Dr. Oz, March 14,2013, has Lisa Leake and Vani Hari on the show to discuss food dyes and why you may need to be concerned when you give your kids Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Kraft uses yellow dye 5 and 6 in their product to add color and make it look more appealing. This is a petroleum based dye and Lisa says recent studies say it can cause ADHD symptoms in your kids.
Yellow dye 5 and 6 are both banned in the UK and companies use natural sources to add color to their products. Oz says that Kraft responded by saying they use a lot of natural ingredients in their products and point out that these dyes are approved by the FDA. Yes, our FDA does allow companies to use these chemicals instead of natural colorings and it makes me wonder if we are not seeing the results of corporate influence on our government again.
Michael Jacobson is on the show and he says that there are studies out there that point to the obvious safety hazards of these dyes. One recent double blind study showed a significant increase in hyperactivity in children when exposed to these food dyes. He says companies use them because they are cheap and he hints that the FDA needs to step in here and ban them just like in the UK. Oz seems to be swayed by these studies as he tells us we should remove all products that contain artificial dyes from our kids diet. He says their safety should be our first concern.
Now Oz shifts gears here and gives us two startling headlines from earlier this year. First, meat that was labeled 100% beef were found to contain almost 29% horse meat in Ireland this past January. In February, it was revealed that this “contamination” had spread to over 21 countries in Europe and even went as far as Russia. Over 10 million burgers were pulled from store shelves along with a lot of other products. So could this happen here in the US?
Patty Lovera, of Food and Water Watch, told Oz this was the result of just a few companies that decided to commit fraud on the general public. Scott Heard says this type of fraud would be very hard to commit here in the US as we have government inspectors that actually look at and touch each piece of meat before it can be processed or labeled 100% beef. Lovera hints that this has a very slim chance of happening here but she does say it would be extremely hard because of our rigorous inspection schedule. Oz says our meat is perfectly safe and we should not have to worry about this happening here in the US.
We have all seen those labels on our foods that we think are supposed to mean healthier and more humane choices in the meat products we buy. Oz has Urvashi Rangan on the show today to let us know that we may not be getting what we think we are with some of the labels. Meat products labeled “Natural” only mean that there was nothing added to the meat when it was processed. It has no bearing on whether or not the animal was given any drugs or if it was actually raised totally in a cage. He says it is not worth the extra money we pay for that label.
We have all seen “Free Range” or “Cage Free” and I actually thought it meant that the animal was raised in an open environment that is more natural. Urvashi says this just means that the animal had the option of going outside but there is no guarantee that it ever did. He says “Cage Free” just means there was an open door on the cage and again, we never know if the animal was ever actually outside of the cage. If you see the label “Animal Welfare Approved” on your meat label, you know that this animal is one of the best you can buy. It guarantees that the animal was raised without antibiotics and other drugs and the farm has met the space requirements set forth by the inspecting agency.
Finally, if you see “100% Grass Fed and Organic” on label, you know you are getting very high quality meat. Urvashi says this meat is well worth the extra price we pay for it because it was raised humanely and it was fed natural foods common to the species.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Oz