Wednesday, May 9, 2007

How the melamine and cyanuric acid contamination effects byproducts that you will consume.

One unfortunate trait that Americans share is our lack of ability to think more than one step ahead. We may think we have foresight but in reality we can’t think beyond what is directly in front of our faces. The issue of melamine-tainted feed is one of those issues. While we worry about the safety of the chicken and pork we eat, as well as the ingredients of the food we feed our pets, we aren’t thinking about the secondary and tertiary uses of the animal processing business.

Modern agricultural methods squeeze profit from it’s products using every possible source. The old joke that no one really wants to know what goes into sausage isn’t entirely what I am referring to, although that does play a major part. The byproduct of animal farming and processing is precisely what I mean in this case.

Let’s take the recent announcement that the feds were looking into the effect that melamine tainted feed being fed to farmed fish could have on our health and safety. While our initial response is to worry about the fish filets and canned fish that are bought at the grocery store, there is another aspect to this process. The meat of the fish is only one part of the animal that is used in other dietary and food products. Fish oil and fish livers are used in dietary supplements of many varieties, not just dietary supplements such as vitamins. Protein shake mix is one use, recycling fish livers into other fish and animal feeds is another.

We know that the melamine found in the pet foods that were tainted affected the renal and endocrine systems of those animals. While the sensitivity they showed may not have been identical to how a human body reacts, it does bring up the question of how the melamine and cyanuric acids found in those feeds would react in a concentrated form in the body of animals and humans. The processing of contaminated fish livers could increase the concentration of those products and in turn increase the concentration in humans and livestock due to the consumption of those products in the form of dietary supplements or processed food ingredients.

By the same token, processing contaminated fish into other animal feeds would re-introduce the contaminants into the food chain, effectively increasing the chances of human exposure. With so many products and chemicals that have been banned from use in America due to their long-term effects on the human body, we have to look at this seriously. Are we forgetting DDT or PCBs? Yes, we are forgetting them. There are no studies available which document the effects of long-term human exposure to melamine or cyanuric acid. In other words, the government and our health officials have no idea how these chemical compounds will effect our health 20, 10 or even 5 years down the road.

Waste products from fish farming are also a factor. The offal or bodily waste of farmed fish, is also processed for other uses. Offal is used in the making of other animal feeds, including fish feed. Fallen stock from fish farming is even used biogas production in Europe. There is literally nothing left behind in this industry. Anti-bacterial drugs are also used in the fish farming industry just as it’s done in the cattle, pork and poultry industries. Chemicals are given to farm raised salmon to improve their color and the residue from these chemicals is ingested when you consume them.

The point is that this is closed loop system and the introduction of a new chemical compound into one part of the equation introduces the chemical into the remaining parts. When the government allows fish, chicken, pork or beef that has been fed tainted food, no matter how small in quantity, to be introduced to our food chain, it will affect all areas of the food chain, not just the end product. The contaminants that are present will be processed and concentrated in the various bodily systems of these animals and be combined in the processing of those organs in a factory. The concentrated contaminants are then passed on to you and I in some other form. There may be little if any melamine in the salmon croquettes you serve tonight or next month, but the vitamin pills you take with that meal may have much higher levels of contaminants because of the ingredients of that supliment. The long-term effects are unknown and you and I are the guinea pigs.

No comments: