Petrol Peas: Food Coloring Hidden In Shelf Staples

Remember when everyone was talking about using vegetables to run cars a few years back?  Well, they didn’t realize how close we already were in this country to making that dream come true.  The technology was always readily available, cheap, and neatly packaged – in the canned vegetable aisle of the grocery store, and in the way-back of emergency kits everywhere.  Green cars, that can run on….greens.

Maybe a leap, maybe not.  I recently learned that canned veggies such as “green” peas are routinely gussied up with blue and green petroleum food coloring.  Otherwise, I’m told, they’d appear grayish (Ugghh…I know…okay stay with me now…let’s suspend human instinct, gag reflex, and logic for just a few minutes while I make my point).  A friend told me that the FDA does not have to regulate the liquids in each can, including petroleum dyes, because it’s not considered to be food.

Wow.  Opportunities abound!  New, vaguely-verb-sounding automobile names will need to be invented!  How does a Chevy Legumon sound?  (Or Baby-P for the smaller hatchback version?  The P-POD for the 8-person crossover?).  I see more Dole and Green Giant NASCAR sponsorships in the near future.  I also might need to rethink the usefulness of canned veggies in, say, an underground bomb shelter.  There’s bound to be at least one Yugo still running after the world ends, and I bet just one or two cans could get me to the mall.

But seriously, the recent findings that foods from cans lined with plastic raised bodily BPA levels by 1200% is bad enough.  Now crude oil is added to our canned foods to, ironically, make them appear more nutritious.  Why the half-arsed regulation?

After seeing how the FDA fails to properly regulate imported Chinese “organic” vegetables and illegal, contaminated pseudo-honey, I’ve come to my own frustrating conclusion.  Asking our government to change anything simply for the sake of a healthier food supply (school pizza-mato, anyone?) is like calling your pet kitten on a soup-can phone when you were five years old…You don’t speak the same language, and the fat cat on the other end will scoot your call around like a battered lizard until you just feel like dropping your end.

We can’t drop it now.  I read labels religiously, but there are still so many hidden additives which need regulating.  Unfortunately our FDA has it all backwards – they approve additives for use until proven unsafe, when they should be protecting the public from untested substances until they’re proven safe.  The best foods don’t need a label, true.  But it is what it is, and the only way we can change the food industry at this point is to make our opinions known with our purchasing power.

“Pay your farmer now, or your doctor later.”

I am very lucky to be able to buy fresh and frozen organic veggies.  But families using SNAPS cards – who aren’t eligible to spend SNAPS credits on dyed junk food – are still encouraged to buy canned petrol peas.  This government program was originally designed to provide *fresh*, nutritious farm surplus to the needy.  And while some states are allowing double value for any farmers market SNAPS purchases, there is still a long way to go with nutrition and food stamps.

Now I’m wondering about the source of the green peas in the processed pet food that gave our cat hot spots and skin rashes (more on food dyes in pet foods coming soon).  But as I do not run my own salmon and turkey gravy operations, I’ll have to continue snooping labels (If you have a great DIY pet food recipe, shoot it my way).  And I guess I should call Calbee about my pretty pretty green Snapea Crisps, which cannot possibly have ANYTHING wrong with them. *pluggingearswithfingers* LA LA LA LA LAAAAAAA…


Question everything.



4 Responses to “Petrol Peas: Food Coloring Hidden In Shelf Staples”
  1. Corey says:

    I hate that we can’t trust anything when it comes to the products we put on or in our bodies. 🙁 Keep up the great work Rebecca! 🙂

    • Indie Mama says:

      Thanks Corey! Yeah I used to assume everything sold in the US was tested and therefore safe, but now I even have to read labels at the healthy specialty stores, because they still use caramel coloring in a lot of stuff. Being in your field of work, you might be interested in the video I posted today about the school program teaching 6 year olds to recognize food additives on labels – it’s under the Video & Podcasts tab up top. They had great results after the school did a 2-week elimination diet, involving the parents, too. I wish all schools had that program!

  2. Allison says:

    I am so grateful for how you’re making me aware of so much. I clicked on the link to the honey fraud article. Wow…we’ll be buying organic honey or farmer’s market honey from now on.

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