First appeared on Food Riot, by Susie Rodarme
Look, it's bad enough that our diets are all out of whack because food companies have to cover up things that taste horrendous with mountains of sugar, fats, and salt. And on top of that, we have to wonder and worry about GMOs, organic vs. non-organic, the global impacts of buying local, whether human beings are "meant" to eat this or that food, obesity crises -- it's a wonder that we can put any food into our mouths without dissolving into neurotic blobs of jelly over it. Eating in the 21st century has become a complicated issue.
So, at the very least, can y'all please stop putting non-food into our food? Please.
The most recent "what the f*** have I been eating" incident has been a plastic-based chemical found in the bread at Subway. Every time we've gone to Subway, we have essentially been ingesting a tiny bit of the stuff in yoga mats and rubber-soled shoes. Instead of kind of being horrified by this, in an "oh my God, what have we turned into that we're feeding plastic to people", Subway was just like, well, the USDA says this shit won't kill you, but if you don't WANT to eat plastic I guess we'll take it out.
And look, y'all. I have nothing against food-based chemicals in our food. Like, carrageenan is made from sea kelp; I have a package of sea kelp in my pantry right now, so a chemical derived from it doesn't bug me as a food additive. (I have sea kelp to make veggie stocks. It's like umami magic.) Guar gum, which is derived from a bean, doesn't freak me out as a food additive anymore than cornstarch does. Beans are a thing that you eat. I'm cool with these chemicals.
What I don't eat, and don't want to eat, is a yoga mat. I also don't want to eat ammonia, considering it's the main culprit for the smell in cat piss, but they've been using ammonia in all kinds of foods for decades, not just the dreaded pink slime It's gotten to where even totally avoiding processed foods doesn't mean totally avoiding chemicals; pink slime is ground beef, after all, and that's only supposed to be processed by running primal cuts through a grinder. Chickens are getting injected with brining agents with God knows what in them. Foods that would otherwise be fine are being poked, prodded, bleached, and glammed up for our eating displeasure.
Seriously, I don't need my food bleached any more than I need my a**hole bleached. (Yeah, that is a real thing.) You can just stop.
I don't want to be this paranoid person who worries about what's in my food, but it's hard not to. Because honestly, companies that would feed us plastic in the name of being slightly more competitive or cost-effective cannot really be trusted to have our safety in mind. I don't think they're going to stop until I've turned my bedroom into a hydroponic organic vegetable garden, and my backyard into a small pasture. My neighbors will be so thrilled.
In the meanwhile, I'll spend more money than I can probably afford to buy local and buy organic, and hope that the food is clean. My bank account will be overly lean (and don't I have plenty of words about the high cost of real food, but that's another post) but hey, at least I won't be eating plastic, right?