DIRTY SECRETS OF THE FOOD PROCESSING INDUSTRY
by: Sally Fallon, M.A.
Sally Fallon is a nutrition journalist and food historian. She is the author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, a full spectrum nutritional cookbook which documents the politics behind the cholesterol theory of heart disease. She can tell us which fats and oils are beneficial and which are harmful, with supporting scientific documentation. Sally is editor of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation's health journal, Wise Traditions, and is a regular contributor to a wide number of alternative health publications.
TRADITIONALLY PROCESSED FOOD
We have always processed our food; that is something that humans do. We cook our food - that is one type of processing. Processing has two functions: to make food more digestible and to preserve food during times when it isn't readily available. This type of processing produced traditional foods like sausage and the old-fashioned puddings and haggis. It includes bread, grain products, cheeses, milk products, pickles, butter, everything from wine and spirits to lacto-fermented beverages. Farmers and artisans like breadmakers, cheesemakers, distillers, millers and so forth processed this food. This type of processing made delicious foods, retained their nutritional content, and kept the profits on the farm and in the farming communities where it belonged. Food processing should be a cottage industry and produced locally.
Unfortunately, in modern times we have gone from local artisanal processing to factory and industrial processing which actually destroys the food rather than making it more digestible as traditional processing did. Industrial processing depends upon sugar, white flour, processed and hydrogenated oils, additives, synthetic vitamins and an extrusion processing of grains. These are the tools of the food processing industry. Let's have a look at the typical American breakfast of cereal, skim milk and orange juice.
These cereals are produced by a process called extrusion. They take the grains from the farmer, pay them a pittance for them, make the grains into a slurry and put them in a tank, a machine called an extruder. The grains are forced out of a little hole at high temperature and pressure and shaped into little o's and flakes and shredded wheat and so forth, or puffed up. A blade slices off each little flake which is carried past a nozzle and sprayed with a coating of oil and sugar to seal off the cereal from the ravages of milk and to give it crunch.
Paul Stitt has written about the extrusion process used for these cereals which treats every grain with very high heat and high pressure and destroys much of the nutrients in the grains. It destroys the fatty acids; it even destroys the chemical vitamins that are added. The amino acids are rendered very toxic by this process. The amino acid lysine, a crucial nutrient, is especially ravaged by extrusion. This is how all the boxed cereals are made, even the ones in the health food stores. They are all made in the same way and mostly in the same factories. All dry cereals that come in boxes are extruded cereals.
The only advances made in the extrusion process are those which will cut cost regardless of how these will alter the nutrient content of the product. Cereals are a multi-billion dollar business which has created huge fortunes. You would think there would be some studies on the effect on man or animals. There are no published studies and there are only two unpublished studies which were done on rats.
THE RAT EXPERIMENTS
Paul Stitt wrote about an experiment conducted by a cereal company in which four sets of rats were given special diets. One group received plain whole wheat, water and synthetic vitamins and minerals. A second group received puffed wheat (an extruded cereal), water and the same nutrient solution. A third set was given water and white sugar. A fourth set was given nothing but water and chemical nutrients. The rats which received the whole wheat lived over a year on this diet. The rats that got nothing but water and vitamins lived about two months. The animals on a white sugar and water diet lived about a month. The company's own laboratory study showed that the rats given the vitamins, water and all the puffed wheat they wanted died within two weeks---they died before the rats that got no food at all. It wasn't a matter of the rats dying of malnutrition. Results like these suggested that there was something actually very toxic in the puffed wheat itself! Proteins are very similar to certain toxins in molecular structure, and the pressure of the puffing process may produce chemical changes, which turn a nutritious grain into a poisonous substance.
Another unpublished experiment was carried out in 1960. Researchers at Ann Arbor University were given 18 laboratory rats. They were divided into three groups: one group received corn flakes and water; a second group was given the cardboard box that the Cornflakes came in and water; the control group received rat chow and water. The rats in the control group remained in good health throughout the experiment. The rats eating the box became lethargic and eventually died of malnutrition. The rats receiving the Cornflakes and water died before the rats that were eating the box! But before death, the Cornflakes rats developed schizophrenic behaviour, threw fits, bit each other and finally went into convulsions. Autopsy revealed dysfunction of the pancreas, liver and kidneys and degeneration of the nerves of the spine, all signs of insulin shock. The startling conclusion of this study is that there was more nourishment in the box than there was in the Cornflakes. This experiment was actually designed as a joke, but the results were far from funny. The results were never published and similar studies have not been conducted.
