Food scandal thread


What a coincidence. I was watching a vid about growing HP potatoes, and this is one of the problems the grower had. Just enough light was getting through to turn his spuds green. He tossed them because he had kids and did not want to take any chances.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to turn off the gene that makes potatoes go green when exposed to light? Ah, never mind. I do not want to start a GMO good/bad discussion. That topic is as explosive as a Trump v Obama discussion.


Funnily enough, I don’t think potatoes get adulterated (much) because there’s no need to. Anyway, even if they did deliberately mask the green bits - although I don’t see how you could, or how that would be cheaper than screening them properly - you’d still get only a tiny dose of solanine.

Or … people could try just growing them correctly instead of expecting nature to produce the right result when they insist on doing things wrong.

The classic method is to hill them up with mulch. This not only prevents the soil erosion and settling (compaction) that tends to expose the growing spuds to light, it gives you a better crop of potatoes. Some farmers plant through, or beside, the stubble from a previous crop using the GPS guidance feature on modern tractors.



what about my diet of 5 eggs a day???


WTF? That’s just disgusting. The chemical will be eliminated from their systems eventually.


Tough times for chickens and eggs lately. The Dutch eggs scandal, the Korean eggs scandal, and now this.


Why did the chicken cross the road?

Can’t fly, so to buy a one-way plane ticket out of Taiwan.


This stuff is really bad for bees. From Wikipedia

"Fipronil is one of the main chemical causes blamed for the spread of colony collapse disorder among bees. It has been found by the Minutes-Association for Technical Coordination Fund in France that even at very low nonlethal doses for bees, the pesticide still impairs their ability to locate their hive, resulting in large numbers of forager bees lost with every pollen-finding expedition. A 2013 report by the European Food Safety Authority identified fipronil as “a high acute risk to honeybees when used as a seed treatment for maize and on July 16, 2013 the EU voted to ban the use of fipronil on corn and sunflowers within the EU. The ban took effect at the end of 2013.”


So the Fipronil scandal has turned up in Taiwan too, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium have that discovered in eggs for months already. It’s illegally used to kill blood lice and mites on chicken and egg farms.

Green potatoes? Look around in the supermarkets, enough of them at times.


No, I think it’s legal everywhere outside of the EU. It’s legal in the EU as well, in most cases - just read that Wikipedia quote again. Utter bloody madness.

Honestly, though, I’d be happy to buy 90,000 chickens and let them run free until they poop the chemical out of their systems … if I had space for 90,000 chickens. Why kill them? I wonder if there’s more to this than meets the eye, especially for the guy whose chickens were right on the 5ppb (parts per billion, ie., about 150 nanograms per egg) limit. Perhaps he’s annoyed some politician’s brother-in-law who just happens to run the chicken farm down the road?

I wonder if that figure is even right? 5ppb is down in the noise. There’s NO WAY you can measure 5ppb accurately. You could probably pick up 5ppb of plutonium-238 just by waving your arms in the air.


Well I can ask my colleague this exact question whether it’s possible to measure 5 ppb of this substance accurately.

Actually the error increases at concentrations close to the limit of quantitation but my guess is it’s around 20% CV at that level so should be quite informative.

5ppb = 5 ug/l . This for me would be equivalent to driving a garbage truck around with big neon lights it is very very easy to detect and quantitate with modern analytical instrumentation and chemistry, at least from blood or urine.

Where we start to see real challenges usually for analytical instruments in the clinical area is down to 5 ng/l or less but it depends on what the matrix is ie other substances in blood, urine hair etc can interfere with the tests.


From the experts… Accurately detect down to o
.005mg/KG (5 ppb)

So Finley you are correct that it could be at the limit of accurate quantitation for this commercial food test!
It’s probably possible to fine tune the test and get lower but in commercial operations that may be the standard parameters.


Detection is different to measurement though - as you said there would be a significant error at that level. You certainly couldn’t measure fipronil to +/-0.5ppb in a 3.5ml cuvette sample, so the guy who had a 5ppb result was treated very unfairly. It could in reality have been 4ppb or 6ppb or 0ppb who-knows-what, depending on sample preparation and whether - oh my, can’t imagine how that accidentally got in there …


That would be a lot more plausible. I’m guessing the daft reporters got the limit wrong by a factor of 1000.

Either way, there is absolutely no need to destroy all those chickens. I really, really dislike the farming industry’s cavalier attitude to chemicals, so confiscate them if you must, but chucking them in the grinder is barbaric on several different levels.

Fipronil is more toxic to humans than most agricultural chemicals, but the Dutch limit is 25ug per egg (about 200,000x times smaller than the lethal dose for humans). Assuming Taiwan’s is the same, what we’ve got here is a classic case of MEN WITH CLIPBOARDS, which is only slightly less troublesome than men with leather trenchcoats and spooky insignia on their caps.


Christ on a cracker, you guys are giving me a friggin migraine here.


Learn it.
Know it.
Live it.


Costcooooooo baby! USA! USA! USA! USA!


Pfft. When I were a lad we had 7-bit ASCII, and that was good enough for us.

We don’t need this newfangled Unicode nonsense.


So quit friggin typing “ug” already.

Unless you’re talking about these:


It’s illegal when used for this purpose (killing blood lice) on chicken farms in combination with the legal chemicals. The argument for using it: they say it’s more effective, and probably cheaper.

The reason they got away with it that long, there was no targeted test for Fipronil.

“Because the use of fipronil is illegal in the production of food for human consumption in Europe, a criminal investigation has been initiated.”


That are Uggs, with double g! :grinning:


That’s completely stupid though, innit. The crucial argument against Fipronil is not that its toxic to humans (most pesticides are) but that it causes CCD. It’ll cause CCD whether you put it on chickens, crops, or just fling it around like fairy dust. The intended purpose is utterly irrelevant.

Notice the chicken farmers in the article were hauled up not because they were using fipronil, but because they were using it without a license - as if a rubber stamp and some silly marks on a piece of paper makes the side-effects go away. WTF is wrong with policymakers’ heads these days?

Any more of that and I’ll SWITCH TO BAUDOT. Lower case characters, pshaw.


Nope, no license issues:
“Fipronil is commonly used to rid agricultural produce of pests or to kill fire ants and termites, Toxic and Chemical Substances Bureau Director Hsieh Yen-ju (謝燕儒) said, adding that the chemical is forbidden for use with animals to be used for food.”. Same in Europe.