World’s Largest Producer of Toxic Chemicals, MNI, Continues to Contaminate the Entire Food Supply

There are some serious toxins in these peppers[social_buttons]

There are measurable levels of MNI’s toxic chemicals in every type of food that has been tested. Most are completely unregulated. There is no requirement that food be labeled to let consumers know that the chemicals are present. You can’t even avoid these chemicals by buying Organic. In fact, Organic produce often has even higher levels of some of the chemicals. You can’t wash them off because they are inside the food. There are very few studies on the long-term effects of ingesting these chemicals and none have ever been funded my MNI itself.  Only publicly funded studies have shed some light on the toxic nature of these chemicals.

This chemical production giant is not a public company so it does nothing to make its activities transparent. MNI has never been successfully challenged in court and isn’t subject to the jurisdiction of any government.

What is MNI?

It is “Mother Nature, International”. Yes, “Mother Nature” is actually far and away the largest producer of toxic substances found in our food. Some are seriously dangerous like the mycotoxins I’ve written about before. In plants, most are just moderately toxic “intermediary metabolites” that are made to ward off pests. If I had you worried with the first two paragraphs, I apologize, but I used the style of emotive language I read on many web sites to point out how easy it is to alarm people about “chemicals.” Our educational system has done a poor job of equipping people to understand risk in general and particularly risk associated with chemicals. The old saying, “the dose makes the poison” is quite accurate.

Virtually everything is toxic at some dose. We really do eat “toxic” chemicals every day. There are two reasons this is not a problem: first the doses we get tend to be small, and second our digestive system is built to deal with a certain degree of toxic load. The cells in our intestinal lining only live a few days so that they are not prone to chronic exposure problems.

Some Examples

Relative toxicity chart

I made a graph (above) to make a few points about toxicity.  There are many different kinds of toxicity (acute, chronic, teratogenic, toxicity to fish, bees…), but the issues can be demonstrated using one type.  I’m going to talk about acute, oral toxicity which is measured by seeing what rate of a chemical fed to mice or rats will kill 1/2 of a population (the “Oral ALD50”).  It ends up being sort of counter-intuitive in that high values mean something is non-toxic and low values mean it is toxic.  Notice that common table salt has an ALD50 of 3000 mg/kg.  For me, that would mean eating about a third of a standard 26 oz salt container at once.  If the value is 5000 the chemical is essentially non-toxic. I’ve shaded all the “synthetic” chemicals in this list gray and you can see that many modern pesticides fall into that very low toxicity category as do some of the “natural” pesticides that are allowed to be sprayed on Organic crops (shaded green).  Note the one called Spinosad which has this very low toxicity.  It is also extremely widely used in non-Organic agriculture as well because it is quite effective against caterpillars and leaf miners.

MNI Toxins in Blue

Notice that the examples in blue.  These are the somewhat more toxic things to fit what I described as coming from MNI.  Take for instance caffeine.  I’ve seen one calculation that says it would take 94 cups of coffee to give you the ALD of that toxin, so at 2-3 cups a day I’m pretty safe.  I’m guessing that there is enough capsaicin in the all peppers in the picture at the beginning of this blog to kill something large!

What Most People Believe About Pesticides That Isn’t Accurate

When most people hear the word, “pesticide” they are thinking of something like the 60+ year-old insecticide Guthion (Azinphos-methyl) that you see down at the bottom of the graph.   The EPA only allows a few, very restrictive uses of that chemical today and plans to phase it out entirely very soon.  Many of the pesticides that really get used are amazingly non-toxic to mammals and quite safe in other dimensions as well.  That’s why when you hear someone talking about how many pounds of chemicals are used, it really does not give you any information unless you know which ones they are talking about.

What Most People Believe About Organic That Isn’t Accurate

If people know that Organic crops are sprayed with pesticides they usually assume they are non-toxic because they are “natural.”   As you can see from the graph, things like the copper fungicide, Kocide, and the fungicide, Lime Sulfur are kind of on the toxic side.  They also are used at very high rates compared to the new synthetic options.  Still, the risks they represent are small enough that the EPA allows their use.

