reality cracking
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Some of the data below may not be accurate enough, or in need of improvements, please bear with such an 'amateurish' approach: this is an essay in fieri and the contributions of my readers will help me to improve it. What has this kind of stuff to do with searching? More than you would think. In our world of concealed realities and orchestrated propaganda, web-searching capabilities (and a minimum of brain) are a pre-requisite for finding out, and highlight, some awful truths. A "reality cracking" activity which can and should open some sleepy eyes, at least I hope. Capable searchers will for instance be able to check my 'strawberry data' by themselves.
You'll surely feel a 'rant' component in this writing, indeed, but I have three kids, and it's getting more and more hard to find some 'safe' food for them: I really believe that someone should pay for the awful mess we are condemned to live in.
Have an happy new Millennium, there's
 a shimmer of hopeafter all.

Strawberry fields... forever
by Fravia+
version January 2001

You wont eat strawberry-cakes anymore... nor salmon... nor smarties, I'm afraid...

Bonae valetudinis quasi quaedam mater est frugalitas

...strawberry fields, nothing is real... living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see...

The machinations and intrigues of the food-industry (actually a bunch of agro-food-chemical conglomerates) have recently been rightly criticized, at least for meat-matters, following the BSE-scandal in Europe and the genetically modified, and hormones-pumping practices in use in the States.

Yet one of the most curious aspects of the political management and of the media coverage of the BSE-crisis was the continuous and never hidden greatest worry and concern for the interests of the 'producers'. In fact consumers are considered a nuisance whenever they don't just shut up and consume.
"The new habits of the 'insecure consumers' are putting great strain on the meat-producers": in other words, as soon as they understand -all attempts to hide it notwithstanding- that they can get the Creutzfeldt-Jakob if they eat meat from BSE-infected animals, these "naughty consumers" refuse to perform their consumeristic duty and do not buy any more their usual amount of shit. This hurts economic interests, Oh waja, hence the imperious need to find solutions a posteriori. (Alas for the consumers, as we will see, there are not cheap alternatives to their infected milk-drinks and contaminated meat-meals).

Note that the offenders: in this case those that took the criminal decision to feed herbivores (as the name implies cows were originally created to feed on grass, duh) with meals made out of crushed carcasses of dead animals (this being a more convenient, even if absolutely unnatural, fodder) thus de facto killing people in order to make more money, have not been and will not be punished. Quite the contrary, they will probably be refunded with public money, following the well-known principle of our beautiful society where all profits must be private and all losses should be public.
This holy principle does not apply only to the food-poisoning practices discussed here: it's a general law... and the recent FED intervention on the share markets -to save private actionists from private losses- testify a similar approach.

Those who have bent backwards in order to defend the criminal practices of the meat producers have not been punished either. I still remember UK-politicians cheerfully shoving contaminated meat down their own kids' throats in front of the cameras at the beginning of the BSE crisis in England years ago (years ago!), where and when backing the national meat-producers was more important -and of course more economically and mediatically rewarding- than alerting fellow humans about the real dangers.
As a side note, since European citizens are -rightly- beginning to sue the representatives of the lobbies that have for so long wrongly defended the meat producers, I am wondering wether the many overweight US-citizens who cannot be seated anymore on a plane three in a row will soon have the right to sue those american "meat cum hormones" advocates (and powerful lobbies) and/or their own McDonald's hamburger chains.

But infected milk and dangerous meat-meals are just the beginning of these considerations: there are in this context some more general questions that I would like to point to.
The first, in my opinion quite important and relevant one, is "what are strawberries made of?"
Data are data, I have been told more than once.
Now please note: The global production of strawberries in the whole world would not be sufficient to cover 5% of the North American demand for strawberries alone. This generates the obvious question: what are the remaining 95% of strawberries made of? Not only in the States but also elsewhere, of course.
The answer is simple: a distillation of sawdust and strawberry flavour (aroma), plus soja and other chemical craps. Nice isn't it? Your and your kids' 'strawberry' cakes, 'strawberry' ice creams, 'strawberry' syrups, 'strawberry' jelly, 'strawberry' candies, made out of sawdust and chemical products, everything but a single strawberry. It's a great feeling, eh? The film 'Matrix' is nothing but a gentle dream in comparison. Aromas instead of real food.  ...strawberry fields, nothing is real... living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see...,  And please don't be so naïf to believe that this applies only to strawberries
Next time you see an automatic food-distribution machine, for instance at a petrol station, ask yourself what are the components of those "mars" bars and all those other "crunchies" that kids (and idiots) continuously buy and chew and buy.