Most of America eats this kind of cereal. In fact, the USDA is gloating over the fact that children today get the vast majority of their important nutrients from the nutrients added to these boxed cereals. Many of them are at least 50% sugar; but there are many so-called health food cereals sold in the health food stores, and they are made by the same method. They use whole grains and they may use better quality sweeteners, but they are made by the same method. It may come as a shock to you, but these whole grain extruded cereals are probably more dangerous, because they are higher in protein and it is the proteins in these cereals that are so denatured by this type of processing.
THE EXTRUSION PROCESS
When we put these cereals through an extruder, it alters the structure of the proteins. "Seins", which comprise the majority of proteins in corn, are located in spherical organelles called protein bodies. One study investigated change in protein body, shape and release of encapsulated alphaseins as a result of the extrusion processing. During extrusion, they found that the protein bodies were completely disrupted and the alphaseins dispersed. The results suggest that seins in Cornflakes, particularly extruded ones, are not confined to rigid protein bodies but can interact with each other and other components of the system forming new compounds which are completely foreign to the human body. The extrusion process breaks down the organelles, disperses the proteins and the proteins become toxic. When they are disrupted in this way, you have absolute chaos in your food, and it can result in a disruption of the nervous system.
OLD FASHIONED PORRIDGE
There is only one way to put these companies out of business; and that is not to eat their food. So what are you going to have for breakfast? We need to go back to the old fashioned porridges as I explain in Nourishing Traditions. These porridges should be soaked overnight to get rid of the anti-nutrients which are normally neutralized in the sprouting process. Soaking will neutralize the tannins, complex proteins, enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid which preserve the grains. You soak the grains in warm water and one tablespoon of something acidic like whey, yoghurt, lemon juice or vinegar. The next morning, it cooks in about a minute. Of course, you eat it with butter or cream, coconut and chopped nuts like our grandparents did. The nutrients in the fats are needed to absorb the nutrients in the grains. That was one of the great lessons of Weston Price, that without the fats you can be taking mineral supplements, you can be drinking carrot juice until it comes out your ears, but you cannot absorb the minerals in your food without vitamin A and vitamin D that are exclusively found in the animal fats.
The minute you start to process your milk you destroy this wonderful food. Milk is one of nature's most perfect foods from nature's sacred animal, the cow, and we are putting cows inside all their lives eating foods that cows never before ate. They produce huge amounts of watery milk which is very low in fat, actually only half the amount of fat cows used to produce. Then they ship it to a factory. Emily Green wrote a very nice article in the LA Times, August 2000 about milk processing. Milk processing plants are big, big factories. Visitors are not allowed in modern milk processing plants because hygiene is very important. The largest milk poisoning in American history occurred in 1985 where more than 5,000 people across three states were sickened after a "pasteurization failure" at an Illinois bottling plant. So when something goes wrong with milk from these big plants, it is pretty catastrophic. Inside the plants all you can see is stainless steel. Inside that machinery, milk shipped from the farm is completely remade. First it is separated in centrifuges into fat, protein and various other solids and liquids. Once segregated, these are reconstituted to set levels for whole, low fat and no fat milks; in other words, they want everything to be completely uniform. Of the reconstituted milks, whole milk will most closely approximate original cow's milk. What is left over will go into butter, cream, cheese, dried milk, and a host of other milk products. The dairy industry loves to sell low fat milk and skim milk because they can make a lot more money from the butterfat selling it for ice cream. When they remove the fat to make low fat milk like 1% or 2% milk, they replace the fat with powdered milk concentrate, which is formed by high temperature spray drying. All reduced-fat milks have dried skim milk added to give them body.
