Gardening

Chemicals used in food production: more poison and less nutritional properties.

There is an aspect ignored by many people and it is what we are going to call the chemicalization of food. Until the end of the 19th century, synthetic chemicals did not exist in food production or processing.

Currently the following substances are used in food production: chemical fertilizers (nitrates, phosphates …), pesticides (aldrin, dieldrin, lindane, DDT …), herbicides (arsenic derivatives), hormones (anabolics, clenbuterol …) and antibiotics ( terramycin, penicillin, chloramphenicol).

Chemical Fertilizers

They are synthetic products that produce important changes in the mineral and vitamin balance of foods as we see below.

Commercial vegetables today have a completely different composition than a century ago. They have six times less sodium, half the magnesium, three times less copper, and four times more potassium. This means that by increasing potassium and decreasing sodium, vegetables contain more water and less dry matter, as our mothers would say, “more water and less substance”.

VITAMIN CONTENT ACCORDING TO CULTIVATION METHOD mg / 100 g

Chemical fertilizer

Biological cultivation

Biochemical gain

OATMEAL

Vit. B 1

317

610

92%

Vit. B 2

56

152

141%

Vit. B 3

9.5

19

100%

Protein

12.8

16.4

28%

WHEAT

Vit B 1

451.7

941

108%

Vit B 2

120

278.2

131%

Vit. B 3

54.8

89.6

63%

Protein

eleven

12.8

16%

MINERAL CONTENT ACCORDING TO CULTIVATION METHOD mg / 100 g

SPINACH

CaO

MgO

K 2 O

Chemical fertilizer

372

60

969

Organic fertilizer

357

429

313

In addition to chemical fertilizers, the following substances are added in food production:

Pesticides

When monocultures spread as agriculture became mechanized and pests appeared, the first pesticides were designed, currently three types are distinguished: insecticides, herbicides and fungicides.

The DDT is synthesized during the 2nd World War and is effective as damselflies, against malaria and against the disease sleep. But it is also a very powerful toxic, so much so that its use has been banned after seeing the devastating effects on human health.

Modern insecticides act by destroying essential enzymes for cellular respiration, they are fat-soluble so they accumulate in all body fats but especially in the noble parts of the liver, kidneys, adrenals, the nervous system, the reproductive system … In addition they pass from one living being to another according to the food chain and remain in the soil for more than 15 years after use.

We must know that if we feed the hens with alfalfa treated with DDT they produce eggs where this substance is detected. The same is observed in milk and butter from cows fed treated alfalfa.

There are other equally toxic pesticides such as aldrin, dieldrin, lindane, malathion … that can cause cancer, cause seizures in the nervous system, can even cause death from respiratory arrest, produce genetic modifications, destroy the myelin sheaths of the nerves … There are legislation that regulates its use but is not always complied with.

Herbicides

The best known are the pentachlorophenol, the arsenates and dioxins, the latter, like poison strychnine outperform and arsenic.

These herbicides also act on animal tissues and cause general poisoning, gene mutations and even malignant tumors.

The hormones

In particular, hormones are important growth factors.

In 1980, it was found in California that between 30-40% of men suffered from gynecomastia (breast enlargement) and it was rapidly associated with the inclusion of hormones in animal feed.

Currently, the use of methylthiouracil and anabolics is allowed , these substances slow down the activity of the thyroid, reduce the basal metabolism and consequently produce weight gain and water retention in the tissues, in animals that are raised for human consumption.

The antibiotics

They are substances that prevent the development of microorganisms through the alteration of their metabolism. In the rearing of stabled animals, it was observed that the animals treated with antibiotics prospered more than the others and consequently their use was authorized to increase growth, as anti-stress factors, as factors of adaptation to confinement.

Currently, neomycin, terramycin, penicillin, chloramphenicol are added to the forage that the animal eats We must know that all antibiotics used in animal feed appear in the meat we consume, and that their prolonged use destroys the intestinal flora and can cause vitamins B and K. Likewise, many resistance to antibiotics that people create, have not so much to do with self-medication as with eating meat regularly with its dose of antibiotics included.

By Elena Corrales

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