Believe it or not, the fear of food is quite common. It even has a name: Cibophobia. Those who suffer from the phobia have an aversion to certain types of food, and in some cases have difficulty swallowing. While many of us won’t claim to suffer from the problem, we may already have some of the symptoms. Why? Because we can no longer be sure what is or isn’t safe to eat!
Think about it. How many times have you heard that certain types of food are bad for you one moment, and then discovered they are perfectly healthy the next? One day you discover chocolate is the root of all evil, and the next that it could save your life (we are exaggerating on both points). But you know what we mean. After hearing the latest news story, you may think twice before adding something to your shopping basket, those ‘what if’ questions in your mind. It can be confusing!
We can be fearful of perishable foods. Milk, eggs, mayonnaise… a slight whiff of something wrong, and we can throw them in the bin. This is for a good reason sometimes – we shouldn’t take too many risks – but let’s face it, we can also become a little too paranoid.
Then there are the nightmare stories we hear in the media; those takeaways and restaurants that have been found guilty of shunning health and safety regulations. We may have used some of these places ourselves. There are stories like this one; when a trusted sandwich chain has failed to label ingredients properly, causing fatalities because of food allergies. And then there is the infamous horsemeat scandal. Can we trust our supermarkets now?
So, we ask the question again: Are we developing a fear of food?
Chances are, you probably aren’t; well, you weren’t until you stumbled upon this article. But if you have had doubts about the food you buy, and if you have paid attention to the news, then you may not be as trusting as you once were.
But here’s the thing. If you are struggling to know what to eat and what not to eat, there are a few things you should know which may put your mind at ease.
For starters, know that food manufacturers have a legal obligation to safeguard food standards. Foods and beverages are tested in labs using various laboratory sampling supplies to ensure the products we find in the supermarket are fit for purchase. While there has been the occasional misstep in the manufacturing process, these instances are quite rare.
The Food Standards Agency now provides a ratings scheme so you can make wiser choices when choosing where to buy food.
We can educate ourselves on the foods we eat, and this is by looking at the ingredients on the packaging. We can also get to know the truth about expiration dates, so we aren’t tempted to throw perfectly good food away. And we can research the food places we tend to use; using reviews by consumers on Yelp, as well as the information given to us by agency watchdogs.
So, despite any fears you may have had, there is hope!
We will never stop eating; we would be foolish to try. But if you have become fearful of food, you can’t be blamed. Still, you can do your own research, without believing everything the media tries to force down your throat. You can choose to buy from trusted sources instead of taking risks with your purchases. If you are struggling with more obsessive fears, you can go and see your doctor to get the help you need. And you can use common sense; only buying foods you know are good for you. Fearful of food? You may be, but you can make sensible choices going forward.