Discover the acceptable levels of filth in your favorite foods


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/16/discover-the-acceptable-levels.html


#2

Yeah, right. . . next you’re gonna tell me everything is covered with germs.

(Takes bite of Fig Newton.)


#3

This should read “many insect legs and rodent hairs are not acceptable” right? Otherwise the next bit suggests that your peanut butter will be rejected if it contains less then 30 insect fragments or 1 rodent hair but will be fine if it contains any amount above this.


#4

Insects is no big deal, the more disturbing ones are products with acceptable levels of animal feces or toxic chemicals.


#5


#6

Yeah, it seems weird to have regulations that say ‘this much grossness is allowable’, but these rules exist because before there were these rules, food was way more gross, and also, these are the sort of regulations that the current administration wants to get rid of. You know there are corporate lobbyists complaining that these rules are ‘job-killing’ or some shit.


#7

Stop making sense, I’m busy panicking! I demand all these levels be set to zero. Even the tiniest violation and it’s lawsuit time!


#8

purchased a juicer from sage but was appalled at the standard of perfection for oranges is now literally non-existent


#9

I categorically refuse to learn what the threshold is for chocolate.

And you can’t make me!


#10

More than that, the ideal level of insect parts in peanut butter is not zero. Not unless you want peanut butter to made in a clean room and cost $75 a pound.


#11

[spoiler] CHOCOLATE AND CHOCOLATE LIQUOR

-Insect filth: Average is 60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams when 6 100-gram subsamples are examined OR any 1 subsample contains 90 or more insect fragments

-Rodent filth: Average is 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams in 6 100-gram subsamples examined OR any 1 subsample contains 3 or more rodent hairs [/spoiler]


#12

The dose makes the poison; “toxic chemical” isn’t really a meaningful phrase in chemistry and pharmacology.

Too much of anything will kill you, but pretty much anything can be adequately safe so long as the exposure is appropriately limited. It’s all about the milligrams per kilograms.


#13

Fermi question:

What percentage of the atoms in your body were, at some time in the past, contained in dinosaur poop?


#14

That exact question is on the TrumpCare application form.

Anything above 0.0001% and your premiums skyrocket.


#15

I long ago decided not to worry about such things – up to a point. As long as it tastes good, I’m happy. A little extra protein is a bonus. I never use those antibacterial hand-wipes in stores, and never buy antibacterial hand soap. We are too sterile as it is; the immune system seems to need a certain amount of “other” to work properly. Immune system disorders are probably due in part to the system not having enough to do.

Of course, finding a rat in a fast-food taco would really gross me out, but that’s something you can see. Hopefully in time.


#16

…puts name in little book…


#17

i am gonna agree wholeheartedly

We are sanitizing away the next generation’s ability to fight off germs, virus, cooties, etc.

I’m reminded of a time in college when i got crab lice (hey, it was the 80s)
I was terrified, freaked out, called the wisest human I knew (Grandma)

She said “so ya got bugs, in Poland, we had bugs. you never got used to them, but you shave a little, comb a little, they go away. - - - don’t be such a baby”

i loved it, she was awesome. “don’t be such a baby”

of course, I threw away all my bedding, shaved myself “pink floyd style” and doused everything in anti-lice goo from the drugstore.

my hair grew back, i needed new sheets anyhow, and the young lady in question is still a friend on facebook.


#18


#19

Hmm. If you take the total biomass plus the total mass of water and air (and assume it to be roughly constant since the paleozoic era), all the atoms in that population are in constant circulation. To estimate the proportion PDP that were ever dinosaur poop, you would need:

  • The total time for which dinosaurs were a thing, TD
  • The proportion of atoms that were dinosaur poop at a given instant, PDPI
  • The frequency with which an atom is converted from one category of stuff to another, f

Here I’m assuming that, f times per second, an atom randomly switches from being poop to being wood or skin or air. Of course, oxygen atoms never go directly from being glacial ice to chicken bone, but because the number of changes is so enormous over the time period concerned, I think it is a valid approximation.

So, over the interval TD, the proportion of atoms that have ever been involved in the dinosaur poop game is calculated similarly to how you’d calculate the odds of rolling a six in a given number of throws:

PDP = 1 - (1 - PDPI) f * TD

(to be clear: by the assumptions above, PDP is also the proportion of dino-poop atoms in a human, or a wooden chair, or a gallon of seawater, since these values are all approximately the same).

According to Wikipedia, TD = 7.3x1015s.

The vast majority of atoms are in the form of air and water (at least carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen). Cursory wikiing suggests the proportion of actual biomass is 4x10-7, and I have plucked from my ass that vertebrates account for 0.1% of that. If we assume that for a given animal, about 5% of its mass is lying around in the form of undecomposed poop, then PDPI = 2-11. (For reasons the reader may have spotted, we want a lowball figure here if we’re hoping for an interesting answer)

It is trickier to estimate f, because it encompasses lots of very different processes. For a living organism I’d guess 10-4s-1 – we do a lot of breathing and sweating and being eaten – but for glaciers, or atmospheric nitrogen, I think it’d be much lower. We want a lowball here too, so I will say f = 10-6s-1.

That gives

PDP = 1 - (1 - 2x10-11) 10-6 * 7.3x1015

PDP = 14%

In other words, about 1/8 of your atoms have at some point come out of a dinosaur’s butt, and I would guess the real figure is more like 100%.


#20

I actually was going to say that… 100%
…um… but without all that math.

Edit:
Although, there are many radioactive elements that didn’t exist back then. Those are certainly in our bodies as well.