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Bacon as a weapon as mass destruction

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From the McDonald’s McGriddle to Wendy’s “Baconator” to “baconnaise” to bacon-infused vodka, bacon has become a ubiquitous ingredient in many diets in this era of extreme food combinations. Arun Gupta of The Indypendent writes, “Behind the proliferation of bacon offerings is a confluence of government policy, factory farming, the boom in fast food and manipulation of consumer taste that has turned bacon into a weapon of mass destruction.”

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We’re joined here in our firehouse studio by Arun Gupta, journalist, editor of The Indypendent newspaper in New York. He’s writing a book on the decline of American empire for Haymarket Books. His latest article is published at Alternet.org and The Indypendent, and it’s called “Gonzo Gastronomy: How the Food Industry Has Made Bacon a Weapon of Mass Destruction,” looking at how industrial farming is central to the processed food industry. Arun also happens to be a trained chef, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute.

As well, we’re joined from Link TV’s studios in San Francisco by Dr. David Kessler, who is the former FDA commissioner, has written the book The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite.
 

I’m Amy Goodman, with Anjali Kamat. I’ve been trying to keep this away from Anjali right now, which is the bacon, egg McGriddles — oh, and cheese. As Dr. Kessler said, “When in doubt, add bacon and cheese.”
 

Arun, can you describe what we’re looking at right now?
 

ARUN GUPTA:

Sure. What this is, is — I became fascinated by this, because this is essentially the childhood product of bacon soaked in maple syrup. And a few years ago, McDonald’s turned this into an actual product, the McGriddle. These are pancake-like biscuits that take the filling for an Egg McMuffin, which is an egg, a pork product, in this case bacon, and cheese. And it’s exactly what Dr. David Kessler talks about, where it’s just layers of fat, salt and sugar. You know, for instance, the muffin itself is white flour, refined flour, which is essentially sugar, and it’s injected with three types of fat. There’s salt. The egg is fat and salt. The bacon is fat, salt and flavorings. The cheese is fat and salt. And then it’s topped by another biscuit, which, again, is fat, salt and sugar. So, this fits in with exactly what Dr. Kessler is talking about, how we’re being fed these infinite variations of fat, salt and sugar that are highly addictive.

Another aspect that’s interesting about it is the bacon has, actually, eighteen ingredients. You wouldn’t think that bacon would have eighteen ingredients. Six of these are apparently types of umami. Now, umami is Japanese for — it’s the fifth flavor, after sweet, salty, sour and bitter. And it’s loosely translated as “deliciousness.” It’s meaty, savory flavor. And it’s highly addictive, and it has a response on our neurochemicals also. And so, McDonald’s pumps this with all sorts of umami. This is something I’ve been looking at. A lot of our foods are pumped with all sorts of umami, everything from savory foods to ice cream, because it elicits an actual neurochemical, physiological response.
 

AMY GOODMAN:

I want you to put that down, because the grease is dripping, and I don’t want it to drip on the table, so we’ll put it on that piece of paper.

ARUN GUPTA:

Yeah, this thing has something like 80 percent of your daily intake of cholesterol. I mean, you know, it’s absolutely deadly, even though it’s relatively tiny.

AMY GOODMAN:

How many ingredients in the scrambled egg?

ARUN GUPTA:

Well, there are a lot of ingredients because of the margarine that’s used. It’s something like a dozen ingredients in the scrambled egg alone, most of them coming from the margarine.

AMY GOODMAN:

And this issue of flavoring that you talk overall about?

ARUN GUPTA:

This is another way to get us hooked on foods. You know, the fat, sugar and salt are very important, but also there are certain flavors, like with bacon. Bacon plays a very key role because of the smoked flavor.

In fact, there’s a lot of writing being done about this now, that there’s kind of a link to our evolutionary past. It evokes these sensations to cooked foods that humans evolved — cooking predates humanity, actually, by up to a million years. And so, we evolved in conjunction with cooked foods.
 

And bacon is loaded with all sorts of smoke flavorings, artificial. It’s rare that you get natural smoked bacon these days. And then the umami, of course. And it has — what is bacon? It’s pretty much just salt and fat. And then, in a case like this, it’s loaded with the sugar. So, you just get all these various addictive qualities that really try and key in on particular senses.
 