You're in for quite some surprise.
Do yourself what I have done on my own: I went down to the kitchen and took as an example a small tube of 'smarties' (by Nestlé): lively coloured candy shells that kids sooo love, not least because they are actively advertised and pushed through the usual TV-imprinting methods.
Now let's have a look together I'm located in the European Union, hence there's on the box at least a list of ingredients, emulsifiers, colours, glazing and flavouring agents (note that in many parts of the planet you would'nt find even this minimum), and here they are, let's read and rejoice together: they are very instructive.

Ingredients: sugar, cocoa liquor (what's that? How much cocoa? What else composes that "liquor"?), wheat flour, cocoa butter. What's that? That's not swiss-chocolate either any more, after the European Parliament shameful and scandalous directive (see below) is it? How much cocoa 'butter'? Is copra (a substitute for chocolate made of dried flesh of the coconut) present? Which other components did they put in that 'cocoa-butter'?), skimmed milk powder (skimmed? Can you have a 'skimmed powder'? Or are they "powdering skimmed milk"?), butterfat (how much 'butter' and how much 'fat'?), lactose (that's not milk either, eh. What about glucose? Is glucose the 'modified starch' below par chance?), whey powder (whey? From which milk?), modified starch (how and why 'modified'?).
Emulsifiers: Soya lecitine. Soja? Note that in 1997 15% of soja-production (mainly in the States) was genetically modified, one year later, in 1998, 40% of the soja was GM guess how much of the soja that the average bozo eats today within his tasty tacos and juicy sausages is genetically modified
Colours: E 100, E 101, E 120, E 133, E 160e, E 171. For all these chemical products and concotions see both Dangerous food additives (reversing labels), by Maxine+, and Dangerous food additives (second installment) by Kuririn. You'll also easily find on the web the complete list: search for "European Parliament and Council Directive of 30 June 1994 on colours for use in foodstuffs (94/36/EC)". Be prepared for some longnamed and not exactly reassuring chemical compositions.
Glazing agents: carnauba wax (Carnauba? That's the same wax used for shoes!), bees wax.
Flavouring: vanillin (vanillin is NOT vanilla: it's a cheap by-product of paper manufacture, duh, aromas instead of food once more)
The trend is clearly towards substituting 'real food' with 'chemically indiced illusions' surrogates. The (infinite) list of flavouring substances (see links below) will give you an idea of the huge SCALE of this 'nothing is real' phenomenon.

An impressive list now go -my kid- and eat your bright coloured smarties or your tasty tachos, or your tempting mars bar, or your crunchy-smunty-crispy-choko-genetically modified corn flakes with a small funny dinosaur model inside the box.

And, pray, what components are hidden inside a sausage? Want to know what's in a sausage? The answer I am afraid is everything BUT meat (a matter of fact which -alas- can be only 'relatively appalling' in our BSE and hormones infested meat-world). In a sausage you have some bread-rests mixed with inner and unsaleable (and untellable) parts of cows, pigs and chickens.
As a sidenote: we don't even need to tap here the awful "chicken-conditions" theme, go and have a look inside a chicken production farm, and bring your vomit bag with you. Moreover you can (and they of course do) produce 'pure' albumin using 100% chicken excrements.
Back to our sausages... apart from the many chemical components we also again find sawdust (a very common food-component), tofu, and our previously encountered 100% genetically modified soja.

