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Sourcing the Menu: Going against the grain: Bread and cereal

NOTE: This is an edited version of portions of Appendices 2 & 3 of the “Revised Stealth Syndromes Study Protocol as approved by the University of California San Francisco Medical School Committee on Human Research.


Standards and Sourcing (From Appendix 2)

Bread and cereal

Bread will be hand made by the investigators from the Grist and Toll mill using organic, small batch grains by sources from the California Grain Project.

Originally, investigators attempted to source directly from a baker who has ground the grain without any plastic contact including utensils, dough rising pans or wrapping. Paper for wrapping cannot be recycled because of phthalate inks commonly used in packaging printing.

No suitable baker could be found.

Plain bread without seeds, nut, spices, or other components such as raisins may be allowed.

Corn-based foods must be from non-GMO corn raised organically and fried in oil which is similarly organic and non-GMO in origin. It is unknown at this time whether such healthier alternative is available.

Commercially produced cereals are not allowed on this diet due to extensive processing involved. Rolled oats may be allowed if as suitable source can be found.

Rationale (From Appendix 3)

The domestication of grains nearly 11,000 years ago accelerated civilization from hunter-gatherer to the agriculturally based world of today (Ancient Waves of (Wild) Grain).

While bread and cereal products are among the most basic and valuable foodstuffs modern commercial grains are subject to the same the irrigation and fertilization problems associated with fruits and vegetables.

This includes harvest and processing contamination occurrences including the use of questionable irrigation water, commercial fertilizer, and the use of recycled municipal wastewater and sewage sludge biosolids. In addition, wheat is extensively applied with glyphosate and other pesticides.

The issue of irrigation is not as critical because a substantial portion of wheat matures during the winter when rains are more prevalent. A warming climate is expected to affect this.

In addition, the transportation of wheat is a massive bulk operation using barges, ships and railroad bulk carriers all of which offer ample opportunities for plastic contact with conveyor belts, augers and other plastic apparatus, and storage. Because of the size of the operation, there is little oversight of transportation.

Flour production involves extensive contact with plastic-based apparatus, conveyor belts and transport.

Commercial baking: a wonder of automation and processing contamination

The actual making and baking of commercially produced bread, again, involves conveyor belts but also plastic bins used for ingredients, mixing, and preparation for dough. Plastic loaf pans are used for dough in the rising stages.

The baking process usually employs metal conveyor surfaces with the warm loaves going into plastic bags when still warm.

This paper from the British Medical Journal defines commercial bread as a highly processed food: Consumption of ultra-processed foods and cancer risk: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort.

Small batch regional bakeries

Most small-batch regional bread bakeries still use commercially available flour with its inherent contamination opportunities.

However, some very small artisan operations — such as those associated with the California Grain Campaign — have reduced their dependence on plastics and pack their product in brown paper bags.

It’s important to recognize that recycled paper carries high concentrations of phthalates because a high percentage of ink used in packaging gets recycled along with the paper.

Corn-based breads and cooking ingredients

Corn is a basic ingredient in many favorite American ethnic foods such as tacos, enchiladas, tamales and more.

Unfortunately, most corn available in the U.S. comes from cultivars that are genetically modified to be resistant to pesticides like glyphosate which is extensively applied.

Cereals

Breakfast cereals are among the most extensively processed grain foods. Processing includes the shaping of flakes and other forms needed to satisfy marketing and consumer demands and expectations.

Preservatives, artificial colors, and other chemicals are added in addition to the conveyor, piping, tubing and other opportunities for contamination by BPA and phthalates.