Saturday, 21 May 2011

Super Morbidly Disgusted

Hello from the rainy and revision ridden North-East! I have succesfully spent a Saturday cleaning, scurbbing, mopping, tidying and sitting in the library for four hours. I am truly enjoying the sparkling clean flat though. Since the Boyfriend is out and about, I have had the opportunity to catch up with TV and make a bit if student sushi. If you are a student and if you are skint, trust on this one - maki rolls filled with crabstick, cucumber and mayo. Not the most traditional option, but very tasty, easy to make and easy on your wallet.

I have always had a thing for Jamie Oliver. Absolutely love him! Initially I wasn't too sure about his new "saving the kids of America" project called Jamie's Food Revolution on Channel 4, but I cannot disagree with the gruesomeness of the facts. Almost a third of the population in America are obese (a BMI of over 30). There really is a massive gap in legislation when it comes to food, the ingredients and their origins. What really made me cringe was Jamie's demonstration of "Pink Slime". According to Jamie, 70% of America's beef is treated with ammonia. Ammonia is hazardous, but still the legislation in America fails to force the food producers to identify ammonia as an ingredient, not a process, in food packaging. This fact really shocked me. How can you know what is safe to eat? Should legislation not protect people? The foods shown on Jamie's Food Revolution should not even be called food or classified as nutrition. Schools offer kids flavoured milk as a part of a balanced daily diet. Flavoured milk contains more sugar than Coca-Cola - it is classified as healthy. The foods on offer in school cafeterias are unrecognisable.

This is not just a problem in the US. A quarter of Britain's population are obese too. Every individual has the right to consume what he or she wishes, but where is the self-preservation? Channel 4 really is gorging with the "fat shock factor". Supersize vs. Superskinny should really be a wake up call for everyone. It really seems like there is no respect left for food or eating.

The same problem with unidentified school food seems to be a problem everywhere. There has been a lot of fuss about the origin of food and especially ingredients in school food in Finland. A recent article proves that quite a few foods served in Finnish schools include colour additives, sodium benzoate, monosodium glutamate, trans fats - and are low in nutrition. For example a food dubbed on the menu as "Pork in Cream Sauce" contains 40 different ingredients. A really alarming ingredient is monosodium glutamate, which is often related to allergies, obesity and hyperactivity in children. Is this what I have been eating all my childhood?

I know that there is a lot of hysteria around this topic nowadays. The truth is that most of the additives are made out of natural ingredients and do not have any effect on your health. But then there are the ones that do have an effect. Those additives should not be in our food. Where is the line between free market, corporate social responsibility, government intervention, personal resbonsibility and safe nutrition?

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