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Food Gardening – What is the Attitude of the Food and Drug Administration?

For many years food production by home food gardeners, community gardeners and urban farmers has been on the rise. According to the National Gardening Association, growing food at home or in a community garden is up 17 percent over the past 5 years.  In 1994, there were 1,755 farmer’s markets in the U.S. By 2014 there were 8,268 farmers markets, an almost five-fold increase.

Purchases of organic foods, absent many of the food additives that are causing concern are expected to grow at an annual rate of 14 percent from 2013 to 2018. The Organic Trade Association estimates that about 81 percent of families are purchasing organic food at least some of the time.

One might almost say that there is concern among citizens about the use of toxins in food that is helping fuel a move to raise your own or buy organic.

The FDA maintains a list of about 3,000 different ingredients approved for adding to foods.  If you want a reason to go organic or raise your own, visit the link above and spend a little time looking at each of the entries. If you are a real investigator, look up some of the chemicals and see what they are. Here is the link:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/FoodAdditivesIngredients/ucm091048.htm

The growing exodus from food administered thousands of additives and the number of reports that conflict with official FDA positions of the safety of these chemical additives, you would think the Food and Drug Administration might lighten up. Following are some almost comical statements by the FDA on food gardening and rationalization of industrial food ingredients.

FDA statement: “Some additives could be eliminated if we were willing to grow our own food, harvest and grind it, spend many hours cooking and canning, or accept increased risks of food spoilage. But most consumers today rely on the many technological, aesthetic and convenient benefits that additives provide.”

This statement is almost condescending, trying to categorize folks who raise and can food as denizens from a backward past. Does the FDA not read the statistics? There are 76 million food related illnesses and 325,000 hospitalizations due to food illness every year in the U.S.

FDA statement: “Preservatives slow product spoilage caused by mold, air, bacteria, fungi or yeast. In addition to maintaining the quality of the food, they help control contamination that can cause foodborne illness, including life-threatening botulism.”

High on the FDA list of approved preservatives is BHA and BHT. The National Toxicology Program has concluded that BHA is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. Uploaded here is an interesting video by Vani Hari of Foodbabe.com

FDA statement: “Color additives are used in foods for many reasons: 1) to offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions; 2) to correct natural variations in color; 3) to enhance colors that occur naturally; and 4) to provide color to colorless and “fun” foods. Without color additives, colas wouldn’t be brown, margarine wouldn’t be yellow and mint ice cream wouldn’t be green. Color additives are now recognized as an important part of practically all processed foods we eat.”

Item 1 above essentially says food colors help camouflage food that has deteriorated to the point that we might not eat it. After reading the FDA’s reasoning for food coloring it almost makes one laugh. Uploaded here is a short video on food coloring issues.

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