Food filled with doubt
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.
- 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.
- 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
- Increased pest and disease resistance
- Drought tolerance
- Increased food supply