Then the milk is sent by tanker trucks (which are not refrigerated) to F for 15 seconds by rushing it?bottling plants. The milk is pasteurized at 161 it is?past super heated stainless steel plates. If the temperature is 200 called ultrapasteurized. This will have a distinct cooked milk taste but it is sterile and can be sold on the grocery shelf. In other words, they don't even have to keep it cool. The bugs won't touch it. It does not require refrigeration. As it is cooked, the milk is also homogenized by a pressure treatment that breaks down the fat globules so the milk won't separate. Once processed, the milk will last for weeks, not just days.
Many people, particularly our children, cannot tolerate the stuff that we are calling milk that is sold in the grocery shelves. And you can see why. It starts with cows in confinement, cows fed feed that cows are not designed to digest, and then it goes into these factories for dismantlement and then put back together again. But real milk from pasture fed cows which is not pasteurized, processed or homogenized, is becoming more available. People are finding out where to find it, and it is very encouraging.
When they make dried skim milk, first of all it is forced through a tiny hole at high pressure, and then blown out into the air. This causes a lot of nitrates to form and the cholesterol in the milk is oxidized. Those of you who are familiar with my work know that cholesterol is your best friend; you don't have to worry about cholesterol except you do not want to eat oxidized cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol is used in research to cause atherosclerosis. So when you drink skim milk or low fat milk because you think that it will help you avoid heart disease, you are actually drinking this oxidized cholesterol which initiates the process of heart disease.
A quote from Processed and Prepared Foods states that "a new orange juice processing plant is completely automated and can process up to 1,800 tons of oranges per day to produce frozen concentrate, single strength juice, oil extracted from the peel, and cattle feed." They throw the whole orange in there and they actually add enzymes to get as much of the juice as they can even out of the skin. It is a very heavily sprayed crop, being sprayed with organophosphates, cholinesterase inhibitors, which are real mindbenders. They are very toxic to the nervous system and when they put the oranges in the vats and squeeze them, all that pesticide goes into the processing unit. Then they add acids to get every single bit of juice out of these oranges. So you already have a very, very toxic soup.
What about the peel used for cattle feed? This is something new in this business of cattle prisons. The dried left-over citrus peel is processed into cakes which are still loaded with cholinesterase inhibitors and organophosphates. Mark Purdey in England has shown this is correlated with Mad Cow Disease. The use of organophosphates either as a spray on the cows or in their feed is one of the causes of the degeneration of the brain and nervous system in the cow and if it's doing it to the cow, there's a possibility it's doing it to you also. And these things are in the orange juice!
Another abstract states that "Various acid sprays for improving fruit peel quality and increasing juice yield are added to these processed oranges." The FDA or the USDA has told us that we can no longer buy raw juice. But it might surprise you to know that they have found fungus that is resistant to pressure and heat in the processed juices. They found that 17% of Nigerian packages of orange juice and 20% of mango and tomato juices contained these heat resistant fungi. So there is plenty of danger from contamination from these pasteurized juices. They also found E. coli in the orange juice that was pressure resistant and had survived pasteurization.
In one study, heat-treated and acid-hydrolyzed orange juice was tested for mutagenic activity. The authors hypothesized that the heating process produces intermediate products, which under test conditions, give rise to mutagenicity, and cytotoxicity. In other words you have got cancer-causing compounds in your orange juice. In another study, gel filtration and high performance liquid chromatography were used to obtain mutagenic fractions from heated orange juice and they consisted of several different compounds. You have heated your orange juice to death, you have processed it and yet you still have all of these toxic compounds in it.
How does the orange juice stay cloudy? They add soy protein combined with soluble pectin, and that keeps it permanently cloudy. It might be interesting to know, for those of you who are allergic to soy.
Another study shows just how toxic and damaging these juices are to teeth. They found that rats had more tooth decay from these commercial juices than they did from soda pop which is loaded with sugar. So if you want juice with your breakfast, squeeze yourself an organic orange and that's a great place to put your cod liver oil.
