Recall: Something Even Nastier than Usual Lurks in Tyson Chicken Nuggets

Nutritional Anarchy
by Daisy Luther

Just in case chicken “nuggets” aren’t disgusting enough, now Tyson has been forced to recall more than 75,000 pounds of the melded poultry parts because of “extraneous material”.

Due to an issue with some of the processing equipments, consumers may find a little something extra in their “nuggets” – little bits of plastic. The USDA reports:

The problem was discovered after the firm received consumer complaints that small pieces of plastic were found in the products. The problem was traced to a product scraper inside a blending machine.

The company has received reports of minor oral injury associated with consumption of these products. FSIS has received no additional reports of injury or illness from consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness from consumption of these products should contact a healthcare provider. (source)

Sadly, plastic is not the worst thing you might find in chicken nuggets. They are made when the inedible parts of the chicken are washed with ammonia to kill bacteria, “mechanically separated” which means turned into a paste, and squirted out into mini-nugget blobs or patties. The parts included are the entire carcass, the tendons, the gristle…ugh. Then artificial flavors and good old MSG are used to disguise the nasty origins of the “meat” and because it’s Pepto-pink, artificial color is used to make it look like chicken.

According to an article on Mother Jones, only 40% of that tidy little breaded nugget is actually chicken meat.

The implicit marketing pitch goes something like this: “You like fried chicken, right? How about some bite-sized fried chicken chunks, without the messy bones?” When most people think of eating chicken, they think of, say, biting into a drumstick. What they get when they do so is a mouthful of muscle—popularly known as meat

What people are actually getting from chicken nuggets is a bit different, according to a new study by University of Mississippi medical researchers. (Abstract here; I have access to the full paper but can’t upload it for copyright reasons.) They bought an order of chicken nuggets from two (unnamed) fast-food chains, plucked a nugget from each, broke them down, and analyzed them in a lab.

One of them contained just 40 percent muscle. The rest? “[G]enerous quantities of fat and other tissue, including connective tissue and bone spicules.” Mmmm, chicken bones.

The other sample had a whopping 50 percent muscle. The remainder consisted “primarily of fat, with some blood vessels and nerve present,” as well as epithelium, the stuff that glands are made of.

Now why would national fast-food chains be mixing bone and fat and whatnot into the chicken meat they grind into nuggets? I doubt anyone ever woke up and thought, “I’m craving some mechanically formed orbs of chicken parts, including meat, but also with plenty of fat, connective tissue, glands, and bone.” Offal is a lot cheaper than meat—the more you can work in, the more profit you can eke out of this popular menu item. Granted, people should eat more offal, as I’ve argued before. But (a) they have a right to know when they’re eating it; (b) one reason people eat chicken meat is because they think it’s lean—cutting it with chicken fat turns such eaters into suckers; and (c) bone matter, really? Bones are great when they’re gently boiled into highly nutritious broths and stocks. That seems like a much more reasonable use for them than hiding them in chicken nuggets. (source)

So therein lies all of the chicken bits and pieces people wouldn’t normally eat, GMO corn starch, GMO dextrose, and chemical flavors and colors. Big Food is also not well-known for its humane treatment of animals. They are raised in horrific conditions, treated with antibiotics and hormones, and fed GMO corn. Considering all of this nastiness that you can find with a seal of USDA/FDA approval in the freezer section of your grocery store, it’s gotta be bad if there is something included that ups the nastiness quotient to the point a recall is necessary. After all, in the grand scheme of revolting things to eat, are little flecks of plastic really that much grosser than the other stuff contained within that crispy coating?

If you or someone you love happens to have this stuff lurking in your freezer, you can find complete information about the recall HERE.

Our anarchist recommendation? If you are going to eat chicken, try to find a local source of free range poultry. Cook it yourself. It really doesn’t take that much longer to throw a chicken breast on a pan and put it in the oven than to shake “nuggets” out of a bag onto a pan and put it in the oven. If your kids want “friendly” shapes, you can pound the chicken thin with a meat mallet and use a stainless steel cookie cutter to make dinosaurs, butterflies, and whatnot.