You may resort to eat some good salmon, of course. Wild salmons do not exist anymore (I asked in a big distribution market of a big European city... main importer of Salmons speaking to me "Wild salmons? Haven't seen them in years, maybe you can still find a couple of them in Ireland if you fly there personally and pay enough to be allowed to fish them").
'Farmed' salmons -those that we all eat- have a white meat and are held in North-Europe's Fjords' water inside huge congested cages, continuously sprayed with antibiotics, squeezed among an high percentage of dead fishes and faecalies. Their sloppy white meat doesn't look 'salmonish' enough and will be coloured pink through carotene and other colorants. No wonder the prices have rock-bottomed and you'll nowadays find salmon as an 'elite' food only inside old books: you're eating the appalling Norwegian equivalent of the chicken-farms.
In recent times (November 2000) European doctors begun to WARN people to avoid eating salmon more than twice a week. Wonder why? See below :-(
As a side note: the EU-already poor laws regarding food-safety and maximal limits of chemical products have been purposely bent downwards even further in this case, granting exceptions and derogations for the Scottish salmon production farms 'in order to guarantee the survival of the local salmon-breeding industry and jobs'. The downward-spiralling quality concurrence of the Norwegian and Icelanders (who -being outside the EU- not only kill whales but also produce salmon in even more inexcusable conditions) was indeed economically damaging the Scottish salmon producers, another nice example of the foremost law of globalisation: "quality of life will be lowered everywhere for profit purposes".

Please don't think I'm too rude with our 'nice' Norwegians... they are responsable for 50% of the Atlantic salmon farming monstrosities and are not nice at all: Note that
Alas! Such ominous food-rascalities do not regard only salmon! The number of additives and chemical components hidden inside every single 'massive-production' food is huge, and far from being completely documented on the labels in the relatively small part of the world where there are labels that is, and where there are also agencies that check that these labels correspond to truth, that is, and where these same agencies have also more political clout that the lobbies of the producers, re-sellers and distributors, that is. Cross your fingers, readers, you'll need that.

Those 5-minutes dishes preparations that are continuously advertised, those oh so softies frozen fish dishes or fish fingers for kids, those potatoes and apples have colorants, aromatic add-ons, anti-oxidation components, emulgators, stabilisation elements, taste-intensifiers (these are particularly important nowadays), edulcorants (sweeteners), and a series of other components that would be too long and appalling to list. Woha, how appetizing!

The only components that will most probably NOT be there are exactly those that you would naively expect and that are so artfully advertised on the cover of the chemical concoction you have bought. There WONT be any real egg, any real sugar, any real butter, any real chocolate, any real 'jumping' fish of the sea inside. In fact most of those sea-braving ships you see on fish-products covers and advertisements wont be there either: those fish, as far as some fish-meat should really be present in the food-products you have bought (and you shouldn't count too much on that), are farmed onshore (in appalling conditions), they are not even fished at sea (in equally appalling conditions).
As a side note on advertising: chocolate. The European Parliament, always yielding and forever flexible whenever any big lobby sneezes, has recently (in june 2000) allowed to advertise chemical chocolate as 'real' chocolate against the wishes of the (smaller and financially less strong) lobby of the few remaining "real cocoa" chocolate producers. Among the main poitical responsibles of this sordid decision: the British Conservative MEP John Bowis and the UK Minister for Europe Keith Vaz. One wonders how much money was worth a decision that will allow chocolate makers to increase their profits by choosing the cheapest ingredients... in fact the replacement fats that may be added to the final product are featured in the Annex to the Directive: illipe from Borneo or Tengkawang, palm oil, sal, shea nut, kokum gurgi and mango stone oil.
Notwithstanding the above provisions, the Member States may also allow (Alas! Such "may" always mean "will") the use of copra instead of cacao butter inside "chocolate" used to make ice-cream and similar products, like frozen chocolate bars. Copra is not something they would like to inform you about on a label, eh: it is the dried kernel (endosperm) and outer husk (tegument) of the seed of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera L.) (coco, not cocoa, eh :-) mostly used to make tan-oil... when it is not used used in making soaps... or this "chocolate"). Imagine such a dialogue: "Mummy mummy, may I have a tasty chocolade ice-cream?" "I'm afraid not, my kid, but you can chew this tasty coconut tegument instead" "Yumm! Great! Tastes really like chocolate!" "Yes dear, even if it is just soap".
I'm sure you begin to understand the paramount importance of the taste-intensifiers (and of powerful lobbies and of paid politicians) by now...

C'mon guys, where would we end up if we would forbid an important industry to lie outright to the public?

