Culture

From Rodent Hair To Poop, The FDA Legally Allows Factories To Have A Small Amount Of These In Your Food

If this is the first you’re hearing of this, you might want to just plan on skipping your next meal. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets a legal minimum for the amount of “food defects” a consumer can reasonably come to expect from their food purchases. Growing up Latino, the bulk of your food probably came from Costco, where every apple is encased in plastic and the food feels pretty sterile. Never have we found a bug in anything from the holy grail of Costco.

No matter where you do your grocery shopping, often, you can’t even see the rodent hairs or disembodied insects in your food. But the FDA knows it’s there, and the agency is trying to keep your cafecito at a minimum of just 10 mg of animal poop per pound.

Along with a small dose of mierda, you’re also looking at 4% to 6% of your coffee beans being moldy or insect-infested.

@thetakeout / Twitter

Talk about a witches’ brew. Your cafecito brew in the morning is basically the same potion our ancestors made for their enemies. Café Mierda, que rico. It makes sense though. Coffee is grown in the humid, tropical countries of much of our people. That mold creates mycotoxins which are toxic chemicals, the most common of which in coffee is a powerful carcinogen. The second most common mycotoxin found in coffee is Ochratochin A, which can deplete dopamine and cause cell death in your brain. Some say that we’re exposed to small amounts of toxins no matter what we do, but others suggest listening to your body. We all react differently to different stimuli.

Worse still is that there might be up to an eyedropper full of blood and pus in that leche.

@SnellKat / Twitter

Cows that are used for dairy are kept forcibly impregnated their whole lives so that they can produce milk. Once they begin the very natural process of lactation, their calves are sent away, and they’re hooked up to metal milking machines. The irritation from those machines causes mastitis, which is an infection of the udder. That means that those machines are milking infectious pus along with the milk. According to the USDA, 16.5% of cows used for their milk are suffering from mastitis.

This is so common that the FDA legally allows up to 750 million pus cells in every liter of milk. That’s about an eyedropper full of pus. Cafe sin leche, por favor.

Insects might not perk up your spices, but they’re there anyway.

@Canoopsy / Twitter

Paprika is allowed to be comprised of up to 20% mold. Let’s face it. Latinos are more comfortable with mold than your average Becky. We just slice that moldy part off the bread and make toast like it’s a no-brainer. For some reason, when we learn the government is allowing us to eat mold without our consent, it feels gross. If you’re not grossed out yet, you should know your typical spice jar of paprika is likely to have 225 tiny limbs or heads of dismembered insects, and over 30 rodent hairs.

This all makes sense if you try to reconnect to our food system.

@ChefDLewis / Twitter

Access to food on a daily basis looks like walking down illuminated, refrigerated grocery aisles, and choosing between plastic wrapped chicken breast, or plastic-wrapped Beyond burgers. Root vegetables like carrots are being misted every twenty minutes and look so clean and fresh. When we remember where, or who, all these products come from, it’s easier to imagine why insects may have hopped a ride from the farm to to your plate. Produce is of the earth, and harvest season may be the buggiest season of the year, depending on the crop.

That said, food safety specialist Ben Chapmen told CNN that he looks at insects in your food “as a yuck factor versus a risk factor. Insect parts are gross, but they don’t lead to foodborne illnesses.” More dangerous for human health is when plastic, stone or metal ends up in a food harvest, which is why processed food goes under x-rays and metal detectors.

You can control the amount of feces and rodent hair in your food when you buy as fresh food as possible.

@asolitarypagan / Twitter

Instead of using a can of corn, buy fresh corn on the cob. You might just see the insects crawling out of the cob as you start to peel the corn, and rinse away all the mierda you can. Technically, the FDA is more concerned with regulating the amount of insect larvae in your cans of sweet corn. That said, 5% of corn husks used for tamales are expected to be moldy and insect-infested. Careful with your fresh tortillas though, because the FDA allows an average of one whole insect per quarter cup of cornmeal. Is it racism? We can’t say.

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Mother And Teen Daughter Endured Ten Years Of Separation, A Dramatic Border, And A Covid Hospitalization To Be Together

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Mother And Teen Daughter Endured Ten Years Of Separation, A Dramatic Border, And A Covid Hospitalization To Be Together

Separated from her mother for a decade, seventeen-year-old Cindy (who is only being identified by her first name) took a chance last month to see her. Despite her age, a raging pandemic, and the risks of crossing the Mexico–United States border she journeyed from Honduras to see her mother in New York. Her love for her mother was so deep, she was willing to risk everything.

In her mission, Cindy wound up in U.S. immigration facilities where she contracted Covid-19. After three days in a hospital bed in California, Cindy was finally able to contact her mother who had not learned of her daughter’s hospitalization.

