Glyphosate By

Glyphosate is a current hot-topic in the news, and consumers are being flooded with information that is both true and false. Glyphosate is a chemical that’s found in a series of breakfast cereals and concentrated juices (organic and non-organic). It’s an ongoing debate on how dangerous the detected amounts are. One side says there is no reason to worry because the concentrations meet the legal limits set by the EPA whereas the other side states that any trace amount of Glyphosate in foods are harmful. 

At TestSharing we try to limit the discussion on whether or not the trace amounts of chemicals like Glyphosate in our foods are harmful, and drive the conversation more towards this question: Who should be the one deciding on how much of these chemicals go into your food, the FDA, EPA, or you as the consumer?

There is simply not enough evidence on the health effects of how much of these type of chemicals are safe to consume. We know that legal limits are not based on human health considerations only, so as long as authorities consider chemicals safe until proven toxic, distributors are not forced to label chemical residues. This might lead us down the path to more sad cases like DDT, Chlordane, Asbestos, etc. The list of banned or heavily restricted chemicals is constantly growing.

We think it’s time to take food transparency a step further and empower consumers to uncover the truth about what they eat. Our approach is to provide a platform of actual test results to enable anybody interested to make an informed choice.

At TestSharing we currently test for 420 pesticides and 4 heavy metals rather than focusing on Glyphosate only. Low-chemical or better, chemical-free? It’s up to you!

  • 16 November, 2018
Thanksgiving By

At this time every year across the US, people are preparing for the perfect Thanksgiving day feast. Whether you are making tried and true favorites or trying a new recipe, buying the best ingredients is surely at the top of your list. But how do you know that you’re buying the very best for the ones you love?

Many consumers have concerns about artificial or harmful ingredients in their food products, especially when preparing special meals. At TestSharing, we’re investigating some popular Thanksgiving meal staples such as turkey, cranberries, stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin. We’ve sent a selection of products to our food testing labs to find out more.

What is it that we’re testing for? We’re testing for exactly those substances that consumers worry most about: pesticides, heavy metals and glyphosate. These elements are present in many products but may have higher or lower levels, which may indicate if a product is considered safe or not.

For example, there are minimum risk pesticides that are exempt from product registration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because they are deemed to pose little to no risk to health or environment. Sounds great – but the EPA generally does not review products that claim to meet the minimum risk criteria! It is up to the producer to evaluate their product to meet those guidelines (reference). But do they? 

We’ll know soon enough…

Stay tuned for our test results on some of your Thanksgiving favorites! Results will be available in our app – download it now for iphone or android!

  • 15 November, 2018
Meat quality By

With the holidays nearing, many families will be preparing special meals that will likely feature turkey as the main dish. For the best meat quality, what criteria should be considered when buying a turkey?

In the poultry world, there are different criteria and labeling that are important to consumers, but many are misleading. The only grade that consumers will see on poultry in stores is Grade A, but other labeling may include words like “fresh”, “premium”, “cage-free” or “organic”. These labels are often marketing terms rather than safety or meat quality related. Those are important to some who care about the ethical treatment of the turkey or its diet, but good to know which have real meaning and which do not. For instance, the term “premium” may imply that the meat quality is a higher grade or healthier. But this actually has no meaning because poultry is not graded by the USDA with terms such as those for beef (“prime”, “choice” and “select”) (reference1). Those concerned about the turkey’s treatment or living conditions may look for labels such as “cage-free” or “free-range”. “Cage-free” has no meaning because turkeys are never raised in cages. “Free-range” is more meaningful based on USDA guidelines about housing conditions and outdoor access, depending on the climate (reference2).

Do these labels impact the price and meat quality? Because many of these packaging terms are more for marketing, most consumers pay extra for nothing (reference3). But it depends on preferences and what quality means to you – if you feel better knowing that the turkey had some “free roaming” time or that it was raised and fed organically – you are likely willing to pay more. USDA Organic is probably the most legitimate label because only products certified under the USDA’s requirements can carry the seal. But to note, these regulations do not address food safety or nutrition (reference4).

Food safety concerns such as contaminants and additives are a separate subject. Some concerns in this area are residues from drugs (veterinary), environmental pollutants (pesticides), or biological toxins (pathogens, mycotoxins). Examples of hazards specific to poultry include antibiotics, hormones and pathogens among others. There are standard food safety measures in place in the processing and production of poultry and other meats (reference5). However, those standards don’t routinely cover all named risks, they mainly focus on hygiene factors.

As far as nutrition in turkey meat, most turkeys have about the same, regardless of a brand or label. Most turkeys live and eat similarly unless explicitly stated otherwise. That is where it comes back to labeling and consumer preferences. Even if we understand that many labels do not have much meaning when it comes to meat quality, we may still choose one over another based on labeling, or have a brand preference that might be based purely on familiarity (for example, it was the turkey your mother always bought).  

The bottom line when considering which turkey to buy is that most are the same nutritionally, but if certain criteria are very important to you, be sure to understand exactly what the labels mean, or if they have no meaning at all.

photo credit: Alison Marras, Unsplash

  • 8 November, 2018