ANJALI KAMAT:

And, Arun, why bacon as a weapon of mass destruction? And take us back a little bit to how this links to industrial farming and hog farming.

ARUN GUPTA:

Yeah. Well, I was trying to understand it, because, as someone who cooks a lot and goes to a lot of parties, I’ve just been noticing a tremendous proliferation of bacon in all sorts of various ways. I went to a brunch a few months ago, where someone had actually made bacon vodka and bacon ice cream. And I also noticed in popular culture that it was becoming very common, like there’s this Wendy’s Baconator sandwich, which has six strips of bacon, and it was wildly successful when it was introduced in 2007. It sold 25 million units just in the first eight weeks.

Now, bacon is the end of this food chain, and it is, you know, that joke about “when in doubt, throw cheese and bacon on it.” In the high end, in the gourmet cooking industry, chefs always joke about “bacon makes everything taste better.” It does play this key role.
 

But it starts from — the vast majority of it starts in these factory farms. And what happened is — you have to go back to the Great Depression, where the government policy essentially started to encourage consolidation of farming as part of national food security. And after World War II, the government had — the US government had all this surplus food, because it was trying to shore up the agricultural sector. So it used this food in a policy that became known as “aid and trade.” We would first give food to countries as aid. Once they’d get hooked on it, we would trade with them. But what this did was it encouraged consolidation of the farming sector, because we would then subsidize those farmers who were most technologically efficient, who were doing monoculture — in other words, doing one crop — because it was economy of scale, because you could direct the inputs better. And so, the farming sector shrank drastically from 1940 to 1970. In 1940, 18 percent of the populace was still farmers; by 1970, it was 4.6 percent. And so, all this subsidies, essentially, what it did is it created the condition for the concentrated animal-feeding operations to arise.
 

People are very familiar with these. Eric Schlosser talks a lot about it in Fast Food Nation. Michael Pollan is another writer who talks about it a lot. But what they often don’t talk about is how government policy played this big factor, because there was cheap water, cheap grain, cheap fuel, cheap land, anti-union laws that allowed these factory farms to come into being.
 

But the thing is, these factory farms couldn’t exist if there wasn’t a market for these products, hence the rise of the fast food industry. And you start to see this in the ’60s and ’70s. For instance, where in the early ’60s McDonald’s was using 175 suppliers for potatoes, when it switched to the J.R. Simplot Company, which was able to provide them with this standardized frozen fry, McDonald’s exploded over the next decade. Fries are incredibly profitable. Its growth was something like 400 or 500 percent in terms of the number of restaurants opened.
 

And then, around 1980, Tyson, the poultry king, did the same with chicken. They worked with McDonald’s to introduce the Chicken McNugget. The irony of it was chicken, at that time, was seen as a healthy alternative to red meat. But through the industrial manufacturing, what you came out with was this highly addictive product, pumped full of all sorts of flavorings and chemicals that you would then dip in this fat- and sugar-, salt-laden sauce. And on average, a Chicken McNugget has twice as much fat as a McDonald’s hamburger.
 

And so, what the fast food and the processed food industry has done is they’ve taken these very cheap commodities from the factory farming system; it’s processed them, added a lot of value to itself in terms of profit; and then, essentially, made many of us addicted to them. And so, this all fits together, and bacon plays this key role. And so, what I was doing was trying to explain exactly how bacon ultimately becomes this weapon of mass destruction.
 

AMY GOODMAN:

High-fructose corn syrup, Arun Gupta?

ARUN GUPTA:

Well, this is another example of how government policy plays a role in our diet. High-fructose corn syrup is a derivative of corn. There’s massive subsidies for the corn industry. On its own, it couldn’t compete with sugar. But because of the subsidies, it brings down the cost of corn. Meanwhile, there’s also tariffs against the importation of sugar, allegedly to protect the domestic sugar industry. And so, what you have, on one level, is you’re bringing down the price of corn and its derivatives, like high-fructose corn syrup, through these subsidies. Then you’re raising the prices of alternatives through the tariffs. And so, you create this huge supply.

