When it comes to its citizens health and wellbeing, one would think that America was aware of, and using, the latest technology and advancements. Sadly, this is not the case. Over and over European nations are taking the forefront, leaving Americans less healthy than ever before. Although Americans spend twice as much per capita on health care, the USA ranks last in a health and mortality analysis of 17 developed nations. Sticking to government supported health and dietary guidelines has hurt Americans overall health but it the exposure to harmful substances and food procedures that are a source of wide concern, especially when you consider that these same things are banned in Europe. Here is a list of the top 10 food practices that give European families healthier lives, but are denied to Americans.
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1. The Pesticide Atrazine
Although banned in Europe for more than 10 years, the potent weed killer Atrazine is a known endocrine disruptor that causes breast and prostate cancer in lab animals, retards mammary development and induces abortion. Studies involving humans suggest similar risks. In the USA, Atrazine is still widely used and is now found in drinking water.
Arsenic based drugs are used in animal feed because this makes the animal grow much faster. It also gives the meat a pinker color, which consumers will interpret as “fresher” meat.
The US FDA has said that this is a safe practice because this is organic arsenic and not as toxic. Arsenic is a well known carcinogen. However, scientific reports have discovered that organic arsenic can transform into its dangerous counterpart, inorganic arsenic. The carcinogen, inorganic arsenic, has been found in high levels in chickens sold in supermarkets.
3. Chicken Litter
Most commercial chickens are kept in large barn like structures, each in its own cage. Different types of materials are spread on the floor to help collect manure, peanut shells, feathers, sawdust, spilled chicken feed, and straw which is used as bedding. This mixture of items is called chicken litter, broiler litter, and sometimes, unused bedding material. Whatever name you want to give it, this mixture of items is removed from the poultry location, along with any dead birds, approximately every 47 days.
Although this mixture used to be sold as fertilizer, it is now sold as cheap food for livestock. The livestock corporations are always looking to save money and poultry litter is a cheap alternative to other food products. Cows that eat poultry litter can also be eating other beef products that were originally intended for chickens. This should be a great concern regarding Mad Cow Disease.
In the US, billions pounds of poultry litter are sold each year. The use of broiler litter in cow feed is completely unrestricted. In Europe, however, all forms of animal protein, including chicken litter, in cow feed has been banned since 2001!
4. Chemical Washing of Meat
Although the US Department of Agriculture is attempting to keep diseases out of the food supply, their recent ruling states that chickens and other poultry will be put all poultry through an antimicrobial wash. This means that the chickens, turkeys, and other poultry you are buying will have been immersed in chlorine and/or other chemicals to kill germs and bacteria.
America already has a terrible problem with an overuse of antibiotics, which has created antibiotic resistant “super germs” when used in animal feed, and this practice, although it sounds good in theory, will only make this problem worse in practice. Workers in poultry plants have already reported problems from the chemical washes, including asthma and other respiratory problems.
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Consider this, in the European Union, the use of chlorine washes is not only prohibited, but they also have laws against importing poultry that has been treated with antimicrobial sprays.
5. Overuse of Antibiotics
Animals are fed antibiotics at low doses as a means of disease prevention and to promote growth. These antibiotics are not cooked out of the meat and get transferred to humans. The manure from these animals also contains antibiotics, and then these manures are used as fertilizer on other food sources such as fruit trees and vegetables. The FDA has long known, and stated, that giving livestock antibiotics was unnecessary and inappropriate, yet they continue to allow its use.
In Europe, all antibiotics are used only for human medicine and are strictly banned for agricultural use.
Ractopamine is a drug used to promote muscle growth in animals. In the United States, an estimated 60 to 80 per cent of pigs, up to 30 per cent of cattle, and unknown percentage of turkeys are force fed this drug. Europe bans this drug and will not accept meat treated with it. In China and Taiwan, if imported meat is found to have even traces of ractopamine, not only is it turned away but fines and imprisonment can result.
The United States not only continues to allow this dangerous drug in its meat supply, but it is actively attempting to have other nations accept pork meat tainted with ractopamine…
7. Gestation Crates
Gestation crates are extremely small, tight 2 foot metal pens where breeding pigs spend almost their entire lives. These crates are so small; the pigs cannot stand up, or even turn over. These crates are an absolutely terrible example of the inhumane treatment food animals endure. Female pigs are artificially impregnated in these cages and kept there for years, giving birth and feeding their young, only to be impregnated again and again. Although some pork producers have pledged to phase out these crates, this cruel practice remains the norm in the USA.
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Europe has banned gestation crates entirely.
Most people are completely unaware that fluoride is a drug and you generally need a prescription to obtain it. However, it’s added to public water supplies and used daily by more than 180 million Americans, with little or no notification of the addition of fluoride.
There is no attention paid to the potential for adverse reactions nor is it possible to control the dose of fluoride a person might receive. Fluoride has been added to so many dental products, such as toothpaste, mouthwash, even fluoride treatments, that accidental fluoride poisoning is no longer uncommon. Ingestion of fluoride has been proved to cause weakened bones, accumulation of fluoride in the brain, which caused altered mental behavior, decreased thyroid function, early puberty, bone cancer, dementia, kidney issues, and much more. At the same time, studies have failed to prove its benefits for preventing cavities when taken internally.
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US cities spend millions adding fluoride to municipal water supplies each year while European countries do not add fluoride to their water.
9. Genetically Modified Crops
GM crops are banned in several European countries, and all GM foods and ingredients must be clearly labeled as such. The European Union has always taken a strict and cautious position regarding GM crops, while the US has begun to pass laws that protect the use of GM seeds and allows for unfettered expansion.Also, the United States does not require that GM foods or ingredients be labeled.
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With no studies done to determine the long term health effects on humans, the USA continues to approve GM crops, even though the use of such as banned in almost all states in Brazil, and Japan also insists that all GM foods are clearly labeled.
10. Neonicotinoid Pesticides
There is new information about the use of neonicotinoid pesticides as the possible cause of the honey bee die off. This pesticide is absorbed by the plant and is shown to be present in the pollen and flowers. This would make the plants toxic to both bees and butterflies.
A recent study shows that neonicotinoid pesticides also stay present in the soil for perhaps years after the initial application. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has yet to even consider any studies regarding the use of this pesticide and its effect on the honeybee decline.
In fact, the EPA has no plans to even review its current list of banned pesticides until 2016 at the earliest.