Stealth Foods


A "Stealth Food" is even worse than it looks. A "Stealth Food" might even claim to be good for you. A "Stealth Food" is a chemical wolf in cheap clothing. Your supermarket shelves are full of Stealth Foods.  Want to add to the list?  Email your favorites to me at


You’d expect Food, Drug and Cosmetic Blue #1 to be an ingredient in marshmallows, right?  Yeah, it’s there to keep those sugar-laden pencil erasers from looking yellow after a while on the shelf.  And you do know that there is Red # 40 in "Kraft Barbecue Sauce," don’t you? That way, they can use fewer tomatoes and the stuff still looks good. And "Quaker’s Life" cereal contains artificial yellow color. Do we dare ask what real Quakers would think of putting yellow paint in little Mikey’s breakfast bowl?

But the Doctor Yourself Tarnished Silver Award for STEALTH FOOD goes to OVALTINE!  Yes, "Ovaltine," the health food of my youth, can no longer be trusted: "Rich Chocolate Ovaltine" in fact contains not one but all THREE chemical colors: Yellow #6, Red #40, and Blue #1! 

When I called them up (you can too: 1-800-442-0099) to say that it is just a tad inappropriate for a product with a long reputation for quality to have THREE artificial colors on it, they couldn’t have cared less. “Rich Chocolate Ovaltine,” made by Himmel Nutrition, Inc., Lake Worth, FL 33461, is a good food turned bad by a company that does not seem to care very much about what your child puts in her stomach. The only part of "Rich Chocolate Ovaltine" that is “rich” is the profit that Himmel Nutrition is making at the expense of consumers that don’t read the fine print on the label. Give ‘em a call and tell them you will not buy it until they drop the food paint.

Children who eat hot dogs once a week double their risk of a brain tumor. Youngsters eating other cured meats, such as ham, sausage and bacon, had an 80 percent higher risk of brain cancer. This study was done at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Kids eating more than twelve hot dogs a month (that's barely three hot dogs a week) have nearly ten times the risk of leukemia as children who ate none. This research was done at the University of Southern California School of Medicine in Los Angeles. But here is the very important good news: Children who ate hot dogs and other cured meats, but who also took supplemental vitamins, had reduced cancer risk.  (Jean Carper’s syndicated column in Lancaster, PA Intelligencer-Journal, Weds., June 22, 1994.) 

Do you recall ever hearing anything in the media about this?

AMERICAN SACCHARIN SCIENCE IS THE BEST MONEY CAN BUY, and it has been bought off, all right.  A substance that can cause cancer has no business being allowed, ever, in the food supply. The Delaney Amendment of the 1950's argued (based on the work of Harvey W. Wiley, M.D., the first head of the FDA) that there is no such thing as a truly safe dose of a harmful substance. 

If you question this, ask yourself: How many drops of rat urine would you accept in your next glass of lemonade? Twelve? Five? Two? Even half a drop of rat urine?  Yet no case whatsoever can be made that rat urine causes cancer. Sanitation an issue, you say? OK, we'll boil the rat urine first.  Now how many drops would you accept in your next glass of lemonade?

Where am I going with this? We accept a dose, albeit a small one, of a known carcinogen (saccharine) while we would not accept a small dose of sterilized rat urine. Maybe you are thinking, “But I don’t even use saccharin.”  But maybe you do: read the ingredients list on your toothpaste: saccharine is almost always in there. “But I do not eat toothpaste!” you might say.  Maybe you don’t . . .  but your kids do. CHILRDEN UNDER SIX INVOLUNTARILY SWALLOW AS MUCH AS A THIRD OF THEIR TOOTHPASTE. If they brush every day, that’s 365 small doses of a carcinogen a year. Any dentist will tell you that saccharin chemically does nothing to prevent tooth decay. So it should be taken out.

Wish to be heard? Call the toothpaste manufacturers and tell them to take saccharin out of their products, or you will not buy them. 

Start with the two biggest sellers: Colgate: 1-800-468-6502 and Crest: 1-800-492-7378  Additional phone numbers for other brands are welcomed.

Those little candy hearts with “I LUV U” and “BE MINE” on them have a special, super secret: they make great children’s paints! I like to try this with kids: Have them collect their candy hearts, especially the purple ones. Grind them up, combine equal parts water and powdered candy, and stir. Get out a model-sized paintbrush and white paper and have the children write their names in food paint. It works all too well.  Then ask the kids what it does to their stomachs. Listen carefully to their answers and insights.

But there’s more!  When I taught junior high, I wondered where the girls’ rather weird colored hairdos came from. The girls 'fessed up: they dyed their hair with Kool Aid.

Not a new idea, it turns out.  In The Wizard of Oz movie, the animals used to portray the “Horse of a Different Color” were colored, from fetlock to mane, with a mixture of Jell-O powder.

In summation, I concede that artificial colors are great for dying horses’ hair and painting pictures. But I am not convinced that we should voluntarily EAT paint.  So read every label and vote with your dollars. Then send the only message that carries any weight in the food industry: DO NOT PURCHASE ANY FOOD THAT CONTAINS AN ARTIFICIAL FOOD COLOR.

