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What the Fork Are You Eating?

An Action Plan for Your Pantry and Plate

By Stefanie Sacks
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  • Contains 8 key ideas
What the Fork Are You Eating?: An Action Plan for Your Pantry and Plate by Stefanie Sacks
Synopsis

What the Fork Are You Eating? (2014) reveals the hidden ingredients in the food you eat every day and the problematic effects they can have on your body and mind. These blinks give you a plan on how to change your relationship with food and become healthier by eating better and more consciously.

Key idea 1 of 8

Government regulations against dangerous food additives have been historically ineffective.

When you shop at your local grocery store, are you worried you might buy something that could be dangerously unhealthy? After all, the government maintains regulations to protect consumers.

But just how effective are those regulations?

Not very. Food safety in the United States has a bad track record, with regulations that have been historically careless when it comes to keeping dangerous food off our collective plates.

In 1914, for example, the government amended the Pure Food and Drug Act, making it illegal to mislabel food that contained dangerous additives or colorings. Yet this act went largely unenforced. Thus, a product like “Bred Spread,” a strawberry jam substitute that contained coal tar and no natural strawberries, remained on store shelves.

The negligence didn’t stop there. In 1958, the Food Additive Amendment was supposed to make mandatory that companies prove additives used in food products were safe. Although the law seemed straightforward, companies nonetheless found a loophole: the law only applied to new additives.

Additives already used in the market, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), were classified as GRAS, or “generally recognized as safe,” even though companies didn’t have to provide any evidence to support this claim.

Some people suffer from an ailment called monosodium glutamate symptom complex, a reaction to foods with MSG, which can include chest pain, headache, nausea and difficulty breathing. While there is plenty of scientific data to question the safety of MSG in food, it isn’t enough to change the additive’s GRAS classification.

So it pays to think twice about whether government food regulations keep you safe. A better strategy is to be aware of the ingredients that could be harmful to you. Let’s learn how you can do this.

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