So, let’s take a look at the 2006 food headlines, and see why this may go down in history as one of the most interesting years in the history of food and nutrition!First off, and most interestingly, at the end of 2006, we saw the FDA approval of cloned foods go through Yescard.
Wait, weren’t we just debating the morality of cloning not too long ago? And now we’ve had one of the most notoriously fickle organizations, the FDA, approve cloned foods, including animal foods like pork, beef and chicken? Well, yes, it wasn’t too long ago, and yes the FDA did approve foods from cloned animal to be available to the public.
Perhaps this was an issue of supply and demand, and was seen as a way to revolutionize the food supply, but I for one will be shopping more and more at my local natural foods store, where they only offer pure, unaltered meats and dairy, and are guaranteed to be of an “original” gene pool.
There just seems to be something about eating cloned food that is “wrong”. Isn’t there somewhere down the line when these cloned animals and their byproducts may be found to cause some sort of health issue in the creatures that consume them (us?).
To me, the concept of cloned food seems almost too futuristic, even for this day and age, and I’d like to see more long term studies done on the implications of cloned food consumption. But hey, rumor has it, KFC has been using cloned chickens for their notoriously savory chicken for years, so it must be fine, right?Further down the line, after we start seeing so many foods in the store that may or may not be from a cloned animal, many are also speculating that this will lead to new food labeling, like the certified Organic labels that now must be placed on foods that have passed certain organic guidelines.
Many companies such as Ben and Jerry’s ice creams want to make it clear that their ice cream is only made from animal fat (dairy fat, that is), that is from non-cloned, grain fed animals without the use of hormones.
There will very likely be many other food companies that want to distinguish themselves this way as well, as they know full well many Americans will not find the idea of eating cloned animal byproducts particularly savory.
2006 was also the year that we saw the first trans fat ban go into effect, and not without controversy, in New York City. Trans fats are a dangerous fat that have been used in cooking, especially in fast food restaurants, for years now.
Trans fats actually make food extremely tasty, and some argue, even addictive. They have been the subject of much dire warning from the health community, to consume trans fats in extreme moderation, or even better, not at all. Trans fats really do not have one speck of nutritional value, and in fact can just be called a pure health hazard.
Trans fats are actually a partially synthetic fat derivitive that was the brainchild of scientists who actually added hydrogen to vegetable oil in order to cheapen the process of fat production as well as increase taste and affordability. Hydrogenated oils also can greatly increase the shelf life of foods (I know, kind of scary).
They raise the bad cholesterol levels in the blood and have been implicated in the increasing levels of obesity and heart disease in this country also though, and there have been many lobbyists campaigning for their elimination and outlaw for a while.
They did partially succeed, as in a bid for an increase in overall health awareness, many politicians took it upon themselves to institute trans fat bans. Now, many fast food restaurants are currently making the switch over to healthier fats that will not clog arteries as readily and are not so highly addictive in nature.
Some agree with government intervention in the health and well being of American citizens, while some disagree and believe this is undue government intervention, and that education should be used instead of seemingly intrusive laws.
I for one, am on the fence on this one. While I believe it is our right to choose the foods we eat, I also know the dangers of trans fats, and recognize that not everyone has the knowledge or willpower they need to avoid these types of foods, which by the way, also happen to be cheaper and easily accessible to a wide range of the population.