See that bright red hamburger meat in the grocery store? It’s bright red because a food processor added carbon monoxide to the package. Most European governments do not allow carbon monoxide in packages that contain beef products. They warn that the gas keeps the beef looking bright red even if the beef has started to decay. This bright red color is attractive, but it’s a cheap trick that allows the processor to sell possibly spoiled beef.
In the US, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture say not to worry, the gas is completely safe.
“They might change their mind,” said activist Maureen Downey, “when a lot of people get sick, and it’s all over TV and radio news. These two agencies bend over backward for food companies. Guess what? Processors now want to use gray water in canned soups. Look out, America—your favorite chicken soup will soon be 50 percent gray water.”
Conan Nolan, head of FDA, said, “Ms. Downey has a vivid imagination. Our primary concern is the health and safety of American consumers. Gray water is simply 'used' household water. It does not include toilet water. We would never allow 50 percent gray water in canned soups—that amount might make people sick. The amount we allow will probably not exceed two or three percent. People have to realize that water is getting more valuable every decade, as the world’s population increases and the amount of fresh water decreases. Just as people’s digestive systems get used to contaminated water in developing countries, Americans will get used to gray water in their canned soups and other products. Look, no processed food is 100 percent sterile. Consider how much rat feces we allow in processed food today. I’ve yet to hear of one American dying from eating too much rat feces, so a little gray water shouldn't be a problem either.”