Holiday Dinner Replete with
Natural Carcinogens, Health Group Finds
2001. The traditional American holiday meal, which typically includes mushroom
soup, roast turkey, potatoes, green salad, fruit and pumpkin pie, is really
a chemical feast of toxins and carcinogensall courtesy of Mother Nature.
If you want to contribute with our work, sending no money,
That was the conclusion of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH)
in its annual "Holiday Dinner Menu". Happily, the scientists at ACSH
assure us that these natural chemicals are safe. ACSH's Holiday Dinner Menu
highlights the chemical carcinogens that Mother Nature has put in our food to
make the point that the mere presence of a supposed cancer-causing agentwhether
natural or syntheticdoes not necessarily make that food dangerous.
As the Holiday Dinner Menu explains, in 1958 the Delaney Clause, part of an
amendment to the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, banned from American food
any artificial substance that could be shown to cause cancer in lab animalswith
no consideration of the high doses given to test animals or the minuscule and
harmless amounts found in foods. Of course, Delaney did not acknowledge the
presence of naturally occurring chemicals that are also rodent carcinogens.
Traces of rodent carcinogenseither naturally occurring or manmadein
our food supply should trigger neither fear nor regulatory action. It is a principal
of toxicology that "only the dose makes the poison." Notes ACSH president
Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, "Clearly, there is a lack of evidence that the abundant
natural animal carcinogens in our foods cause any ill effects in humans. This
lack of evidence supports the view that trace levels of man-made animal carcinogens
should not be a concern to humans."
The foods on our Holiday Menu are healthful and wholesome despite the presence
of Mother Nature's own carcinogens. High fruit and vegetable consumption has
been found in numerous epidemiologic studies to lower the risk of some types
of cancer. As the Holiday Menu explains, we would have to eat ridiculously enormous
amounts of foods containing these chemicals over long periods of time before
we could ever expect them to cause cancer. Dr. Whelan reiterates that "The
real benefits of eating fruits and vegetables far outweigh any hypothetical
risks from consuming tiny amounts of potential carcinogens."
Those words should guide us all, individuals and regulators alike, as we assess
the risks of any substance we find in our food. We should remember them, too,
as we enjoy our holiday dinner and give thanks for the safest and most abundant
food supply in the world.
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