Politically correct about erucic acid and broccoli seeds

To follow up Caution on broccoli seed erucic acid content? this 2020 German review sympathetically analyzed government overreach on erucic acid contents in several foods:

“We measured exemplarily samples of rapeseed, mustard, further Brassicaceae and used the data to discuss possible consequences for consumers, producers and the food sector. This data was supplemented with possible analytical problems.

The new and lower erucic acid level in the EU is anticipated but will increase the need of an efficient control system by producers and food processors in order to avoid violations of erucic acid limit values and sale bans. The new proposed legislation will likely prompt some producers to reformulate their recipes, which can be achieved by lowering the fat content or by moving to mustard seeds with lower erucic acid content.

The amount of erucic acid in fish should not be neglected.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S235236462030002X “Erucic acid in Brassicaceae and salmon – An evaluation of the new proposed limits of erucic acid in food” (not freely available)


The paper didn’t measure erucic acid percentages of total fatty acids in broccoli seeds. Also noticeably absent were analyses of animal studies performed a long time ago that formed the bases of current government actions.

Nothing to see here, move along. Much more effort was put into creating new health hazards for consumers, as if we should now be required to worry about eating salmon.

The 2017 position paper establishing erucic acid limits was excessively cited twelve times, such as for:

“Likewise, broccoli seeds were high in erucic acid but this fatty acid was not detected in edible parts of the vegetable. Hence, intake of erucic acid via these vegetables seems to be irrelevant.”

I mentioned problems in the poorly-evidenced 2002 study cited by this position paper. That researcher couldn’t be bothered to use just one broccoli cultivar for only three measurements, or disclose broccoli sprout age. But apparently it’s a fait accompli, elevated to an indisputable fact.

Despite many technical details, the current paper was politics. It detracted from science, with a cover story “in favor of consumer protection.” These researchers descended further into advocacy with “analysis” beginning with:

“Imagine (cruciferous) vegetables having an erucic acid content of 50% in the lipids.”

They did cause me to “imagine” eating hot dogs with mustard. But maybe that’s because baseball season is finally starting?


These vendors of broccoli seed powder don’t seem concerned about disclosing erucic acid content. What do you think?

🙂

 

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