And it’s the same exact time that we see companies switch to high-fructose corn syrup, particularly in sodas. And you see this explosive growth. And there are a lot of researchers who argue that high-fructose corn syrup and our consumption of soda plays a key role in obesity. And so, we have to see that the government plays an essential role in terms of the food choices that we make today and the unhealthiness of America in general, and that, you know, if government is doing this, then we can say, well, the government, one, shouldn’t be doing this, and it should directing our money towards healthier, more productive and more sustainable systems.
 

ANJALI KAMAT:

And the “cheeseburger bill,” Arun Gupta?

ARUN GUPTA:

This was passed, I think, about three or four years ago. The fast food industry essentially decided they didn’t want to become the equivalent of the tobacco sector, because what you were seeing was that a lot of the lawyers who went after big tobacco started to go after the fast food industry, because they were making the same argument, that they’re manipulating these ingredients to make people addicted to them, with the result that people are becoming obese. And we’re seeing these epidemic rates of heart disease and diabetes and also these rises in all sorts of cancers related to diet. And so, the food industry went to Congress and basically said, “We want immunity.” And that’s what they got. They now have complete immunity.

AMY GOODMAN:

But it only passed in the House, did not pass in the Senate.

ARUN GUPTA:

I think it did pass both houses of Congress.

AMY GOODMAN:

Well, Dr. David Kessler, as you listen to Arun, your thoughts?

DR. DAVID KESSLER:

Fat and sugar, fat and salt, fat, sugar and salt, they stimulate us to eat more. The fact is, I mean, it’s not just the medical consequences. You know, there are millions of Americans that have this, you know, inner — almost inner torment. They don’t understand why they’re doing things, why they’re eating when they don’t want to be eating. And the fact is, I used to think that I was eating for nutrition, I was eating to be sustained, to be nourished. I didn’t realize that I was eating for stimulation.

Take a two-year-old. The average two-year-old compensates for their eating. What do I mean by that? You give that two-year-old more calories at lunch, they’ll eat fewer calories later in the day. By the time that two-year-old is four or five years of age, after they’ve been exposed to the modern American diet of fat, sugar and salt, they no longer are able to compensate. It’s as if the brain’s reward circuits override the body’s ability to self-regulate. We are conditioning the behavior of our children for a lifetime.
 

AMY GOODMAN:

Just a comment on that bill, I do think that it was introduced repeatedly in the House and got passed, ultimately was not passed by the Senate. In fact, looking at some information, the Florida Congress member, the Republican Congress member Ric Keller, actually missed the vote — who had introduced it — because he was rushed to the hospital. But this kind of legislation, if you’re talking about this, what you’re really saying is a serious epidemic, Dr. Kessler.

DR. DAVID KESSLER:

It’s a very serious epidemic. But understand what this is going to take. This is going to take not just pieces of legislation. Legislation is important. But in the end, we’re going to have to view food differently. That’s the real difference. Once our behavior becomes conditioned and driven — you know, if I look it that plate of fries, I mean, or that bacon cheeseburger, you know, I say, “That’s my friend, right? I want that. That’s going to make me feel better,” I mean, there’s nothing I can do to get in between you and that food. We really are going to have to change how we view food in this country.

Food is so highly processed. I mean, it’s been so layered and loaded with fat, sugar and salt, it’s as if it’s predigested. You know, most of us are eating, you know, adult baby food most of the time. Twenty, thirty years ago, there were thirty — about twenty, thirty chews per bite. Today, it’s half that. Food goes down in a whoof, I mean, just, you know, in a whoosh. We’re self, you know, stimulating ourselves constantly. And we’ve taken fat, sugar and salt, and we’ve put it on every corner, and we’re eating all the time
 

ANJALI KAMAT:

And Dr. Kessler, speaking of, you know, how we eat and changing our food culture, can you talk about the issue of choice and availability? You have fast food restaurants and food laden with fat, sugar and salt, like you said, on every corner. But what are your recommendations to make healthy food more easily available, more easily affordable?

DR. DAVID KESSLER:

Be careful. You know, the fat, sugar and salt is being layered and loaded not just by the fast food restaurants, but by, you know, many restaurants, you know, across the economic spectrum.

