Monthly Archives: May 2011

Dangers of Sodium Metabisulfite

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Foodfacts.com wants to help you learn more about what controversial food additives are being put into your foods. You’ve probably encountered many products containing sodium metabisulfite without even realizing it. Sodium metabisulfite preserves food and is used extensively in commercial wine making. It is a bleaching agent in the textile, pulp and paper industries. It is also used in the chemical, pharmaceutical, film and photographic industries, and even in water and sewage treatment plants. However, pure sodium metabisulfite can be quite hazardous.

Sodium Metabisulfite in Food
Sodium Metabisulfite is commonly used as a food preservative for dried foods, like potato chips, raisins and apples, as well as fruit concentrate juices. As a food product, the safe daily intake of sodium metabisulfite has been determined to be about .7 grams per kilogram of body weight. However, those with allergies to sulfites — often exhibited by rashes, hives and wheezing – might try to steer clear of this preservative altogether.

Inhalation
Inhalation of sodium metabisulfite irritates your respiratory tract. Symptoms include coughing and shortness of breath. In some individuals, sodium metabisulfite may cause an allergic, asthma-type reaction.

Ingestion
Ingesting pure sodium metabisulfite irritates your gastrointestinal system as it reacts with acid in your stomach by releasing sulfurous acid. Ingesting high amounts may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, circulatory disturbance and central nervous system depression. A fatal dose is estimate to be 10 g for the average adult.

Skin Contact
When placed in direct contact, pure sodium metabisulfite can irritate skin causing redness, itching and pain.

Eye Contact
Similar to skin irritation, direct contact of sodium metabisulfite with your eyes can cause irritation, pain, stinging, tearing, redness, swelling, corneal damage and blindness. These effects may be irreversible.

Allergic Reactions
Sodium metabisulfite causes extreme allergic reactions in certain sulfite-sensitive individuals, resulting in broncho constriction, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, gastrointestinal disturbances, rapid swelling of the skin, flushing, tingling sensations and shock.

Other Names for Sodium Metabisulfite
Sodium pyrosulfite; Disodium Salt Pyrosulfurous Acid; Disulfurous acid, disodium salt, Pyrosulfurous acid, disodium salt; Sodium disulfite; Sodium Pyrosulfite; Sodium disulfite; Disodium disulfite

Will a gluten-free diet improve your health?

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Foodfacts.com is looking into gluten free diets. Sarah Cooper was a new mom in her mid-20s, busily juggling her family and a career as an electrical engineer, when everything came to a halt. She lost all her energy. She developed acne. And she began experiencing gastrointestinal problems: bloating, diarrhea, cramping, constipation. Her doctors, thinking something must be missing from her diet, put her on various vitamins, none of which helped.
“It was all I could do to go to work,” she says.
After years of failed treatments, Cooper’s luck changed. She saw a doctor who suspected she might have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that can appear at any age and is caused by an intolerance to gluten.
A protein found in wheat, barley, and rye (and countless food products — like bread and pasta — that contain those grains), gluten gradually damages the intestines of people with celiac disease, preventing the absorption of vitamins and minerals and setting off a slew of related health problems, which can include fatigue and bad skin.

Cooper tested negative for celiac disease, but the doctor advised her to try a gluten-free diet anyway.
“Within a week of eliminating [gluten], I started to feel markedly better,” says Cooper, now 36, from Melbourne, Australia. “It wasn’t a gradual feeling better; it was almost a crossing-the-street kind of thing.”
That was 10 years ago. The general practitioner who treated Cooper was ahead of his time, as most doctors are only now starting to realize that some people who don’t have celiac disease may benefit from diets free of (or low in) gluten.
In fact, experts now believe that celiac disease represents just one extreme of a broad spectrum of gluten intolerance that includes millions of people like Cooper with less severe — but nevertheless problematic — reactions to the protein.
While celiac disease affects about 1 percent of the U.S. population, experts estimate that as many as 10 percent have a related and poorly understood condition known as non-celiac gluten intolerance (NCGI), or gluten sensitivity.

“This is something that we’re just beginning to get our heads around,” says Daniel Leffler, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a gastroenterologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston. “There is a tight definition of celiac disease, but gluten intolerance has been a moving target.”

Growing awareness of gluten sensitivity has led some people who struggle with gut problems but have tested negative for celiac disease to take matters into their own hands and try a gluten-free diet, even though it’s an extremely difficult diet to follow.
Sales of gluten-free products increased 16 percent in 2010, according to the Nielsen Company.
“Gluten is fairly indigestable in all people,” Leffler says. “There’s probably some kind of gluten intolerance in all of us.”

The spectrum of gluten intolerance

Experts now think of gluten intolerance as a spectrum of conditions, with celiac disease on one end and, on the other, what’s been called a “no man’s land” of gluten-related gastrointestinal problems that may or may not overlap.
Leffler estimates, for instance, that half of the approximately 60 million people in the U.S. who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are probably sensitive to gluten. (Gluten allergies, which are similar to other food allergies, also fall on the spectrum but affect only about 0.1 percent of the population.)

Gluten intolerance of any kind — including celiac disease — is often underdiagnosed (or misdiagnosed) because it manifests itself in many and murky ways that can baffle doctors.
People with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity usually have stomachaches, gas, and diarrhea — as do people with IBS.

