Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Warning: Eat This, You'll Get Fat & Sick

It takes a food chemist to translate the eight-syllable words commonly found on ingredients lists into plain English, but many of the most dangerous substances found in food today are additives, contaminants, or packaging and processing aids that don't get listed on the label. Here are a few hidden dangers that should be revealed to consumers:

  • Acrylamide -  a chemical linked to cancer that forms in starchy food cooked at high temperatures, such as French fries and potato chips
  • Bisphenol A - a chemical linked to hormone disruption and heart disease that leaches from the lining of canned foods
  • E. coli O157:H7 - the "hamburger disease," the leading cause of acute kidney failure in U.S. children, is an intestinal pathogen transmitted from factory-farmed, corn-fed cows to humans when fecal matter gets in food
  • Colibacillosis - a bacterial disease that infects chickens imprisoned in filthy, overcrowded, intensive confinement factory farms
  • Campylobacter -  the most common cause of neuromuscular paralysis in the United States, is a bacterial food poison that contaminates a majority of store-bought chicken
  • Salmonella -  a food borne illness that kills more Americans than any other, is directly related to CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) and to contaminated feed containing blood, slaughterhouse waste, and manure
  • Mercury - a toxin that can harm an unborn baby or young child's developing nervous system, is found in nearly all fish and shellfish, especially Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel and Tilefish
  • Trans-fat -  hydrogenated vegetable oils that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, the cause of 1 of every 2.9 deaths
  • Ingredients produced through the use of cloning, genetic engineering or nanotechnology
  • Ingredients that contain the residues of pesticides, including organophosphates, which are linked to neurological disorders like ADHD
  • Packaging aids like 2-methylnaphthalene which triggered the Kellogg's cereal recall
  • Solvents like hexane, a neurotoxin that is a by-product of gasoline refining used to process soy-based ingredients and cooking oils
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