3/30/14 News Release: NYS Department of Health Knows Persistent Organic Pollutants Present in Mainstream Food Supply Animal Fat Foods Cause Cancer, Diabetes and Heart Disease and Chooses to Remain Silent

NYS Department of Health Knows Persistent Organic Pollutants Present
in Mainstream Food Supply Animal Fat Foods Cause Cancer, Diabetes and
Heart Disease and Chooses to Remain Silent

On 3/26/14, I spoke with Wendy Kuehner an employee of the New York
State Department of Health (DOH) Center for Environmental Health.
Over the course of the past several months, I have sought to engage
Ms. Kuehner in a discussion of the damages to health caused by
exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) at current  and past
levels of food supply contamination.  POPs are contaminants of all
animal fats.  These industrial chemicals are present in foods,
including:  meats, fish, dairy products and eggs worldwide.

Ms. Kuehner has informed herself on the subject of POPs exposure and
damages to health by reading the 2010 World Health Organization (WHO)
report, “Persistent Organic Pollutants:  Impact on Child Health”.  Due
to the risk of serious harm associated with POPs exposure at current
levels of food supply contamination, WHO recommends action to minimize
the exposure that children receive to POPs.

I had requested that Ms. Kuehner read this report as part of my
strategy for motivating the DOH to assist with informing school boards
and school administrators on the subject of POPs exposure
minimization.  School meals contain many high animal fat food items
leading to unnecessarily high POPs exposures.  Hot dogs, hamburgers,
chicken patties, sausages and ravioli are foods high in animal fat.
These foods should not be fed to children.

Ms. Kuehner stated that there was nothing the DOH could do about the
decisions of school districts to feed children meals high in animal
fats.  I pointed out that the DOH could educate the school
decision-makers about the health protective benefit of POPs exposure
minimization.

Ms. Kuehner stated that the DOH was indeed taking action on POPs
exposure minimization.  It was her position that facilitating access
to low fat dairy products and promoting eating meals high in fruits
and vegetables were actions that served this purpose.

I asked Ms. Kuehner what was the point of DOH silence on POPs in food
and the harm that POPs exposure was causing.  I stated that the first
thing a parent would do after reading the 2010 WHO report on POPs
would be to warn her/his children about this health hazard.

I explained to Ms. Kuehner that the US Department of Agriculture
(USDA), which sets standards for school meals did not take POPs
exposure into consideration when it set these standards.  The USDA
based its most recent school meal standards on the recommendations of
the 2010 Institute of Medicine report, “School Meals:  Building Blocks
for Healthy Children”.  There is no mention of food supply
contaminants in this lengthy document.

I requested that Ms. Kuehner read the above named report and she
agreed to do so.  Reducing the quantity of animal fat in school meals
is a key step in any POPs exposure minimization strategy.  The DOH
Center for Environmental Health needs to assist with informing school
decision-makers on the subject of POPs exposure minimization.

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