Monday, August 21, 2006

Let's Talk Food For A Minute

I don't care much for the FDA or the USDA or pretty much any DA, that should be readily apparent to most folks. These people supposedly do all sorts of things for our own good, like post warning labels on stuff and make feeble attempts to insure the wholesomeness of food. I've run into this a couple of times in the last few weeks and today the straw broke the camels back. While out doing some grocery gathering with my youngest we stopped by to get some cheese, (we're planning on chicken quesadilla's and refritos tonight). Now, I usually check labels on stuff in order to insure the absence of certain things like High Fructose Corn Syrup, (HFCS is one of the main reasons I now bake all my families bread). I don't think about checking to see if a certain food product has a strange chemical in, say a fungicide. I especially don't expect to see a fungicide in cheese.

Well, lo and behold that's exactly what I found today. It seems that companies producing pre-shredded and even whole cheeses are adding a chemical called Natamycin to the cheese and/or the rind or wax. Some companies, like Whole Foods (there doesn't happen to be one around here) will only sell product that has it in the wax on cheese rinds, but other stores don't seem to care. I can get around this by buying bulk cheese instead of convenience cheese, but that's not the point here, really. Other than in the ingredients label there is nothing to let you know that there's a fungicide in these cheeses. If I go to buy a piece of salmon there is a part of the label that clearly and upfront states that a colouring agent has been introduced to the product. Farmed salmon chow contains an innocuous colouring agent that imparts the orange, salmony colour we all like to see in our fish.

The "law" requires this label. Apparently the same standard does not apply to fungicides in dairy products. Go figure. I think I'd much rather see that label on the cheese (many of which are articially coloured, too). Add this in to the FDA's recent announcements and I really have to wonder how safe our food is going to be in the future.

Folks really better start reading the labels on foods which they're eating. While I usually check for HFCS, it's not common for me to check for fungicides which are added solely for the purpose of maintaining an asthetically pleasing appearance. Let's face it, mold is natures way of letting us know the cheese is either off or French, take your pick. We really don't need one more thing which requires us to do more research on our diets. It's become hard enough as it is to ascertain whether a food is safe to eat without adding something else like fungicides into the already complex equation.

FDA, USDA and the other D's and A's need to go away. They're a clear and present danger to our health.

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