By: Amanda Froelich,
As complementary and holistic healing modalities rise in popularity, consumers are becoming more vigilant about what they consume. This means that the $37 billion processed food industry is finally dealing with scrutiny from the FDA and concerned citizens regarding the ingredients and sourcing of many food items.
With this increase of awareness, Americans are realizing that not only are the types of foods consumed imperative in supporting or degenerating health, but the source is just important as well. And while measures have been adopted in other countries to ensure citizens are protected from toxic chemicals and low quality products, the United States is one of the only nations that has yet to increase it’s food standards.
To increase awareness and education, a list of foods available in the United States, but illegal elsewhere, follow:
Genetically Engineered Papaya
The United States sources most of its papaya from Hawaii. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the tropical fruit imported from this state is genetically engineered (GE) to be ringspot virus-resistant.
Research shows that animals fed GE foods, such as soy and corn, suffer intestinal damage, multiple-organ damage, massive tumors, birth defects, premature death, and/or nearly complete sterility by the third generation.
Long-term research measuring the danger to humans is still unknown.
Where it’s banned: The European Union
Ractopine – Tainted Meat
It is a common practice to pump the asthma drug ractopine into about 45 percent of US pigs, 30 percent of cattle, and an unknown percentage of turkeys before slaughter. And up to 20 percent of this drug is still present in meat when it is bought.
Since 1998, more than 1,700 pork consumers have been “poisoned” in this way. Because of the threat ractopine presents, it has been banned in over 160 countries! In fact, Russia issued a ban on US meat imports, effective February 11, 2013, until it is certified ractopine-free.
The dangerous drug is linked to reduced reproductive function, increased mastitis, and increased death in animals. In humans, it damages the cardiovascular system and may even cause hyperactivity, chromosomal abnormalities, and behavioral changes. What’s more, US meats are not even currently tested for ractopine.
Where it’s banned: 160 countries across Europe, mainland China, and Taiwan.
When it comes to health, wild-caught salmon is often recommended, and for good reason. Farm raised fish are usually fed an unnatural diet of genetically engineered grains, antibiotics, and chemicals unsafe for humans. To mask the resulting graying flesh, they are given toxic and potentially sight-damaging synthetic astaxanthin.
The difference between wild-caught and farm-raised (sold in most restaurants) is that wild sockeye gets its’ red color from natural astaxanthin and carotenoids. To differentiate which fish you’re being served, look at the fat. Thin strips of fat mean the fish is ‘lean’ and wild-caught, while pale pink cuts with wide fat marks mean the salmon was farm raised.
It is recommended to avoid ‘Atlantic Salmon’, and instead look for ‘Alaskan’ or ‘Sockeye’ if you choose to consume fish. These two types are illegal to farm and have very high natural astaxanthin concentrations.
Where it’s banned: Australia and New Zealand
Flame Retardant Drinks
Did you know that many soft drinks in the United States contain the synthetic chemical brominated vegetable oil (BVO)? Mountain Dew and other drinks are just a few that contain this patented flame retardant.
In humans, BVO from fizzy drinks accumulates in human tissue and in breast milk. And in animal studies, BVO accumulation has been shown to cause reproductive and behavioral problems.
Bromine alters the central nervous and endocrine systems and promotes iodine deficiency, causing skin rashes, acne, loss of appetite, fatigue, and cardiac arrhythmias.
Featured in MSN, “The FDA has flip-flopped on BVO’s safety, originally classifying it as ‘generally recognized as safe,” but reversing that call, now defining it as an ‘interim food additive,’ a category reserved for possibly questionable substances used in food.”
Where it’s banned: Europe and Japan
Processed Foods and Artificial Dyes
In most processed foods, there is an arsenal of artificial colorings and flavorings added to enhance flavor and appeal. In fact, more than 3,000 preservatives, flavorings, and colors are added to US foods, many of which are banned in other countries.
Common additives such as Yellow #5, Blue #2, or Red #40 have been linked with behavioral problems, Cancer, birth defects, and many other health issues in animals. Yellow #6 and Red #40 are specifically recognized as causing an allergy-like hypersensitivity reaction in children and migraines in adults.
