Food filled with doubt

By Jessi Stone Assistant editor | Feb 26, 2014

Finding out where the food on your table comes from is more difficult than you may think.

Many consumers assume the products they purchase at a supermarket are safe because of government regulations, but Frank Cordell of Waynesville said it’s simply not true.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) don’t have to be labeled in the U.S., many processed foods do not specify where they are made on the packaging and the Food and Drug Administration allows uncessasary chemicals to be put into food products every day.

But Cordell said GMOs are just a small part of the problem. He started a website and YouTube channel, Project America TV, about eight months ago to inform consumers about some of these food supply issues.

“We don’t think about it much because we think the FDA is protecting us,” he said on a recent YouTube video, where it notes that is far from the truth. “They help the corporations.”

For example, the popular sandwich chain Subway recently announced it would be removing a chemical in its bread that is also used to make yoga mats and shoe soles. The chemical is azodicarbonamide and is FDA approved as a “dough conditioner” and can be found in many types of bread.

Unfortunately, Cordell said most of the breads he checked at the local grocery store, including the “healthy” ones, contained this same chemical.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has the chemical listed under the “avoid” category on its online directory of food additives because it is “very poorly tested and not worth any risk.” CSPI also states that the second breakdown product of the chemical, urethane, is a recognized carcinogen and toasting bread with the chemical increases the level of urethane.

“That’s why we’re fat and sick,” Cordell said. “The U.S. leads the world in obesity, heart disease, gluten intolerance and diabetes. There are countries that have never heard of breast cancer because they eat natural food, but it’s rampant in our country.”

Hot Pockets owner Nestle USA recently recalled some of its products because they could have contained recalled meat believed to come from diseased animals. It’s headlines like these that have prompted Cordell to try to inform consumers of the risks they are taking by not paying close attention to their food.

Cordell has another website, www.crazyncman.com, that he uses to review products and make a living. In reviewing these products, he realized how many come from China, including a number of our popular food options.

“Our government really will never do anything about it since we are so in debt to China,” he said in one of his videos. “It will take an effort from we the people to change our buying habits and look for the made in America label.”

Cordell said he made the decision a few years ago to get himself and his son into better shape by exercising. They also cut out fast food and started to buy healthier foods. That is when Cordell really started to pay attention to the origins of the food he purchased.

“My excuse for eating bad was that I was so busy, but really it was just laziness,” he said. “I’m not a scientist — you have to read and do your own investigation. It’s bigger than GMO foods. Our whole food system is corrupt. We as a race just don’t care any more.”

Now his family eats all organic, buys as much as they can from local growers and is working on growing their own food at home. That can prove difficult while living in a townhome with little open space, but it’s possible through new technology like the tower gardens.

He also buys his meat from local growers in Haywood County after asking a butcher at Ingle’s where the meat comes from.

“Turns out it comes from National Beef (Packing Co.) out of Kansas City and it’s pumped full of all kind of junk,” Cordell said.

Even Ingle’s Harvest Farms organic brand meat comes from National Beef, according to its website, and Cordell doesn’t trust that this meat is processed any differently than other National Beef products.

“National Beef selected an exclusive group of Angus ranchers having the same core values as you and created a natural product they'd be proud to serve their own family,” the Harvest Farms website stated.

Cordell hopes his Project America TV will shed more light on the issues and get people thinking more about their food sources. He encourages people to buy local when possible, read labels closely, ask questions and only shop the perimeter of the grocery store where the freshest products are available.

He said he has reached out to legislators about their stance on GMOs and trying to get their support for requiring companies like Monsanto to label GMO foods, “but no one wants to touch it.” He said these companies are also allowed to perform their own testing, which he sees as a clear conflict.

To learn more about GMOs and other food supply issues, Cordell’s videos can be found at www.projectamericatv.com.