Cancer in a Can: The Shocking True Story of how ‘Pringles’ are Made

Mercola . com
By Dr. Mercola

To understand the nature of Pringles and other stackable chips, forget the notion that they come from actual potatoes in any recognizable way.


The Pringles Company (in an effort to avoid taxes levied against “luxury foods” like chips in the UK) once even argued that the potato content of their chips was so low that they are technically not even potato chips.


So if they’re not made of potatoes, what are they exactly?

The process begins with a slurry of rice, wheat, corn, and potato flakes that are pressed into shape.

This dough-like substance is then rolled out into an ultra-thin sheet cut into chip-cookies by a machine.

According to io9:

“The chips move forward on a conveyor belt until they’re pressed onto molds, which give them the curve that makes them fit into one another.
Those molds move through boiling oil … Then they’re blown dry, sprayed with powdered flavors, and at last, flipped onto a slower-moving conveyor belt in a way that allows them to stack. From then on, it’s into the cans … and off towards the innocent mouths of the consumers.”

I suspect nearly everyone reading this likely enjoys the taste of potato chips. However, they are clearly one of the most toxic processed foods you can eat—whether they’re made from actual potato shavings or not.

Potato Chips are Loaded with Cancer-Causing Chemical

One of the most hazardous ingredients in potato chips is not intentionally added, but rather is a byproduct of the processing.

Acrylamide, a cancer-causing and potentially neurotoxic chemical, is created when carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures, whether baked, fried, roasted or toasted. Some of the worst offenders include potato chips and French fries, but many foods cooked or processed at temperatures above 212°F (100°C) may contain acrylamide. As a general rule, the chemical is formed when food is heated enough to produce a fairly dry and brown/yellow surface.

Hence, it can be found in:

Potatoes: chips, French fries and other roasted or fried potato foods
Grains: bread crust, toast, crisp bread, roasted breakfast cereals and various processed snacks


Coffee; roasted coffee beans and ground coffee powder. Surprisingly, coffee substitutes based on chicory actually contains 2-3 times MORE acrylamide than real coffee

How Much Acrylamide are You Consuming?

The federal limit for acrylamide in drinking water is 0.5 parts per billion, or about 0.12 micrograms in an eight-ounce glass of water. However, a six-ounce serving of French fries can contain 60 micrograms of acrylamide, or about FIVE HUNDRED times over the allowable limit.

Similarly, potato chips are notoriously high in this dangerous chemical. So high, in fact, that in 2005 the state of California actually sued potato chip makers for failing to warn California consumers about the health risks of acrylamide in their products. A settlement was reached in 2008 when Frito-Lay and several other potato chip makers agreed to reduce the acrylamide levels in their chips to 275 parts per billion (ppb) by 2011, which is low enough to avoid needing a cancer warning label.

The 2005 report “How Potato Chips Stack Up: Levels of Cancer-Causing Acrylamide in Popular Brands of Potato Chips,” issued by the California-basedEnvironmental Law Foundation (ELF), spelled out the dangers of this popular snack. Their analysis found that all potato chip products tested exceeded the legal limit of acrylamide by a minimum of 39 times, and as much as 910 times! Some of the worst offenders at that time included:

Cape Cod Robust Russet: 910 times the legal limit of acrylamide
Kettle Chips (lightly salted): 505 times

Kettle Chips (honey dijon): 495 times


Beware: Baked Chips May Be WORSE than Fried!

If you think you can avoid the health risks of potato chips by choosing baked varieties, which are typically advertised as being “healthier,” think again. Remember that acrylamide is formed not only when foods are fried or broiled, but also when they are baked. And according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data on acrylamide levels in foods, baked chips may contain more than three timesthe level of acrylamide as regular chips!