The EPA

It may not be fashionable to say so, but I believe that the EPA does a very good job of regulating toxic materials.  They conduct an elaborate, multi-dimensional risk assessment before deciding to approve the use of a chemical.  Even within that approval they can limit the crops, rates, timing (e.g. relative to harvest) and location (e.g. not near water…) of each chemical.  The data for this analysis costs millions of dollars to generate and the applicant has to pay for that.  Most of the actual work is done in specialized contract labs that are audited by the EPA.  They can’t afford to “cook” the data because if they were ever caught it would be the end of their business.  There are also lots of independent toxicologists in Universities that help keep the process honest.

You Will Eat Toxins No Matter What

I suspect I’ll hear some objections to this post, but the simple fact is that if you eat, you will eat toxins. The vast majority of them will be the one’s from MNI because there are no regulations about them or any practical way to avoid them.  There are a few foods that actually require a little care in this regard and there is a great site out of New Zealand that describes what to watch out for (red beans, parsnips, potatoes…).  It mostly comes down to steps like cooking (sorry Raw Food enthusiasts) or avoiding something like a potato that has turned green (why we keep them in the dark).  Mostly, I just don’t worry about things and I enjoy a varied and tasty diet, also thanks to MNI.

Pepper display image from the last Produce Marketing Association meeting, Photo by Steve Savage

Graph by Steve Savage

You are welcome to comment on this post or email me directly at feedback.sdsavage@gmail.com


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About the Author

Born in Denver, now living near San Diego. Agricultural scientist for 30+ years with a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology. Have worked for Colorado State University, DuPont and Mycogen and for the last 13 years consulting for all sorts or companies, universities and grower groups. Experience in biological control, natural products, synthetic chemicals, genetics, GMOs and agronomic practices. Have given multiple invited talks on the interaction between agriculture and climate change (both ways)
  • A diabetic diet guide on how to manage different type of diabetes http://bit.ly/bVLHIi

  • Vicky

    So you do not buy organic foods (especially the ‘dirty dozen’) because you don’t worry about pesticides)? Just wondering if I’m spending (and worrying) too much on organic fruits and vegetables.

  • Vicky,
    I just took another look at Environmental Working Group’s description of their “dirty dozen” rating and as I remembered there is no information about which pesticide residues they are talking about or what the levels were. Considering that pesticides differ in toxicity by a factor of several hundred and that they can be detected at levels far below the maximum residue allowed by EPA (specific to each chemical) I find their guide to be meaningless. No, my family doesn’t ever intentionally buy Organic and we’ve been eating lots of fruits and vegetables for decades. Peaches and Nectarines are high on EWG’s list and it may be because of fludioxanil used as a post-harvest treatment. This is why they don’t rot which they always used to do. That chemical is on my graph and it is one that is extremely non-toxic. Using all the land, water, labor and energy to grow a crop and then having half of it rot at the consumer’s house isn’t desirable so I would prefer a tiny dose of a very safe fungicide.

  • Evz

    Good article, Steve; there are definitely toxins in nature, and ‘the dose makes the poison’ is certainly fair comment. I think there tend to be more problems with man-made fertilizers and pesticides, though, than those that have been so intensively tested in MNI’s R&D department, for oh-so-many years. ;-)

    Part of the problem, historically, has been irresponsible management of chemical technology, and a lack of accountability for those corporations developing it. So many times, we’ve been told ‘this is perfectly safe, it’s been extensively tested!’… and then it caused disaster (dioxin, DDT, agent orange, & their kin). I’m certainly not saying all man-made pesticides are as yucky as those things… just that there’s a history here that lends itself to consumer skepticism! ‘Profitable’ doesn’t equal ‘a good idea,’ if it yucks up everything down the road… and there’s been a real lack of accountability in that department, imo.

