GM, Gasses, Irradiation and Big Business: Subversion in the Grocery Store by Cameron Salisbury

by Cameron Salisbury
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
crossposted at Arthritis-Alternatives
July 22, 2010

Summer 2009: Juliet Tomatoes

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

Wouldn’t you know it. Just when we thought that we had made choices that made the adulterated American food supply manageable, Corporate Agriculture finds new ways to quietly and unobtrusively pollute our lunch. We figured a way around the colors, texturizers, hidden gluten, preservatives and taste enhancers with unpronounceable names, and thought we were home free at dinner time.

That’s the way it used to be. As the twenty-first century arrived the dark clouds that had been gathering for several decades finally turned American food production into a torrent of bad news for consumers and a bonanza for agribusiness.

The new food productions and preservation techniques, like genetically modified seeds, irradiation of everything that doesn’t move, and gasses that create the appearance of freshness no matter how old the meat, were originally introduced for commercial use in the latter years of the 20th century. None of these changes to the food supply were designed to benefit the health of the consumer. In fact, our regulatory watchdogs, the FDA and USDA have allowed their wholesale introduction into our food supply without serious testing or monitoring.

To keep the consumer in the dark, the USDA and FDA deliberately colluded with Corporate Agriculture by allowing them to introduce their spiffy new methods of polluting the food supply and enhancing their bottom line without the labeling that would have allowed the consumers to make their own decisions. The consumer no longer has even the illusion of protection.

We are on our own.

There has never been more than one purpose to the unending adulteration of the food supply in the U.S., and it certainly was not to benefit us. All of the new pollution methods have been to extend shelf life into infinity and beyond, to sell more and cost Monsanto and ArcherDanielsMidland as little as possible to do it. They have the full collusion of the major grocery chains.

Some of the changes to the food supply, like irradiation, indiscriminately kills organisms, the good and the bad alike, and eliminates the need for growers and processor to maintain sanitary conditions on the farm and at the factory. You may be buying and eating filth but at least it has been sterilized.

Treatment with radiation also inhibits sprouting in potatoes and delays fruit ripening. In other words, it allows food to be transported long distances and extends shelf life far into the future with no change in appearance.

Public Citizen, the Center for Food Safety, and Food and Water Watch have declared the use of radiation on the food supply to be an experiment on the American consumer without informed consent.

Radiation-induced changes in human DNA can produce cancer. Do DNA changes to veggies create synthetic eats without the usual life supporting properties? No one knows what food irradiation kills besides pests, or if the food is functionally the same after.

And then there are the production problems with the radiation itself: there has already been radioactive leakage from a processing plant into the water supply in a suburb of Atlanta.

Thus far, despite continuing industry pressure, the FDA has maintained that irradiated food must contain a radiation symbol, which has limited its use since food processors fear that making consumers aware will hurt their profits. Lobbyists for Corporate Agriculture are working relentlessly to get the requirement for disclosure rescinded.

On the flip side of the disclosure issue are the growing and processing methods for which consumers may legally be kept in the dark. Almost all U.S. produced corn, soybean, cotton and beet sugar are now GM. But, have you ever seen a label in the grocery store that would alert you to the presence of something in your veggies, meat, or corn flakes that you might not want to eat or feed your family? No? Unlike European countries where an informed public has ferociously fought the introduction of GM food, it is probable that every pantry and frig in the clueless U.S. contains it.

And then there are the gasses, one of the newest unstudied innovations for contaminating food that is also legally allowed to remain undisclosed to the buyer. Most consumers are not aware that virtually all meat, fish and poultry sold at retail has been treated with a gas to extend the surface appearance of freshness.

In the old days, say, a year or so ago, only packaged ground meats were treated with gas. Since the gas created a tight, balloon-like appearance to the packaging, they were easy to spot and avoid.

These days, processors, with the collusion of large grocery stores, are in the habit of gassing everything possible. Even the fresh fish in the deli has almost always been gassed on its way to you, with the butcher often none the wiser. Packaged fruits and vegetables are also increasingly treated with gas.

Food processors were able to convince the FDA and USDA that the gasses they use, nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, occur naturally in the atmosphere and therefore qualify as GRAS – Generally Regarded As Safe – and in no need of labeling disclosure.

Apparently none of the regulators thought to ask if gasses that enter the airways are metabolized the same as the identical gas that enters the digestive system by way of food.

As the millions of people with an impaired immune system already know, they are not.

It will probably take many years, as consumers gradually become aware of the impact of contaminated food on their bodies, to undo these regulations.

Even without counting the endless list of preservatives, artificial colors and texturizing agents, quietly and invisibly the food supply of the United States has become the most legally polluted on earth.

The US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, federal agencies created to protect the public from polluted food and unsafe medications, have been undermined by the corporate, capitalism-at-any-cost, mindset of one presidential administration after another. As mind-numbing as it seems, the activities of these federal regulators are often subsidized and compromised by their corporate regulatees. Scientists who object to the latest toxin proposed for grocery store aisles often have their careers threatened by the regulated, the ones actually calling the shots.

In the meantime, U.S. life expectancy and average height, major indicators of the health of a population, today fall far behind other nations.

Food allergies and asthma are an increasingly prominent causes of illness, death and disability.

When you get a chance, tune in to this video:


TomByson | July 29, 2007

From the archives:

The Food Bubble: How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away With It

Calling All Future-Eaters by Chris Hedges

Dennis Kucinich Introduces Right to Know Legislation (anti-GMO)

Monsanto – Public Enemy No. 1 By Siv O’Neall

The World According to Monsanto – A documentary that Americans won’t ever see (video)

11 thoughts on “GM, Gasses, Irradiation and Big Business: Subversion in the Grocery Store by Cameron Salisbury

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  7. I agree that the trickery is bad, but I think it comes down to a matter of trust. Do you trust the grocer to forgo the short-term profit in order to provide higher quality & keep a long-term customer?

    If you think about it that way FIRST, then of-course you can; but the grocer is presented FIRST with the NUMBERS of spending vs. income, & their gonna do whatever can keep the former to a minimum until their conscience kicks back in!

  8. Corporate greed and bureaucratic collusion will ultimately destroy the planet as we know it!

    • @Shane, that is a very negative outlook … faulty thinking. That’s like ‘seeing it’s raining & KNOWING you’ll drown.’ Unless they’ve BOUGHT YOU TOO! OH NOOOOOOOOOO! :-)) 😛

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