Interestingly, the same trend holds true for other foods, too, which suggests that baking processed potatoes at high temperature may be one of the worst ways to cook them. For instance, according to the FDA’s data, Ore Ida Golden Fries contained 107 ppb of acrylamide in the regular fried version and 1,098 when baked. So remember, ALL potato chips contain acrylamide, regardless of whether they are natural or not; baked or fried. Likewise, they will ALL influence your insulin levels in a very negative way.

Acrylamide is Not the Only Danger

Acrylamide is not the only dangerous genotoxic compound formed when food is heated to high temperatures.

A three-year long EU project, known as Heat-Generated Food Toxicants (HEATOX), whose findings were published at the end of 2007, found there are more than 800 heat-induced compounds, of which 52 are potential carcinogens. In addition to their finding that acrylamide does pose a public health threat, the HEATOX scientists also discovered that you’re far less likely to ingest dangerous levels of the toxin when you eat home-cooked foods compared to industrially or restaurant-prepared foods.

Additionally, the HEATOX findings also suggest that although there are ways to decrease exposure to acrylamide, it cannot be eliminated completely.
According to their calculations, successful application of all presently known methods would reduce the acrylamide intake by 40 percent at the most—which makes me wonder whether chip manufacturers have really succeeded at this point in reducing acrylamide levels to within legal limits… There’s no updated data as of yet, so there’s no telling whether they’ve been able to comply with the 2005 settlement.

For more in-depth information about acrylamide, I recommend reading the online report Heat-generated Food Toxicants, Identification, Characterization and Risk Minimization. In general however, just remember that cooking food at high temperatures is ill advised. A few of the most well-known toxins created in high-temperature cooking include:

Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs): These form when meat is cooked at high temperatures, and they’re also linked to cancer. In terms of HCA, the worst part of the meat is the blackened section, which is why you should always avoid charring your meat, and never eat blackened sections.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): When fat drips onto the heat source, causing excess smoke, and the smoke surrounds your food, it can transfer cancer-causing PAHs to the meat.

Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs): When food is cooked at high temperatures (including when it is pasteurized or sterilized), it increases the formation of AGEs in your food. When you eat the food, it transfers the AGEs into your body. AGEs build up in your body over time leading to oxidative stress, inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.

The Search for a “Healthful” Chip Continues…

Like a modern-day search for the Holy Grail, chip manufacturers keep searching for methods to improve the image of their health-harming but profitable snacks. For example, by the end of 2011, about half of Pepsi’s Frito-Lay brand snacks will be reformulated with all-natural ingredients. The switch is part of PepsiCo’s master plan to tap into the healthy foods market share. The Wall Street Journal recently reported the company hopes to boost their nutrition business from $10 billion to $30 billion by 2020.
The company will remove dietary hazards like monosodium glutamate (MSG), replacing it with natural seasonings, such as molasses and paprika.

Artificial colors will be replaced with beet juice, purple cabbage and carrots. All in all, about different 60 snacks are scheduled to get an all-natural makeover.

This is certainly a good example of how consumer demand can alter the direction of food manufacturers in a positive way.

The reformulated chips may end up being less bad for you than the original formulations. However, chips will never be truly healthful. All-natural chips may be the lesser of two evils, but if consumed regularly, they will still push your health in the wrong direction… There’s no getting away from the fact that modern plagues such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes have a dietary component, and potato chips and French fries will always be a losing bet if you want to avoid becoming another disease statistic.

How to Avoid Heat-Induced Toxins in Your Diet

Ideally, you should consume foods that are raw or minimally processed to avoid these types of toxic byproducts—the more raw food, the better. My nutrition plan emphasizes the need for at least one-third of your foods to be consumed raw. Personally, I consume about 80 percent of my food raw, and I find it is one of the most important factors that help keep me healthy.
It may take you awhile to switch over to a less processed diet, but throwing out the most obvious culprits would be a great start.

