Three food preservatives that have previously been prohibited for use in meat and poultry will be approved effective May 6, 2013. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA’s FSIS) says it has determined that sodium benzoate, sodium propionate and benzoic acid are “safe and suitable for use as antimicrobial agents in certain [ready-to-eat} RTE meat and poultry products,” according to announcement in the Federal Register. The additives are already approved for use in other food items such as salad dressings, carbonated beverages and fruit juice and condiments.
The change came about after Kraft Foods Global, Inc. petitioned FSIS in 2006 to allow the use of the preservatives for use as antimicrobial agents to inhibit the growth of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products. Four years later, Kemin Food Technologies petitioned FSIS to permit the use of liquid sodium propionate and liquid sodium benzoate as acceptable antimicrobial agents in meat and poultry products.
FSIS evaluated the requests, confirmed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it had no safety objections to the preservatives and reviewed the supporting data supplied by Kraft and Kemin. Although FSIS concluded that the petitioners had established the preservatives were safe, it wanted more data. It granted the companies waivers to conduct trials on the efficacy of the additives as antimicrobial agents.
“Kraft submitted data collected from its in-plant-trials and from scientific studies that show that these substances do not conceal damage or inferiority or make products appear better or of greater value than they are under the proposed conditions of use. Kraft submitted research findings to demonstrate that its proposed use of sodium benzoate and sodium propionate is effective in controlling the growth of [Listeria] in RTE meat and poultry products. Kemin also submitted findings supporting the use of its sodium propionate and propionic acid formulations,” according to the Federal Register.
Industrial agriculture is a filthy business, especially when animals are involved. Rather than have access to pasture and the outdoors, cows and chickens from factory farms live most, if not all, of their lives in confinement, where they wallow in their own feces, and sometimes even in the rotting carcasses of other dead animals. As a result, such animals become ill, and their systems infected with harmful pathogens that must be eliminated before human consumption.
The reason companies like Kraft and Kemin exist and thrive is because high-profit factory farms exist and thrive. And the only way these food corporations can “safely” sell their factory-farm food products to the public is to kill it, sanitize it, and smother it in antimicrobial agents like sodium benzoate, sodium propionate and benzoic acid.
So to claim that their goal in seeking approval for the three chemicals is not to conceal second-rate meat products is simply a lie. Low-grade meat products from squalid factory farms have to be disguised, otherwise the public would never purchase them.
Beyond this, the chemical substances in question are not even safe. Sodium propionate has been linked to causing gastrointestinal upset and respiratory problems, while sodium benzoate can cause DNA damage and promote the formation of cancer cells. And benzoic acid, which is often added to processed foods, can promote the development of asthma and hyperactivity, particularly in children.
“The continued ingestion of certain chemicals has been linked to cancer, fatigue, memory-impairment, imbalanced motor-function, diabetes, thyroid problems, confusion and far more,” says Creative Bioscience about food preservatives and additives. “Such food additives can stunt or stall weight loss and even cause more pounds to add on.”