(NaturalNews) Think the USDA has your back concerning organics? Think again. Behind closed doors, corporate interests reign supreme where certified organic policy is concerned. A prime example is the use of carrageenan as a common ingredient. Linked with cancer and inflammation, this accepted additive opens a floodgate of serious health issues. And consumers are generally unaware of the risks while savoring their organic fare. Fortunately, The Cornucopia Institute has exposed the hypocrisy while providing resources for avoiding this disturbing substance found in our favorite foods.
Nixon would be proud
Dubbed "The Organic Watergate -- White Paper," The Cornucopia Institute is one of the first organizations to expose the many instances of fraud regarding USDA organic certification. It's no wonder the policy is rife with abuse, just have a look at the following agribusinesses that represent the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB):
- Earthbound Farm (two representatives have served, a handler and a consumer representative) - General Mills (four representatives have served, three handlers and a scientist) - Dean Foods (farmer slot) - Campbell Soup Company (handler slot) - Grimmway Enterprises, Inc. (farmer slot) - PurePak, Inc. (environmentalist slot) - Campbell Soup Company (handler slot) - Smucker's (handler slot) - CROPP/Organic Valley (three representatives, all appointed to a farmer slot) - Purina Ralcorp (handler slot) - Driscoll's (farmer slot) - Phillips Mushrooms (environmentalist slot)
This is the same board that created the policy regarding the use of carrageenan in organic foods. A controversial additive, its approval suggests the influence of corporate interests. According to the Institute:
"Carrageenan was reviewed in 1995 by three scientists with professional relationships to corporate agribusiness, and only one pointed out the potential human health impacts of degraded carrageenan. This is especially outrageous since the scientific community had known for decades, based on an abundance of peer-reviewed published literature, that degraded carrageenan is an inflammatory agent and carcinogenic in lab animals."
Read the label
Found in a wide variety of organic products, from almond and hemp milk to cottage cheese and yogurt, carrageenan is an familiar ingredient. Unfortunately, many are unaware that it can wreak havoc on the intestinal tract and cause inflammation of the gut -- aggravating conditions such as IBS, Chron's disease and ulcerative colitis. Carrageenan is also implicated in tumors and lesions of the intestine along with other inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and arteriosclerosis.
Lobbyists for the additive proclaim 'food grade' carrageenan is completely safe, the only culprit is degraded carrageenan. What proponents fail to address is the likely conversion of food grade carrageenan into the degraded form during digestion. Scientists have suspected this to be the case since the 1980s. To make the issue more complex, the European Scientific Committee on Food discovered that products containing food grade carrageenan were contaminated with up to 25 percent of the degraded variety.
Beth Buczynski, author of Non-Dairy Milk Additive Could Make You Sick, states, "... research funded by the National Institutes of Health raises serious concerns about harmful effects of carrageenan as an inflammatory agent on the human gastrointestinal tract. Even though carrageenan has been used by the food industry for nearly 50 years, it 'so reliably causes inflammation that scientists actually use it to induce inflammation in biological experiments.'"
As a result of the corrupt USDA Organic seal of approval, we can now enjoy this poisonous ingredient in a vast assortment of organic and natural food products. Thankfully, a choice is available once we are informed. For those who would rather avoid consuming carrageenan, browse this helpful shopping guide.
About the author: Carolanne believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, wellness coach and natural foods chef, she has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of green living for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.