    Then there’s the issue of runoff into groundwater; even if the ‘dirty dozen’ nonorganic produce doesn’t have enough ‘safe’ pesticides to be toxic to humans if eaten, there’s still the issue of where the REST of that pesticide ends up… and what effects it has on living things (fish, frogs, aquatic plants, etc.) downstream, who (unlike with MNI products!) haven’t had eons to adapt to that particular chemistry.

    There’s also a cumulative nutrient-stripping effect on the soil, when extensive monocropping meets artificial fertilizer… and the effect on surrounding non-target species (non-crop-eating insects like bees, birds, nematodes, etc.) with artificial vs. organic fertilizer/ pesticide…

    I’m open to new ideas other than/ along with organic farming; I’m not saying that’s the only possible answer to everything, or that all man-made pesticides are the devil… but it seems like the MNI toxins generally do less damage to fewer creatures, compared to the stuff that we make!

    Enjoyable article, though — you always get me thinkin’… thanks!

  • Evz,
    Thanks for the feedback. I will try to email you a more complete response.

    “MNI’s research department” actually has no concern with human safety.
    I’ll agree with you that there have been severe historical mistakes of toxics, but we have learned from those mistakes. I have the perspective of three decades on these issues and we have come a very long ways.

    I agree on the “downstream” issues and that is why I’m an advocate of no-till farming and cover cropping.

    I’m glad you are open to something other than Organic farming because it actually has huge environmental issues (if it were ever done on a significant scale).

    As for whether the MNI toxins do less damage to creatures, MNI made the toxins with the full intention of doing damage to other creatures. The problem is that plants evolve slower than their pests (fewer generations/year) so the pests generally develop ways to get around the plant-generated toxins. The toxins are still there and sometimes we decide we like them as food or beverage components.

    Finally, thanks so much for the statement that I “always get me thinkin.” Your articulate and civil comments on the various GO blogs do the same.

    Steve

  • Evz

    I just had a post vanish upon submittal — if this is a double, please forgive!

    MNI made toxins to do damage to SPECIFIC creatures, not huge indiscriminate swaths of them… the capsaicin in habaneros, for example, only effects creatures trying to eat habaneros; it leaves bees, worms, nearby amphibians, and even pest animals that *don’t* happen to try to munch peppers unharmed. That’s VERY different than what man-made pesticides do!

    Pests evolve faster than plants; so reliance on pesticide isn’t the best answer! That problem cries out for land use rotation, rather than growing the same thing on the same land all the time (thus giving pests endless generations to evolve defenses against natural or synthetic toxins). Crop rotation/ intermittent pasturing is common in organic farming, but definitely NOT in conventional industrial agriculture.

    As to whether the EPA does a good job of managing potentially environmentally damaging practices (or whether we HAVE learned from our past mistakes)… hmmm… seems a bit hit-or-miss to me.

    http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jan2010/2010-01-04-093.asp

    http://engineers.ihs.com/news/2006/gao-epa-chemical.htm

    http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/national_world/stories/2010/01/31/wp_mountaintop_EPA_0129.ART_ART_01-31-10_A7_71GF5SQ.html?sid=101

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2010/01/environmental-group-says-it-plans-to-sue-epa-over-alleged-endangered-species-act-violations.html

    The EPA has gotten better at pesticide regulation since the ’70’s, definitely… but then, that bar was set awfully low!

  • Evz,
    The point of this post was about toxins in our food and I didn’t get into a discussion of environmental fate issues. That would also be a mixed bag of issues. I’ve already blogged about the kind of farming I’d like to see (see the “virtual farm tour” series), and in that system there would be virtually no off-site movement of pesticides.

    Yes crop rotation is a good idea but it alone is not enough to deal with pests. It is a lot more common in conventional farming than you imply, but yes, more common in Organic. That does not mean Organic has no pest problems. In fact Organic growers periodically lose their entire crop to pests.

