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Why would someone decide to avoid all food products made in the States?

Okay, here is a question that has been bothering me for a while.

Recently, while helping out at an after school program where a snack is provided, one of the kids indicated that her parents instructed her to avoid food products made in the States (we are in Canada). Consequently, she skipped the particular cereal that was served on that day.

I understand preferences for dairy-free, organic etc., but what can possibly cause such a decision to avoid US-produced food products? (As an aside, I don't even think it is realistic to expect being able to avoid such foods, in a public setting where food sourcing and preparation is done through multiple people).

The belief that there is more GMO or chemicals in US food production? Not that I think it is true ;-)

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  1. whether YOU think that it is true, is not the issue.
    many things are allowed here because of the revolving door of personnel between our government and monstanto about which people in other countries are wary.

    (i feel the same way about foodstuffs that come from china.)

    if i can buy the same item from a country that doesn't permit GMOs or a country that does, i'll go with the product of the non-gmo country.
    why would i CHOSE to buy "roundup ready" food if i have a choice? why would i chose to buy meat that has been fed GMO corn if i can get meat that has been grass fed with grass that is not covered with roundup?

    18 Replies
    1. re: westsidegal

      "why would i chose to buy meat that has been fed GMO corn if i can get meat that has been grass fed with grass that is not covered with roundup?"

      Considering the result of "covering grass in Roundup" (contrasted below), exactly HOW do you feed said grass to any animal??? How about we forgo the hyperbole and stick to a fact-based discussion.

      1. re: PotatoHouse

        The evidence is clear to anyone who takes the time to research this. She is most definitely NOT talking hyperbole here, more like naivete on your part.

        As an example, Russia, of all countries, has banned GMO's from the country. In the USA, Monsanto and its cronies control Congress and thus, we have GMO food.

        1. re: Enigma3

          How is it possible to feed livestock with grass that has been covered in Roundup?

          1. re: John E.

            Roundup kills grass. Quickly. I do not accept the validity of that story at all. What are they feeding the cows? Dead grass? I ascribe to the idea that all information released by big agra companies is pure propaganda, designed to boost their profit margins at our expense.

            1. re: Enigma3

              I grew up in farm country. My family owns 230 acres of woodland and farmland. A local cattleman cuts 'grass', which is actually clover and alfalfa since grass does not have as enough nutrients to adequately nourish cattle.

              There are three cuttings a year. If Roundup is sprayed on the fields then the plants die and cannot be cut, raked, and baled to feed the cattle. Why did you require an explanation of p grass fed beef is not fed grass that is 'covered with Roundup'?

              1. re: John E.

                I may be wrong, but I believe all 3 of us are saying the same thing; It is IMPOSSIBLE to feed livestock grasses that are "covered with Roundup".

                1. re: PotatoHouse

                  you are correct about what i was saying.
                  if you look at my post i contrasted CORN that was covered with roundup with grass that is NOT covered with roundup.

                  i stated that i'd prefer to get the meat that fed on GRASS that was NOT covered with roundup.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    If corn was covered with Roundup it too would die. Since there is no grass that is covered with Roundup that is fed to cattle, your point is pointless.

                    1. re: John E.

                      Monsanto produces genetically modified corn that isn't harmed by roundup, only the surrounding weeds are. That is the other sides "point".

                        1. re: John E.

                          John E. another point about which you are completely incorrect.
                          GMO roundup ready corn does NOT die when covered with roundup.
                          the WHOLE POINT of making the corn "roundup ready" is to allow it to live despite being blanketed with tremendous amounts of roundup.

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            In this context 'covered' and 'blanketed with tremendous amounts' are emotionally loaded descriptions, not concrete quantitative ones. It's quite likely that that you and John use 'covered' in very different senses.

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              Well, not tremendous amounts...but yes, it will survive within certain parameters. Roundup will still kill crops that have been modified to accept it if you use too much.

                      1. re: John E.

                        John, I don't doubt you grew up in farm country...I also have no doubt you're not in the business and most likely moved away long ago.

                        There are several crops that have been genetically modified to accept broadcast applications of glyphosate (read: Roundup). Alfalfa is one of those crops.

                        Roundup Ready alfalfa can be sprayed with Roundup and survive as healthy as it was before application.

                        1. re: JayL

                          How does it handle agent orange?

                    2. re: John E.