These would include: French fries and potato chips, All sodas (both regular and diet, as artificial sweeteners may be more problematic than fructose, Doughnuts

Healthy Eating Made Easy

Aside from creating potentially toxic byproducts, cooking and processing also depletes the food of valuable micronutrients, which is another reason for eating as much raw food as possible. This includes protein sources such as eggs. Raw whole eggs from organic, pastured chickens are an incredible source of high-quality nutrients that many are deficient in. Raw milk is another good example of a food that is beneficial in its raw state but becomes harmful after it is pasteurized.
By opting for foods that will benefit your health, such as raw, preferably organic and/or locally-grown vegetables, organic grass-fed meats, healthy oils, raw dairy, nuts and seeds, you can change your health for the better. These are the foods that are truly natural, and quite easy to prepare once you get the hang of it.

For a step-by-step guide to make the transition to a healthier diet as simple and smooth as possible, simply follow the advice in my optimized nutrition plan.

Remember, eating fresh whole foods is the “secret” to getting healthier, losing weight and really enjoying your food. It’s unfortunate that so many are under the mistaken belief that it’s “next to impossible” to create a meal without processed foods. Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough tackle this issue head-on in their book Real Food Has Curves, which is a great starting point to “relearn” the basics of how to enjoy and prepare real food.

Once you get used to it, you’ll find you can whip up a healthful meal from scratch in the same amount of time it would have taken you to drive down the street to pick up fast food. The main difference will be greater satisfaction, both physically and mentally, and perhaps even financially, as processed foods typically end up being more expensive than cooking from scratch.

Fast food and takeaways linked to surge in child asthma and allergies

Guardian
by Sarah Boseley

A diet of fast food and takeaways may be behind the steady surge in children’s asthma and allergies affecting the UK and other developed countries, according to a study.

An international collaboration of scientists has found that young teenagers in particular are nearly 40% more likely to have severe asthma if they eat burgers and other types of fast food more than three times a week. Children aged six to seven had an increased risk of 27%. Children eating fast food were also more likely to get severe eczema and rhinitis – a condition where the nose blocks or runs and the eyes are itchy and water.

The scientists, from New Zealand, Spain, Australia and Germany as well as Nottingham in the UK, say their study could have “major public health significance owing to the rising consumption of fast foods globally” if the link they have found turns out not to be coincidence but causal.

The good news was that eating fruit appeared to protect young people from asthma and allergies. Eating three or more portions a week reduced the severity of the symptoms by 11% among teenagers and 14% among younger children.

The research, published in the journal Thorax, part of the BMJ group, came out of a large collaborative project called the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), which involves nearly 2 million children in more than 100 countries, making it the biggest of its kind.

The fast food study involved a relatively small proportion of the children taking part in ISAAC, from two age groups: 319,000 13- to 14-year-olds from 51 countries and 181,000 six- to seven-year-olds from 31 countries.

The children and their parents were sent questionnaires about their eating habits over the previous 12 months. They were asked how often they had eaten specific foods, including meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, pulses, cereals, bread and pasta, rice, butter, margarine, nuts, potatoes, milk, eggs, and fast food/burgers. They were also asked whether and how often they suffered from specific asthma and allergy symptoms – and if so, how severe they were and whether they stopped them sleeping or interfered with daily life.

Fast food – the authors specifically mentioned burgers only because it was the reference to fast food that most people would understand – was the only food type associated with asthma and allergies across all age ranges and countries. The authors said that “such consistency adds some weight to the possible causality of the relationship”. But they said more research would be needed to discover whether fast food is definitely a problem.

The fast food link was stronger among teenagers than among the young children, which the authors suggest may be because adolescents have more independence, money and control over what they eat.

