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May 1978

How Safe Is Our Food Supply?

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Medical Physics, University of California, Berkeley.

Arch Intern Med. 1978;138(5):772-774. doi:10.1001/archinte.1978.03630290066021

To judge from the fuss being made by "consumerists" in books, magazines, newspapers, and on the radio and television, we are in tremendous danger from our food supply. We are told that some of the substances added to foods or present as contaminants may give us cancer. Prominent in the list are nitrosamines, saccharin, food colorings, and diethylstilbestrol (DES). If we escape these dreadful intruders, we are warned that saturated fatty acids in our foods can cause cancer of the large bowel, and we are advised to devour large amounts of wheat bran to stave off this fate.

However, after eating three meals a day for a good many years, my own opinion is that food is one of the safest things that I encounter in my everyday life. Our food supply in the United States is in its golden age of safety, adequacy, variety, and abundance. It has reached

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