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Cannibalistic Feed Biomagnification

Feeding meat and bone meal to farm animals may increase the levels of industrial pollutants in animal products.

December 8, 2009 |
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Now to be fair, the mercury isn’t just in fish. I mean what do you think happens when we feed fish meal to other farmed animals? You can get the worst of both worlds: saturated fat (with the industrial pollutants) and methyl mercury.
OK, we know that Nemo here is the worst out of all these options… but coming in second place? Beef, butter, cheese, chicken, clams, or cream?
Beef, butter, cheese, chicken, clams, cream. Chicken: almost as much toxic waste ingestion as from fish.
Cheese, comes in third, and because of that, not eating meat may not be enough. From the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the most prestigious nutrition journal on the planet, and considered one of the most influential scientific journals of the 20th century: “Vegetarian diets and exposure to organochlorine pollutants, lead, and mercury.”
Because we continue to feed farm animals to other farm animals in the United States—slaughterhouse waste, blood, and manure— Note only may mad cow prions be found in meat, but also these persistent lipophilic organic pollutants, or “PLOP,” such as pesticides and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins. Animal products can also contain other neurotoxic substances like methyl mercury and lead, because the industrial PLOP accumulates in fat tissues, the lead accumulates in bones, and so when farm animals are fed meat and bone meal, the toxins biomagnify, bioaccumulate up the food chain.
Therefore, a predominance of plant food in human diets, a plant-based diet, is an important step in lowering the body burden of harmful substances—but, veganism is defined as the practice of consuming only plant foods. Although a vegetarian lifestyle can lower the body burden of PLOP, mercury, and lead, such benefits can be undermined by the consumption of contaminated milk and egg products, because farm animals that are fed contaminated animal products produce contaminated animal products.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out theother videos on industrial toxins and animal products. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: Lead Poisoning Risk From Venison and  Pollutants in Californian Breast Tissue

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on industrial toxins and animal products. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • Kevin Hansen

    I see you have a video already with some information on acrylamide. However, I was listening to a podcast with Dr. Graham (fruitarian guy – 80 10 10) and one of the benefits of sticking to his plan is not ingesting acrylamide which he states is a carcinogen. So, should I stop drinking coffee? Stop baking my potato? Stop eating organic corn chips? Stop eating breakfast cereals such as organic corn flakes? You get the idea. I’m about to adapt my diet from just gluten free vegan, to gluten free, modified raw vegan. My version of a modified raw vegan being someone who allows rice, quinoa, beans and potato type starches in a crock pot, or boiled. I won’t give up coffee though. Am I overly concerned with regard to acrylamide according to any science out there? Thank you for your great work!

  • Francine Terreault Capistran

    Dr. Greger, what do you feed your cat with?