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What’s eating you, my dear?

Be careful what you put in your mouth. The hazards of eating have never been greater, for as the global population booms and growers of food are under greater pressure to produce more, faster, it’s no longer a case of you are what you eat, you have to understand what’s eating you.

Jullie Yap DazaWhat’s out there in the market, the supermarket, in your kitchen, the food shops? What’s in a tempting box of ready-to-eat snacks? What secrets does a tin of sardines or sausage hide? What’s in your baby’s formula? Besides the food, could we be eating traces of poison and toxins in the form of pesticides and harmful elements of GMO? Edward Feist, a veteran of Mead Johnson, Bausch and Lomb and the association of pharmaceutical companies, shared some of his anecdotal wisdom with “Bulong Pulungan.”

It used to take 5 years to fatten up a cow for slaughter, now it’s being done in 1.5. From 70 days to produce a chicken, the rate was accelerated to 48, then 28-30. Farmers used to spray pesticides on their mangoes once every 48 hours, until they shortened the waiting time to 24, then 12, then 6; now it’s every hour. Oh, for the good old traditional ways or, if that’s no longer possible, for the healthful benefits of organically grown foods!

The consequences of people being fed on a diet of pesticides are too horrible to imagine. Imagination was not the basis to conclude that cow’s milk in a certain type of plastic bottle was a factor in the “feminization” of boy babies, or that five-year-olds in a village in South America who lived on farms regularly sprayed with pesticides did not know how to draw people with faces, torsos, limbs.

About 25 years ago, DDT was banned, “but since then, a hundred similar products have appeared,” and only the European Union and US are vigilant about keeping those agents out of consumers’ reach. In the Philippines, advised Mr. Feist, consumers should look for the OCCP seal – Organic Certification Center of the Philippines – to be sure that what they’re buying is organic and safe.

Eat organic, yes, but most times you cannot tell. In the case of infant formula from Europe, including Germany, the EU seal is in the shape of a leaf.