I write in response to the article, “Food, drink industries undermine health policy”, which was published in The Jakarta Post on Feb. 13.
Food and education are two basic needs of a nation; they are of paramount importance because one feeds the body and the other feeds the mind.
If the minds and bodies of people are healthy then the country can surely move forward with its head held high.
Food adulteration can be defined as a process in which a manufacturer adds or removes something from a food product, making it more unhealthy.
Intentional adulteration is a crime because it gradually makes healthy individuals ill, sometimes seriously so.
Complex diseases like cancer, liver failure, kidney failure and blood disorders are all the results of adulterated foods. It is sad that business interests overshadow everything else and food manufacturers don’t hesitate to put people’s lives at risk.
Here, I would like to quote a Chinese proverb that says: “There is no greater calamity than being consumed by greed.”
Tougher laws against such criminal behavior are the only way to save people and build a healthy nation because we are what we eat.
As adulteration in building materials can cause huge structures to collapse, adulterated foods can weaken a nation by weakening an entire generation.
Adulteration is a punishable act and stern action should be taken against the perpetrators.
It is said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away but this is true only if merchants keep lead arsenate away from the apples. Lead arsenate causes paralysis and even death in some cases. Apples are generously sprayed with this killer chemical.
I know many people who are vegetarians, but I would like to tell them that they are living in a fool’s paradise because researchers have proved that ghee (clarified butter), which is a must in every diet, is prepared using the bones of cows, donkeys, monkeys, horses and pigs.
Grains are smartly adulterated with colored stones to brighten the lives of consumers.
The morning cup of tea can pose a big threat to our lives if it is adulterated with artificially colored sawdust, which is a common cause of cancer.
The same is true with milk. Milk is sold as a healthy drink, but that is a white lie because it is prepared with dangerous substances like urea, soap and detergent.
Awareness must be raised among the masses regarding adulteration and other food-related information because expired food products are often kept on shop shelves and people in ignorance end up eating them.
Adulteration doesn’t occur once in a blue moon; rather it is part and parcel of our everyday life. Therefore, the government should adopt a zero-tolerance policy with regard to this intentional crime.
Purwakarta, West Java