                      Easily. RR, GMO crops can be sprayed with Glyphosate without damage.

                  2. re: PotatoHouse

                    Roundup Ready crops are not damaged by Glyphosates.

                    There are pasture crops, such as Alfalfa, that are RR.

                    That is the fact in this fact-based discussion.

                  3. re: westsidegal

                    Better hope "Clarabell Grass Fed" isn't consuming water near a field using glyphosate on a neighboring farm .... Glyphosate can be present in surface water.

                  4. I know people who avoid all food products made in China, but in US? Never heard of it. Maybe it's a political statement.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: PeterL

                      I agree. That's what it sounds like to me.

                    2. My guess would be that it is to avoid GMO crops and hormones/anti-biotics in meat/dairy production. That's just a guess. If that is the case, it seems to be a little mis-guided. Are there GMO labelling laws in Canada? If not, a manufacturer could buy cheap US GMO corn and turn it into "Made in Canada" breakfast cereal.

                      20 Replies
                      1. re: seamunky

                        That is pretty much my thoughts too. And no, there are no regulations for GMO labelling in Canada. =

                        1. re: seamunky

                          Here we go again. It is not legal to treat livestock intended for human consumption with hormones in the U.S.

                          1. re: John E.

                            Thanks for that clarification. rBGH is allowed in dairy production, right?

                            1. re: seamunky

                              You got me on that one. Dairy cows make up less than 10% of U.S. beef production.

                              1. re: John E.

                                John E. you are absolutely incorrect on this.
                                cattle in the US most assuredly MAY be treated with hormones.

                                1. re: John E.

                                  Your are mistaken. Cattle may be treated with hormones, poultry may not.

                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                    As if they aren't doing some jumping around and under said regulations that they helped put in to feed the animals "so not hormones and crap" so they can get away with their disgusting practices.

                                2. re: seamunky

                                  If you desire to live a healthy rest of your life, you will avoid GMO food at all costs. there are recent threads on this topic that I posted on which put this topic in perspective. You may want to read those threads to get "the other side" of the story and a good dose of reality. GMO's are not pretty.

                                  1. re: Enigma3

                                    All of our foodstuff were genetically modified over the years. The current fruits and vegetables bear very little resemblances to their forebears thousands of years ago.

                                    Humans can't just stop tampering with good ol' Mother nature :)

                                    1. re: Roland Parker

                                      There is a difference between hybrids and GMOs.

                                      There is a difference between cross pollination and protein replacement.

                                      1. re: Roland Parker

                                        Humans bear little resemblance to their forebears of a million or so years ago. Genetic change is natural, and humans are a part of nature, even when they intervene in the process of genetic modification.

                                    2. re: seamunky

                                      Every time I think I understand what Agrobusiness is adding to the food they sell, I discover they are doing something not labeled and not anything I wish to eat. An example is the additive they give to pigs right before slaughter that causes them to have more lean meat and less fat. It also turns out to cause their bones to break if they aren't killed right away. That is just one chemical in a horror of chemicals that are used in our food supply. We aren't told about it and we aren't given the choice not to eat them unless we opt out of the commercial mainstream all together. I remember the days I could shop in a supermarket and all I worried about was how the food looked and the price. Now I worry that the food will slowly kill me. I barely shop anywhere but at local farms these days. I miss the convenience. I miss the sense of safety. I think the mother of that Canadian child is doing the right thing and I live right here in the USA.

                                      1. re: susanl143

                                        "...the additive they give to pigs right before slaughter that causes them to have more lean meat and less fat. "
                                        This sounds suspicious (and like a pharmacological miracle - a drug that burns fat and increases muscle mass in a matter of days). Can you cite a credible source?

                                        I see I was wrong - thanks JayL (below) for the info...

                                        1. re: caganer

                                          Any credible source will lead you to additives such as Ractopamine...a pharmaceutical that quickly promotes weight gain and increases leanness.

                                        2. re: susanl143

                                          The confinement pork has actually been selectively bred to produce leaner pork ... the new wave in Iowa akin to the grass fed beef movement is "artisan" and/or "heritage" hogs, which are less lean and further allowed to roam around outside more.

                                          1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                            Factory pork is certainly more lean than pork used to be, but it isn't totally a matter of selective breeding. They indeed are given additives to lean them up in the last couple of months before heading to slaughter.

