Redefining Food Safety
by Belinda Chiu, Ed.D.
Can unsafe food cause childhood obesity? According to some studies, this may very well be the case.
We often think of food safety as hairnets to ensure proper food handling and storage to prevent upset stomachs and diarrhea. But according to University of Amsterdam researchers, our composition of intestinal bacteria may also impact how efficiently food is converted into fat storage. What we eat affects how we metabolize food.
Unsafe food is not just food left on the counter too long. Unsafe food includes foods with artificial or chemical additives and toxins that disrupt how the body regulates growth. Prenatal exposure to Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), for example, not only makes lab rats obese, but is also linked to irreversible obesity in humans. Pregnant women exposed to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and dioxins have children with higher Body Mass Indices (BMIs). As Mt. Sinai researchers found, phthalates in food packaging can cause metabolic suppression in the thyroid and obesity when leached into our food.
What does this mean? To start, we must expand our understanding of food safety beyond E. Coli and examine deeper what we are actually putting into our bodies.