The USDA has reversed an existing regulation (9 CFR 424), which previously prohibited the use of three toxic meat and poultry preservatives. Despite a previous ban on the use of sodium propionate, sodium benzoate and benzoic acid on meat and poultry products, these preservatives are now deemed "safe". The USDA has changed its opinion that these preservatives were used to conceal damage and inferiority in meat and poultry products.
This change begs the question as to why the USDA would reverse this consumer protection regulation. The reversal was prompted by intense lobbying by major companies such as Kraft Foods Global, Inc. Kraft submitted its own company funded trials, claiming the three preservatives were safe and could not disguise inferior meat and poultry. As a result and as announced by the FDA, the USDA changed their position.
Consumer advocates maintain that conventional cows and chickens come from highly profitable factory farms, where the animals spend most if not all of their lives in confinement. That unfortunately this confinement and factory farm style, results in some extremely unsanitary conditions that breed disease and illness among the animals. As a result and in order to make the product "safe" for human consumption and maintain a high profit margin, the meat and poultry is sanitized and smothered in antimicrobial agents such as sodium propionate, sodium benzoate and benzoic acid.
Consumer advocates also maintain that sodium propionate is linked with respiratory and gastrointestinal problems, sodium benzoate promotes cancer cells and damages DNA and that benzoic acid could lead to asthma and hyperactivity especially in children. Perhaps some day the United States will have a Department of Agriculture and a Food and Drug Administration that truly serves the best interest of people. Until that day, be mindful of the adage professing that you are what you eat and eat organic foods.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.