If you don't know much about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), then you probably think that seeing a label like "FDA Approved" means that what you're consuming is generally safe and/or healthy. But as I said, that's only if you don't know much about it. It turns out that the FDA is, like many other organizations, fairly corrupt.
But there's a difference between this organization and others. The FDA is meant to keep citizens safe from harmful food additives and drugs. But when you're lining your pockets with corporate handouts, it's difficult to stay objective and unbiased. There are quite a few things that the FDA definitely doesn't want you to know about how they work.
They put ammonia in burgers, disregard statistics from drug usage, approve thousands of additives, put arsenic in turkeys, are trying to kill farmer's markets, don't have any data on GMOs, allow poisonous red dye in many popular products, and there's so much more. So if you really want to be disgusted with the FDA (and with your lunch/dinner/snacks) keep on reading.
16 They Don't Care About Statistics
So, here's the thing: the FDA spends a lot of time worrying about natural remedies and trying to shut down the marketing of them. This is mainly because natural remedies are a lot cheaper than the drugs that 'Big Pharma' pays the FDA to turn a blind eye to. It also happens that natural remedies typically don't work anywhere near as well as actually researched and tested drugs, but that's beside the point. The FDA spends more time fighting natural remedies than looking into the incredible suicide statistics among users of FDA approved anti-depressants. Considering that anti-depressants are meant to help keep depression at bay, the suicide stats are pretty grim. I think people will find out pretty quickly that natural remedies don't work. And maybe the FDA can spend more time on important things.
15 There Are 3000 Approved Additives
Alright, so back when a lot of products would simply be salted in order to preserve them, horrible things like laudanum and formaldehyde were also used (and are used slightly less these days). I have to say that I understand the need for preservatives in order to keep our food from spoiling during transport and storage. That makes sense. What's a little crazy, though, is the fact that the FDA approves over 3,000 preservatives and additives, many of which are not needed to keep the food from spoiling. People have issues with purchasing food products that don't look nice, so there are many additives that are used simply to keep the product looking good. So, this is actually partially our fault, but given that the FDA is meant to keep us safe... it's more their fault.
14 Insects And Excrement In Our Daily Food
This might actually not be any surprise to any of you, but there is a very interesting statistic on foodstuffs that is kind of disgusting. Now, this isn't one of those few thousand additives that the FDA approves, though it is technically an additive, and the FDA does technically approve it. It turns out that there are specific percentages of insect remains, excrement, rodent hairs, rot, larvae, and insect eggs allowed in our everyday food. There are a lot of people who were greatly disgusted by this fact. But let's be honest, you will never be able to eliminate 100 percent of these things (unless you ironically use chemicals that you probably want the FDA to actually prevent the usage of). At least when you're eating these trace amounts of filth, you know it's organic. But the FDA would rather you not know.
13 Factory Farm Toxins
Alright, so besides the obviously incredible amounts of pesticides and toxins thrown into factory farms across the country, there is a far bigger issue with the way this industry runs, and how little the FDA seems to care about it. If you've never seen how chickens are treated in factory farms, you're very lucky. But, there's something worth looking at in the disgustingly cramped farms that plague America. The close quarters and inability for the animals to really move makes it very easy for disease to spread, and the frequency of E. coli outbreaks is much greater because of this. Mad Cow always affects whole herds of cattle for a pretty specific reason: they're all jammed together and any cow that didn't contract the disease would be killed anyway because of their proximity.
12 Red Dye, Cheetos, And Doritos
Now, this is an interesting little tidbit of information. I know a lot of people who love Cheetos and Doritos, but it turns out that the red dye used in both of these products has been shown to cause hyperactivity, migraines, and, in some cases, cancer. You'd think that the FDA would be interested in pulling this product from the market in order to keep American citizens a little more safe, right? Well, you'd be wrong. North America hardly has to worry about pushing these dyes on people, and most citizens definitely don't think about their chips being the cause of the hyperactive children. Europe, on the other hand, has all but banned the use of these harmful dyes. And in the cases where products do contain it, they have to have a warning. What's taking the FDA so long?
11 Killing Milkweed And Monarchs
There may have already been mention of FDA approved chemicals on factory and industrial farms. The thing about these chemicals, like those used in Round-Up Ready Crops, is that they are largely responsible for the destruction of milkweed plants all over the country. Why does this matter to anyone? Well, if anyone likes looking at the monarch butterfly in person, and not just pinned to a board, or in a photograph online, you might want to be worried. Milkweed is the primary plant that monarch butterflies eat from. This might seem like a pretty trivial point, but imagine the world without monarch butterflies. It might seem like it hardly matters, but the eradication of the monarch is a slippery slope.
10 Arsenic Infused Turkeys
Yeah, you definitely wouldn't expect that your Thanksgiving dinner was poisonous. As far back as the 1940s all the way up until 2013, feed for livestock was laced with arsenic-infused drugs. Now, you must think that you're pretty safe because that was stopped in 2013. Well, 70 percent of poultry products were affected by these drugs at that time. And while it's true that the arsenic-infused drugs have now been banned, they haven't been banned completely. At least one of those drugs has yet to be banned in the use of turkey feed. So when you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, spare a thought for just what you might be eating. Of course, this isn't the only food product that we consume that has traces or the basic compounds of arsenic in it. You eat apples, right?
