Monday, December 05, 2011

True or false?

I love the internet, but it can be a source of scary lies and half-truths for those without the ability or interest to check facts. Honestly, do you believe everything you're told? Everything your Grandma's next-door neighbour's sister swears she saw or heard?

This photo has been doing the rounds on Facebook, and attracting outraged comments from people who either can't read or don't have the mental powers to understand what the sign says (click on the image to enlarge it):

Source unknown
I'm not a fan of McDonalds - mostly because I think their food tastes like shite. But they're copping a pasting on the internet for this, and it all relates to serving cooked potatoes. Hello? Do you eat cooked potatoes at home? At your Grandma's house? I'm pretty sure none of us eat them RAW....

This article about a law suit in California by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine might explain the motive behind displaying such a strange warning. It seems you can be sued for just about anything in the US. I know nothing about cooked potatoes causing cancer, but I'm not about to stop eating them. There are a lot of foods that have the potential to cause cancer if we eat too much of them, cook them the wrong way, or - more importantly - don't get a variety of other foods in our diet.

For instance I'm aware that grilling or barbecuing meat to the point where some parts end up blackened can cause the formation of potentially cancer-causing chemicals, heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Don't quote me on any of this; I'm not a scientist, just someone who's interested in food and good health. There have been umpteen studies published on the subject and the consensus is that we shouldn't allow meat to become blackened (Boo! It tastes so GOOD!), or that we ought to counteract the effect by marinating our meat before cooking in lemon juice or vinegar-based mixtures, which helps to prevent the nasty compounds from forming.

There's so much more involved with the causes of cancer and other diseases than a single food you may eat now and then. If your diet doesn't contain a large variety of foods, or you eat takeaways regularly, or you do a lot of frying or char-grilling, you may have something to worry about. Me, I'm not going to lose any sleep over my potatoes and barbecues...

And then there was the post that I spotted during the week, suggesting that because the word "milk" doesn't appear on the label, these products aren't actually milk and that they're full of chemicals:

Source unknown

*insert eye-rolling here* I didn't do extensive research on this subject, but  I do have a brain. I use Pura Tone now and then, and I'm pretty careful about what I put into my body. The nutrition panel lists these ingredients:


If you know anything about commercial milk production, you'd know that in general, the raw milk is pasteurised, then run through a centrifuge to separate the cream from the skim milk and milk solids. Then those components are combined in various ways to form the end products - cream (and butter and ice cream), skim milk, powdered milk and so on. The only thing added in this country would usually be vitamin D. No chemicals, people! Sheesh. Paranoid, much?

I know there's a whole bunch of arguments against feeding cows hormones to keep them producing milk, and a totally separate one around the validity of banning of the sale of raw milk for health reasons.... but come ON! We're pretty lucky in this country when it comes to food standards, and to suggest that a carton of milk is anything other than milk is just paranoid.

Please stop and think for a minute before you repost some crap on Facebook or any other social media. Who's spreading this story? Is it true? Where are the facts to back it up? And... is there an agenda behind the whole thing?

In other words: check your facts.

Stupidity annoys me.

The birthday celebrations have (sadly) ended and it's back to normal for me. I've been thoroughly spoiled with flowers, champagne, yum cha with the family, new bling, new nerdy gadgets, a spectacular red velvet cake and more. 

 Now it's back to reality for a week...



Sara said...

Mmm hmmm, I hear ya. I'm always getting on people's arses about reacting to what they hear without doing some critical thinking. For example, on Facebook I'm always getting 'petitions' about the new Food Act (in NZ). Whenever I start asking exactly what they are objecting to, it turns out they haven't read the act, they just think it's a bad idea. Right. People love to jump on a bandwagon and be 'right', especially if it involves sticking it to the establishment.

Debstar said...

Whoever wrote that sign should have put the middle and last paragraph first. I would expect that most passing public would read one or two sentences on that first paragraph, get scared or bored and not bother to read the rest, but they will make a decision based on what they have read.

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