ARTIFICIAL FLAVOURS VS. NUTRITIOUS HOME MADE BROTHS AND SAUCES
NATURAL NOURISHING BROTHS
In the past, all traditional cultures made use of bones to make broth. They recognized that broth supplied a lot of minerals and nutrients in our diet as well as wonderful flavours. We used to make bone broth, beef broth, chicken broth, fish broth, and we used these broths to make sauces and gravies. When we made sauce or gravy at home, we used the good drippings from the good fat of the meat, added some flour, and then the homemade broth. Most artificial soups bases and sauces have artificial meat-like flavours that we used to get from natural gelatin-rich broth. These kinds of short cuts mean that consumers are shortchanged. When the homemade stocks were pushed out by the cheap substitutes, an important source of minerals disappeared from the American diet. The thickening effects of gelatin could be mimicked with emulsifiers, but of course, the health benefits were lost. And gelatin is a very healthy thing to have in your diet. It helps you digest your proteins properly.
ARTIFICIAL FLAVOURINGS, HYDROLYZED PROTEIN AND MSG
Research on gelatin and natural broths came to an end in the 1950s when food companies discovered how to induce mallard reactions and produce meat-like flavours in the laboratory. In a General Foods Company report issued in 1947, chemists predicted that almost all natural flavours would soon be chemically synthesized. Following the Second World War food companies discovered monosodium glutamate, a food ingredient the Japanese had invented in 1908 to enhance food flavours, including meat-like flavours. Humans actually have receptors on the tongue for glutamate - it is the protein in food that the human body recognizes as meat (but the glutamate in MSG has a different configuration which cannot be assimilated properly by the body). Any protein can be hydrolyzed to produce a base containing MSG. When the industry learned how to make the flavour of meat in the laboratory using inexpensive proteins from grains and legumes, the door was opened to a flood of new products including bullion cubes, dehydrated soup mixes, sauce mixes, TV dinners, and condiments with a meaty base. You couldn't have had all of these processed foods without these fake ersatz flavours.
The fast food industry could not exist without MSG and artificial meat flavours to make secret sauces and spice mixes that beguile the consumer into eating bland and tasteless food. The sauces in processed foods are basically MSG, water, some thickener and emulsifier and some caramel colouring. Your tongue is tricked into thinking that it is getting something nutritious when it is getting nothing at all except some very toxic substances. Even the dressings, the Worcestershire sauce, rice mixes, flavoured to fu, bullion cubes, Knorr soups, imitation garlic and onions, dehydrated foods that you add water to, all of these and anything that has a meat-like taste has MSG in it. Almost all canned soups and stews contain MSG, and the "hydrolyzed protein" bases often contain MSG in very large amounts.
So called "homemade soup" in most restaurants are often made by adding water to artificial flavourings in a powdered soup-base or soup cubes and adding chopped vegetables etc. Even things like lobster bisque and sauces in the seafood restaurants are full of these artificial flavours. It's all profit based. They even think it is too costly to just use a little onion and garlic for flavouring. So they are using the artificial flavours instead.
Unfortunately, most of the vegetarian foods are loaded with these flavourings. The list of ingredients in vegetarian hamburgers, hot dogs, bacon, baloney etc. may include hydrolyzed protein and other "natural" flavourings.
As I point
out in my various workshops, the three most toxic additives in our food supply
are MSG, hydrolyzed protein and aspartame, and the first two are in all of these
secret sauces with "natural flavours". Anything that you buy that
says "spices" or "natural flavours" contains MSG! They get
around it by putting MSG in the mixes, and if it less than 50% MSG they don't
have to put it on the label. You may have noticed that that phrase "No
MSG" has actually disappeared. They don't use it anymore because they found
out that there was MSG in all the spice mixes, even Bragg's amino acids had
to take "No MSG" off. These neurotoxins are in the low fat milk, the
spray-dried milk and in all the natural flavourings and spices.
HEALTH PROBLEMS WITH MSG
We soon began to realize that there were some problems with this MSG. In 1957 scientists found that mice became blind and obese when MSG was administered by feeding tube. In 1969, MSG-induced lesions were found in the hypothalamus region of the brain. Subsequent studies all pointed in the same direction. MSG is a neurotoxic substance that causes a wide range of reactions from temporary headaches to permanent brain damage. We have a huge increase in Alzheimer's, brain cancer, seizures, multiple sclerosis and diseases of the nervous system, and one of the chief reasons is these flavourings in our food. MSG is also associated with violent behaviour. And it is everywhere in the food.
Ninety-five percent of processed foods contain MSG, and as you know, in the late 1950s it was added to baby food. They say they have taken it out of the baby food, but they didn't really remove it. They just called it hydrolyzed protein. There is a wonderful book called Excitotoxins, by Russell Blalock. He describes how the nerve cells either disintegrate or shrivel up in the presence of this free glutamic acid, MSG, if it gets past the blood brain barrier. The glutamates in MSG are absorbed directly from the mouth to the brain. Some investigators believe that the great increase in violence in this country is due, not to sugar, nor even the breakfast cereals, but to the huge increase in the use of MSG in the food which began in the late 1950's, and particularly because it was put in baby food in very large amounts.
artificial bacon, a food processing magazine claims: "Here is an engineered
meat product which looks, cooks, and tastes like bacon, but is formed and laminated
by a co-extrusion process. It is made from a mixture of pork, beef, sugar, salt,
MSG, and smoked flavour and has a number of advantages. It shrinks very little
in cooking; holds its shape and colour well; contains twice the protein and
half the fat of bacon; costs less than bacon and the processed product does
not delaminate." Isn't that nice to know? Of course, now they have figured
out how to do this without any meat at all by using soy.
FATS AND OILS
Oil processing starts with the crude vegetable oil and produces various oils, margarine, shortening and so forth. Don't forget these oils start out loaded with pesticides. The steps involved in processing have to do with bleaching, deodorizing, taking all the nutrients out, filtering, and removing saturates to make the oils more liquid. They also add a hexane solvent in order to squeeze the very last drop of oil out of the seeds. Caustic refining refers to very alkaline, very caustic chemicals that are added to the oil.
processing uses the cheapest seeds, and most of them are full of pesticides
and genetically engineered. Oil is extracted under high temperature and pressure,
and the remaining fraction of oil is removed with hexane solvents. Then they
steam clean the oils to remove all the vitamins and all the anti-oxidants, but
of course, the solvents and the pesticides remain. These oils are mixed with
a nickel catalyst and then put into a huge high pressure, high temperature reactor.
Emulsifiers are mixed in. What comes out of that reactor, actually, is a smelly,
grey type of cottage cheese. Then they mix in the emulsifiers to smooth it out,
and steam clean it again to get rid of the horrible smell. Then they bleach
it to get rid of the grey colour, and they add artificial flavours and synthetic
vitamins. Actually they are not allowed to add a synthetic colour to margarine.
They have to add a natural colour, so they add anatto or something natural.
It is then packaged in blocks and tubs and then advertising promotes this garbage
as a health food.
Saturated fat is the type of fat found in lard or butter. It is a straight molecule and it packs together easily. That is why it's solid at room temperature. Unsaturated fat, like the type of fat found in olive oil, is a bent molecule. It has a little bend with two hydrogen molecules sticking out. And when that molecule gets built into your cells, the body wants those two hydrogens together; it makes an electron cloud and that is where your body makes reactions in the cell membrane. During hydrogenation, one of those hydrogens is moved to the other side, and it causes the molecule to straighten out so that it behaves like a saturate. The original unsaturated molecule is called 'cis' fatty acid, because the two hydrogens are together, and then it becomes a 'transfat,' a transfatty acid because the two hydrogens are across from each other. But your body doesn't know that this new molecule is something that has never been in nature before, so when you eat one of these transfats, or transfatty acids, they become built into your cell membranes. When it gets into your cell membranes, your body starts to realize something is wrong, because it wants to make reactions where those two hydrogens are and it can't find them. And so the reaction can't take place. The more transfatty acids that you eat, the more hydrogenated your cells become and the more chaos that you are going to have on the cellular level. So this is a completely phony, toxic molecule that tricks your body into thinking it is something real and your body puts it in a cell, and then the cells can't work.
All of the margarines, shortenings, spreads, even low trans spreads are made with all these horrible ingredients. In the groceries stores there is just a little bit of space for the butter because all the low profit margarine foods have totally invaded the food supply. You cannot buy any packaged or processed foods that don't have these transfatty acids in them. They're in all the chips and crackers, and they now use them for french fries. They used to fry the fries in tallow which is a very safe fat, and gave a little extra profit for the cattlemen and they have lost that market now. Now they use partially hydrogenated soybean oil. It used to be that when you made desserts for your kids, at least they had butter, eggs, cream and nuts and things, all these good wholesome foods. Now they can imitate the butter, eggs and cream and nuts so all you have is sugar, and artificial things in these instant puddings and artificial desserts.
