Sunday, February 11, 2007

Looks like I picked the wrong day to start drinking coffee...

I had a cup of coffee today instead of my usual cuppa tea. On high octane fuel and listening to my favorite morning news show without my protective headgear, I received a double tinfoil hat bomb.

First, the FDA has approved a spray made of six virsues to be added to food such as lunch meats and hot dogs to target Listeria poisoning. Fellow hipmama and all around cool mom dynamom had already alerted me to this freaky news. Not only are these the first viral particles approved as a food additive, but they will not be listed on the label. At all.

When I took microbiology in my former path to medical school, my Ph.D. professor who used to work for NASA explained why she ate organic foods. She was discussing irradiation of food, but I think the same principle applies here. She said much of what poisons us in these infections is due to the toxins released when the pathogen dies and lyses, or bursts open. These are only single celled organisms. The way they make us sick is by reproducing and exploding as their life cycle ends. She was against these new treatments to kill the pathogens because she believed they would encourage even sloppier food handling (i.e. more bacteria reproducing) because people would rely on these "bug zapping" mechanisms, whether they are radiation beams or viral sprays. Ick.

And, bomb number two: a genetically modified organism (GMO) in rice unapproved for human consumption has slipped into the food supply from the United States. Japan, who just lifted its ban of our possibly Mad Cow infected beef has now banned our rice, and Greenpeace is urging all countries to boycott US grown rice. Sounds like we just lost a big market for our scary unapproved rice.

Double sigh. Anyone feel like a bowl of rice? How about a hot dog? What we don’t know can’t hurt us, right? I think I am just going to drink another cup of coffee…

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