 

GMO facts

  • A genetically modified food refers to crop plants that have been modified in the laboratory to enhance desired traits, such as resistance to herbicides or improved nutritional content.
  • The U.S. government's position: Genetically engineered crops are safe, resist disease better, and can provide much-needed food in starving nations.
  • The EU position: Keep it out. We prefer organic, which is much healthier. The risk of genetically modified foods to health and the environment outweigh the benefits. Only the multinational biotech companies will benefit, dominating the world food supply and squeezing out traditional farmers.
  • Experts say 60 percent to 70 percent of processed foods on U.S. grocery shelves have genetically modified ingredients.
  • The most common genetically modified foods are soybeans, maize, cotton, and rapeseed oil.

 

Risks

  • Introducing allergens and toxins to food
  • Accidental contamination between genetically modified and non-genetically modified foods
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Adversely changing the nutrient content of a crop
  • Creation of "super" weeds and other environmental risks

 

Benefits

  • Increased pest and disease resistance
  • Drought tolerance
  • Increased food supply

Source: WebMD

Comments (4)
Posted by: Linda Sexton | Feb 26, 2014 10:16

Frank, thank you for your efforts to bring this into view for our local residents.  It is hard for all of us to avoid food containing GMO's.  If we reduce and then stop eating processed foods, there will be greater health for us.  Those of us in our 60's think that foods from supermarkets have to be good for us.  But we need to be smarter and I think you are helping to do that.  Ingle's Market has started to carry local beef from Hickory Nut Gap Farm, but you have to get to the stores by Wed. morning before it is all gone. They used to carry bison from SC, but now have switched to their brand, so I have stopped buying.  If one is to eat meat, you need to be selective in where it comes from, how it was raised, how it was slaughtered.  OK, time to get off of my soap box.  Good future to you is wished.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Feb 26, 2014 11:05

               Constantly trying to diversify my farm, I looked into "organic" many years ago. At that time I was required to lay my ground fallow for 7 years, maintain a bumper zone around the entire field, no use of artificial chemicals, fertilizers, etc, etc. It was not do-able. It was the big corporations that lobbied for and got relaxations of the original requirements. Most of the consumables labeled as "organic" are not truly organic. Unless the dirt used was cleansed of all artificial chemicals confined in a sealed building preventing any airborne or water borne or insect-critter born contamination, etc, etc, with only natural fertilizers(manure) that has been produced by animals under the same restrictions, etc, etc, the product is not truly organic. Not many growers meet these requirements. Even home growers do not.

 

                      C.Z.



Posted by: Linda Sexton | Feb 28, 2014 08:56

I wish you would look into it again.  Even the test farm, who works an area striving for organic, uses manure from cows that are local and are eating what is likely not to be organic silage and grass.  However, at least they are trying methods that will decrease the amount of chemicals applied to foods that we love to eat.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 01, 2014 09:50

                  Dear Linda Sexton;

 

                  The original requirements for "organic" was that the dirt lay fallow for 7 years, that large borders be used to prevent contamination from wind or most critters, that only products that met strict requirements be used, that animals be free from any artificial products for 7 years housed in buildings with no contact from outside sources that might contaminate or ortherwise negate the meaning of "organic". Etc. Etc. This was strictly enforced with few cases of true compliance. Unfortunetly the big corporations asked for and got great relaxation of the original rules. Now "organic" means very little.

                No offense to anyone but, if a crop, whether animal or grain or plant is allowed to be subject to Nature, it is not realy "organic". Wind and rain will transport chemicals and unwanted pollen, etc. Critters and bugs, too. As well as unseen organismisms like bacteria, etc. If the people caring for crops are not careful and maintain a strict adhearance to true organic requirements, all can be lost quickly.

                    In the early 70s there was a hog farm in central Indiana that was "specific pathogen free"(SPF) whereby they were regularly inspected to retain that classification. It allowed them to sell their pigs for more money. Their hog farm grew to what was claimed to be a "million under roof". Unfortunetly they failed to maintain their buildings from outside critters. Rats coming from a nearby farm had invaded this huge complex that was completely tied together and brought desease with them. Wiped out the SPF status and hog complex. Didn't help that they had hired "seasonal labor" at minimum wage while the original owners were busy makings deals.

                C.Z.



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