Arsenic in Apple Juice? What's Next?
I would love for a day to go by where I am not alerted to some new scary information about food -- whether it is fillers or dyes or just the general badness about the food supply chain. I'm just not sure whom to trust anymore. So I alternate between ignoring the new information and being super-controlling about what comes into the house.
I realize I'm not alone in this defensive technique. One of my favourite food blogs is Dinner, A Love Story and in a recent post the blogger, Jenny, touches on being overloaded with scary information about the food we buy. Jenny, like me, buys mostly organic products and treats for her kids in some kind of blind hope that they are healthier for the kids and the planet.
But then there was news that there is arsenic in brown rice which means that products with brown rice syrup (a common sweetener in organic products) have increased amounts of arsenic. Which means that those yummy, sweet organic snack bars that populate the cupboards were not exactly as healthy as she (or I) would like.
So what to do? Because once you start researching arsenic in food, there are a lot of scary words, like cancer, and government regulations to sift through. And once I start worrying about all the bad things that my kids are eating, I start thinking about the baby bottles.
My eldest son was bottle-fed and we used... wait for it... plastic bottles. That was our choice 12 years ago, no one knew BPA from ABC and those bottles were heated in the dishwasher and left with formula in them in the fridge for hours. I get a knot in my stomach just thinking about it. Because, as Jenny says, the bottle issue is in the past and I can't do anything about it.
I don't want to feel that again, so I am careful. So just as Jenny had her mild freakout about brown rice syrup, I had mine about apple juice.
There were reports everywhere about arsenic in apple juice and the waves of guilt washed over me all over again. Until I read that in Canada arsenic is better regulated than in the U.S. so the arsenic issue isn't as a big deal here, so I can buy it again.
Which again brings up the question of what to believe? Because we are inundated with food information each and every day and we lay people are expected to understand it.
Even as someone who reads the Internet for hours, co-wrote a cookbook and thinks about food all the time, I don't know what to believe anymore. So I do what I can. I always buy organic apples, berries and grapes. I know my Dirty Dozen by heart but I try to be flexible.
I figure moderation is the key. I don't want to get so wound up in the bad news or guilty feelings that I am completely stupefied at the grocery store (at least more than usual). And, most of all, I don't want my kids to be afraid of food. I want them to love and enjoy delicious meals and also to know that sometimes food is fuel.
I know that if the only message they hear is that food is poison, they will be scared of food and that will cause a lot more problems than a few non-organic apples.
How do you handle all the scary messages about food?
Want more chaos? Last year, I decided against drinking any Mommy wine.