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Mike’s Musings-Why the difference in American, European foods?

In America, many of us suffer from a variety of illnesses and medical conditions. Many more of us are overweight and feed on a diet that includes too much junk food and cola. It is a shame that many of us don’t take physical fitness seriously. It is more of a shame that American companies provide us with unhealthy products, while our counterparts in the United Kingdom and Europe, due to government restrictions get the same products, but with healthier ingredients.
Here’s a rundown of some of the differences:
McDonald’s French Fries- They make the iconic French fries in the U.K., with a few simple ingredients like potatoes, oils, dextrose and salt. In the US they are made with “natural beef flavor” and sodium acid pyrophosphate, and are fried in oil laced with dimethylpolysilocane which is the main ingredient in silly putty.
Quaker Instant Oatmeal Packets- Quaker Oats Strawberries & Cream have ZERO strawberries. Instead “flavored and colored fruit pieces” comprised of apples, artificial strawberry flavor, citric acid and artificial red dye are used. Meanwhile in the U.K. and Europe, Quaker makes a similar version but uses real strawberries.
A Mountain Dew in the U.K. is bright yellow in color simply from beta carotene (a natural color derived from carrots and other plants). Meanwhile in the U.S., Mountain Dew is artificially colored with a petroleum-based dye. These types of dyes, although common in the U.S. are linked to several health issues. Additionally, U.S. Mountain Dew contains bromated vegetable oil, which is an ingredient banned in Europe. PepsiCo announced in 2014 they would ban the vegetable oil in their American drinks; however, it still exists in Mountain Dew.
Heinz Ketchup is GMO-free in the UK but full of GMO and high fructose corn syrup in America.
Doritos in the US are covered in artificial dyes made from petroleum. These dyes are found to be contaminated with carcinogens. In the UK these dyes require a warning label that says, “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” In Europe Doritos are also non-GMO, while the American version is made with GMO corn contaminated with glyphosate week killer.
Frosted Flakes include a preservative in the U.S. called BHT. Research has linked BHT to cancer and is believed to be an endocrine disruptor that interferes with hormones. BHT is banned in Europe.
So why the difference in products? Europe is more pro-active in slapping warning labels on food products. Some artificial ingredients they outright ban. Because of bureaucratic red tape it is difficult to do the same in the United States therefore what ingredients, chemicals and additives that permeate our food is pretty much up to the manufacturers.
And guess what? If you are a U.S. company that is given a choice, you are more likely to opt for the cheaper flavor enhancer, color additive, and preservative versus the more expensive alternative that is likely to cut into your profit.
Although, I believe in most cases, government regulations are counterproductive, when it comes to our health and wellbeing, we should be demanding our food manufacturers provide us with the same safeguards that they provide our U.K. and European counterparts. It’s a damn shame they are allowed to provide us with a lesser, unhealthy product.

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