I have just purchased an advance copy of the recently released book in the UK by Joanna Blythman, titled ‘Swallow This: Serving Up the Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets’ – a revelatory investigation into what really goes into the food we eat and also covers among many topics, the practice of clever labelling.
Attempts to link ‘all-natural’ clean-labelling policies with healthy eating have been so successful that shoppers are now equating ‘healthy’ with processed foods. But what does ‘clean label’ mean today and is the use of ‘clean terms’ diverting attention from substantive nutritional issues?
It appears so. Blythman uses the example of Rosemary Extract on food labels, which, while appearing benign, is actually a “clean-label” substitute for the antioxidant preservative, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) – antioxidants which have been found to be carcinogenic in animal studies.
For many years, I have taken a strong stand against processed foods and the ‘clean labelling’ practice employed by many food brands, and I made mention of these particular antioxidants BHA and BHT in my book ‘Changing Habits, Changing Lives’, first published in 1998.
An edited extract of ‘Swallow This: Serving Up the Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets’ is available via the following link:
Overview of ‘Swallow This: Serving Up the Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets’ by Joanna Blythman
From the author of ‘What to Eat: Food that’s good for your health, pocket and plate’ and ‘Shopped: The Shocking Power of British Supermarkets’… a revelatory investigation into what really goes into the food we eat.
Even with 25 years’ experience as a journalist and investigator of the food chain, Joanna Blythman still felt she had unanswered questions about the food we consume every day. How ‘natural’ is the process for making a ‘natural’ flavouring? What, exactly, is modified starch, and why is it an ingredient in so many foods? What is done to pita bread to make it stay ‘fresh’ for six months? And why, when you eat a supermarket salad, does the taste linger in your mouth for several hours after?
Swallow This is a fascinating exploration of the food processing industry and its products – not just the more obvious ready meals, chicken nuggets and tinned soups, but the less overtly industrial – washed salads, smoothies, yoghurts, cereal bars, bread, fruit juice, prepared vegetables. Forget illegal, horse-meat-scandal processes, every step in the production of these is legal, but practised by a strange and inaccessible industry, with methods a world-away from our idea of domestic food preparation, and obscured by technical speak, unintelligible ingredients manuals, and clever labelling practices.
Determined to get to the bottom of the impact the industry has on our food, Joanna Blythman has gained unprecedented access to factories, suppliers and industry insiders, to give an utterly eye-opening account of what we’re really swallowing.