Killer cornflakes, nothing to laugh at

20 09 2008

via small dead animals

Sometimes it’s unclear where the media-hype and the real dangers collide.

Serious dangers are emerging for Australia (and other parts of the world) that are well beyond what people would expect. No one was certainly planning on the Murray-Darling drying up (well no one who had any actual power to do anything about it).

A news report from earlier this year warned that arid conditions could trigger fungal outbreaks amongst food products that could lead to serious food poisoning hazards. CQU actually made the news by warning of “mass hallucinations, manic depression, gangrene, abortions, reduced fertility and painful, convulsive death”.

You might think that standard food safety standards should mandate alerts if any food source gets contaminated, right? However, these symptons aren’t caused by a single heavy dose of mycotoxin, but several small doses over an extended time period. It all adds up if you consider the amount of foodstuff you eat on a regular basis made from cereal crops (unless you’re allergic to gluten or something).

Small dead animals appears to be a right-wing climate change skeptic, and the comments certainly are full of grand ridicule of environmental health as a profession and the idea of killer cornflakes.

However I can’t help but consider the recent food poison scares emerging from China (melamine in milk) and Japan (pesticides and mycotoxins in rice/sake). Not necessarily directly caused by global warming – but definitely shows that food poisoning is a serious risk. And also consider, more fungal outbreaks will mean more reliance on (over)using chemical fungicides on crops.

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