’re at least trying to give him a nudge to recognize their lofty plan.
Unsurprisingly, the tentative space nation Asgardia, has expressed its support of SpaceLife’s plan, as it too, hopes to pioneer a number of firsts in space, including a space station that would support an entire nation. But as idealistic and romantic as this all sounds, it always leads one to wonder whether these futurists have the interests of the people in mind, or whether they’re only considering the upper echelon of society.
For more on the potential existence of an elite plan to covertly colonize our solar system, watch this episode of Deep Space: