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April 19, 2024 Big Food Toxic Exposures

Toxic Exposures

Michigan Health Department Warning Residents Not to Drink Raw Milk — Here’s Why + More

The Defender’s Big Food NewsWatch brings you the latest headlines related to industrial food companies and their products, including ultra-processed foods, food additives, contaminants, GMOs and lab-grown meat and their toxic effects on human health. The views expressed in the excerpts from other news sources do not necessarily reflect the views of The Defender.

Michigan Health Department Warning Residents Not to Drink Raw Milk — Here’s Why

CBS News reported:

Michigan health experts are warning residents about the risks of consuming raw milk as the highly pathogenic avian influenza continues to affect dairy herds in the state.

The virus can spread to humans through the consumption of unpasteurized milk products.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is reminding residents of the risks associated with drinking raw milk due to the highly pathogenic avian influenza, also known as the bird flu, being detected in several Michigan dairy herds.

We Found Unhealthy Pesticide Levels in 20% of U.S. Produce — Here’s What You Need to Know

The Guardian reported:

When it comes to healthy eating, fruits and vegetables reign supreme. But along with all their vitamins, minerals and other nutrients can come something else: an unhealthy dose of dangerous pesticides.

Though using chemicals to control bugs, fungi and weeds helps farmers grow the food we need, it’s been clear since at least the 1960s that some chemicals also carry unacceptable health risks.

And although certain notorious pesticides, such as DDT, or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, have been banned in the U.S., government regulators have been slow to act on others.

Even when a dangerous chemical is removed from the market, chemical companies and growers sometimes just start using other options that may be as dangerous.

Consumer Reports, which has tracked the use of pesticides on produce for decades, has seen this pattern repeat itself over and over. “It’s two steps forward and one step back — and sometimes even two steps back,” says James E Rogers, who oversees food safety at Consumer Reports.

To get a sense of the current situation, Consumer Reports recently conducted our most comprehensive review ever of pesticides in food.

To do it, we analyzed seven years of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which each year tests a selection of conventional and organic produce grown in or imported to the U.S. for pesticide residues. We looked at 59 common fruits and vegetables, including, in some cases, not just fresh versions but also canned, dried or frozen ones.

Our new results continue to raise red flags.

Judge Rejects Key Expert in Paraquat Lawsuits, Tosses First Cases Set for Trial

Reuters reported:

A key expert witness in lawsuits claiming that Syngenta’s herbicide paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease cannot testify in court, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, dismissing the first four cases over the product that were set to go to trial.

Lawyers for agricultural workers suing Syngenta and Chevron, which sold paraquat before 1986, had sought to have Cornell University professor Martin Wells testify that occupational exposure to the chemical can cause the disease. Without that testimony, U.S. District Judge Nancy Rosenstengel found, the trials cannot go forward.

Lead attorneys for plaintiffs in the litigation — Khaldoun Baghdadi of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger; Sarah Doles of Levin, Papantonio, Rafferty, Proctor, Buchanan, O’Brien; and Peter Flowers of Meyers & Flowers — said in a joint statement that they disagreed with the ruling and would appeal it, and that they looked forward to taking a new set of cases to trial.

“We will continue to prosecute these cases on behalf of the thousands of American farmworkers diagnosed with an incurable and debilitating disease because of their exposure to paraquat,” they said.

KitKat Owner Nestlé Faces Vote Forcing It to Cut Back on Unhealthy Products

The Guardian reported:

Nestlé has fought off investor proposals that would have forced the world’s largest consumer goods company to cut back on high levels of salt, sugar and fats in its food and drinks.

The Swiss-headquartered multinational won the backing of 88% of shareholder votes at its annual meeting on Thursday, while 11% backed the resolution.

The shareholders — led by the campaign group ShareAction — pointed to research by the University of Oxford and the youth activist charity BiteBack. The non-governmental organisation recently found that about 70% of Nestlé’s sales in the U.K. were of foods high in fat, salt and sugar.

Simon Rawson, the deputy chief executive of ShareAction, said:

“While the vote we achieved today may be less than we wanted, the direction of travel is clear. Investors and consumers are recognising the importance of addressing the business risks and public health impacts of an industry that is heavily reliant on the sales of unhealthy food. They have growing expectations not only from Nestlé but from all food manufacturers.”

Weedkiller Manufacturer Seeks Lawmakers’ Help to Squelch Claims It Failed to Warn About Cancer

Fox2Now reported:

Stung by paying billions of dollars for settlements and trials, chemical giant Bayer has been lobbying lawmakers in three states to pass bills providing it a legal shield from lawsuits that claim its popular weedkiller Roundup causes cancer.

Nearly identical bills introduced in Iowa, Missouri, and Idaho this year — with wording supplied by Bayer — would protect pesticide companies from claims they failed to warn that their product causes cancer if their labels otherwise complied with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations.

But legal experts warn the legislation could have broader consequences — extending to any product liability claim or, in Iowa’s case, providing immunity from lawsuits of any kind. Critics say it could spread nationwide.

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