                                            1. re: JayL

                                              They also use feed additives ... rest assured, I am well aware of the intimate facts about confinement pork production.

                                          2. re: susanl143

                                            The additive Ractopamine is just as legal in Canada as it is in the US.

                                        3. even 'organic' us and canada have different standards.

                                          1. What is the Canadian policy on high fructose corn syrup?

                                            I know it is banned in some other countries and I could see citizens of those counties avoiding processed foods that might contain that product. I believe the US is kind of ~known~ for pushing HFCS on it's food consumers.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: pedalfaster

                                              We definitely have HFCS in many products such as coke, but in some cases have retained previous cane (or beet? sucrose, in any case) sugar formulations, such as for Heinz ketchup. We have local sugar production and no government incentive to grow corn that I know of, so the relative prices (and politics) might be different than the US.
                                              Which brings me to my answer for the OP - is it possible that due to recent factory closures, such as Heinz, the parents are making a political/economic decision to avoid US foods?

                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                I doubt I would ever have a chance to find out why (having been just an occasional volunteer at this school program). In a group of about 25 kids, we already have enough other dietary concerns to remember - dairy, COCONUT, egg, and of course nuts in general. That child with the instruction was only 8-9, and didn't have an answer why.

                                                It would be interesting if it was indeed a political statement.

                                            2. Most likely has to do with GMO I think.

                                              1. You are assuming that the parents' concern is legitimate. Who knows? They may worry about some of the ingredients and policies involved in American food production or they may just be crackpots.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  I'd rather think otherwise, although my thoughts keep leading me to possibilities like what you suggested. That is why I brought up this question.

                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                    It could be legitimate. i do worry about american food.

                                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                                      You should also worry about food from elsewhere. Have you seen any food production facilities in other countries?

                                                      1. re: chefj

                                                        Yes. I've seen people sneeze on beef and keep cutting, I've seen slaughterhouses too.
                                                        Depending on the food, you can generally source better and worse food safety.

                                                        1. re: Chowrin

                                                          That is not what i asked you.
                                                          There are many food products on Canadian, American, German Etc.... Shelves that are from places that there is almost no oversight, lax standards and plenty of corruption.
                                                          Good luck finding contaminate free Spices for a start.

                                                          1. re: chefj

                                                            You asked what I had seen in other countries.
                                                            The slaughterhouse was Canada, the meat processing was Greece (more a butchershop/fishmarket).

                                                            I have gotten stuff contaminated with ants before -- but I've had weevils in the states, too.

                                                  2. Whatever the reason, most would say that this is an extreme position.

                                                    I suspect crackpot thinking of some sort. Maybe political...maybe GMO...maybe Trilateral Commission.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: sal_acid

                                                      I agree. but i'm fortunate enough to know someone allergic
                                                      to rat and cockroach. If you don't want to eat those things,
                                                      well, it helps!

                                                    2. GMO crops are grown in Canada, Canola, Corn,Sugar Beet and Soy at least.
                                                      Canada does not have required Labeling.

                                                      1. Why does anyone subscribe to any cockamamie notion? There is no point in trying to find a rational explanation for irrational beliefs, in my opinion.

                                                        17 Replies
                                                        1. re: GH1618

                                                          It is surely not irrational. Monsanto plays around with DNA a lot. Virtually ALL information on what they do is censored in this country. They are very powerful. No independent testing on Roundup is allowed in the USA, so we must get the facts from the EU. The facts are downright ugly. Research this. When roundup is implanted into GMO seed you now have a double whammy. The food product you eat will have Roundup in it and the crop needs more Roundup than before to survive. So Monsanto makes out big time. And that's just Roundup. The cockamamie notion is in believing the propaganda spewed by big agra companies. Their profit comes before our health.

                                                          1. re: Enigma3

                                                            "When roundup is implanted into GMO seed you now have a double whammy. The food product you eat will have Roundup in it and the crop needs more Roundup than before to survive. " - I'd question any source that claims something like this. Roundup Resistant seeds do not have Roundup implanted. Roundup is an herbicide, not a gene.

                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                              That idea is wrong. Do the research.

                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                Correct. This sort of misstatement of the facts is typical from advocacy groups who don't have the scientific facts on their side.

                                                              2. re: Enigma3

                                                                Roundup is not "implanted" into a seed...and the RR plant does NOT need Roundup or any other glyphosate to survive.