    I didn’t say EPA was perfect, but I’d certainly rather live here than in the countries that don’t have a good regulatory process. I guess that my main point is that there is not a “no risk option.” Our increasing longevity and health (if you factor out smoking) suggests that we are doing pretty well. That doesn’t mean we don’t keep trying to improve things. Having closely observed the changes in farming and food over the last 32 years I see tremendous progress

  • Evz

    Sorry if I got off topic; just think a lot of people by organic based on other factors, not just toxins in the actual food (but what environmental effects are potentially caused by the food’s production).

    I read & enjoyed the ‘virtual farm tour’ series! There’s definitely some common ground between our points of view… that’s cool, I think!

  • Steve Jones

    What a great website, gives quite a rational view.

  • Of more than 80,000 chemicals used in the U.S. over the last few decades, only about 200 have been required to get tested for safety. And only one group of chemicals – PCBs – has ever been fully banned.

    The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), America’s main law governing chemical safety, requires the government prove chemicals are harmful instead of requiring manufacturers to prove they’re safe. As a result, virtually every American is exposed to hundreds of toxic chemicals every day.

    We recently had the opportunity to speak with two EDF scientists in this field: Richard Denison, EDF’s Senior Scientist specializing in policy, hazard and risk assessment and management for industrial chemicals and nanomaterials; and Caroline Baier-Anderson, EDF’s Health Scientist providing technical and scientific support on chemical regulatory policy, air toxics and nanotechnology.

    EDF: Toxics have been an issue for a long time. Why is it finally getting attention on a larger scale?

    Richard Denison: I think what’s brought it to the forefront now is a drumbeat of high-profile stories over the last few years that vividly illustrate the failing of government in ensuring the safety of chemicals. These include the widespread exposure to formaldehyde of people who were forced to live in trailers provided by FEMA after hurricane Katrina; the steady flow of imported toys and other products from China that are contaminated with lead or other heavy metals; contamination of pet food with a chemical that killed dogs and cats; and probably most recently and most visibly the inability of government to regulate a chemical — bisphenol A (or BPA) — that has been used extremely widely in food can linings, baby bottles, infant formula cans and many other products.

    Caroline Baier-Anderson: These products are governed by various laws and agencies; the regulatory patchwork is complicated, but the bottom line message is simple: Chemicals and consumer products made from them are not being properly regulated by our federal government. The Toxic Substances Control Act is in most dire need of an overhaul.

    Richard Denison

    Richard Denison

    RD: Part of the problem is that we have isolated different types of chemicals, or even the same chemical in different uses, across different agency jurisdictions. BPA, when it finds its way into a baby bottle or a food can, is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but that same chemical when it shows up in a cash register receipt could be regulated by EPA under TSCA. Nobody has been charged with looking at the big picture: all of the sources of exposure to a chemical. We think that EPA should have that authority under TSCA because it was envisioned as being an all-encompassing law that would help to fill the gaps in other laws and be able to consider the full life cycle of the chemical across all of its uses.

    CBA: As you can imagine, if you have a chemical that is being used in dozens of different products regulated by different agencies, it is incredibly difficult to pull all the information together in one place to make rational decisions about how a chemical should be used. I think under a reformed TSCA that’s exactly the kind of authority EPA needs.

    EDF: So what factors are driving the momentum for TSCA reform we see now?

    RD: In the absence of action by the Federal Government, many states in the US have either banned individual uses of certain chemicals or enacted their own policy changes in order to deal with chemicals within their own borders. That always brings industry to the table at a federal level because they don’t like individual states having different laws that they argue interfere with commerce.

    Much of the rest of the world is already ahead of us in dealing with this problem as well. The European Union recently enacted sweeping reform of its chemicals legislation, and that is changing the landscape because it is essentially becoming a set of global standards. Anyone who sells chemicals in Europe, which is just about every company that produces chemicals on the globe, has to comply with this new policy.