You know, look at the French. They’ve always had food that’s been highly palatable, that’s been very good-tasting. What’s the difference? You know, what have they done? Because up until recently, they’ve not seen the kind of obesity that we have seen. You know, what they have done is they had certain norms where they eat with certain structure. They would never walk down the street eating or drinking. They would not eat in their cars. They wouldn’t have food 24/7 at business meetings. So, they have certain structure.
 

You know, we had this problem under control back four or five decades. We used to eat at meals. Today, what have we done in the United States? We’ve taken down those barriers. We are literally eating fat, sugar and salt all day long. There are children who go throughout the day without any sense at all of any sensation of hunger, because they’re eating constantly.
 

So, what do we need to do? Obviously, get rid of the food cues that are activating our brains. You know, try to avoid those. Eat with certain structure, eat in a planned way, so you’re not constantly being bombarded. But in the end, this is about changing your relationship with food.
 

I went into one of the restaurants here in San Francisco the other night, and I asked the chef, what’s the most important thing I can ask when I’m ordering something off the menu? It was a very interesting answer. He said, “Ask where the food comes from.” If the restaurant doesn’t know where the food is coming from, think twice before ordering it.
 

AMY GOODMAN:

Finally, Arun Gupta, children and food, marketing to kids?

ARUN GUPTA:

Well, this is a very important aspect. It’s one of the many things government should be doing. It should be completely banning all sorts of fast food and processed food marketing to children.

In a given month — this is from Fast Food Nation — over 90 percent of American children between the ages of three and eight visit a McDonald’s. That’s an absolutely stunning figure. And they’re constantly bombarded with these messages to eat this type of food.
 

And so, we can easily have government saying, like, no, we’re not going to allow this to be marketed to children so that they don’t form these unhealthy food habits from the beginning.
 

AMY GOODMAN:

Well, this is only the beginning of the discussion. Arun Gupta, thanks so much for being with us, with The Indypendent, wrote “Gonzo Gastronomy: How the Food Industry Has Made Bacon a Weapon of Mass Destruction.” And Dr. David Kessler, his new book The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, former dean at Yale University Medical School. He’s a pediatrician, himself, former FDA commissioner, and also dean at University of California, San Francisco.

And that does it for the show. I want to dedicate today’s show to a wonderful woman, we lost her this weekend, Norma Spruch, who would have loved the broadcast today, a chef extraordinaire, loving mother of Caren and Gary, wife of Harvey.

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there is for sure a reason why some cultures eat nothing from a pig 🙂 🥓
I dont know if vegan is the right way to eat - I tried for a while to eat just raw food, because I have problems with my stomach but it does not work for me - I got more pain than eating normal mixed food


I try to take care of what I eat but I am not vegan cause I think it is too strict
milkproducts also have nutritive substances that you have poblems to become just from pant based foods 🥑

 

:classic_smile:

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Posted (edited)

There is nothing wrong with bacon itself , the problem is with the nitrites and nitrates used to preserve it.

 

Once upon a time they just used salt, today if you buy a quality ham joint you have to soak it in water over night first to remove the salt -no nitrates in it.

 

The answer is simple, eat a balanced diet and keep processed food to a minimum.

 

Now go and grill some nice quality pork chops and eat it with some new potatoes with parsley butter, steamed carrots and steamed brockoley.

 

Then tomorrow you can have roast beef  with gravy, potatoes, parsnips, carrots.

 

The the day after you can have fish maybe mackerel with steamed vegetables.

 

then after that you can have lamb with mint sauce and steamed vegetables.

 

Forget all this fad diet bullshit just eat the best quality meat and veg you can afford and cut out sugar and processed rubbish.

 

Barbecue, Barbeque, Bbq, Beef, Charbroiled, GrilledAbstract, Barbecue, Barbeque, Bbq, Beef

Edited by It'sallbs
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Furthermore there is zero evidence that going vegetarian, never mind vegan, is better for your health.

 

There are some studies that claim a correlation between eating meat and heart disease -it's all garbage -correlation is not the same as causation anyway.

