Organic Consumers Association

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6 Food Industry Tricks You Don't Know About

For related articles and information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our Food Safety Research Center page.

If you shop in a typical US supermarket or big-box store, there may be more to your food purchases than meets the eye. Even the simplest of foods - apples, oranges, and chicken, for example - are commonly altered, treated with chemicals, or even injected with artificial coloring.

If you value pure real food, there's no getting around the fact that buying your food directly from a farm (or via a farmer's market), or, alternatively, growing it in your own backyard, are among the last remaining ways to secure such unadulterated food for your family.

6 Food-Industry Tricks That Might Shock You

TIME recently featured six food-industry tricks that should be common knowledge, but instead are mostly swept under the carpet. The food industry would rather you believe that your apple is just an apple, rather than a fruit with an added wax coating, for example - and that's only the tip of the iceberg.

As TIME reported:1

" your food goes through a lot to make it to you, from being treated with antibiotics to getting a chlorine bath and a wax coating. Many of these steps are no big deal  but some are bad for your health and others huge money wasters."

1. Farm-Raised Salmon Is 'Colored' Pink

Wild salmon swim around in the wild, eating what nature programmed them to eat. Therefore, their nutritional profile is more balanced and complete, with micronutrients, fats, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants like astaxanthin, which gives salmon its naturally pink, or in the case of sockeye salmon, red-colored, flesh.

Farmed salmon, on the other hand, are fed an artificial diet consisting of grain products like corn and soy (most of which is genetically modified), along with chicken and feather meal, artificial coloring, and synthetic astaxanthin.

Ironically, synthetic astaxanthin is not approved for human consumption, but is permitted to be used in fish feed that humans ultimately eat. How rational is that?

Astaxanthin is added to turn their flesh pink - the color most people expect their salmon to be. Natural salmon get astaxanthin from green algae. However, farmed salmon, without these synthetic "pigment pellets" added to their diets, would be an unappetizing grey color.           

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