                                                                1. re: JayL

                                                                  Roundup resistant crops have roundup in the seed. call it implanted or attached. Mox nix. This roundup does not break down into anything harmless. These crops are still sprayed with additional roundup. The harvested crop has lots of roundup in it.

                                                                  1. re: Enigma3

                                                                    "Roundup resistant crops have roundup in the seed. call it implanted or attached. "

                                                                    No, they don't. This statement is just stunningly wrong. Where are you getting all of this bogus information?

                                                                    1. re: Enigma3

                                                                      Various chemicals are applied to seeds prior to planting. Most commonly are fungicides, protecting the seed from rot before it has a chance to sprout. Insecticides are also used.


                                                                      An herbicide like Roundup might also be applied to Roundup resistant seeds. The idea is to suppress weeds that would compete with the desired crop. More of the herbicide may be sprayed on the crop during growth.

                                                                      If the crop is not herbicide resistant, than ground has to be treated prior to planting, with enough lead time so that herbicide residuals do not affect the new desired plants.

                                                                        1. re: Enigma3

                                                                          It's a shame you resist the understanding that your statements are not correct.

                                                                      1. re: Enigma3

                                                                        Roundup isn't genetically added to the seed, but instead the seed is modified so that it is resistant to the glyphosate. Interestingly, soybeans were the first "Roundup Ready" crop.

                                                                        1. re: Chowrin

                                                                          You know that most strains of E. Coli are harmless and they exist in You all the time.

                                                                          1. re: chefj

                                                                            yeah, but those aren't the ones that I'm concerned about, if you get the picture.

                                                                            try visiting a budget peanutbutter plant...

                                                                            1. re: Chowrin

                                                                              And where will find clean peanut butter? Even in your own home there will be mites, hair, skin bacteria etc.........
                                                                              Your fooling yourself if you think your not eating all sorts of gross stuff all the time.

                                                                              1. re: chefj

                                                                                The non-budget ones tend to be much, much cleaner (enough to not cause allergic reactions for those of us allergic to rat). Also less contaminated with ratshit.

                                                                                Clean peanut oil exists in Verizon lines, at least until the squirrels eat it all. (gotta be pure or it won't reflect well).

                                                                        2. re: GH1618

                                                                          "Eat all kind Nature doth bestow;
                                                                          It will amalgamate below."

                                                                        3. Maybe its as innocent as wanting to support canadian companies and eat as locally as possible....? IMO her mom and dad should be sending her with a snack that fits within their own food preferences....they must know that the school will not always have an option for her.

                                                                          1. Obviously, you'd have to ask the parents to find out what their reasoning is. My opinion is that it's based on prejudice, jealousy, misinformation or mental illness.

                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                              ... are you familiar with FDA standards for non-food in your food?

                                                                              1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                Yes. Are you familiar with similar regs in Canada?

                                                                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                  no, but as I've pointed out, regulation is only part of the issue.
                                                                                  the other is enforcement.

                                                                                  1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                    Do you think either exists in Chad, Burundi, Niger, Upper Volta, Burkina Faso, Haiti?

                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                      Does the US import foods from any of these countries?

                                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                        My adventurous friends who worked in these locations never brought back edibles. My friend who contracted malaria in Burundi while designing their first ever hospital, tried to bring me a bongo drum covered with animal hides, and the customs officials slashed it open to discover no drugs inside. Another bummer.

                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                          Yes. Burundi makes coffee, if nothing else.

                                                                                        2. re: Veggo

                                                                                          no, and I'd do extensive research before buying ag products from there. I know what I'm doing with coffee, I figure.

                                                                                2. Many food products are exported from the Unites States, so I don't know how anyone could be sure of avoiding them. The biggest categor is grain, but there are many other products. A jar of French Dijon mustard may have been made from mustard seed grown in the US, for esample.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                                    And that is the big problem with this. How to avoid eating GMO soy, wheat and corn.

                                                                                    1. Please explain, in 'Science', the precise difference between GMO and hybridization. Edit: because as far as I can discover by reading about it, there is no difference, the latter just takes longer (usually).

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Teague

                                                                                        Hybridization is mixing the genes of two related/similar organisms (which may or may not be the same species). For example, a mule is the offspring of a male donkey and female horse. If a male donkey mates with a female horse, offspring is possible with no other intervention (but because they are different species the mule is sterile).

