There has been extensive media coverage concerning horse DNA found in meat products supplied by the Silvercrest meat processing plant in Ireland.
Of course, the government saw this as an opportunity to try and score points (and create yet another smokescreen) by calling major suppliers to a meeting of the Commons Environment Committee.
Whilst the thought of eating animals other than those contained in product descriptions may seem unpalatable to many of the general public, the presence of horse DNA (meat) in burgers (and possibly other products) is not a health risk insofar as horse meat in perfectly edible.
Most of the general public don’t know what is in their food, and they have probably eaten much worse things than a bit of horse.
You may have noticed that the government do not call emergency meetings when any of the following DAMAGING products are found in our food. These you SHOULD be concerned about:
Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame, (E951) more popularly known as Nutrasweet and Equal, is found in foods labelled “diet” or “sugar free”. Aspartame is believed to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined. Aspartame is not your friend. Aspartame is a neurotoxin and carcinogen. Known to erode intelligence and affect short-term memory, the components of this toxic sweetener may lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumour, diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and seizures. Acesulfame-K, a relatively new artificial sweetener found in baking goods, gum and gelatine, has not been thoroughly tested and has been linked to kidney tumours.
High Fructose Corn Syrup. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a highly-refined artificial sweetener which has become the number one source of calories in America. It is found in almost all processed foods. HFCS packs on the pounds faster than any other ingredient, increases your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage, among other harmful effects. Found in: most processed foods, breads, candy, flavoured yogurts, salad dressings, canned vegetables, cereals.
Potassium Bromate. An additive used to increase volume in some white flour, breads, and rolls, potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals. Even small amounts in bread can create problems for humans. Found in: breads
Sulphur Dioxide (E220). Sulphur additives are toxic and in the United States of America, the Federal Drugs Administration have prohibited their use on raw fruit and vegetables. Adverse reactions include: bronchial problems particularly in those prone to asthma, hypotension (low blood pressure), flushing tingling sensations or anaphylactic shock. It also destroys vitamins B1 and E. Not recommended for consumption by children. The International Labour Organization says to avoid E220 if you suffer from conjunctivitis, bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma, or cardiovascular disease. Found in: beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, cordials, wine, vinegar, and potato products.
BHA and BHT (E320). Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. This common preservative keeps foods from changing colour, changing flavour or becoming rancid. Effects the neurological system of the brain, alters behaviour and has potential to cause cancer. BHA and BHT are oxidants which form cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body. Found in: Potato chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, sweets.
Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite. Sodium nitrate (or sodium nitrite) is used as a preservative, colouring and flavouring in bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, corned beef, smoked fish and other processed meats. This ingredient, which sounds harmless, is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs: the liver and pancreas in particular. Sodium nitrite is widely regarded as a toxic ingredient, and the USDA actually tried to ban this additive in the 1970’s but was vetoed by food manufacturers who complained they had no alternative for preserving packaged meat products. Why does the industry still use it? Simple: this chemical just happens to turn meats bright red. It’s actually a colour fixer, and it makes old, dead meats appear fresh and vibrant. Found in: hotdogs, bacon, ham, luncheon meat, cured meats, corned beef, smoked fish or any other type of processed meat
Sodium Sulphite (E221). Preservative used in wine-making and other processed foods. According to the FDA, approximately one in 100 people is sensitive to sulphites in food. The majority of these individuals are asthmatic, suggesting a link between asthma and sulphites. Individuals who are sulphite sensitive may experience headaches, breathing problems, and rashes. In severe cases, sulphites can actually cause death by closing down the airway altogether, leading to cardiac arrest. Found in: Wine and dried fruit.
This is a small sample of some of the additives put into your everyday foods.
So if you are going to eat meat, there is not much point in worrying about what kind of animal it is when there are a lot of things put into our food that can cause you real damage.
And let’s not forget the gradual introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) that are finding their way into our food supplies.
Thanks to FoodMatters for the additive information.