    And finally, and probably most important, the downstream users of chemicals—companies that buy chemicals and put them in their products or that buy or sell products that contain chemicals—are demanding more information and more evidence of safety. That customer demand is the major factor driving chemical producers, for the first time ever, to say it’s time for us to modernize and reform TSCA.

    CBA: Information about what products chemicals are being used in is not systematically collected, not by EPA, not by FDA, not by anybody, so it took a lot of years of digging and a lot of groundwork on the part of many different individuals representing non-profits and the press to explain the problems we’re now seeing. And the scientific understanding of chemical effects has advanced in recent years: We now recognize that some chemicals can have adverse impacts during early human development or at very low levels of exposure, and those findings have served to heighten the concern.

    RD: We now know that all of us carry hundreds of synthetic chemicals in our bodies; indeed, even newborn infants come into the world with hundreds of synthetic chemicals in their bodies because of exposure of their mothers before or during pregnancy. That is a huge wake-up call. For example, BPA is found in 93% of Americans’ bodies—a staggering revelation that has made everybody begin to wonder, is BPA safe? And if it’s in combination with hundreds of other chemicals in my body, what about the interactions and the synergies between those chemicals?

    CBA: No one would have predicted 20 years ago that we would be exposed to BPA like that. It’s really hard for a scientist, even an industry scientist, to stand up and say, “Oh, I’m sure it’s fine.” No one is going to believe that. No one is going to accept that. So, you have fetal exposures to hundreds of chemicals—there is something fundamentally wrong with a system that allows that to happen.

    RD: When TSCA was first passed over 30 years ago, it may have seemed logical to assume that we weren’t going to be exposed to these chemicals, or they wouldn’t be harmful to us if we were. But once we realized that we are all being exposed, it was surprising how little information we had about the safety of these chemicals. So that’s why we are calling for a shift in the burden of proof from the presumption that most chemicals are safe and puts the onus on government—and hence the public—to have to prove harm in order to act, to a new approach that requires companies to demonstrate the safety of their products as a condition for entering or staying on the market.

    EDF: You mentioned earlier that humans have hundreds of different chemicals in their bodies. Is this more of a problem in the U.S. right now, or internationally as well?

    Caroline Baier-Anderson

    Caroline Baier-Anderson

    CBA: We know that Europeans are similarly exposed, although we also know that where Europe has taken precautionary action on certain chemicals, there are measurable reductions in their body burden compared to what we have in the US. This is particularly true for chemicals like flame retardants, where the exposures are still very, very high in the US and they’re actually going down in parts of Europe because they phased these chemicals out well before we began to take action on them. Beyond the U.S. and Europe, since a lot of our hazardous materials and waste gets shipped overseas, that’s an open question and an important one.

    RD: Certain chemicals, especially those that are very persistent in the environment and tend to build up in the environment or people’s bodies, are being found far removed from the industrialized parts of the world. Some of the highest levels of brominated flame retardants found in any people have been found in native Alaskans, who subsist on a diet that consists of large amounts of fish and other food sources that accumulate chemicals. So, we know that these chemicals don’t stay put, they tend to migrate long distances, and populations that are not exposed to those chemicals industrially or even through product use are showing some of the highest levels. So we know we have a problem that is global in nature.

    EDF: You mentioned the FEMA trailers in New Orleans earlier, and how the materials used to build them was brought in by China. But it wouldn’t be legal to sell that wood in China, is that correct?

    RD: The Chinese producers of pressed wood products, including plywood, produce different grades of products for export to different countries. Because Europe and Japan, and now California, have stringent limits on formaldehyde in such products, they produce a line of products that can be sold into those markets. The rest of the U.S. has no such limit and that is how the high-formaldehyde plywood came into the U.S. and was used in making the FEMA trailers. China itself has imposed limits on the emission of formaldehyde from such products. So the products they are selling to the U.S. could not even be sold for domestic use in China.

