Tag Archives: meat

How much Aflatoxin can our beef and poultry handle in these stormy times? Senator weighs in.

1 Dec

The laws of supply and demand dictate that scarcity drives prices up. Corn and other feed grains are moldier than usual due to unusually stormy weather, making quality corn more scarce on the market, thereby driving corn prices up. The price of corn is also rising because of the increasing demand for corn ethanol fuel, a renewable, cleaner burning gasoline additive,., and because of a severe recent drought in the US midwest. Meat animals no longer bring in enough money to pay for their traditional, corn-based feed, so farmers and ranchers are reportedly sacrificing their herds to make ends meet.
Senator Roberts has a solution to this problem. Why not ease up on the regulations about feed grain quality? Why not  feed livestock a mix of moldy grain and quality grain, a mix that is designed to reach, but not exceed, the Food and Drug Administration’s maximum Aflatoxin concentration? After all, we have plenty of moldy grain this year, and plenty of hungry livestock. He understands that dairy cows should be given less aflatoxin than other types of livestock, and this should be considered when giving out aflatoxin waivers. More feed means lower feed prices and possibly more ranchers able to stay in business this year.

What are the risks to poultry, beef cattle, dairy cattle and consumers of overexposure to Aflatoxin? For poultry, aflatoxin reduces weight gain. For dairy cattle, aflatoxin has minimal effects on the cows but goes directly into the milk supply, putting human consumers at risk.

http://youtu.be/JcEM4kbJKGk

How much is too much aflatoxin in feed grain, according to the FDA? No harm comes to animals consuming 20 parts per billion of aflatoxin, but it is legal to use feed with up to 300 parts per billion of aflatoxin. The difference is due to the fact that resulting meat or poultry meets FDA standards for aflatoxin levels in consumer products. The compliance policy guidelines can be found here.

What about other types of fungal toxins? Why did Senator Roberts not mention Fumonisin, a more potent fungal toxin on corn and other feed grains? The FDA compliance policy guidelines on food and feed levels for this toxin are available here.

Since more aflatoxin-contaminated feed  will be on the market instead of being tilled under, will this result in increased risks of direct human consumption?

If Senator Roberts’ idea is adopted, for how long will the mixed grain waivers be available?  What if this decision were made permanent? Would long-term low-level exposure to these fungal toxins decrease our animal product yield and increase our long-term exposure to these dangerous fungal toxins?

You can email Senator Roberts, or write your own senator, if you have an opinion about his proposed solution to this critical feed shortage.

 

Stanford study about organic vs. conventional produce is taken out of context

13 Sep

A recent study by Stanford scientist C. S. Spangler et al. compiled the results of 20 previous comparisons of the nutritional and pesticide contents of organic vs conventional produce, milk and meat has been taken out of context by many. Here, for a limited time, please get  your free copy of the study and decide for yourself. Figure 2 shows unequivocally that organic produce contains less pesticide residue. For those of you who buy organic produce thinking that it contains more nutrients, this study might motivate you to buy conventional produce instead. However, for people who are concerned with pesticide residues, this study actually offers some evidence for buying organic produce. Restricted access to the article gives those of us with access the power to decide what  opinions you can have without ever seeing the data. In protest, I am posting this restricted access article for a short time so you can get the real scoop from the source. Please share  your impressions and conclusions from the data!

smith-spangler2012AreOrganicfoodssaferorhealthier

Related content

http://www.google.com/url?q=http://med.stanford.edu/ism/2012/september/organic.html&sa=U&ei=eztSUKfiI-qrigLI5YGwCg&ved=0CCMQFjAF&usg=AFQjCNHApmrPw6NYBLxbBCUfltZVtJfmnQ

http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/13/stanford-organics-study-public-health_n_1880441.html&sa=U&ei=eztSUKfiI-qrigLI5YGwCg&ved=0CB4QFjAD&usg=AFQjCNEof6ZGje_isR19I0fpnUoRIflrgQ

http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-stanford-organic-food-study-controversy-20120911,0,173210.story&sa=U&ei=eztSUKfiI-qrigLI5YGwCg&ved=0CCoQFjAG&usg=AFQjCNGKWhMxk7284Qhr9Te1wFWwHVO30Q