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The Latest Insanity On Metals Contamination In Food

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It’s fair enough to ponder the metal content of food. A cake containing a metal file is an humourous commentary on prison escapes, not something we desire upon the dinner table. It’s even sensible to think about the heavy metals contents of certain foods, Victorian times did see people using arsenic salts as decorations for candy.

It’s also possible to be near insane about these things. For example:

A new report reveals that the baby foods sold by a number of major manufacturers may be contaminated with poisonous heavy metals — and President Donald Trump’s administration, despite knowing about it, did nothing.

The argument is that the Obama admin was shuffling towards some standards here, Trump didn’t advance them, therefore Trump is poisoning babies and Orange Man Bad!

No, really, that is the argument.

This coming from the House of Representatives:

These results are multiples higher than allowed under existing regulations for other
products. For example, the Food and Drug Administration has set the maximum
allowable levels in bottled water at 10 ppb inorganic arsenic, 5 ppb lead, and 5 ppb
cadmium, and the Environmental Protection Agency has capped the allowable level of
mercury in drinking water at 2 ppb.

Well, yes, except the allowable limits in food are going to be different for two separate reasons. The first is, as the FDA itself points out:

As a naturally occurring element, it is not possible to remove arsenic entirely from the environment or food supply. The FDA, therefore, seeks to limit consumer exposure to arsenic to the greatest extent feasible.

Soil contains As, plants take up As while growing, therefore there will be As in food. Sure, we need to think about how much but some will always be there. In a manner that isn’t true – necessarily, or at lower levels – in water.

And that is considered too:

The FDA issued guidance to industry to not exceed inorganic arsenic levels of 100 ppb in infant rice cereal.

We all consume more water than we do rice cereal – rice being a crop notably subject to As absorption from the environment.

Or lead:

The FDA has issued recommended guidelines to industry on specific foods and drinks more likely to be consumed by small children, including limiting lead in candy to a maximum level of 0.1 ppm and in juice to 50 ppb.

So, we do have limits on hte heavy metals contents of certain foods. And they’re different from those concerning water because science.

At which point the HoR goes off on one about how food doesn’t meet water standards.

Err, yes. How much more of this do we need before we yearn for a do-over on that sedition and insurrection thing?

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3 COMMENTS

  1. They must be bored pointing out that it’s radioactive, so they’ve decided to fuss about heavy metals.

    I suspect that food that had no heavy metals or radioactivity in it would kill babies, or adults, in short order.

  2. It’s Bill Clinton and GW Bush all over again. Just before he left office Clinton lowered the allowable As levels (not sure if food or water) to some ridiculously low level that could barely be measured, let alone actually met in reality without enormous cost, if at all. GW Bush when he took office put the levels back to what they were before Clinton monkeyed around with them, and what they had been for years. And the media went nuts – that Evil Bushitler was killing babies.

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