    So, you have fetal exposures to hundreds of chemicals—there is something wrong in a system that allows that to happen.

    EDF: Is there anything the average person can do to avoid toxic chemicals?

    CBA: Yes, there are products like shampoo and dish soap and laundry detergent that market themselves as being made with safer chemical ingredients, and a variety of eco logos are on products that have been certified as being made with safer chemical ingredients. It becomes a little more challenging when we talk about the big-ticket items such as carpeting and furniture and mattresses and things like that—these are products that we live with for many years. Companies like IKEA, which is based in Sweden, have made an effort to remove many known chemicals of concern from their products. So safer products are out there, they are available, but they are hard to find and often it can be really confusing to the average consumer. Ultimately the solution is regulatory reform so that we have standards in place that protect all citizens.

    RD: Even the most informed and motivated individual consumers are limited in what they can do to protect themselves, in part because most products are not required to disclose their ingredients. Some companies have taken voluntary efforts to label their products. But what we really need is a more uniform system that requires companies to disclose which chemicals are in their products. Ultimately though, it should not be up to individual consumers to take steps to protect themselves. We need government to provide the policies and regulations needed to ensure that chemicals in products and in widespread use are safe.

    EDF: Tell us about what’s happening with the TSCA bill. Is there anything the average person can do to help put pressure on the government to reform this bill?

    RD: The US Congress is for the first time in many decades seriously considering new legislation that would reform the Toxic Substances Control Act. A bill was introduced in both Houses back in 2008, and that Bill is being updated and expanded considerably. We expect it could be introduced into the House of the Senate as soon as this month. We are hopeful that bill will signal the beginning of a legislative debate that will culminate in passage of legislation that reforms TSCA in a fundamental way.

    People need to get informed about what the issues and needs are for a good chemicals policy; and then weigh in with their legislators to let them know that they care about this issue, that they want strong and fundamental reform, and that they will vote accordingly and support Members of Congress that support strong reform. One source of information is the website of a broad coalition of health, environmental and labor groups that EDF is part of, called the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition: http://www.saferchemicals.org.

    CBA: And I want to make a pitch for the consumer to seek out products that are made with safer chemicals. Even though it is hard to do and it can be confusing, it sends an important message to retailers and to manufacturers that there is a consumer interest in products made with safer chemicals. Reducing your body burden even by a little bit can make a difference, but I think the most important reason to seek out products made with safer chemicals is the incentive it provides to retailers and manufacturers. Often representatives from companies I communicate with say that they are not seeing sufficient demand for safer products at the retail level. By letting them know that we do care, we can play an important role in pressing for change.

    EDF: EDF is known for taking a transformational approach to policy. What is the core transformational idea here?

    China itself has imposed limits on the emission of formaldehyde from such products. So the products they are selling to the U.S. could not be sold for domestic use in China.

    RD: The cornerstone of what we are seeking in chemical policy reform is to create the conditions that allow the market to function. I would argue that we have a very dysfunctional market right now, for two reasons. One, the vast majority of chemicals have little or no information about their safety; that means that the millions of decisions that get made every day about chemicals, by everyone from individual consumers all the way up to huge companies, are ill-informed and don’t adequately account for safety because the information isn’t there. If we have a policy that drives the development and propagation of that information, the market itself will be able to make much better decisions. Second, we also need a government that is able to differentiate between a safe chemical and an unsafe chemical and has the resources and authority needed to drive the market towards safer chemicals and safer products. That’s the kind of fundamental transformation that I think we need.

    EDF: Do you have a positive outlook on how this will end up?

    RD: We have new leadership in the Administration and at EPA that has acknowledged the priority that this issue needs; and that’s a significant departure from the past. With the executive branch acknowledging that time has come for change, that helps the legislative process to move along in a way that often doesn’t happen if those two branches of government are at odds with each other. So I think for the first time in many years, we have stars aligning in a way that makes it quite likely we’ll get the first fundamental reform of this law in more than three decades.

