11. Commonly used food dyes can alter your kids’ behavior.
Researchers at the University of Southampton found that colors such as Yellow #5, Yellow #6, and Red #40 could cause hyperactivity in children. Ironically, foods marketed to children are often the most heavily dyed foods in the supermarket.
12. Your stomach bug is likely food poisoning.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every year, 48,000 Americans receives food poisoning from contaminated food, and that puts a $152 billion strain on the economy. What’s worse, an astonishing 3,000 of those people die. Where’s the problem?
13. Forty-two percent of raw supermarket chicken is contaminated.
In a study by Consumers Union, the driving force behind Consumer Reports, 12 percent of tested chickens were infected with Salmonella, and nearly half carried Campylobacter. Campylobacteriosis is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in America.
14. Gulf Coast oysters carry E. coli.
When researchers from Arizona tested Gulf Shore oysters, they found E. coli in every single sample. As filter-feeders, oysters naturally sift through the pollutants in the water, increasing their risk of contamination by pathogens. If you’re buying oysters from anything less than a highly trusted source, make sure you cook them through.
15. The USDA is allowing your meat to be “cleaned” with ammonia—and they’re hiding it from you.
The typical fast-food burger is made with slaughterhouse trimmings, fatty cuts of beef typically reserved for pet food and cooking oil. What’s more, these burgers contain pieces of hundreds, potentially even thousands, of different cows. This creates an environment where bacteria thrive, so to clean the meat, the USDA allows a company called Beef Products to pipe the raw beef through pipes and expose it to ammonia gas. Never mind that ammonia is a poison or that evidence suggests the process may not be fully effective. The USDA deems it safe enough, and it allows the meat to be sold without any indication that it received the gas treatment.
16. Aluminum cans are lined with a hormone-disrupting toxin.
Bisphenol A, or BPA, is the chemical found in plastic bottles, glass jar lids, and the lining of food-containing tins and cans. In your body, BPA acts similar to estrogen, and it has been linked to behavioral problems, reproductive issues, and obesity. The industry has been slow to find a replacement, so limit exposure by switching to glass containers or plastic bottles labeled BPA-free.
17. Roughly two-thirds of bottled water doesn’t comply with FDA standards.
When the Food and Drug Administration set bottled-water regulations, it left in one gaping loophole: The regulations apply only to bottled waters sold across state or country borders. Bottles packaged and sold within a single state don’t have to comply with national standards. Although many states do have their own set of (nationally unregulated and unrecognized) regulations in place, one in five have none. Furthermore, government and industry estimates figure that 25 percent of water bottles sold in the US contain mere tap water. You should be so lucky as to end up with one of those; the FDA’s rules are far more lax than the tap water standards set by the EPA.
18. We drink twice as many calories today as we did 30 years ago.
The average American drinks 450 liquid calories every day, according to a study from the University of North Carolina. And booze isn’t the problem. Blame the bigger bottles of soda, the sugar-loaded coffee drinks, and the barrel-sized smoothies.
19. Fast food signs alter your behavior.
A study published last year in Psychological Science reveals that the mere sight of a fast-food sign on the side of the road is enough to make people feel rushed, which can lead to impulsive decisions—and dangerous nutritional choices. Sidestep your impulses the next time you eat out: Plan your order before you walk through the door and then stick with it.
20. There are crushed bugs in your food.
Carmine, a vibrant red food colorant, is actually the crushed abdomen of the female Dactylopius coccus, a beetle-like African insect. Not only is the thought of eating bug juice gross, but it also poses an ethical issue for some vegetarians and vegans. Look for it in red-colored candies and juices.