Hysteria about Chemicals in Food

Hysteria about Chemicals in Food is rampant on Facebook (see below) due to a lot of misinformation mixed with some partial truths. There are two myths being spread. The first is that “food is not chemicals and chemicals are being added to it by nefarious forces up to no good.” I hope it is not news to most of my readers that this is not true. Everything, and I mean everything that is a thing is chemical or made up of chemicals. Water is a chemical and makes up a large percentage of our bodies, proteins are chemicals, fats are chemicals, cabs are chemicals. Everything that we are and everything around us and everything we put in our bodies as food and medicine are chemicals. EVERYTHING is chemical.

Salt is an important chemical that our body must have in small quantities. Without it we could not live. But in larger quantities it is lethal. We know about hypertension and heart problems that can result when salt is eaten in somewhat greater quantities than recommended by doctors and if we ate it by the spoonful as we do mashed potatoes at dinner we would be very sick or even dead. Vinegar is another example. We eat it on our salads and in our BBQ without a qualm. Vinegar is acetic acid and water, only 10% acid or so. If we ate full strength acetic acid on our salad we would be sick if not worse but we eat it as vinegar in amounts our body can tolerate.  Scientists spend a lot of time determining what amounts and concentrations of chemicals are safe to eat. In some cases we can eat a relative lot and others it is a small microscopic amount. It should also be noted as a final precaution that we are never 100% safe but we are infinitely safer than the caveman who tried these things out by trial and often fatal error.

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