This past week had some really interesting headlines regarding our food. In one headline we read, Are Corn Flakes Republican? The article goes on to inform us of a new software program that will scan food in the marketplace and inform you of how the company votes with its dollars. Quoting the Huff Post article, “The app uses data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the Institute for State Money in Politics and the Sunlight Foundation tracking donations by corporate boards, employees and political action committees.”1
So the idea is simple, if you’re a Democrat don’t buy corn flakes—vote with your dollars as well. Good idea—who knows.
In another headline on 24/7 Wall Street, we learn that only ten companies control our food. Indeed, these ten control the world’s food. Quoting the article:
“In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Chris Jochnick, director of the private sector department at Oxfam America, discussed the impact that these 10 companies have on the world. “If you look at the massive global food system, it’s hard to get your head around. Just a handful of companies can dictate food choices, supplier terms and consumer variety,” Jochnick said.
These 10 companies are among the largest in the world by a number of measures. All of them had revenues in the tens of billions of dollars in 2013.Five of these companies had at least $50 billion in assets, while four had more than $6 billion in profits last year. Additionally, these 10 companies directly employed more than 1.5 million people combined — and contracted with far more.2
Another note worthy item when thinking of these ten companies is this, they don’t all only produce food. So ten giants essentially choose food ingredients, sources, and choices as well as environmental and advertising policies. Now how does that make you feel?
Add to this the growing concern over GMO production and the entire matter of labeling GMO products, something the food companies have strongly resisted, and it’s no wonder most of us are turning to our local farmers’ market wherever possible. I mean among these giants are well known companies like Nestle, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, General Mills, and Kellogg Company. If you’re a regular to my rants, than you will remember that it wasn’t long ago that we discussed “who” is behind some truly strange ideas and decisions. For example, at that time Pepsi, Nestle and others were using aborted human fetal cells for flavoring. If you missed my earlier rant, or have forgotten it, please allow me to refresh your memory.
Who On Earth thinks of these things?
Not long ago I learned that “The Marion County Board of Commissioners announced that they are putting a stop to a waste-to-energy facility’s program that was incinerating aborted babies to produce electricity.” Now come on—really? Well who knows? The fact is, although the plant has been receiving shipments of medical waste from Canada that include “human tissue” and “fetal tissue,” specific information documenting that such waste actually included aborted fetuses seems to be unavailable, for the moment at least, through government channels.
So come on now, waste to energy plants burning human tissue to produce electricity—what do you think of that? Oh but wait, this isn’t anything compared to some of the things that have gone on. For example, let’s talk about food for a minute. Google the craziest food additives and an unbelievable array of information greets you. Quoting, “Did you know that once upon a time, amaranth was used as a food coloring (red to be specific) but scientific testing found it to be extremely carcinogenic, so someone came up with a replacement: allura red AC (also know by the E number E129). Allura Red AC is made from coal tar (a liquid that is a by-product of turning coal into coal gas or coke). Coal tar is flammable and is frequently used in medicated shampoos designed to kill head lice. It is also used to make tylenol. While allura red AC is not carcinogenic, it can cause vomiting and other side-effects in some people. Despite this, it is FDA approved and very common in candy and soft drinks.”3
Well how about this one, are you aware that Shellac is used in baking and in mass produced candy to give the finished product a nice shine. Shellac is made from a secretion of the female lac beetle. Or how about this one , cochineal and carmine are two red food colorings that are derived from bugs – the cochineal bug to be exact. Cochineal is produced by drying and pulverizing the whole body of the bug, while carmine is a derivative of cochineal powder. The bugs are usually killed by immersing them in boiling water – the amount of time they spent in the water determines the level of redness – whether it be a lighter orange color or a vivid red. 155,000 insects are needed to make two pounds of food dye.
The list goes on and on. From aborted fetal cells used for flavor testing to the fact that mass-produced bread products are baked with hair… more specifically, through an amino acid called L-cysteine, which is most commonly extracted from hair, but can also be found in feathers.
Now this is my favorite. Beaver anal juice (castoreum) is used in foodstuffs. It is most commonly found as a flavor enhancer in raspberry products – apparently it adds a nice rounded flavor. It is also found in chewing gum and cigarettes. My question is – who on earth discovered that beaver poop juice tasted good with raspberries? I mean, come on, imagine the taste testing that went on discovering this one.
Okay, now just in case you’re a vegetarian, don’t think you’re avoiding animal life either. It’s not just the hair or feathers that might catch you in bread, its animal fat hiding everywhere including in your sacred Twinkies. So once again, I ask, who on earth thinks of these things and how are we suppose to get ahead of the curve and anticipate what we might be eating tomorrow or where our electric power is coming from today
Perhaps we need a software program that allows us to immediately identify the crazy additives and GMOs. Perhaps we need to pay closer attention to who is appointed to those governmental positions that make decisions about our food. Perhaps we should all find ways to grow as much of our own food as possible and to use local farms and ranches. And a word of caution, check off with those local farmers and ranchers—what are they using to grow their crops and/or feed their livestock? We can still apply pressure to produce the food we want to consume.
NY Time Bestselling Author of Choices and Illusions