The paper says a link between fast food and asthma and allergies is biologically plausible. It could be “related to higher saturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, sodium, carbohydrates and sugar levels of fast food and possibly preservatives”. Fast foods have high levels of industrially hydrogenated vegetable fats such as margarine, which can be a source of trans fatty acids – “and there is some evidence that dietary intake of trans fatty acids is associated with asthma and allergy”, say the authors. In the teenagers, eating butter, margarine and pasta was also associated with asthma symptoms.

Studies which involve asking people about their diet can be problematic, because people either forget or tailor the truth. Professor Hywel Williams, from the centre of evidence-based dermatology at Nottingham University, said recall over the 12 months of the study was more likely to be inaccurate than biased and this would tend to dilute any association between fast food and asthma, rather than the reverse.

“Now if there was a widespread belief already out there that fast foods are ‘bad’ for allergies, then you could say the data was simply reflecting such prior prejudices/beliefs. But we are not aware of any such widespread prior belief. People often believe fast foods are associated with things like acne, obesity and hyperactivity, but not allergies, and severe allergies at that. And even if one country had such a belief, how could you explain such consistency across so many countries and cultures and socio-economic groups?”

The study did not differentiate between types of fast food. “Our question simply asked, ‘In the past 12 months, how often, on average, did you (did your child) eat or drink the following: meat; seafood; fruit; vegetables (green and root); pulses (peas, beans, lentils); cereal; pasta (including bread); rice; butter; margarine; nuts; potatoes; milk; eggs and fast food/burgers?’,” he said. “So we could analyse each of these categories, but not split them down any further.

“And before we put the boot into burgers specifically, it does not mean they are always “fast” as some of us (including me) make very nutritious “slow” burgers at home – but it seemed like a well understood anchor for fast foods since burgers are one of the commonest types of fast food sold around the world.”

Malayka Rahman, from Asthma UK, said: “This research adds to previous studies that suggest a person’s diet can contribute to their risk of developing asthma, and indicates the benefit of further research to determine the effects that particular food groups can have on the chances of developing asthma or the impact it may have on severity. Evidence suggests that the vitamins and antioxidants found in fresh fruit and vegetables have a beneficial effect on asthma, therefore Asthma UK advises people with asthma to eat a healthy, balanced diet including five portions of fruit or vegetables every day, fish more than twice a week, and pulses more than once a week.”

Many parents of children with asthma and allergies will already be watching carefully their child’s diet since certain foods – notoriously nuts – are known to trigger allergic reactions.

With news that studies show apparently bland burgers, nuggets, pasties and similar fast foods could contribute to the risk, they will be keen to know what research suggests are the safer options for family dinners.

One better bet appears to be a Mediterranean diet. Asthma UK cites research into diet and asthma arried out in Athens in 2011 by Grigoropoulou and colleagues, which compared school children in the city with those in a rural part of Greece. They found that the urban children were more likely to get asthma, but eating a Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, fish and oils, appeared to protect them.

Fish oils on their own, however, did not do so well in a study from Edinburgh University published in 2009. This was a review of a number of studies where children had been given omega 3 and omega 6 supplements in the hope of preventing allergies, while other comparable children had been given placebos – dummy pills. The researchers found no clear evidence that the supplements had any protective effect.

“Contrary to the evidence from basic science and epidemiological studies, our systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that supplementation with omega 3 and omega 6 oils is probably unlikely to play an important role as a strategy for the primary prevention of sensitization or allergic disease,” they concluded.

Trans fatty acids have been linked to asthma and allergies before, in addition to raising cholesterol levels and the NHS advises people to reduce their intake. The fast food study suggests that the best advice for parents wanting to protect their children from asthma and allergies is to try to ensure they have a generally healthy diet, with plenty of fruit and hopefully some vegetables, and to steer clear of fast food restaurants.

• This article was amended on 15 January 2013 to clarify that the study found that children aged six to seven had an increased risk of 27% of having severe asthma, if they eat burgers and other types of fast food more than three times a week.

