It’s been four years since the film Food Inc. lifted the veil on America’s food industry and exposed how the nation’s food suppliers put profit ahead of the health of the consumer.

But Americans are still being served harmful foods including burgers made out of pink slime, chicken “marinated” in chlorine and injected with salt water with sodium content equivalent to a serving of fries, artificial flavoring in ice cream that is otherwise used in lice killer and carcinogens in bread commonly found on the kitchen table—most disturbing is the fact that these practices are all perfectly legal.

On Monday, February 27, the hosts of the talk show THE DOCTORS, along with special guest, chef Rocco DiSpirito, take a closer look at American food staples and examines the harmful additives and processes used to prepare them.

Burgers* – Would you eat a burger made out of “pink slime”—the name given to the mechanically separated meat that’s treated with ammonia hydroxide to kill bacteria like E-coli?  McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Burger King, once purveyors of pink slime, say they have discontinued their use of this meat, made from discarded beef (i.e. everything else from the cow that had been deemed inedible), but who still does? Schools serve it up daily in kids’ lunches. GROSS!

Chicken –To disinfect and cool chicken post slaughter, chickens are often soaked in a chlorine bath with a water-to-chlorine ratio up to 50 times more potent than the average swimming pool.  Then, to help hide the chlorine taste, the chickens are “plumped” with salt water, making the chickens larger in both weight and price.  Plus, via a scientific experiment, THE DOCTORS determined that chlorine baths may not even rid chicken of the bacteria the chlorine bath is supposed to prevent.

Ice Cream – One billion gallons of ice cream are consumed by Americans every year. The most popular flavor?  Vanilla.  Real vanilla beans are expensive, so to save money, many ice cream makers use a synthetic flavoring called piperonal which is also an ingredient in lice killer.

Bread – Many breads are made with potassium bromate, which has been banned in Canada and the UK and has been named a carcinogen by the EPA, but has been approved by the FDA.  Plus, azodicarbonamide, found in many manufactured donuts and hamburger buns – as well as plastics, rubber and foam – has been found to  aggravate asthma symptoms and contribute respiratory problems in humans.

So, what do the doctors of THE DOCTORS recommend to avoid these harmful foods?

  • Look for fewer ingredients with words you can pronounce
  • Avoid “artificial flavors” as much as possible
  • Avoid “artificial dyes”, especially Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 5 & 6
  • Limit processed foods.
  • While it may not be economical for everyone to buy organic all the time, it’s worth spending a few extra dollars on organic poultry and beef.
  • Consider buying direct from a farmer’s market
  • A truly natural chicken breast has 50 to 75 mg. of sodium. If there’s more than that, the bird has been “plumped”.
  • If you want to know what’s in your food, make it yourself.

Check your local listings to see when the show airs in your city and after the show, download this cheat sheet of common harmful additives to avoid.

*Below is a photo of a 12 year-old burger THE DOCTORS’ Dr. Jim Sears uses in nutrition lectures.  Not even mold has grown on the meat because of all the chemical additives in there!

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