                                                                                        They have to be somewhat related. If a donkey mated with a cow or a sheep, they would not produce offspring because genetically they are not similar enough.

                                                                                        GMO takes it a step further, in that the genes of two or more organisms are combined to create another organism that in nature, could not occur - that is, scientific intervention is necessary. It could not happen on its own, no matter how much time you give it.

                                                                                        Grossly simplified, but as I understand it, that's the gist of it.

                                                                                        1. re: ursy_ten

                                                                                          It isn't necessarily true that an engineered genetic modification could not have occurred in nature. Nature is capable of a vast amount of variation with no human assistance, given sufficient time. Conventional breeding speeds up the process by preserving desired changes and genetic engineering speeds it up further by making specific changes.

                                                                                            1. re: ursy_ten

                                                                                              I'm no expert either, but I think it will be a very long time before Nature crossbreeds a fruit fly with a soybean. There's good reason for these things to be called frankenfoods.

                                                                                              1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                "A new study finds strong evidence that bacteria can transfer genes into human genomes, especially in cancer cells."

                                                                                      2. Maybe the kid is putting you on, ie., the parents never said such a thing.
                                                                                        Now this could be for a number of reasons
                                                                                        1. she doesn't like cereal
                                                                                        2. she hates after-school programs and will create confusion anyway she can
                                                                                        3. being only X years old, she can have a warped opinion (or perhaps a very clear opinion) of the US and this is her way of protesting
                                                                                        4. The silicon chip inside her head got switched to overload
                                                                                        and vil doesn't understand it,
                                                                                        she always said she was as good as gold.
                                                                                        And she can see no reason
                                                                                        'Cause there are no reasons
                                                                                        What reason do you need to be shown?
                                                                                        Tell me why?
                                                                                        She don't like Mondays.
                                                                                        Tell me why?
                                                                                        She don't like Mondays.
                                                                                        Tell me why?
                                                                                        She don't like Mondays.
                                                                                        She wants to shoot
                                                                                        The whole US down.

                                                                                        Maybe the girl just doesn't like Mondays.

                                                                                        Anyway, I used to put people on like that when I was young...
                                                                                        Now its only once in awhile.

                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                                          All this talk, and you are the only one who has the answer. It came out of the mouth of a kid who is 8 or 9. They don't always understand what they've heard adults say, or sometimes they get it entirely wrong. Maybe the parents were talking about food from China, and how hard it is to avoid food from China, and one of them said that nearly all the food comes from China or the U.S., and the kid got it mixed up. I really think this is all to do with the fact that a kid said it and it sure launched a thousand ancillary discussions.

                                                                                          1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                            Plus vil the OP all but washed her hands of the issue;
                                                                                            "...I would likely never know the real reason because I am not at the program anymore."

                                                                                            vil, for the sake of our sanity, perhaps call up a friend at the program and persuade them to ask the girl how come she decided to avoid all food products made in the States?

                                                                                            I don't think this would be unethical or underhanded or evil in any way. Just a frank quest for information.

                                                                                            Maybe its because of Monsanto and Roundup and GMOs.
                                                                                            Maybe its because of a misunderstanding.

                                                                                            Chowhound depends on you!

                                                                                            1. re: porker

                                                                                              porker, I agree but am really sorry that I don't feel there is an appropriate moment to pose this question, at least for now... All I can say is, this intrigued me so much that at the moment, I already asked the girl, and the staff members, as to why. I was met with blank stares and silence, except for the confirmation from the girl that yes, avoiding food from the US was what her mom (or parents) ordered.

                                                                                              And yes, digging for the truth to the very bottom is the true spirit of being a Chowhound, but I am afraid this obsessiveness would not be well understood (or well met) by non-Chowhounders such as those in the program ;-)

                                                                                              1. re: vil

                                                                                                No worries, I was trying to be lighthearted.

                                                                                            2. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                              It could very well be, although it seemed like the staff got the order directly from the parent (as with how notification of food allergies and issues would go for some other kids there, presumably).

                                                                                              If that were the case, it bothers me that this odd food request got accepted by the staff in the first place. I would have right out refused it unless there is a valid health reason - we were even ensuring that one of the kids temporarily going dairy-free because her parents wanted her to be on an elimination diet... There were already enough responsibilities, carried out by an overloaded staff in an admittedly not very organized program. But I was only a volunteer there.

