Got Chemicals?

Zane - Las Vegas, New Mexico
Entered on April 30, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

When you walk down the frozen food aisles of your local grocer or supermarket, you see all of the neatly packaged food in boxes with photos of appetizing and fresh looking food on the front. If you buy these foods, you know that the food inside of the box is hardly like the food in the pictures. But the taste is only half of the problem. If a normal person observes the ingredient label on most standard frozen meals, it takes them awhile to even find an ingredient that they can recognize. This is what I realized, after eating a frozen packaged meal, when I looked at the ingredients. I was amused to find that a good portion of the ingredients listed were things that I either had never heard of or had utterly no clue at all what they were. Of course there are your standard bad rapped (not to say that they aren’t bad) items, like MSG and high fructose corn syrup, but there are also complicated ingredients that the majority of people never could recognize. Things like sodium benzoate and Acesulfame-K (both ingredients I have found in frozen meals) just don’t ring a bell in most people, but the truth is that these ingredients and many others are potentially harmful to ones health. This is what inspired me to stop eating frozen meals (not that I ate them much to begin with), and start spreading the word.

Many people have agreed with me, and most people I’ve talked to fall into one of these two categories: They either eat a lot of frozen meals or none at all. One person I asked said “they (frozen meals) taste awful, but they’re easy to cook. That’s why people buy them.” The most practical solution for this is to either pull the frozen food off the shelves completely, or to make organic and healthier versions of the food that some people already buy. Perhaps companies could just stop putting the nasty preservatives and other chemicals in their food. There are also alternatives, like organic frozen meals, but they cost a lot more and may be more difficult to find. Usually, the people who buy frozen meals don’t want to take the time or money to buy the organic variety. For those who only purchase that kind of food for a quick super bowl snack or something, like my family, I encourage you to buy the organic kind of frozen food. If you have more time, you could just make it yourself! I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to obtain convenient food that is not harmful to their health.