More and Less Than Meets The Eye: Those Bright Oranges And Pink Salmon Are Not What They Seem
By Kurtis Bright
Tricks of the Food Trade: From Oranges to Chicken to Salmon, How Food Manufacturers Are Fooling You
If you needed any more proof that food manufacturers don’t want us to know what they’re putting in their products--that is, into our food--the ugliness over Vermont’s failed GMO labeling bill should tell you all you need to know.
Just when it seemed like the White Hats in Bernie Sanders country were going to succeed in taking control of GMO labeling so their citizens could know what they were eating, the bill was scuttled. Big grocery manufacturers and Big Agriculture went crying to their lackeys in Congress and got a new version of the DARK Act passed--so dubbed by opponents as the Denying Americans the Right to Know Act--a bill that actually prevents states from passing labeling laws. (Here's a good explanation of what the SAFE Act--its official name--entails, despite the article having been written before passage.)
So they’ve got secrets. Indeed, never before has an industry fought so hard to obscure its actual product and keep it hidden; selling GMOs requires a weird jujutsu that is essentially the opposite of advertising.
But as with anyone who has secrets and is trying to fool you, its good to know what they are, even if you don’t know exactly what they are hiding. But with these GMO guys there are some things we do know, some tricks of their trade that you can look out for when you’re shopping. Here are a few examples.
pink salmon - That neon bright pink-orange color you often find in the
salmon at the fish counter in your grocery store is usually not natural.
Wild-caught salmon has a healthy pinkish red hue, due to the krill they eat.
However, since farmed salmon eat chemical-laden food pellets and never
encounter krill in at any point in their short, miserable lives crammed into
off-shore pens by the thousands, their color would normally be a dull
gray. But as any parent of a toddler knows, bright colors catch the eye.
Shoppers unfortunately have been conditioned to expect that unnaturally
bright pink-orange color in salmon. Thus, fish farms give the animals
pigment pellets to give their meat that color. The practice is so
ingrained that food pellet manufacturers have swatches of pinks and
oranges and reds for industrial salmon farmers to choose from when
ordering their fish feed. Pick your poison: It's called a Salmo-Fan and it is appalling.
- Oranges that are too orange - Have you ever wondered how those oranges you see in northern stores in winter can possibly all come with such a uniformly bright, vivid color? Well, if you know anything about the trickery of food manufacturers, it is of course no mystery: many Florida oranges are treated with a dye called Citrus Red No. 2 early on in the season to give them a brighter color. Of course, being firmly in the pocket of Big Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration has approved its use. However, despite this, you should know that the Center for Science in the Public Interest has issued multiple warnings over the dye. The non-profit group cites studies demonstrating that the dye can cause cancer in lab animals, among other problems. It is, however, banned in California. So oranges from that state should be free of the chemical. If you do end up buying bags of the Florida oranges, the label should say whether they have been dyed or not. However, buying loose oranges from a bin in a non-organic section of the store, you will never know what you’re getting--or rather, you probably will: dyed, chemically-treated oranges.
- Other dyed foods - So now it has come down to this: even bread is getting the dye treatment. Often a loaf of supposedly wheat bread has been treated with caramel coloring to make it look...well, wheatier. It is a way in which manufacturers are able to fool us yet again, palming off refined grain breads as the healthier, and more sought-after whole wheat type. Other victims of industry dye jobs are pickles, which are given a shot of yellow coloring to make them look more vibrant and eye-catching, as well as deli meats. As we have witnessed repeatedly, the FDA has rolled over for Big Food (and of course their Big Money) and approved the use of these dyes. Indeed, is there anything they won’t approve, when it comes to pleasing food manufacturers and stuffing consumers full of chemicals and additives? At any rate, be on the lookout for dyes on food labels, as they often indicate a food that is highly processed and loaded with unnecessary and sometimes dangerous additives.
- That ain’t no chicken soup I’ve ever heard of - Prepare yourself for a really nasty one: the U.S. Department of Agriculture has regulations in place that allow manufacturers to sell chicken that is up to 11 percent water. That doesn’t sound so horrible on the face of it. However what that means in practice this: after the chickens are slaughtered and had their feathers boiled off, they are cooled in a bath that contains bleach or another disinfectant. The reason they have to use bleach is because there is so much chicken feces spraying out of the birds following their gruesome deaths. Thus, up to 11 percent of your “healthy,” boneless, skinless chicken breast is bleach-poop water. Bon appetit!