Food Additives: See No Evil

Picture this: a dark future wherein large corporations sell food laced with chemical additives that they don't even understand—and won't research for fear that they'll have to explain any ill effects to the government and the public.

Blah blah blah, of course that dark future is here and now. A recent recall of 28 million boxes of Kellogg's cereals linked the product to a strange odor and nausea. Not only is the government unsure as to the exact nature of this specific massive recall, it's unsure as to the nature of the chemical that may or may not have the potential to make us sick.

The Washington Post reports:

"[C]hemicals developed since the [the Toxic Substances Control Act was passed in 1976] do not have to be tested for safety. Instead, companies are asked to volunteer information on the health effects of their compounds, and the government can decide whether additional tests are needed."

Slightly more encouraging is this:

"If a manufacturer possesses data showing that a chemical harms health or the environment, it is required to turn over the findings to the EPA."

But uh-oh, that means ...

"Critics say that creates a disincentive for manufacturers to test their chemicals."

Well, yeah. So there's a whole lot of mysterious whats-its in whatever we're eating, something I was recently reminded of when I made the mistake of glancing at the back of a box of Lunchables. Eat careful out there, people.