top of page

PFAS (cancerous compound) in 7 out of 8 USDA Organic labeled Kale. Brief overview

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair was the publication that led to the establishment of what we now know as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The problems highlighted showed label, product and consumer fraud was crippling the American economy by causing mass mistrust in the law and order. Since then, we have had several tiers of market farming. Market farming is the farming of only products that are high in gross margins, and can be sold both business to business and business to consumer. As a result, there are different tiers of farmed products that are available to the American consumer. The organic and untarnished products are first sold to local buyers around the farm, then corporate purchasers, then auctioneers, then the distribution chains that can be linked to the corporate purchasers. The distribution chains trickle down in food quality as it passes from affluent retail areas to urban and low socioeconomic retail areas. Lastly, there is the leftovers that are sold on the street by food vendors.

Food can only retain the fresh quality for a certain period of time after harvest. Negative factors that cause further degradation include heat, light, and rough handling. Technological advances have allowed the retail food to maintain the cosmetic appearance of freshly harvested fruits and vegetables. As Newton's law states: Matter can neither be created nor destroyed; the cosmetic preservatives are ingested and contribute to higher morbidity rates and health related issues in the urban centers where the leftover arrive.

The FDA and the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) are the governmental entity that oversee our food and livestock (animals). In order to get organic certification, one must:

1. own or lease land

2. have a design that demonstrates organic practices

3. local agency that contracts with the USDA will take a check to come do the certification 4. Following that, routine check ups.

There are no random sample testing of these organically labeled products after it passes registration and routine inspections. Now that we have a bit of background on the food in your grocery stores or supermarkets, We can delve into the PFAS in your USDA organic labeled kale and what you can do about it.

Figure 1: PFAS Lifecycle in the Environment.

PFAS is polyfluoroalkyl, according to the National Institute of Health are: "a large, complex group of synthetic chemicals that have been used in consumer products around the world since about the 1950s. They are ingredients in various everyday products. For example, PFAS are used to keep food from sticking to packaging or cookware, make clothes and carpets resistant to stains, and create firefighting foam that is more effective.

PFAS molecules have a chain of linked carbon and fluorine atoms. Because the carbon-fluorine bond is one of the strongest, these chemicals do not degrade easily in the environment."

Figure 2: Costs and effect of PFAS on Maine, USA.

Studies are indicate that PFAS is found in urine and blood samples of most individuals and time has caused the substance to permeate into the biodiversity of our soil, air and water. The FDA conducted random sample analysis on the presence of PFAS between 2019 and 2021 and found no PFAS. Shockingly, a new report found PFAS in "seven out of eight US kale samples recently tested for toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” contained high levels of the compounds."

Kale was used as the sample item because everyone associate health and good living to kale. Testing is required across all products to understand the problem and find pragmatic solutions to mitigate the PFAS from our soil.

Figure 3: Sketch of PFAS permeation into the general environment due to a lack of education and regulation on the subject.

PFAS is the farming industry arrived from free manure that come out of waste plants that also clean hazardous chemical materials. There are other sources of the problem that includes but are not limited to chamisal compounds used for fertilization and pest management. Since there was no knowledge of the implications of those decisions, the suffering parties are the new generation farmers who are growing produce and raising livestock.

With growing concerns for severe regulatory burden and budgets tightening, now is more important than ever to know where your food comes from and when it was picked. At Mystic Holistic Studios, we are gearing towards the new generation of farming that is both scientific and ethical. All of your food, farming, lifestyle needs in one place. We do not have to promise organic. We promise something better: integrity and transparency. Food is health. Food is life. We get what we put in. Input the correct ingedients that cabnnot be tarnished by food fraud. You can order via phone, online, or come in person to learn more.


Ratul Biswas

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page