April 12, 2012
Pink slime. Ammonia. Arsenic. Hormones. Steroids. Genetic alteration. Doesn’t that all sound yummy? If you read the paper or listen to television news at all, you’re learning (as I am) that all this stuff is put in our food, and done to our food, in an attempt to strengthen the bottom line of the companies that provide them. Who’s supposed to be at the switch on this? The FDA? Well great job.
So many of us grew up in the generation that ate whatever was marketed to us on TV. We ate potato chips. We ate Ho-Hos and Twinkies and drank sugared-up, revved-up soft drinks. I mean, if they were on television, they must have been OK, right? Hey, they must have actually been good for us, even.
I have, in the past seven or eight years, begun to pay close attention to nutrition, food sources and additives. As a result, we grow our own vegetables in a small garden in our back yard. When I learned that chickens are being pumped up with steroids heretofore only seen in sweaty, dark gyms, I started shopping for organic chicken. When pink slime was exposed as being a widely-used ammonia-treated beef filler (used, of course, in our best interest to keep costs down), I started shopping for organic beef.
I’m not sure when some guy sitting somewhere in a penthouse office decided that it was OK to sell consumers foods that would likely make them or their children sick, but he did. And I’m not sure when the good folks at the FDA decided that certain amounts of this or that, rat hair or ammonia, slime or steroids, are acceptable for human consumption, but they did.
I am sure, however, that it’s our responsibility to do our homework on this stuff. It’s my responsibility as a wife, a mom and a consumer, to know what we’re consuming. I just wish full disclosure was required of the folks that sell this stuff, and I wish the people who are supposed to be minding the store would use some common sense when they rubber-stamp foods safe for consumption. But until that day, I will read everything I can get my hands on, starting with labels.
Now, it’s almost time to make dinner. Let’s see, what goes best with abnormally large chicken breasts? Carmine (crushed red beetle abdomens) or bone char (cow bones used in several foods, including gelatin and sugar)? Yes, those are both acceptable food additives.
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of the recently-released book, “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays. She has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. Her next book, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear,” will be released this summer.