9 Turning A Blind Eye To Corporate Crime
Rachel Grussi at Gaia made a very good point that is very relevant to the relationship the FDA has with corporate America. "Would you bust your pals for things they were doing wrong? Probably not, and the FDA is no different. They actually had to be told to prosecute misdemeanor crimes in 2010. A governmental report found the agency to be too soft on corporations that break the rules," she reported. Why is it that the FDA was so soft on corporate crime? Well, 'Big Food' and 'Big Pharma' like to pay out plenty of money to keep pushing their cheap, unhealthy ingredients so that they can rake in billions of dollars every year. So when Grussi talks about "pals", you know that corporate America and the FDA are definitely pals. Do you think they really have your best interests at heart?
8 Ammonia Burgers!
Ever hear about the pink slime that goes into your McDonald's burger? You won't get it anymore because it has finally been pulled, but not in every marketable meat product. McDonald's has stopped using the slime, though. And what is in this slime? It's ammonia! Apparently, the reasoning behind using this pink, slimy ammonia is to kill E. coli in meat products. But according to the FDA, "it eliminates E. coli to the same degree as if you cooked the product." So my question is, why not just cook the meat, then? Am I hearing that McDonald's does not cook their meat? This might seem like a pointless thing to bring up since McDonald's doesn't use it anymore, but there has not been a national ban on this pink slime, so be careful when you go out to your other favorite fast food joints.
7 No Safety Testing For Engineered Foods
An interesting point with regards to GMOs and other genetically engineered products is that the United States is apparently the only developed country that doesn't have to bother with testing their genetically engineered products. How is it that the FDA can protect the American people if they don't even know what's going into the products that they're approving? The biggest issue here is that even if it turns out that GMOs don't have any adverse effects, it's not like the government can honestly show any data to prove it to those people who now swear by organic alternatives, despite the fact that don't keep for as long and may not be as nutritious. So, the FDA has screwed itself and the American people yet again. It even has screwed its corporate partners in some ways because the organic craze is taking over thanks to their lack of info.
6 Raiding Independent Farms
I can't even believe that this is a thing that happens. Well, I mean, I can believe it, but it's still awful all the same. The FDA doesn't spend a lot of time investigating factory farms and industrial food production. They'd rather spend their time cracking down on independent farmers and their operations. Why is this? Well, the excuse is that they want to make sure their health standards meet regulations, but the real answer is that they're taking money away from small business farms. In most cases, health regulations through the FDA allow so many chemicals that the independent farming communities are likely far healthier than any factory farm in the country. Do you think there might be a conflict of interest here?
5 Shutting Down Farmer's Markets
This seems like a pretty silly thing to do. At least in Canada, I'm not aware of any province that has a problem getting a market going. People love them. In the United States though, the FDA has a big issue with farmer's markets. The reasoning? Because independent farming takes the tiniest amount of money out of industrial farmer's pockets. And while the FDA should be there to help push healthy and clean foodstuffs, they care far more about their kickbacks from the industry. Farmer's markets are huge around North America, and they may very well make a tiny dent in industrial farming, but surely it can't be that much. The fact that the FDA comes down hard on just what can be sold at a farmer's market is pretty ridiculous when they have yet to ban red dye that causes cancer...
4 Big Pharma's Buddy
When the United States has an organization called the Food and Drug Administration, you'd think that maybe they would be responsible for safety checks and regulations when it comes to potentially dangerous drugs. But that would be wrong. Sure, there are drugs that don't make it to market because they are just clearly horrible, but that hasn't stopped the incredible opioid crisis that has overcome North America. Somehow I think a few well-placed checks in the testing of certain opiates might have made for better control over this epidemic. Laudanum was once used to help headaches, but it's an opiate-based tincture. We've known about the effects of opiates since at least the 1700s. So why are there so many harmful and addictive drugs out there? Well, just ask who makes money from whom.
3 What Do They Really Know About GMOs?
So, here's the thing. I actually am not wholly against GMO products. So far as can be told, there is no difference in taste and hardly any difference in nutrition. Mostly, I'm fairly sure, the main difference between GMO and regular foods is the preference of people. However, it turns out that the FDA can't actually tell us much more than what I've said. Why is that? Because they have hardly done any research whatsoever into the effects of GMO products. If the government refuses to look into the issue, then we have to rely on all the hippies telling us that GMOs will kill us. And we have to listen to corporations talk about how good they are. It's hard to sort out the impartial people in that research when it goes back and forth so much. Maybe the FDA should care?
2 The Life Extension Foundation And Natural Remedies
Look, I completely understand the FDA wanting to crack down on the cryogenic and natural health remedy businesses. Well, their reasoning should be that they are almost entirely just bullsh*t, but the main reason is, of course, money. And that's just sad because the FDA is a government organization that should be setting standards and not taking bribes. Absolutely crack down on crackpot businesses like homeopathy (where people think water just cures everything), but maybe also crack down on big businesses that breed horrible versions of animals that used to be able to move around on a farm. Crack down on the chemicals used in those businesses. Maybe take a look at the disease control within groups of animals in factory farms.
1 They're Hormone Happy!
The FDA seems to be lagging behind yet again when it comes to banning things that are bad for the American people. It used to be thought that putting BGH (Bovine Growth Hormone) in products led to healthier, stronger children. Well, it turns out that that's wrong. The European Union, Canada, and over 20 other countries around the world have wholly banned this hormone. Why is that? It could be the insulin-like growth factor in it. It could be the link to diabetes. Maybe it's that this hormone is unhealthy even for cows. The biggest reason for its ban is likely the large number of cancers that it's been linked to. Lung and prostate cancers are the biggest relative to this hormone. So why is it that it hasn't been banned in the U.S.? Why does the FDA seem to care so little about the citizens of the United States? These are worthwhile questions. I'm willing to guess... money.