Moreover -as in the case of the BSE's meat- all producers will bend backwards in order to SAVE MONEY on all and each one of these chemical components, substituting poor materials with even poorer materials every time a possibility to do so arises, either through legislation loopholes or through simple "entrepreneurial boldness".
BTW the BSE-syndrome was due to cows-feeding stuff made out of dead animals carcasses and other unsavoury and unsaleable industrial remains, found first in Britain and then elsewhere in Europe as well... I wonder if feeding products are really different in -say- China or South America or if they there simply lack appropriate anti-BSE controls... time will tell, eh.
The negligible fact that you and your kids may possibly (and maybe even probably) die as a consequence of this approach, as in the BSE-case, is none of their concern, nor is it a concern of the political lackeys of the commercial powers that rule our world.
The understaffed agencies that should check at least a minimum of compliance with (incomplete) food-safety regulations are being purposely kept understaffed and ineffective and those 'old' regulations that are being watered down (see the example above about allowing cocoa-substitutes to advertise as 'real' chocolate) are at the same time being more and more replaced by nice sounding but completely bogus 'voluntary agreements' agreed among themselves by those very criminal producers.

I may add that the few producers that occasionally respect the regulations and use 'real' (and safe) products and components inside their products are more often than not being pushed off the market by the "free forces of the competition"... if they don't "modernise their production methods" and "begin to understand the laws of the market"... at least until the next great food-poison induced human-slaughter, when those 'free forces of the competition' will be once more saved from self-induced disaster through public money, while ad-hoc media campaigns will try to convince everyone that the poisons in their food products are safe.

We live in a profit-oriented society that guarantees a relative degree of affluence to his law-abiding citizens, so that they can cheerfully consume as many of the food-surrogates and poisons currently on sale as the advertisement industry decides.

Is there no shimmer of hope whatsoever?

NO! I mean: YES! There's some hope, at least on the short term. Internet (once you know how to search, that is) delivers quite some WEAPONS for self-defence and educational purposes. Let's see some simple methods: My real hope is that many grass-root organisations (for instance [consumer agencies] and similar organisations) will learn the techniques needed for effective searching and will build on this stuff in order to cross the mischief of the commercial bastards, or at least seriously annoy them, collating the experiences of -say- some god-forgotten food-authority in Sweden with the knowledge of -say- some odd-ball biological farmer in Sicily. Transparence and the mighty power of many bees flying together (grass-root organisations) are VERY POWERFUL weapons in a world of lies, propaganda, guarded secrets, criminal lobbying and profit-oriented mischief.
After all, Monsanto went down the drain with its GMOs...
Some useful links -on the fly- for any seeker adventuring inside the 'strawberry fields':

[EU: food safety and EFA]
[EU: search, simple mask]
[EU: the flavouring directive]
This Directive shall not apply to:
edible substances and products intended to be consumed as such, with or without reconstitution,
substances which have exclusively a sweet, sour or salt taste

Note also that this directive will 'prohibit' something only from june 2001 onwards... and read Annex II in order to defend yourself better on the fly.
[EU: the register of flavouring substances]
deserves to be seen... to see how MANY of them do exist.
For self-defence purposes note the following:
Specific remarks, under a numbered form are listed in the column ‘comments’. The explanation hereof is the following:
...(2) = substance the use of which in certain Member States is subject to restrictive or prohibitive measures;

Couple of flavours worth a special look, of course.
Another example of the utility of a 'reversing regard' on the pertinent legislation can be found on the [ad hoc] page.
[CFIA (the Canadians)]
[CFIA search, simple mask]
Try a search here for -say- "blueberry" and have a look at the alerts :-)

[FDA's Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition]
[search the FDA's CFSAN]

And, indeed, a nice famous anti-OGM link recalled by +Forseti: [Greenpeace's true food now]

An interesting and quite valuable link: [] "the citizien portal on corporations" (also in french or spanish).
You'll find various snippets, examples and comments
on the [ad hoc] page

© fravia+, started in January 2001
PS: The sources for all data I have given in this lore are on the web. Find them: you are supposed to be seekers. Corrections and additions to this script are welcome.
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