How do you like your rat droppings – smoked or not?

| November 25, 2015

The US Food and Drug Administration allows up to 13 ‘fragments’ of rodent excreta in a 24-ounce container of cornmeal, according to a Yahoo! Health story quoting the FDA’s Defect Levels Handbook.

It allows also a maximum of nine rodent hairs in a 16-ounce container of pasta.

But while these contaminants might sound distasteful, the limits set by the handbook mean that they are not harmful to human health.

And these are the maximum allowable levels: responsible manufacturers aim not to have any contaminants in their products.

However, this story is interesting from a tobacco-industry point of view. From time to time attempts are made to scare smokers into avoiding illicit cigarettes on the grounds that their manufacture is not regulated and it is therefore not known what they contain. Specifically, it has been said that they might contain rodent droppings, though it is never stated whether inhaling the fumes from burning rodent droppings is any more risky than is inhaling the fumes from the tobacco that the droppings replace.

The Yahoo! story doesn’t answer that question, but it does indicate that the ingestion of tiny fragments of rodent droppings is not harmful, and it perhaps suggests that the inhalation of the by-products of small amounts of burning rodent droppings also would not be harmful.

The handbook is interesting, too, because it says that spices can contain traces of foreign matter, which the FDA defines as including, among other things, cigarette butts.

Category: Breaking News

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