                                                                                              If it was a mix-up, I hope they would eventually figure out. I certainly promoted bits of food education to kids while there (some even Chowhoundish), but only up to a point where I feel it is within boundaries.

                                                                                          2. Unless you know from the parents mouths, everyone else's opinion is speculation

                                                                                            1. Only the parents can answer this question.

                                                                                              But my guess is that they are worried about hormones and genetic modification...both of which are allowed in Canada the same as they are in the US.

                                                                                              And judging by the gross misinformation being spewed in this thread on both of those issues, the parents are probably just as ignorant to the facts.

                                                                                              Just to clarify a few points...

                                                                                              - Growth hormones ARE allowed in cattle in both the US & Canada.

                                                                                              - GMO crops ARE allowed in both the US & Canada.

                                                                                              - Roundup Ready crops DO NOT have Roundup injected into their DNA.

                                                                                              - Roundup Ready crops DO NOT require Roundup to survive.

                                                                                              - Roundup Ready crops are not harmed by Roundup or other glyphosates. Examples of these crops include corn, soybeans, cotton, and alfalfa among others.

                                                                                              It seems many are unaware of these facts.

                                                                                              I'm not advocating GMOs...even though I was raised on a farm and have extensive experience with RR & Bt crops.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: JayL

                                                                                                If your children and grandchidren eat foods that had roundup attached to the seed you are making a bad bet that they will live healthy lives.

                                                                                                Roundup ready seed crops are BAD for the body. Have you done any research on this? It is as if you are regurgitating the big agra propaganda.

                                                                                                Here, again, is a very good read on the subject. I ignore the site that published the info. The studies are the key. Note this is not speculation as the article has numerous citations back to the original studies. It is written by two PHd's. And we must remember that big agra is doing its best to censor all negative reports on glyphosate.


                                                                                                Now read that and then tell me how you feel about glyphosate. I could cite other articles but that is the most comprehensive piece I have seen.

                                                                                                1. re: Enigma3

                                                                                                  I will repeat a very important part of my last sentence above...I'm not advocating GMOs...

                                                                                                  With that said, I will also repeat another point I made...Roundup Ready crops do not have Roundup injected into their DNA. This means that Roundup IS NOT attached to the seed. They change specific proteins in the seed that affects how the plant reacts to foliar Glyphosate applications.

                                                                                                  With that said, I'm not sure of my own feelings with protein manipulation and the affects on humans.

                                                                                                2. re: JayL

                                                                                                  Read especially what glyphosate does to a woman's reproductive system. That was a real eye opener to me.

                                                                                                3. well, have you asked her or her parents why? you can probably ask her in a non-confrontational way and get a better answer than all of us on CH can.

                                                                                                  I don't know about GMO labeling in Canada but I do know that they do have better labeling than the US. I do buy some products online from Canada and the labeling for ingredients seem a bit more explicit.

                                                                                                  Our pediatrician who is pretty old school has told us to avoid fruits and vegetables from Mexico if it's not organic. I was surprised at his suggestion as he seemed so conventional. But he said that they use some pesticides that's banned in most other countries.

                                                                                                  1. I'm actually surprised by all the condescending patriotic vitriol coming out here. This seems to touched a nerve. Interesting.

                                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: cornedhash

                                                                                                      We're a proud nation. As we should be!

                                                                                                      And there's a lot more half baked, just plain wrong, pseudo-science on this thread than there is "condescending patriotic vitriol".

                                                                                                      1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                        There are a lot of people calling the parents "idiots", political extremists or "crackpots".

                                                                                                        1. re: cornedhash

                                                                                                          Um, ok. I didn't say that wasn't happening, did I?

                                                                                                        2. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                          I'm not proud of a nation that willingly supplies its children with edible ecoli on a normal basis.

                                                                                                              1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                Oh, ok, you mean somewhere like Germany, where 51 people died in an e. coli outbreak in 2011?

                                                                                                                Or the Europe where 1,500 people a year die from e. coli infected poultry? That Europe?

                                                                                                                Delta's ready when you are! ;)

                                                                                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                  Do any European food recalls or scandals come to mind? How about the horse burgers? A case of contaminated sprouts also comes to mind.

