I spent the Thanksgiving holiday at my parent’s house in Pennsylvania, where my mom cooked the best turkey dinner I can remember. The highlights included homemade cranberry sauce with Granny Smith Apples and almonds, mashed potatoes with cream separated fresh from the cow, and a perfectly roasted Turkey from a local farm. The whole meal was delicious.
The next day, my mom made a rich broth with the turkey carcass. She added some noodles, an onion, and frozen corn from the farm. It was the perfect accompaniment to our Thanksgiving leftovers the next night.
That same evening, the familiar signs of fluoroderma began to show themselves in all the familiar places: on my chin, around my temples, on the back of my neck. At the time, I didn’t consider it could have been caused by the turkey broth. I thought it was because my parent’s live in a house with fluoridated water, even though I made every effort to avoid using water from the tap.
Because of the new breakouts, I was relieved to leave Fluorideville the next day. My mom sent me home with a generous portion of leftover turkey, which I dutifully ate at nearly every meal until it was gone (at over $4 a pound, how could I let it go to waste?). I was fine with the turkey meat, but on my final turkey meal of the Thanksgiving holiday I had another outbreak. It was the drumstick, and more specifically, all the fat crispy turkey skin that went along with it.
Looking back, I should have realized the fluoride content of turkey would give me problems. I suppose I was in denial. As with chickens, fluoride accumulates in the bones and fatty tissue of turkeys –even the expensive turkey my mom bought this year. It was bred, raised, and processed on a local farm in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. It even drank clean well water it’s whole life. But this turkey wasn’t organic, which means it ate poultry feed from soy and corn treated with pesticides, many of which are fluoride-based.
The high fluoride content of commercially-raised chicken is well documented, but I did not find a lot of information about the fluoride content of turkey. In this abstract of an article published in The Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry entitled Fluoride Content of Foods Made with Mechanically Separated Chicken, the authors explain that unlike with chicken, foods made from mechanically deboned turkey are not a significant source of fluoride. But if we take a closer look at their research, we learn this fact does not mean they thought turkey bones contain less fluoride. Instead, the authors conclude that mechanically processed turkey is low in fluoride because the bones are difficult to crush (see Fluoridation News Releases: Fluoride in Chicken).
Tracing the source of every breakout is a challenge I do not claim to have mastered, but after two years of studying my body’s reaction to fluoride it is definitely a skill I have refined to some degree. At the very least, we need more studies about the fluoride content of the foods we are eating. They need to be detailed and specific: turkey skin, turkey bones, turkey stock, dark meat, white meat, organic, free-range, etc.
Next year, I will be sure to splurge on a bird I know is organic.
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