Should Food Fears make you think twice?

In reading through my Nutrition Action Newsletter (March 2013) from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, there have been some food fears that should be considered regarding whether or not one should truly be concerned. First off, we all know that there are certain foods that are good for us to eat on a regular basis like salmon, greens, popcorn (natural) and meat (in moderation) but, in further delving into these foods, it is wise to know the difference from say farmed salmon to wild salmon. To some this may be a no-brainer in eating the above-mentioned foods; but, many may believe that salmon is salmon and greens are greens. There is a difference upon a closer look!

  • Farmed Salmon has been found to contain seven to ten times higher levels of PCBs, dioxins and pesticides than wild salmon. Farmed salmon more easily absorbs PCBs and other industrial chemicals from the food they are given. Recommendation? Until more studies are done, it is better to eat farmed salmon no more than once a month!
  • Unwashed bagged greens -- to wash or not wash, especially if the bag says, "thoroughly washed" on the outside. It appears that U.S. companies have done a number of recalls in 2012 precisely for bagged greens that may be contaminated with bacteria. The bacteria, Listeria, is dangerous in debilitating immune systems and even causing miscarriages in pregnant women.
  •  Microwave popcorn. It seems so easy to pick up a bag and pop it in the microwave for a quick snack. But, there is such a thing called, "Popcorn lung" which leaves irreversible scarring of the tiny airways in the lungs. The cause comes from inhaling the "sweet buttery-tasting" chemical that some manufacturers add to microwave popcorn. According to Kathleen Kreiss of the CDC, (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), "allow the bag to cool before you open it, and use a kitchen exhaust hood if you have one."
  • Meat glue?!? Apparently, if you are attending a wedding, conference or other large function, it's best to order your beef medium or well done. Why? There is a bacteria called Transglutaminase, which is produced by bacteria and beef fibrin. It is taken from cow's blood and consistently joins itself to other pieces of meat in a way that looks like steak. The enzymes are harmless. The problem lies with this bacteria being found on the outside of the meat that ends up "glued" on the inside. If the meat is not cooked properly enough, the bacteria may still exist.

It never hurts being too careful. Perhaps the above-mentioned foods are not enough to drive you to the "sick ward" but, its always good to know there are better, healthier foods to eat that will really do your body good!

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