 

The China study was a fundamentally flawed piece of garbage.

 

 

https://deniseminger.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/

 

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4 hours ago, It'sallbs said:

Furthermore there is zero evidence that going vegetarian, never mind vegan, is better for your health.

 

There are some studies that claim a correlation between eating meat and heart disease -it's all garbage -correlation is not the same as causation anyway.

 

The China study was a fundamentally flawed piece of garbage.

 

 

https://deniseminger.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, It'sallbs said:

Furthermore there is zero evidence that going vegetarian, never mind vegan, is better for your health.

 

There are some studies that claim a correlation between eating meat and heart disease -it's all garbage -correlation is not the same as causation anyway.

 

The China study was a fundamentally flawed piece of garbage.

 

 

https://deniseminger.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/

 

 

There is plenty of evidence showing the veggie diet (vegans are not a well studied demographic) reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome [1], hypertension [2], T2D [3,4], different types of cancer [5,6] and much more. The environmental impact needs to be taken into account [7,8] just as non-human welfare does.

 

Refs:

http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/34/5/1225.long

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/public-health-nutrition/article/vegetarian-diets-and-blood-pressure-among-white-subjects-results-from-the-adventist-health-study2-ahs2/428A8F6A59D3433B1A87B7B0D1F3FD28

http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/32/5/791.long

https://www.nmcd-journal.com/article/S0939-4753(11)00170-0/fulltext

http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/22/2/286.long

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1521690X02001033

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-04475-3

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Posted (edited)

It's all bollocks.

 

Balanced diet -simples.

 

don't eat too much -simples,.

 

don't eat lots of processed shit and refined sugar -simples.

 

Are vegetables good for you -yes I eat lots of vegetables do you need to cut out meat -no.

 

Can you get the same protein you need from veg as you can from meat -can you heck as like.

 

The answer to good health is exercise & a balanced diet.

 

 

Look at that -bloody lovely and good for you.

 

 

Food, Lamb, Meat, Dinner, Restaurant, Cuisine, Roasted

 

 

 

 

Edited by It'sallbs

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Things your body needs which it can’t get from plant foods…

  • Vitamin B12 essential for maintenance of nerves & normal brain function. (very small amounts can sometimes be found in nori seaweed but it is not much)
  • Creatine
  • Carnosine
  • Vitamin D3
  • Docosahexaenoic
  • Heme -iron
  • Taurine
     

Being vegetarian or vegan is not healthy.

 

Eating a balanced diet of high quality produce in appropriate portion sizes is healthy.

 

Very healthy, good for you light meal below -check it out...

 

Asparagus, Steak, Veal Steak, Veal, Meat

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Processed food is garbage.   I generally buy my foods from four markets.  

 

Anecdotal observations in decreasing order of percentage processed food:

 

Wal-Mart - Processed food out the wazoo, and many an obese person will be observed.  Baskets brim with soda and processed crap.  Wal-mart is making some effort to add healthier choices.  I'm the freak with meats and veggies only. Though, they do sell lines of organic minimally processed convenience foods also known as frozen microwave dinners.  I believe these to be a better choice than fast food for when my time is scarce.

 

Market #2 - A normal American grocery store.  It's lower end but has better quality than Wal-mart especially the veggies.  I'm the freak with meats and veggies only.  The customers are less obese than Wal-mart, but the scooter is commonly seen.

 

Market #3 - A higher end American grocery store.  Everything is top notch with this chain.  The meats and veggies are superior.  The checkout queues are never more than three deep.  The scooters are rarely seen in use.  Far fewer obese 'Muricans will be found here.

 

Market #4 - A very small American chain that focuses on clean eating and local sourcing as much as possible.  I often stop here for the food bar at lunch.  I can make a healthy salad using their in-house made uncured bacon, or a home cooked quality lunch that will meet the allBS standard.  Their's is the only bacon I will eat.  It's quite tasty too and 1/2 the price of Big Fast Food.  I've never seen an obese 'Murican on a scooter here.  The customers range from fit to average.  Seriously, look for places in the UK that sell "made on-site" uncured bacon.