                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                    Toxic Cooking oil from Spain Killed 1000
                                                                                                                    Halal Lamb Burgers with Pork Leicester, UK.
                                                                                                                    Contaminated Milk by Aflatoxin from Holland and Germany by Feed from Serbia, and Romania
                                                                                                                    Chicken eggs with Dioxin in Germany..........................

                                                                                                                    1. re: chefj

                                                                                                                      **however** -- the incidence of foodborne illness in Europe is just 20% of that in the US. (source CDC and WHO)

                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                        There tends to be different illnesses in N.A. compared to Europe also there is less reporting and investigation in Europe.
                                                                                                                        Do you have a source for that?

                                                                                                                        1. re: chefj

                                                                                                                          are you saying that Western European doctors don't know food borne illness when they see it?

                                                                                                                          Do you have sources for your claim?

                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                            I think it is you should provide a source. Merely stating that it comes from the CDC or WHO doesn't suffice. I discount claims which are offered with no suppirting documentation. Not necessarily wrong, but useless if unsupported.

                                                                                                                        2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                          I've been looking for that statistic and can't find it. It is difficult to compare this kind of statistic across countries because of differences in reporting and methodology. I can't find one study which determines this. There are many studies which focus on particular illnesses in particular countries.

                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                            could you point us to relevant CDC and WHO reports. I found CDC data, but nothing comparing incidence across countries. I found WHO and FAO documents about the need to standardize reporting.

                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                              it's out there -- I've quoted it on CH on multiple occasions, and frankly I just don't care enough to go dig it up again.

                                                                                                            1. I think Canada and the US are pretty similar in what is allowed in foods. I know I will definitely opt for food from Europe over US. Their labeling and rules are far safer than the US. Aside from the chemicals and non food (ie wood pulp etc) permitted in our foods, the FDA has been shrunk down to a size that is absurdly understaffed and easily corporately controlled or worse, corporate self regulation for their products.

                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: ElsieB

                                                                                                                I feel the same way too.

                                                                                                                In addition, when practical, I choose packaged food from countries that make it mandatory to indicate whether it is from GMO or not. I am always surprised that N. America (we are basically talking about US and Canada here) is the CONTINENT that is the most behind on this action.

                                                                                                                I just looked up and found that this is the list of countries that require mandatory GMO labelling (as of 2007): Australia, China , European Union, New Zealand, Norway, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan. Some other countries are also making it voluntary, or are in the plans of enforcing it.

                                                                                                                Source: http://agbioforum.org/v10n1/v10n1a06-...

                                                                                                                1. re: vil

                                                                                                                  Has that labeling made a measurable difference in the public health?

                                                                                                                  1. re: vil

                                                                                                                    Thanks for the article link. I find it interesting that a country with over a billion people [India] has proposed some of the most restrictive rules on labeling GMOs ...

                                                                                                                2. Travel overseas and, wherever you're going, read food ingredient labels. Come home and do the same. It's as plain as night and day: Compared to foreign products, U.S. food products are loaded with chemicals of all kinds: artificial flavors and colors, sweeteners made from corn, stabilizers, anti-oxidants, emulsifiers.

                                                                                                                  There are entire categories of U.S. food products which usually taste inferior to those elsewhere: chocolate and cottage cheese are the examples that come to my mind, based on my own experience. Read the Wikipedia entry for the Hershey company to learn how the U.S. chocolate industry has lobbied to make U.S. chocolate even more inferior.

                                                                                                                  I think the jury is still out on GMOs, but whether you love them or hate them, they're banned in most of Europe, and our foods are full of them. If you think they're bad for you, and you live in the USA, plan on never again eating tofu. Or any grain product, including bread. Or any product sweetened with corn-derived sugars (which is most everything in the store except meat and fresh produce). If they're as bad for us as some people say, we're all gonna have two-headed kids pretty soon. Hope those people are wrong.

                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: emu48

                                                                                                                    List of food additives approved by the EU (all those E numbers you see on labels).


                                                                                                                    1. re: emu48

                                                                                                                      It's simply false that food labels elsewhere don't contain preservatives and artificial flavors and colors. Travel overseas and buy convenience foods and you'll see typical convenience food ingredients, warts and all.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                        One area where baked goods might differ - flour fortified with minerals and vitamins is less common outside of the USA.

                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                          But the idea that the rest of the world is some Utopian natural food haven is pretty wrong.

