The food Americans consume is often tainted with harmful ingredients – many of which are banned internationally.
From additives to hormones, a variety of ingredients not allowed in other countries are “designed to satiate the unsuspecting American appetite,” according to Samantha Olson with Medical Daily.
“In a country so consumed with counting calories, the gluten-free fad, and fast food, the ingredients section on the back of packages are widely overlooked and riddled with internationally banned foods,” Olson said. “Maybe the reasons behind why these foods are banned in other countries will fill our bellies with enough disgust and fear, we won’t be hungry for harmful ingredients any longer.”
Here are four common ingredients or foods Americans consume daily that are banned elsewhere:
Where it’s banned: More than 160 countries, including the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Russia, China and Taiwan.
Why it’s banned: A drug designed to reduce the amount of fat in meat, ractopamine is given to pigs, cattle and turkeys. While it increases the muscle content in animals, Olson said that the drug causes behavioral changes, chromosomal abnormalities and cardiovascular issues in humans.
According to Kraus, ractopamine also has poisoned more than 1,700 people in the past 15 years, giving the drug a dangerous reputation in the international community.
“As much as 20 percent of the ractopamine may remain in the meat you purchase with a drug label warning ‘not for use in humans’ and ‘individuals with cardiovascular disease should exercise special caution to avoid exposure,’” Olson said.
To avoid this drug, Rachel Kraus with TakePart suggested meat eaters consume grass-fed animals rather than feed-lot animals.
Where it’s banned: Canada and the United Kingdom.
Why it’s banned: Found in fat-free snacks, olestra – also known as olean – was created as a cholesterol-free, calorie-free substitute. However, what was designed to make snacks healthy has abundant negative side effects, Olson noted.
“It was the snacking industry’s answer to their high-fat problem and swiftly approved by the FDA in 1996,” Olson said. “People began reporting diarrhea, cramps, leaky bowels and anal leakage after eating what they thought to be a healthier alternative to indulging.”
Studies also showed that olestra-fed rats gained more weight than those who ate regular potato chips, Olson said. In addition, doctors found that olestra obstructs the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K, Kraus reported.
3. Farm-raised salmon
Where it’s banned: Australia, New Zealand and Russia ban imported farm-raised salmon.
Why it’s banned: Farmed salmon feed on an “unnatural diet,” Kraus said, noting they indulge on antibiotics and petrochemicals. Olson said that farmed salmon are also fed grains, which makes them bulkier than wild salmon while reducing their omega-3 fats and protein by 50 percent.
Farmed salmon also do not meet the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency for regular human consumption, Olson said, with “up to one million fish in an area the size of two football fields” swimming in sludge of contaminants.
“All of this results in a fish that contains more chemicals than we can count, chemicals that are known to be unsafe for humans – they cause eyesight damage, contain cancer-causing toxins, and more,” Kraus noted.
To avoid farm-raised salmon, eat salmon that is labeled “Alaskan salmon” or “sockeye salmon,” Kraus said.
4. Arsenic (roxarsone, nitarsone)
Where it’s banned: The European Union.
Why it’s banned: The two drugs are given to chickens and turkeys to give chickens an “illusion of healthy coloring and plump appearance,” according to MSN. It also makes chickens grow faster.
Farmers began feeding the drugs to the birds to fight off disease, Olson said. The result, however, has been spreading disease to humans, including skin lesions, kidney damage and an increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth.
While the FDA has withdrawn its approval of roxarsone and is doing the same with nitarsone, it did so only facing pressure from food safety groups.
“Americans are slowly waking up to the sad fact that much of the food sold in the U.S. is far inferior to the same foods sold in other nations,” Eat Local Grown reported. “Seeing how the overall health of Americans is so much lower than other industrialized countries, you can’t help but wonder whether toxic foods such as these might play a role in our skyrocketing disease rates.”
Do you believe other countries have safer food? Share your thoughts in the section below: