Hidden chemicals in our food
Can eating harm your health? That's the leading question asked in a long and rigorous investigation into what's really in the food we eat, by journalist Isabelle Saporta and filmmaker Eric Guéret. Their findings are alarming and compel us to change the way we eat.
Arsenic, lead, mercury, dioxin – our blood is home to many toxic substances that have no reason to be there. How do they get into our bodies? To find out, journalist Isabelle Saporta and filmmaker Eric Guéret conducted an unprecedented investigation that went right to the heart of food sources and manufacturing. The result is a disquieting documentary, Can eating harm your health? (Manger peut-il nuire à la santé?). We talked to filmmaker Eric Guéret about the findings.
Eric Guéret: “Much like a police investigation, we followed every thread to find the origin of these toxins that we have in our blood. As we uncovered more and more alarming information, we realised that we needed to document all of these findings, and it turned into an enormous film project. It was a bit exhausting, because we had to trace back the origins of all the most commonly consumed foods in France such as bread, salmon, pork, fruit, vegetables and processed foods, in order to find out exactly what was at risk and how it became contaminated.”
The documentary uncovers a decreasingly natural diet which is becoming increasingly chemical. Far from being a necessary transition, these new food substances are often harmful.
EG: “We discovered that chemistry is now omnipresent in our food today, and this is a total revolution. Before the 1950s, the entire world ate organically. Today, the world eats chemically. There are over 100,000 chemical molecules invented in less than a half century and all these chemical molecules are now found in our environment – and our food.”
Beyond revealing the omnipresence of chemicals in our food, the film also details the consequences of the conditions of soil-less agriculture and intensive farming, all too common in today's world.
EG: “Cows, pigs, fish, and plants are all no longer in contact at all with their natural element. This kind of production has enormous consequences on the product, to the point where the molecular structures of meat, fish, and certain plants are completely transformed. Clear evidence of this is what David Servan Schreiber discovered and proved, which is a deficiency of Omega 3 complex – a natural element that used to be in our food but no longer is today because we no longer feed animals Omega 3s. This creates a viscous cycle resulting in the entire human and animal population being deficient.”
Assisting the investigation of the soil, the journalists were accompanied by a panel of five experts. These scientists analysed the reported elemental findings and had undeniable, unanimous determinations.
EG: “We set up a committee of five experts in nutrition, toxicology, and oncology and asked them to accompany us during the entire investigation. The film goes back and forth between the survey field and the remarks of this panel of experts, where they continually comment on what we bring back from the soil and send us their new findings. When it comes to this kind of investigation, the research and testing must be precise, since you're going against the food industry and supermarkets. Our evidence had to be absolutely irrefutable, so it's safe to say the findings and the film are solid.”
The film also portrays artisan bakers and farmers who are committed to quality production that respects the environment. Solutions for better consumption are possible at the individual and collective level.
EG: “The last portion of the film is very clear: the power is in the consumer's shopping basket. When you're grocery shopping, you have the power to choose! The first thing to do is to re-think the way we shop and what it is we're consuming.
There is a second problem, which is when the government continues to be totally resigned in face of the food industry. For our health to really have a chance to change as a population, we need policies, health officials, and monitoring agencies to do their work and to have the means to do their work, because there is also an enormous problem of funding. We are living with very hypocritical politics, where we expose and denounce problems but do nothing to address them. Today there is a gross collusion between big agribusiness lobbyists and politics that we do nothing about – and now we're living with the consequences.”
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