MYSTERY TOXIC FOODS

© Photograph by SMEREKA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Cloned cow’s stomach

Traditionally, cheese makers used rennet derived from the mucosa of a veal calf’s fourth stomach to create the beloved, versatile dairy product. But Bradley notes that cost and the limited availability of calf stomachs have led to the development of several alternatives, including vegetable rennet, microbial rennet, and—the food industry’s rennet of choice—a genetically modified version derived from a cloned calf gene. It’s used to make the vast majority of cheese sold in the United States. Since GMO ingredients aren’t listed on the label, it can be tough for consumers to avoid rennet from this source. “With all these rennet varieties often listed simply as “enzymes” on an ingredient panel, it can be very hard to know exactly what kind you’re eating when you buy cheese,” says Bradley, author of Fat Profits.

© Photograph by LEIGH PRATHER/SHUTTERSTOCK

Flesh-eating bacteria

Grocery store meats are commonly infused with veterinary medicines, heavy metals, and staph bacteria, including the hard-to-kill, potentially lethal MRSA strain. Unfortunately, the problem is far from rare. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that half of grocery store meat tested harbored staph bacteria. Researchers ID the overuse of antibiotics in industrial agriculture as a major cause in the rise of superbugs in our grocery store food. MRSA kills about 19,000 people a year in America—that’s more annual deaths than from AIDS in the U.S. Purchasing grass-fed meat and eggs from organic farmers is a more sustainable choice.

© Photograph by DEFOTOBERG/SHUTTERSTOCK

Herbicide-flavored food

Glyphosate, the active chemical ingredient in the popular weed killer, Roundup, is a hormone-disrupting chemical now used primarily on corn and soy crops genetically engineered to withstand a heavy dousing of the chemical. Roundup is so heavily used around homes and in farm fields that it’s now being detected in streams, the air, and even rain. Because it’s a systemic herbicide, it’s actually taken up inside the plant—meaning we eat it—and it’s legally allowed in our food and in an amount that worries scientists. It’s found in most nonorganic packaged foods because most contain corn- or soy-derived ingredients, the crops that are most often heavily doused with Roundup. Glyphosate exposure is linked to obesity, learning disabilities, birth defects, infertility, and potentially irreversible metabolic damage. To avoid pesticides in products, eat organic and avoided processed foods as much as possible. And use caution—”all natural” foods often are chockfull of pesticides and genetically engineered ingredients.

© Photograph by ANNETTE SHAFF/SHUTTERSTOCK

Beaver anal gland juice

It’s a bitter, smelly, orange-brown substance known as castoreum, explains Bradley. “In nature, it’s combined with the beaver’s urine and used to mark its territory.” It’s used extensively in processed food and beverages, typically as vanilla or raspberry flavoring. This gross ingredient won’t show up on the label—instead, companies using it in making processed food list it as natural flavoring. This poses a dilemma for vegans, vegetarians, and anyone who wants to avoid eating any creature’s anal excretions.

Article source: Leah Zerbe for RodalesOrganicLife.com

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