                                                                                                                      2. re: emu48

                                                                                                                        I can't agree with you on some of what you said.

                                                                                                                        I live overseas in the Middle East and I've also lived in Indonesia. Believe me when I say that there's just as many preservatives and additives added to food, particularly junk food in other countries. Asia is filled with MSG additives and if you travel through Thailand or Malaysia or Indonesia, odds are pretty good that the delicious curry you just had was made with Maggi preservatives and flavor enhancements. In so many developing countries there's minimal oversight in the food industry.

                                                                                                                        Not only that, there's the entire issue of quality control. As hard as it may be for some people to believe, the United States actually has some of the most stringent sets of quality control regulations regarding the production and serving of food.

                                                                                                                      3. Maybe they are simply sick of green bean casserole.

                                                                                                                        1. Perhaps because food allergies are significantly higher in the States than in countries that ban GMO foods and artificial colors/preservatives?

                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                              Recently published study in a peer-reviewed journal. Google is your friend.

                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                  Similar, but the study I read also addressed the rise of food allergies in American-born children over the last 30 years, or so.

                                                                                                                            2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                              But Canada allows them too.

                                                                                                                              That's like telling your kids to not step in that pile of dog turd across the street...all while standing square in the middle of an identical turd pile yourself.

                                                                                                                            3. Thanks all for responding to my question, it was an amusing and informative read. I was half hoping someone would share a similar experience... I would likely never know the real reason because I am not at the program anymore.

                                                                                                                              1. The simple reason is simple:
                                                                                                                                Food Quality issues.
                                                                                                                                The FDA inspection process has been slashed to the bone,
                                                                                                                                and therefore you have entire factories coated in ratshit.
                                                                                                                                Which is legal to put in your peanutbutter, I might add.
                                                                                                                                (well, it falls in).
                                                                                                                                You wonder why we have e coli issues? That's fecal contamination, folks.

                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                  You probably have the 2009 salmonella outbreak traced to a Georgia peanut processor. Did you read about the criminal charges filed last year? Did you read about the New Mexico organic peanut processor which was closed by the FDA in 2012
                                                                                                                                  or the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 that gave the FDA added power?


                                                                                                                                  According to this, small (under $500,000) local (<400miles) producers are exempt from federal oversight, subject only to state and local regulations.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                    From the amount of allergens present in most budget peanut butter, I have a pretty hard time seeing them not being constantly contaminated with ratshit, as well as ratfur.

                                                                                                                                    The quality isn't great.

                                                                                                                                    But it's Caveat Emptor -- and you should see what's regularly found in chocolate.

                                                                                                                                    It's also my understanding that peanut butter plants go belly up -- and then get taken over by new mgmt without changing practices much (you can tell because the prices don't change).

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                      What alergens do you have in mind?

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                    This definitely the most eye-opening thing I learn today. Thank you. It looks there are even more reasons now to make my own nut butters (made the first batch recently).

                                                                                                                                    1. re: vil

                                                                                                                                      Just not with nuts from the United States.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                        I would hope that, with whole nuts, it is at least easier to spot the foreign matter, if any.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                          Stick with Canadian grown peanuts.

                                                                                                                                          describes the FDA response to a 2012 peanut butter recall. One of the affected peanut butters was not a budget brand - Trader Joe's Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter made with Sea Salt

                                                                                                                                          ' peanut butter is particularly vulnerable to Salmonella contamination. "Salmonella is in the soil and peanuts come right out of the ground,"'
                                                                                                                                          You can't see Salmonella or aflatoxin (a mold common on peanuts). Rat fur will be a sign of poor handling, but is not the real danger.

                                                                                                                                          While you are worrying about contamination of your peanut butter, don't forget the contamination of your black pepper. You know how the peppercorns are traditionally dried? - out in the sun by the road side? The FDA is worried about that.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                            peanutbutter is also an issue because of consuming it "raw". and people leaving the jar open for ages at room temperature.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                              According to the FDA report:
                                                                                                                                              "Great care has to be taken to produce peanut butter in a "highly sanitized" environment, he says. Special protections have to be in place to make sure the finished product isn't contaminated after the nuts are roasted, the only "kill step" for the Salmonella."

                                                                                                                                              Also the finish product needs to be tested carefully. Contaminated pockets can exist for a long time in peanut butter that is otherwise clean.