Thanks to the help of a doctor who lent her their phone Cindy was able to make the call to her mother, Maria Ana.

“There are backlogs and delays in communication that are really unacceptable,” Maria Ana’s immigration lawyer Kate Goldfinch, who is also the president of the nonprofit Vecina, explained to NBC.

After learning about her daughter’s COVID-19 hospitalization, Maria Ana feared the worst. “Following weeks of anguish and uncertainty, Maria Ana spent most of her nights painting the bedroom she has fixed for Cindy, just ‘waiting for my girl,'” she explained to NBC.

Last Wednesday night, Maria Ana flew to San Diego to be with her daughter after she’d finally recovered from Covid.

At the emotional mother-daughter reunion, Maria Ana assured her daughter “no one else is going to hurt you.”

After Cindy crossed the border, she spent several days in a detention facility in Texas in the custody of Customs and Border Protection. According to NBC “On any given night, Cindy said, she would share two mattresses with about eight other girls. She could shower only every five days in one of the eight showers the facility had to serve 700 girls.”

“It was really bad,” Cindy told the outlet..

Cindy was among almost 13,350 unaccompanied children left in the care and custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement at HHS. This last year has seen over 3,715 unaccompanied children at these facilities diagnosed with Covid-19. Worse, there are currently 528 unaccompanied children who have tested positive for Covid-19 and put in medical isolation.

Now, immigration advocates and families are pressing the U.S. government to pick up reunions of children and their families in the United States. Over 80 percent of unaccompanied minors currently in federal custody have family living in the states. According to Goldfinch, “40 percent have parents in the U.S.”

“So we would think that it would be fairly quick and simple to release a child to their own parent. But because of the chaos of the system, the reunification of these kids with their parents is really frustrating and backlogged,” Goldfinch explained, “most frustrating, of course, for the actual children and their parents.”

While Cindy was in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, no one managed to notify Ana Maria that her daughter was in the hospital according to Goldfinch

“I don’t know why my daughter has to be suffering this way, because it’s not fair. It’s something very sad for me,” Maria Ana explained to NBC

“I’ve already been through a lot,” Cindy went onto share. “But I hope it’s all worth it.”

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There’s A Mysterious “Bat Cave” Full Of Blind Snakes Near Cancun And It’s Creepy AF

Things That Matter

There’s A Mysterious “Bat Cave” Full Of Blind Snakes Near Cancun And It’s Creepy AF

Mexico is full of incredible natural beauty, so it’s no wonder that it’s frequently one of the world’s most visited destinations. People love to visit the picturesque beaches, the ancient ruins, lively cities, and relaxed pueblos. But we would imagine that few people would add this mysterious ‘bat cave’ to their list of destinations, considering it’s full of blind snakes that hang from the ceiling to catch their prey. 

Mexico’s mysterious ‘bat cave’ is part of a truly unique ecosystem. 

Cancun is one of Mexico’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s home to some of the world’s greatest beaches and tons of adventure at cenotes and Mayan ruins. But, apparently, it’s also home to a unique ecosystem that includes a so-called bat cave home to thousands of blind snakes that hang upside down. Yikes!

The cave, located less than 180 miles from Cancun’s spectacular beaches, is home to a species of blind, deaf snakes that feed mainly on flying bats.”This is the only place in the world where this happens,” Arturo Enrique Bayona Miramontes, the biologist who discovered it, told Newsweek.

The cave system remained completely unknown to tourists and surprised many scientists, who marveled as the jungle was peeled away to reveal another species, another hidden natural world.

The “cave of the hanging snakes” has a 65-foot wide mouth from which thousands of bats of seven different species swarm out every night, seeking food in and around Lake Chichancanab, some 2 miles away. When the bats return from nighttime feeding, some become food for the snakes.

The cave is a bat paradise – unless they become food for the blind and deaf snakes.

The giant cave is home to hundreds of thousands – perhaps even millions – of bats who cling to the cave’s roof. Joining them in the cave are a unique species of blind and deaf snakes that strike unsuspecting bats as they fly by.

The technique of the yellow-red rat snake is frighteningly precise, Bayona Miramontes said. “These snakes do not see or hear, but they can feel the vibrations of the bats flying, and they use that opportunity to hunt them with their body, suffocating their victims before gobbling them down.”

If you’re feeling adventurous, the cave is open to a limited number of visitors.

The cave is located nearby a very small Mayan community in Kantemó, on the Yucatan peninsula. Although the village is so small that it only has one church, the community has been working hard to protect this unique ecosystem.

Only 10 visitors are allowed inside the cave at a time and no photography is permitted. Since the pandemic began, the cave has been closed but it will reopen when the health department of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo allows tourism again.

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