    Posted: 09-Feb-2010; Updated: 04-Feb-2010

  • You are a transparent apologist for Corporate Chemical Manufacturers and you will not publish my comments on your site – further proof that you are nothing but a biased, manipulative stunt-man, trying to discredit the science for those whose profit bottom-line depend on phonies like you.

    Contact me any time you feel up to it and I’ll take you on in an open, fair debate, public or private. You and others who seek to undo the work of honest scientists are why there is censorship of honest, truthful information and why the United States remains at the bottom of the list of developed nations that are addressing toxicity and public health (and the environment!). Your blog is a farce, more obviously self-serving than a Sarah Palin speech.

  • Colin,
    I do have a real job so I only check for new comments every hour or so, particularly when I don’t have any very recent posts. I’ll read your lengthy comment after I attend a play tonight. I’m perfectly willing to “talk”, but I would appreciate a little less hostility. My blogging is a completely independent effort on my part. Even so, this issue is not about me or about you. This post was simply an effort to give people some perspective about relative toxicity

    Steve

  • Colin,
    Your comment didn’t address any particular issue that I raised in the blog post. My point was that foods naturally contain toxins and many of them are far more toxic than things that people worry about because most people don’t realize that even pesticides can differ in toxicity by orders of magnitude and many are of extremely low mammalian toxicity.
    You say that “only about 200” chemicals have been required to get tested for safety. I wonder where you find such a statistic. Every chemical that is registered by the EPA as a pesticide goes through extensive safety testing which takes years and costs $50-100million. Many more than 200 pesticides have been tested that way and many retested over time as regulations shift. There is also a long list of chemical pesticides that has been banned. For instance, even the “Organic” insecticide rotenone was eventually banned.
    I will stick with discussing pesticides because that is the regulatory process with which I am most familiar. In that area, the manufacturer is definitely the one who has to prove safety.
    The interview with the EDF folks was interesting, but hardly relevant to a discussion of natural toxins. I find that most people have no idea that there are toxic chemicals in food that have nothing to do with human intervention. That is why I wrote the blog.
    Steve

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  • Bryan Luukinen

    RE: only about 200 chemicals have been tested by the EPA.

    On the contrary, there are currently approximately 1,000 pesticide active ingredients that have been reviewed by the EPA in the process that Steve described, and many many more chemicals have been reviewed by government regulatory offices. This number pales in comparison to the ~80,000 chemicals out there (or more) which are produced by industry. However, as far as pesticides go, they are actually more tightly regulated than any other class of industrial or natural chemicals (thyme oil and oil of wintergreen are pesticide active ingredients from MNI). If you look at the pharmaceutical industry or the chemical industry (paints, solvents, fuel, etc.), pesticides are very well regulated. Disinformation and fear often cloud the view of people who are “anti-chemical” or “anti-pesticide”. Chemicals are a fact of life – we humans are made entirely of chemicals. Pesticides, which are vilified in the media and otherwise, are used in organic food production (not widely known) and may be responsible for some increase (though this has been debated) in food production over the last 1500 years. Irresponsible use of pesticides is a tragedy. Just like in everything, balance and moderation is key.

  • Bryan,
    You make excellent points. I agree that balance and moderation are the key issues. I’ve just been doing a review of old, OP and Carbamate, pesticides and their registrations have been mostly canceled. The process works.

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  • connie chenko

    See pesticides are like latin. They eat you and your local library. Like steve Savage says, Dont do drugs and reuse, reduce and recycle. I love ping pong and wii and school, and ching chong, and airplanes, and fireflies, and steve savage

  • connie chenko

    You guys are wonka nerds

  • connie chenko

    Well, i invested in a crop and i lost my dog, they had pesticides in them. I am just saying not to invest in crops if you have and animals including fish. Even my pet rock died:(

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