Today, one in eleven children struggle with asthma, and one in four are affected by allergies. The incidence of allergy has increased significantly over the past two decades, and allergy to peanuts has more than quadrupled from 1997 to 2010. Approximately 30 million children – more than 1/3 of our kids – are affected by one of these four new childhood epidemics. This is not something we can just accept.
Author: Robyn O'Brien
The European Food Safety Agency tends to be a few steps ahead of ours when it comes to exercising precaution and introducing preventative measures to protect the health of Europeans.
Why? Maybe it’s because they don’t have a “for profit” health care system. They actually have to try to keep people healthy, because if Europeans had the same rates of diseases that we do here, it would crush their economy, since taxpayers would have to foot the health care bill.
A new report out of the USDA says that Americans throw away 133 billion pounds of food every year, or 31 percent of the total amount of available food. That’s over 4,200 pounds of food a second.
At the same time, the biotech industry says that we need genetically engineered crops to feed the world.
They must have not seen the most recent report out of the USDA that says that in the United States, 31 percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels went uneaten.
A report released by the National Cancer Institute showed a 9.4% increase in childhood cancer between 1992 and 2007. And today, cancer is now the leading cause of death by disease in kids under the age of fifteen.
Correlation is not causation, but the escalating rates of conditions like cancer, diabetes and food allergies have a lot of parents paying attention to what is in their food. Some cancer doctors even call it the “doorknob syndrome.” A patient is diagnosed with cancer, spends hours in the office being walked through procedure options, then as they turn to go, with a hand on the doorknob, turn back into the office and ask, “Is there anything I could be doing differently with my diet?”
It’s Food Allergy Awareness Week this week. In the early years of this work, when we first began speaking about food allergies, people used to look at you like you were making it up. How could a child be allergic to food? And since when? As kids, we ate PB&Js and had cartons of milk for lunch at school. They weren’t loaded weapons on a lunchroom table. What’s changed? And why has it changed so fast?
Transparency is sexy. Misleading people, not so much.
Americans are waking up to how our food is made and quickly realizing that are food supply has been polluted with ingredients we didn’t even know existed. Some companies like Chipotle are getting in front of this and telling consumers how their food is being made. Others are having an allergic reaction to labeling.
If you had no idea that ingredients, labeled by the EPA as pesticides, are hiding in your food, you’re not alone.
Fourteen years ago to the day almost, I was in NYC at a conference hosted by Merrill Lynch as a financial analyst covering the food industry. If you had suggested then that I’d be writing this today, I’d have said you were nuts.
When I worked as an analyst, I learned how the food industry uses ingredients or their artificial counterparts to manage its profitability and meet earnings. But never once while attending conferences or speaking with traders on the floor of the stock exchange, did our team ever meet with the chemical companies engineering their products into our food, ingredients that required increased use of a portfolio of chemicals to help them manage their earnings. And we weren’t alone.
There is a lot of “he said” “she said” science around genetically engineered foods. And a lot of bullying. Anyone who steps in to speak on the topic, regardless of which side that they represent, gets quickly slammed and labeled which is ironic as labels are the very thing that the industry is so allergic to.
So do genetically engineered foods cause food allergies? According to Harvard University and studies conducted on the influence that funding sources have on science, it depends on who you ask.
Bloomberg News reported last year that 15,000 record temperature highs were reported in the United States during the month of March. Things haven’t really let up, impacting everyone from farmers to families.
And while we still don’t have an official consensus here in the United States as to what is driving this change in the weather, one point is clear: it is impacting our food system.
In the face of unprecedented drought, hurricanes, tsunamis and tornadoes, our nation’s farmers are doing everything they can to deal with this climate disruption.
A number of months ago, the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC) released a list of the top ten toxic chemicals suspected to cause autism and learning disabilities.
This list can’t come soon enough, as earlier this year the CDC reported that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) now affects 1 of every 88 American children – a 23% increase from 2006 and a 78% increase from 2002.