Document Detail

Carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes in fast food: signatures of corn and confinement.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19001276     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Americans spend >100 billion dollars on restaurant fast food each year; fast food meals comprise a disproportionate amount of both meat and calories within the U.S. diet. We used carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes to infer the source of feed to meat animals, the source of fat within fries, and the extent of fertilization and confinement inherent to production. We sampled food from McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's chains, purchasing >480 servings of hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and fries within geographically distributed U.S. cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Detroit, Boston, and Baltimore. From the entire sample set of beef and chicken, only 12 servings of beef had delta(13)C < -21 per thousand; for these animals only was a food source other than corn possible. We observed remarkably invariant values of delta(15)N in both beef and chicken, reflecting uniform confinement and exposure to heavily fertilized feed for all animals. The delta(13)C value of fries differed significantly among restaurants indicating that the chains used different protocols for deep-frying: Wendy's clearly used only corn oil, whereas McDonald's and Burger King favored other vegetable oils; this differed from ingredient reports. Our results highlighted the overwhelming importance of corn agriculture within virtually every aspect of fast food manufacture.
A Hope Jahren; Rebecca A Kraft
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2008-11-10
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  105     ISSN:  1091-6490     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  2008 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-11-21     Completed Date:  2008-12-17     Revised Date:  2013-06-04    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  17855-60     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Geology and Geophysics, The University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Feed
Carbon Isotopes
Food Analysis*
Nitrogen Isotopes
Zea mays / chemistry*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Carbon Isotopes; 0/Nitrogen Isotopes
Comment In:
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Feb 10;106(6):E8; author reply E9   [PMID:  19188584 ]

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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