by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Chemicals

Feb 14 2019

Some hopeful news on the chemicals-in-food front

Three items for a happy Valentine’s day

I.  Food animal producers are using fewer antibiotics

According to a report from the FDA, U.S. sales of antibiotic drugs decreased:

  • By 33% from 2016 through 2017.
  • By 43% from 2015 (the year of peak sales) through 2017.
  • By 28% from 2009 (the first year of reported sales) through 2017.

Of antibiotic drugs sold, these estimated percentages were intended for use in these animals

  • 42% for cattle
  • 36% for pigs
  • 12% for turkeys
  • 5% for chickens
  • 5% for other species or unknown

These percentages of these antibiotic drugs were intended for use in cattle

  • 80% of cephalosporins
  • 72% of sulfas
  • 48% of aminoglycocides
  • 44% of tetracyclines

These were intended for use in swine

  • 84% of lincosamides
  • 40% of macrolides

These were intended for use in turkey

61% of penicillins

II.  The Farm Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts have produced this framework for judicious use of antibiotics.

III.  USDA tests for pesticide residues mostly find low levels

USDA has issued its annual summary report on the results of its pesticide sampling of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables.

The good news: Half the samples tested had no detectable residues.

But try and get your head around this:

Three samples of kale (2 from California and 1 imported from Mexico) contained residues of 17 pesticides.

Excuse me, but 17 different pesticides to grow kale?

OK, “none of the residues found on the kale samples exceeded the established tolerances,” but still.

Could be worse, but could be a lot better.

Organics, anyone?

Jan 29 2019

My latest honor: “Crankster!”

I don’t usually pay attention to what the American Council for Science and Health (ACSH) says or does, mainly because it is a long-standing front group for the food and chemical industries, and it predictably supports the interests of those industries over public health (see US Right to Know’s analysis).

But then I read this from the Center on Media and Democracy: Corporate Front Group, American Council on Science and Health, Smears List of Its Enemies as “Deniers for Hire.”

Smeared by the site are scientists Tyrone Hayes, Stephanie Seneff, and Gilles-Éric Séralini; New York Times reporter Danny Hakim and columnist Mark Bittman; well-known food and science writer Michael Pollan; nutrition and food studies professor Marion Nestle; public interest groups like U.S. Right to Know, Greenpeace, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sierra Club, the Environmental Working Group, and Union of Concerned Scientists; past and present CMD staff, and many other individuals ACSH does not like.

Clearly, I’m in good company.  But what, exactly, have I—a “Crankster,” apparently—done to deserve this honor?  It seems that I:

What can I say?  Read my work and decide for yourself if such concerns are justified.