PROBLEMS WITH HYDROGENATED OILS
Many, many diseases have been associated with the consumption of these transfatty acids - heart disease, cancer, and degeneration of joints and tendons (that is why we have so many hip replacements today) . The only reason that we are eating this stuff is because we have been told that the competing fats and oils, the butter, the lard, the coconut oil, the palm oil, the tallow and the suet are bad for us and cause heart disease. And that is nothing but industry propaganda to get us to buy substitutes.
PROCESSED FOOD AFFECTS FERTILITY AND FACIAL STRUCTURE
Weston A. Price discovered that as children eat these processed foods, with each generation, the facial structure becomes more and more narrow. Healthy faces should be broad. They should have perfectly straight teeth and no cavities. When you are eating real foods, nutrient dense foods, you get the complete and perfect expression of the genetic potential. And that genetic potential, that gift from the Creator to all of us is perfection. We were given a perfect blueprint. Whether or not the body temple is built according to the blueprint depends on our wisdom in food choices. When primitive societies abandoned the traditional diet and began to eat processed foods, the next generation developed the altered facial structure. We know that if you continue this diet for three generations, reproduction ceases and that's what we're seeing now. About 25% of our couples are infertile, and if we don't go back to a diet that produces good facial structure, we are going to be wiped out.
FACTORY FOOD PREPARATION - IS YOUR FOOD MADE BY CARING HANDS?
flavours and preservatives are made by chemical companies in factories; they
are not being made by the loving hands of a cook. All the artificial ingredients
added to the food help the rich get richer. They have completely processed the
life out of the food and then as a concession to the public, thrown in a handful
of artificial nutrients. Can you imagine what kind of feeling, what kind of
radiation comes from that factory food? It would be better that an individual
did not eat at all than to eat food that has been prepared under a feeling of
anger, apathy, resentment, depression, or any outward pressure. Think of the
pressure that is put on all this food that is made in factories.
SPIRITUAL FOOD PREPARATION - MADE WITH LOVE
If a woman could see the sparks of light going forth from her fingertips when she is cooking, and the substance of light that goes into the food she handles, she would be amazed to see how much of herself she charges into the meals that she prepares for her family and friends. It is one of the most important and least understood activities of life, that the radiation and feeling that go into the preparation of food affect everyone who partakes of it. And this activity should be unhurried, peaceful and happy because the substance of the lifestream performing the service flows into that food and is eaten, and actually becomes part of the energy of the receiver.
That substance starts with the way we farm---the farmer that farms with wisdom and love for the land, the dairyman that farms with love for his animals, the cheesemaker who makes the cheese with the love of her craft, the baker who bakes with the love of the final product, the beverage maker who makes the type of delicious and nutritious beverage that I would like to see come to this nation. That energy goes into the food and when it is eaten by the receiver actually blesses the receiver.
That is why the advanced spiritual teachers of the East never eat food prepared by anyone other than their own chelas (disciples). The person preparing the food may be the only one in the household who is spiritually advanced (this is often the case). An active charge of happiness, purity and peace will pour forth into the food from him, and this pours forth into the other members of the family and blesses them. There are more ways than one of allowing the Spirit of God to enter the flesh of man. So I hope that from what I have shown you, you will turn away from godless food.
the family needs to get back in the kitchen. It doesn't mean you have to spend
hours in the kitchen, but you need to spend some time in the kitchen preparing
food with love, food that has been grown with love and prepared with wisdom
and love. If no one in the family has time to go into the kitchen and prepare
food, you need to sit down and rethink how you are spending your time because
there is simply no other way to get nourishing foods into our children. The
situation is really very critical. If we don't return to good eating practices
one mouth at a time, one meal at a time, one farm at a time, preparing our own
food and preparing it properly, there is not going to be another generation.
Thank you very much.
* * *
Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions is available at Consumer Health Organization at 416-490-0986
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