Junk Science Inadvertently Proves That Agribusiness Is Killing Us

Gaia Health

Junk science keeps producing studies purporting to show that certain kinds of foods are bad for us. Within the last couple of days, two reports have come out claiming that red meat reduces lifespan and that saturated fats are causing significantly reduced sperm counts in men. But what they really demonstrate is something entirely different.

These studies prove only that Agribusiness is doing immense harm to our health. They’re pseudo science because they don’t consider the distinctions between real food and Agribusiness distortion of food, turning the primary sources of nutrition for most people into nothing more than junk food.

The Studies:

Saturated Fats

A study published in the journal Human Reproduction examined the eating habits of men in a fertility clinic. 71% of the men were categorized as overweight or obese, which is a good indication that their diets consist largely of fast foods and prepared foods. Both of these are loaded with trans fats. Thus, the bulk of saturated fat eaten by these men is not naturally saturated, like butter, but is artificially produced.

Gaia Health has explained the difference between these two types of saturated fat in Why Hydrogenated Fat Is So Bad. Naturally saturated fats are quite healthy. In fact, they are a major part of body functions. If a study makes no distinction between naturally saturated fats and trans fats, also known as hydrogenated fats, then any claims of harm from saturated fats cannot be taken seriously.

This particular study, Dietary fat and semen quality among men attending a fertility clinic, claims that men in the top third of saturated fat intake had sperm counts that were 43% lower than men in the lowest third.

Nearly three-fourths (71%) of the men were overweight or obese. These men most likely obtain a significant portion of their diets from prepared foods supplied by Agribusiness. The study made no distinction between naturally saturated fats and trans fats. In light of these three points, the only rational conclusion is that the study has demonstrated that artificially saturated trans fats result in lowered sperm counts.

Now, let’s just use a bit of logic. Today, lowered sperm counts are becoming a serious issue. A hundred years ago, there was little concern about it. Families tended to be quite large. The ability to produce children wasn’t at issue. Back then, the diets of reasonably healthy people consisted of loads of naturally saturated fats, especially butter, meat, and eggs. Just look at the diet of the Amish people today, and you’ll see that’s true.

Not distinguishing between types of saturated fat is a fatal flaw. In the face of such an error, it makes no sense to suggest that the problem is saturated fat. The evidence from this study has shown that artificially saturated fats—trans fats—result in lowered sperm counts, not that saturated fats are harmful.

Red Meat

A study published in JAMA’s Archives of Internal Medicine claims to show that eating red meat is associated with an increase in mortality from heart disease, cancer, and all causes.

The study is, overall, rather well done. There is, however, one major—and fatal—flaw, effectively the same one that exists in the saturated fats study. No distinction was made between factory farmed meats and naturally grown ones.

Factory farmed, concentrated animal feed operations (CAFOs) raise sick and miserable animals. They’re forced to eat unnatural diets, which produce constant gut misery. Most never see the sky and exist in extremely crowded circumstances. These animals are severely weakened, so they must receive massive doses of antibiotics to prevent diseases. They’re given other drugs designed to force rapid growth and weight gain. And all of that ends up in the meat. This is the kind of meat that most fast foods joints, most restaurants, and most supermarkets serve up.

Sick, miserable, and toxic animals produce sick and toxic meat. That’s what most people in the industrialized world now eat. It bears little resemblance to naturally raised meat.

If a study makes no distinguish between CAFO-raised meat and free range organically-produced meat, it cannot possibly be considered meaningful.

The study, Red Meat Consumption and Mortality, claims that “greater consumption of unprocessed and processed red meats is associated with higher mortality risk”. However, it has not shown that. It has, instead, demonstrated that the meat produced by Agribusiness is killing us.

Junk Science and Junk Food

Agribusiness produces junk food. Junk science ignores that fact when it doesn’t distinguish between such pseudo food and natural chemical-free, antibiotic-free, and GMO-free foods.

The only legitimate conclusion that can be drawn from these two studies is that Agribusiness is killing us with its junk foods.