Using dyes and toxic chemicals for food appeal is not only harmful, but now completely unnecessary. In countries where food colorings are banned, companies like Kraft employ natural colorants like paprika, turmeric, and beetroot.
Where it’s banned: Norway and Austria. Britain advised companies against using food dyes by the end of 2009. The European Union requires a warning notice on most foods containing dyes.
Because aresenic-laced drugs allow animals to grow faster and meats products to look pinker and “fresher”, they are approved in US produced animal feed. The FDA says arsenic-based drugs are safe because they contain organic arsenic, but organic can easily turn into inorganic arsenic, run through contaminated manure, and leach into drinking water.
It is important to note that the European Union has never approved using arsenic in animal feed; US environmental groups have sued the FDA to remove them.
Where it’s banned: The European Union
Bread with Potassium Bromate
Cheaply produced breads (as well as hamburger and hotdog buns) with refined, white flour commonly include potassium bromate. Food ‘enriched’ with this ingredient (which is also known as bromide) is linked to kidney and nervous system damage, thyroid problems, gastrointestinal discomfort, and cancer.
Commercial baking companies may claim it renders dough more tolerable to bread hooks, but natural brands that source wholesome ingredients use only unbromated flour without experiencing ‘structural problems’.
Where it’s banned: Canada, China, and the EU
Preservatives BHT and BHA
BHA (butylated hydroxanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxtoluene) are common preservatives in foods like cereal, nut mixes, chewing gum, butter spreads, meat, and beer. According to the National Toxicology Program’s 2011 Report on Carcinogens, BHA may trigger allergic reactions and hyperactivity, and is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”
Where it’s banned: Both are banned in parts of the European Union and Japan; the UK does not allow BHA in infant food.
Created by Procter and Gamble, Olestra, or Olean, is a calorie and carbohydrate-free fat substitute in fat-free snacks like chips and french fries. Three years ago TIME magazine named it one of the 50 worst inventions ever.
And a study from Purdue University concluded that rats fed potato chips with Olean ended up gaining weight. Several reports of adverse intestinal reactions to the fake fat include diarrhea, cramps, and leaky bowel syndrome.
Because it interferes with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K, the FDA requires these vitamins to be added to any product that is made with Olestra or Olean.
Where it’s banned: The UK and Canada
Milk and Dairy Products made with rBGH
Large-scale dairy factories are not only unethical, they also utilize hormones and toxic chemicals detrimental to human health. Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a synthetic version of natural bovine hormone, is injected to cows to increase milk production. It was developed by Monsanto from genetically engineered E.coli bacteria, marketed as “Polisac”.
But rBGH is banned in 30 other countries. Why? It has been shown to convert normal tissue cells into cancerous ones, increasing colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer risks. Among other diseases, injected cows suffer exorbitant rates of mastitis, contaminating milk with pus and antibiotics.
Activists have been trying to expose the dangers of rBGH for over a decade. In 1997, two Fox-affiliate investigative journalists, Jane Akyre and Steve Wilson, tried to share the harmful effects of the hormone, but lawyers for Monsanto shut down their story, promising ‘dire consequences’ if it ever aired.
Other nations are more aware of the dangers it poses, however. In 1999, the United Nations Safety Agency ruled unanimously not to endorse rBGH milk, resulting in an international ban on US milk.
Support to change the acceptance of rBGH is slowly gaining momentum in the states, thankfully. The Cancer Prevention Coalition (trying for years to affect a dairy industry ban of rBGH) resubmitted a petition to FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg in January 2010. But the FDA still refuses to change its false position that rBGH-treated milk is no different than milk from untreated cows.
Where it’s banned: Austrailia, New Zealand, Israel, EU, and Canada
Take control of your health. Foods may be still available for consumption in the states, but if you are vigilant of what chemicals, additives, and food sources should be avoided, those products can be easily omitted.
For optimal health, avoid foods that contain harmful ingredients, exclude processed foods, and include as many wholesome plant foods as possible. Sticking with organic, fresh-raised, and natural food products will ensure toxic ingredients banned elsewhere will remain outside of your home and clear of your body.