Thursday, October 22, 2009

DNA-damaging chemical found in high-fructose corn syrup‏

(NaturalNews) If you know anything about the food supply, you know that honey bees are a crucial part of the food production chain. In the United States, they pollinate roughly one-third of all the crops we eat, and without them, we'd be facing a disastrous collapse in viable food production.

That's why, when honey bees started to disappear a few years ago, scientists scrambled to find the root cause of the phenomenon, which has since been dubbed "Colony Collapse Disorder."

The name is a bit of a misnomer, though. It's not really a "disorder." It's more of a poisoning. Or at least that's what we may be learning from new research that's just been published in the ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac...).

It's been difficult, of course, trying to determine the cause of colony collapse disorder. Some of the suggested theories for explaining the phenomenon included chemical contamination from pesticides, genetic contamination from genetically modified crops, changes in the Earth's magnetic field, climate change and air pollution. In an attempt to nail down some scientific answers, researchers from the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Tucson, Arizona joined with other researchers in New Orleans and the University of Wisconsin to check out another possible culprit: High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

HFCS, as you may already know, is a processed, liquid sweetener used in disturbingly large amounts throughout the global food supply. You can find it in not just sodas, but pizza sauce, salad dressings and even whole wheat bread. It's in breakfast cereals, food bars, peanut butter, ketchup and a thousand other products.

There are two reasons why you find HFCS in so many food products: 1) It's sweet. 2) It's cheap.

It is for these same two reasons that high-fructose corn syrup is fed to honey bees. It provides them the sugar calories to stay active without resulting in a huge cost for the beekeeper. That's why HFCS has been used for decades as a food source for honey bees.

But this very food source may, in fact, be poisoning the bees.

HFCS forms hydroxymethylfurfural
What these USDA researchers discovered is that when HFCS is heated, it forms hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a chemical that can kill honey bees. The production of HMF during cooking rose in parallel to the temperatures to which HFCS was exposed.

To put it plainly, when you cook HFCS, it becomes contaminated with HMF. And according to the research, levels of HMF "jumped dramatically" when temperatures rose above 120 degrees Fahrenheit (which isn't very hot, by the way).

This is similar to the way in which browning or frying carbohydrates produces acrylamides, a cancer-causing chemical that's also ubiquitous in the food supply. (http://www.naturalnews.com/acrylami...)

The upshot is that HMF could be part of the reason why honey bees are dying off. Feeding a chemical contaminant to your bees, after all, doesn't sound like a good way to support their long-term health. But if HFCS has been fed to honey bees for decades, why the sudden collapse of bee populations in just the last few years?

Source - www.naturalnews.com

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