Okay, nobody is likely to consider a frozen pepperoni pizza to be a health food, but even junk food eaters deserve simple honesty in packaging, just as cigarette smokers deserve an ingredients list on a pack of smokes. That would make a pretty big pack, as there are hundreds of chemical goodies in processed tobacco, but back to microwave pizza: Good ol’ Madison Avenue portrays a nice, smiling gray-haired “Mama Celeste” on the front of the box.  I rather doubt if that’s the CEO of the company. Maybe she is a model, but it is just a corporate image and truth is not important. But this is: Also “modeling” on the pizza box’s back cover is a beautiful full-color shot of “Mama” Celeste’s “quality” ingredients, “bursting with flavor” and “authentic Italian taste and quality,” including “delicious cheese.” Only problem is, the fine print on the side of the box very quietly tells us that the number two ingredient in the pizza’s topping is “cheese substitute.” You have to read very carefully to find this statement, and even then, many folks do not realize that ingredients are listed by weight, largest to smallest.  So the second ingredient is a huge one. Far, far down the ingredients list, there is an entry for mozzarella cheese, which is a minor ingredient only. And in the photograph? Not a single shot of the chemical formula for cheese substitute . . .  but a nice glossy color picture of a nice big wedge of real cheese, tucked amongst peppers, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes.

Mama won’t come to a toll-free phone, evidently, but you can write “her” at Mama Celeste Consumer Affairs, 1000 St. Louis Union Station, St. Louis, MO 63103.  

And while you are at it, you might want to read up on each of the no fewer than SEVEN artificial preservatives in this “Pizza for One (TM).” 

Pizza for One? How about “Chemistry 101”?

Hens by the thousands raised in such claustrophobic, crowded cages that the birds will literally peck each other to death. To reduce prison-yard aggression in chickens, red tinted contact lenses are now marketed for poultry workers to slip into the birdy’s eyes.  It takes a trained operator just a few seconds per bird, the manufacturer claims.  I do believe I have my nomination for the World’s Worst Job. 

There is so much colon bacterial contamination in chicken meat that there is now a product to close off the bowels of dead chickens.  It is called “Rec-Tite,” and it is essentially super glue for chicken anuses. And I am NOT making this up. 

Bon appetite! 

You expect candy to be full of junk, and colored candy especially so. And you are right. But I do believe we have the all-time winner in FROOPS POPS for the “food” with the most artificial colors ever: NINE. They are: Red 3, Red 40, Red 40 Lake, Blue 1, Blue 1 Lake, Blue 2, Yellow 5, Yellow 5 Lake, and Yellow 6. What’s really neat is that the candy so colored only has one actual color to look at: red.  For it is a peppermint lollypop! 

Let’s all write to the American Candy Company (makers of FROOPS POPS) and tell them how much we admire their work: American Candy Company, Selma, Alabama 36701 

The Doctor Yourself Award for STEALTH FOOD Manufacturer of the Decade goes to GENERAL MILLS, INC.

Good olCHEERIOS.  I ate them when I was a kid, and you did too, I’ll bet.  Today, regular Cheerios are even better, as they are lower in sugar than in the old days.  Of course they contain a lot more salt, but pobody’s nerfect. And the other flavors of "Cheerios" (so-called “Honey” Nut, and “Apple” Cinnamon) have lots of sugar.  And precious little honey or apple.  But FLEA POWDER CHEERIOS are the flavor you probably have not heard about . . . even though you may have already tasted them back in 1994.

Yes, FLEA POWDER.  The chemical chloro-pyrifos-ethyl (which also kills ticks and termites) was sprayed on oats used to make no less than 16 different General Mills, Inc. cereals.  Not 16 boxes, but 16 varieties, amounting to 160 MILLION BOXES, including TRIX, BOOBERRY and LUCKY CHARMS (“Ooh, now look at what they ‘ave in wit’ me Lucky Charms: pink dead fleas, yellow dead ticks, and blue dead termites!”) 

Of course there are precious few insects in General Mills’ cereals, because they check for them.  But in 1994 General Mills (with annual sales of about 9 BILLION dollars) did NOT check for pesticide residues. L. Robert Lake, director of policy and planning in the Food Safety division of the FDA) said, “One of the things bothering us about the General Mills incident is it went on for an extended period of time, and they didn’t know. It means they didn’t have a good system for checking oats.” (The Washington Post, August 21, 1994)

The Post continues, “By the time the company found out about the illegal spraying, 110 million boxes were on the shelves in grocery stores and consumers’ homes.” “People had already fed it to their children,” said FDA’s Mr. Lake.

So what happened next? A massive product recall? A series of Saturday morning cartoon-time TV announcements to not buy, and not eat "Cheerios" that you already bought?  No such luck.  “We didn’t want to raise an alarm for no good reason and scare people, but we didn’t want to fail to warn them either.” said Dr. Lynn Goodman, assistant administrator for pesticides and toxic substances at the Environmental Protection Agency. Well, certainly no one was alarmed, for there was no recall at all. The Post continues, “The two government agencies decided not to press the company to recall the cereal. ‘We were concerned that a recall would have been very disturbing to parents . . . We did not want to cause a public panic.’” 

Well, THAT certainly makes me feel better!

General Mills now checks for pesticides. Good.  But who checks General Mills?  If a company can sell 110 million boxes of contaminated cereal, and nothing at all happens, what does this say about our government’s real interest in food safety?

(The full text Washington Post article, expertly written by Sharon Walsh, appeared August 21, 1994. Your public librarian can get you a photocopy through interlibrary loan.) 

Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )

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Andrew W. Saul


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