, 37 tweets, 17 min read Read on Twitter
I'm watching @DennisOkari's #REDALERT and I'm already noting some problems. First of all, I was really waiting for this episode since I heard of it and I'm really disappointed because rather than being informative it is alarmist and much like the debunked Blossoms food videos.
Some of the issues I've noticed at first glance.
i) The definition of "toxic". First lesson in toxicology: everything is poisonous, the amount is what matters. Otherwise known as "the dose makes the poison". I'm not even kidding. #REDALERT
ii) The protein mixed with water, what is it? It's implied that it's a food additive, in which case, what's the issue? A food additive being added to food is not an issue, the problem is if the additive is being added in excessive amounts or false advertising. #REDALERT
iii) Continuing from ii) the whole set up of this episode of #Redalert is "Oh no, there's food additives in your food", which, again, isn't a problem, as stated in ii). The problem is if the food additive is in excessive amounts or if there's false advertising. ...
...If I told you that your cakes have sodium bicabornate, a chemical, most of you would panic. A chemical? In your cakes? But sodium bicarbonate is literally baking soda. Most of you know what baking soda is. You know it's purpose in baking. #REDALERT
If I were to tell you that your drinks have dihydrogen monoxide/hydroxyly acid, a chemical found in fire retardants, yoga mats, industrial solvents & coolants, and kills thousands of men, women, and children each year, you'd panic. But I'm literally talking about water. #REDALERT
Which brings me back to Sodium metabisulfite, a food additive number E223. It is also a disinfectant/cleaning agent and it is also used in medicines, photography, sickle cell tests etc. But its function as a food additive is what's being contested. #Redalert
Being that it belongs to the sulfites group, it can cause an adverse reaction to people sensitive to sulfites. the use of a similar sulfite, sodium bisulfite (E222) was banned in 1986 in several foods, specifically raw fruits and vegetables, due to allergic reactions. #Redalert
The acceptable daily intake for all seven sulfites is up to 0.7 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. So, really, the news here isn't that food additives are being used, which is what #Redalert focused on. Safety testing is usually an ongoing thing.
The news here, is that there is no regulation for how much of a particular food additive is being used [on the ground, and not just in supermarkets]. And that is what I thought @DennisOkari
was going to focus on, because that is the news. #Redalert
Moving away from food additives, this is seemingly always the turn that the conversation always seems to take when it comes to anything remotely sciencey. Things always seem to get jumbled up and it always ends up being something [bordering on the] alarmist. #REDALERT
I would have loved to see a conversation on why regulation here is ineffective and bordering on nonexistent. Why do we have to quote statistics/info from FDA or EU or OECD etc bodies, where are our bodies? Who is looking out for us here? #REDALERT
Unfortunately, what this #RedAlert episode has done is to be more alarmist perhaps more than it intended to or than it knew it would be. We're living in an age where people don't even know that water is a chemical for God's sake! It could have been done better.
And, another thing, I was looking forward to seeing a food scientist and a toxicologist on this episode. #REDALERT
As discussed in ii) this is the issue right here, the additive is being used in excessive amounts. And they're able to get away with it because the regulation is ineffective and close to nonexistent, which is what we should be talking about. #REDALERT
About "meat glue" ie transglutaminase: this is an enzyme found naturally in humans, animals, and plants (natural is always good, aye?). Anyways, forgive the jibe about the natural stuff, "meat glue" is labelled safe by USFDA. #RedAlert
The dangers with "meat glue" is that it may introduce bacterial contamination when the different cuts of meat are glued together. #RedAlert
Also, it may trigger flare ups in people with Celiac's or gluten sensitivity, though there is currently no scientific research linking meat glue to increased disease activity. EU banned meat glue in 2010, safety concerns. It's still safe to FDA. #RedAlert
Which, again, speaks to the need for our own reviewing. One foreign body says its safe and another one says its unsafe, here we are waiting for foreign agencies to tell us whether something is safe or unsafe. Is it something we can't do? #RedAlert
About calcium carbide and bananas: this was covered in another news stories some years back. What has been the development since then? #RedAlert
On cancer: we need to actually sit down and talk about this seriously. Imagine cancer is not as simple as saying "you do X you get cancer" or "you don't do Y you don't get cancer". It has just been reported that mursik is now causing cancer. Mursik. #RedAlert.
Food labelling: is KEBS in charge of that? @CofekRebranded Who makes sure that there is no false advertising/marketing, that the nutritional information and ingredients list on food and food products are correct, & that food additives are not exceeding allowed amounts? #Redalert
@CofekRebranded Another issue not covered in #RedAlert but is of the same bearing: nutraceuticals. What are they? The supplements industry basically. It covers everything from uppity supplement shops to watu wa miti ni dawa. Not regulated by anyone. Weight loss supplements = scam.
@CofekRebranded Watu wa miti ni dawa have been fighting amongst themselves because there are people who know nothing about traditional medicine who are coming in to make quick money selling nonsense powders and concotions to unsuspecting customers, thus destroying the ancient practice. #RedAlert
@CofekRebranded You could start selling supplements/miti ni dawa right now. Yes, you. No one would be checking if the contents of your supplements/miti ni dawa are what you say they are. Absolutely no one. #RedAlert
@CofekRebranded Conversely, medicines and pharmaceutical products in convenientional medicine have to go through numerous hoops for safety screening. You can develop one medicine for 20 years. 20 years it's in the process of screening. And when it's out, it's still being screened. #RedAlert
@CofekRebranded Now, that doesn't mean that the pharmaceutical industry doesn't go rogue, but, because of the regulations in place, if something safety-related comes up, it's relatively easy to sort it out than if it were the nutraceutical industry. #RedAlert
@CofekRebranded As a matter of fact, the supplements industry itself has been opposing regulations for years, especially in the US where they have strong lobbies. And other countries tend to follow the American model as well. #RedAlert
@CofekRebranded I get people telling me all the time: "but oh, Yvonne, supplements are safe" mara "oh, natural is good". First of all, who told you supplements are safe? How do you know they are safe when they haven't gone through safety screening protocols? #RedAlert
@CofekRebranded Secondly, "natural is good"? Legally, natural could mean anything - it's an unregulated term. FDA meaning of natural: "ingredients extracted directly from plants or animal products as opposed to being produced synthetically". Of the top of my mind: plant poisons, drugs. #RedAlert
@CofekRebranded There are so many different plant posions and so many different drugs of abuse made from plants. You may know opium, cocaine, nicotine, and tobacco. Where do you think those ones come from? "Natural is good"? Uranium is also natural. Throw that in there with the plants. #RedAlert
@CofekRebranded The point is that just because it's "natural" doesn't automatically mean that it's good for consumption or for a certain use. But, due to the supplements/nutraceutical industry that I mentioned earlier, "natural is good" is now a mantra. Big scam right there. #RedAlert.
@CofekRebranded The point, for those who may have missed it. This is so much bigger than supermarkets, and keeping the discussion revolving around supermarkets is reductive. Its so much bigger.
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