Toxic chemical compounds called dioxins have been the subject of concern in two media stories recently. In one instance, residents of Saginaw, Michigan are battling Dow Chemical Company over dioxin pollution that began in the 1980s. The issue was brought to light in 2002 when environmental regulators in Michigan reported on the effects of dioxin contamination on the soil along the river. Over 40 residents have brought charges against the chemical giant. Since the lawsuit began nearly fifteen years ago, Dow has removed portions of sediment deemed contaminated and pledged to reduce contamination in the future. Continue Reading
How much do you know about dioxins? Dioxins are toxic compounds that persist in the environment all around us. They exist in the air, the soil, rivers, lakes and even in the human food supply. They differ from other food contaminants in their unique chemical structure, which allows them to remain very resistant to breakdown. Throughout the past couple of decades, researchers have only begun to scratch the surface in gaining a thorough understanding of these molecules and their impact on the health of our society. Continue Reading
The mid- 2000s saw the rise of ractopamine as a prominent growth promoting agent for the meat industry. Suppliers in this industry are probably familiar with ractopamine, but manufacturers using meat in their products may not know much about its use and effects. We’ve pulled together the top 3 facts to know about ractopamine: Continue Reading
Most people are aware of typical environmental contaminants that are produced as a result of modern human activity, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter. Residents of larger cities may even be familiar with the visible smog that can engulf a skyline as a result of these air pollutants.
Aside from the common ones, other toxic contaminants exist in the environment that may be lesser-known by the general population, but can be just as harmful to humans. The word, “dioxins” refers to a group of compounds that includes dioxins, furans, and certain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These structurally similar compounds are produced inadvertently as a result of large scale combustion activities such as incineration, thermal metal processes, and car exhaust. PCBs were actually intentionally produced during the mid twentieth century to be used in transformer oil, coolant fluids, carbonless copy paper, and plasticizers, until their manufacture was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1979. Continue Reading
Though it probably takes a back seat to taste, color is an important factor when consuming food. Society has assigned what we consider the “ideal color” for various food items. For example, consider the produce section in the grocery store, where you may find yourself attracted to particular items with the most desirable color. Those colors are desirable because you equate them to a fresher, more ripe, or higher quality product. You grab the bright yellow bananas and leave the green ones behind (unless you’re willing to wait for the green ones to ripen at home). Continue Reading
Late in 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a recall of cumin samples for undeclared allergens. Adventitious presence of allergens is common, and the agency has conducted frequent recalls in this category. The number of allergen-related recalls that year was 34%, surpassing recalls of products caused by microbiological issues (30%).
This small-scale recall soon snowballed into a widespread series of allergy-related recalls since the 2006 passage of the U.S. Food Allergen Labelling and Consumer Protection Act. A single Pennsylvania company recalled more than 35,000 pounds of its chili products; another company recalled more than 500 of its spice products from shelves nationwide.  Continue Reading