I am now officially a massive Dr. Oz fan. Massive.
Not only did he expose high levels of arsenic in non-organic apple juice, but he is talking about very serious food safety issues that nearly all celebrity doctors avoid discussing.
In a syndicated piece that he wrote the other day with Dr. Michael Roizen, Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, Dr. Oz talked about four main food safety concerns that Americans should be worried about and how best to deal with them.
Factory-farmed animals receive incredible amounts of antibiotics to help them grow faster and keep them “healthy” in the horrible living conditions in which they must survive. As a result, this practice promotes the development of antibiotic-resistant superbugs that infect about 1.4 million people each year and kill at least 63,000 in North America.
The FDA has asked the industry to cut back on its use of antibiotics but this measure is not enough. Europe has completely banned antibiotics and the U.S. must do the same.
While careful cooking of meats does kill off bacteria in meat and fish, an estimated 50% of the beef, chicken, pork and turkey in supermarkets was infected with strains of the methicillin-resistant superbug, Staphylococcus aureus — MRSA.
Dr. Oz’s Suggestion: Buy certified organic meats, cuts labeled “no antibiotics added” or wild, rather than farm-raised, fish. Organic may cost more but you can eat less of it and save your health by pairing smaller portions of it with vegetables, beans or grains.
2) Growth Hormones
The President’s Cancer panel estimates that 41% (PDF File) of the population will get cancer and adding growth hormones to beef and milk only increases a consumer’s risk of getting this disease.
Even though growth hormones have been banned in Europe since 1989, the U.S. fully allows them. About 60% of cattle contain growth hormones.
Dr. Oz’s Suggestion: Buy certified organic meats or cuts labeled “no hormones administered”, and buy dairy products from cows that received no growth hormones. Chicken and pork are raised without growth hormones, so don’t pay extra for a label saying so.
(I have written that milk is the most important organic product a family can buy for this very reason. If you have kids that drink milk, please read this post.)
3) Artificial Dyes
Artificial dyes and colorings are everywhere in processed food these days. How harmful can it be?
One study claims that six artificial dyes may influence the hyperactivity and attention spans of some sensitive kids.
Dr. Oz’s Suggestions: Steer clear of Yellow No. 5, Yellow No. 6, Red No. 3, Red No. 40, Blue No. 1, Blue No. 2, Green No. 3, and Orange B on ingredient labels. Check this guide to dyes in kids’ food: http://brainfoodselector.iatp.org.
My Suggestions: One, buy organic because organic prohibits the use of artificial or synthetic dyes and colorings.
Two, buy my friend Robyn O’Brien’s book The Unhealthy Truth: One Mother’s Shocking Investigation into the Dangers of America’s Food Supply — and What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself.
It is a must-read for every parent.
4) Toxic Pesticides
As you may know, I talk about the serious risks of toxic pesticides all of the time and Dr. Oz feels the same way.
Common pesticides used in agriculture (and on lawns and in homes) increase the risk for everything from Parkinson’s disease to childhood cancers and diabetes.
Dr. Oz’s Suggestion: Limit your family’s exposure by choosing organic versions of The Dirty Dozen — the Environmental Working Group’s annual list of produce with the highest levels of pesticides.
Choose organic apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, imported nectarines and grapes, sweet bell peppers, U.S.-grown blueberries, lettuce, kale and collard greens.
I absolutely love that Dr. Oz is taking on this issue and raising awareness about the serious food safety we have in our country.
It is painfully obvious that Europe is much more concerned about it than we are, and the U.S. government is not doing enough to protect its citizens. The FDA continues to place corporate profits of industrial food companies ahead of the health of the American people.
Therefore, we cannot assume that just because food is for sale on supermarket shelves means that it is safe. And we must also become very educated consumers.
When you do your research, you’ll arrive at the same conclusion that Dr. Oz, Dr. Roizen, and millions of other health-minded individuals have come to as well: organic is the best option for your health.