Thanks Vegan Fool, I really needed to know they used margarine.  Margarine comes straight from a chemical plant.  33 years ago, I quit eating margarine as much as possible.  My fellow 'Murricans told me I was killing myself by eating real butter.  More Americans are ditching margarine these days and moving over to butter.  I try my best to avoid processed fats.  Strangely, I can obtain superior imported  European butters for the nearly same price as the American mass produced butters. 

I lost my father at a young age. He consumed processed fats like a mad man and developed coronary issues at my age.  One of my best friends had to have a quadruple bypass at age 42.  For years, he consumed(admitted) five pounds of sugar in three days drinking Southern sweet tea.  I am sometimes called a Yankee whenever I request unsweetened tea.   Shrinkflation has now reduced the legendary five pound sugar bag to four pounds.  One bag of sugar lasts me several years, even a four pounder.

Edited by JacksonsGhost
My American English composition professor still haunts me.
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 it's proven good for your colon to stop eating meat every so often and take a break.  

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, rooey said:

 it's proven good for your colon to stop eating meat every so often and take a break.  

 

 

 

Proven by who?

 

Please provide the evidence, thank you.

 

Also provide details of who funded the research.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

look it up, there's a lot out there about eating less meat and decreases in colon cancer 


it's also proven good for you to fast. which is obviously not eating meat for a day


 

 

 

 

 

Edited by rooey

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, rooey said:

ook it up, there's a lot out there about eating less meat and decreases in colon cancer 


it's also proven good for you to fast. which is obviously not eating meat for a day

 

 

So in other words you can't provide the evidence, otherwise you would have done.

 

Please answer the question or admit it is just internet noise which you are repeating  and very often from people trying to sell a fad diet book or plan.

 

Once again...

On 7/7/2019 at 5:14 PM, It'sallbs said:

Proven by who?

 

Please provide the evidence, thank you.

 

Also provide details of who funded the research.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by It'sallbs

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There is a type of ammunition that i think was banned for use, which had pig blood in the bullet, specifically for killing Muslims. Only Americans would come up with something like that 

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10 hours ago, It'sallbs said:

 

 

So in other words you can't provide the evidence, otherwise you would have done.

 

Please answer the question or admit it is just internet noise which you are repeating  and very often from people trying to sell a fad diet book or plan.

 

Once again...

 

 

 

 

 

 

ok lazy 

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Posted (edited)

So in other words you are just repeating some unproven stuff you have heard on tv and/or the internet.

 

If you have solid proof from unbiased/ non-financially corrupted research there is no legitimate reason why you would not provide it when politely asked to do so.

 

I have given you the opportunity to do so three times now and each time you have just called me a name such as lazy.

 

You now have zero credibility in this discussion.

Edited by It'sallbs

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Posted (edited)

I recently watched a Horizon (documentary BBC) ,, all about Mad Cow Disease. A (then) new and serious cross species disease from the 90's.

 

So ,, basically ,, the farmers with the consent of the Government and other 'health' authorities ,, were allowed to feed HERBIVORES (Cows) with the crushed and pulped remains of other animals including cows. This was made from brains, spinal chords,and all the rest of unusable bovine and other 'waste' industry products. Cows eating cows! 

 

Then they wondered why Mad Cow Disease spread and entered the Feline and other animal including Human Food chain.

 

Just to add here, at the end of the documentary, it was discovered that a group of African Natives which were Cannibals, suffered the same fate. A neurological fatal disease.

 

So ,, to cut it short ,, loads of people died from CJD (human version) ,, and it has been discovered that CJD, being a Prion organism ,, can incubate undetected for 50 years.

 

So when the next generation that ate bovine burgers etc ,,,,, in the 90's start dying ,, will the Government do another big cover up? And ,, there is no cure ,,,,!

 

And ,, bacon ,, like other processed foods is carcinogenic because of the sodium nitrates used as preservatives ,, as now accepted by the WHO ,,

 

quote ,,

''Manufacturers add nitrates and nitrites to foods such as cured sandwich meats, bacon, salami or sausages to give them color and to prolong their shelf life. When added to processed foods in this way, both nitrates and nitrites can form nitrosamines in the body, which can increase your risk of developing cancer.''

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by jupiter12

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