Celiac patients can also develop headaches, tingling, fatigue, muscle pain, skin rashes, joint pain, and other symptoms, because the autoimmune attack at the root of the disease gradually erodes the wall of the intestine, leading to poor absorption of iron, folate, and other nutrients that affect everything from energy to brain function.
People with gluten sensitivity sometimes experience these far-reaching symptoms as well, though it’s less clear why.
Gluten intolerance “starts in the intestines as a process, but doesn’t necessarily stay in the intestines. It may affect other organs,” says Alessio Fasano, M.D., medical director of the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, in Baltimore.
Celiac disease can be definitively diagnosed using a two-step process: Doctors test the patient’s blood for the presence of intestine-attacking antibodies activated by gluten, and, if those tests come back positive, they order a biopsy (or series of biopsies) to look for intestinal damage, any evidence of which confirms the diagnosis.

Gluten sensitivity, on the other hand, is a gray area that “lacks any defining medical tests,” Leffler says. People who fall into this group exhibit the classic symptoms of celiac disease yet have no detectable intestinal damage, and test negative for certain key antibodies (though in some cases they may have elevated levels of others).
Gluten sensitivity is a kind of “non-diagnosis,” in other words — a diagnosis by default for those who don’t have celiac disease but feel better on a gluten-free diet.
A recent study by Fasano and his colleagues offers some clues about what gluten sensitivity is, and how it differs from celiac disease. Although they show no signs of erosion or other damage, the study found, the intestines of gluten-sensitive patients contain proteins that contribute to a harmful immune response, one that resembles — but is distinct from — the process underlying celiac disease.
Blood tests that can diagnose gluten sensitivity by measuring these and other proteins are in the works, but they are still a ways off.
“The reason we don’t have tests yet is mainly because we don’t have a clear definition of [gluten sensitivity],” Fasano explains.

How much gluten is OK?

People with celiac disease must commit to an absolutely gluten-free diet, as eating the protein can, over time, increase a person’s risk of osteoporosis, infertility, and certain cancers, in addition to worsening short-term symptoms.
“You’re going to be on this diet for life, and it has to be extremely strict. Even crumbs can turn on the autoimmune process typical of celiac disease,” Fasano says. “If you make a mistake with celiac disease, you pay the price on the spot, but there can be a cumulative price, too.”
Recommendations for people with gluten sensitivity aren’t as clear-cut. Unlike celiac disease, gluten sensitivity hasn’t been linked to intestine damage and long-term health problems, so some experts say that people on the less severe end of the spectrum should feel comfortable eating as much gluten as they can handle without feeling sick.
“Some people can be exquisitely sensitive and have to be as strict as people with celiac disease, while others can eat a pizza,” Fasano says.

The impact that gluten can have on those without celiac disease was illustrated by a recent study in Australia.
When gluten-sensitive people were asked to eat bread and muffins every day that, unbeknownst to them, had been laced with gluten, 68 percent saw all their old symptoms come back rapidly, compared with 40 percent in a similar group that ate only gluten-free products.
“People complained that they felt like they were pregnant, had gut pain…and tiredness increased,” says the lead researcher, Jessica Biesiekierski, a Ph.D. candidate at Monash University Department of Medicine and Gastroenterology.
Sarah Cooper participated in the study and felt like she had been “hit by a bus” after the first day of gluten snacks. Her symptoms got so bad that she had to drop out halfway through the six-week study.
People with gluten sensitivity who don’t respond this way aren’t necessarily in the clear, however. Experts like Marlisa Brown, a registered dietitian in private practice in Long Island, N.Y., and the author of “Gluten-Free, Hassle-Free,” worry that gluten could have long-term negative consequences that just haven’t been identified yet.
Even if you feel better, “definitely don’t try to add it back in,” she urges. Brown counts herself among the gluten sensitive.
After enduring sinus infections, hair loss, sensitive skin, and fatigue since she was a little girl, and despite a negative celiac-disease test in her 20s (which she thinks may not have been thorough enough), Brown finally cut out gluten in her late 40s.
“I felt better in a week,” she says.

Gluten-free doesn’t equal healthy

If you suspect your body can’t tolerate gluten, the first thing you should do is get tested for celiac disease. If the test comes back negative, try a gluten-free diet for a week to see if you feel better, Leffler says.
Cutting out gluten is the most reliable way to determine if you are, in fact, sensitive to the protein — and if you are sensitive, it’s the only treatment.
However, Leffler stresses that you should get help from a dietitian to make sure that you avoid hidden sources of gluten (like soy sauce and salad dressing), and that you don’t miss out on the vitamins that wheat products provide.
Even though celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Gwyneth Paltrow have reportedly cut out gluten to “detox,” there’s nothing inherently healthier about a gluten-free diet.
“It can be very healthy, or it can be junk food,” says Dee Sandquist, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Some of the many gluten-free products on the market can be unhealthy, Fasano says, because manufacturers add extra sugar and fat to simulate the texture and satisfying fluffiness that gluten imparts.
Another potential pitfall is that gluten-free products are less routinely fortified with iron and vitamins B and D than regular bread products, Sandquist says.
“Vitamins B and D are the ones particularly at risk of being deficient in [gluten-sensitive] people.”
If you plan to go gluten free, select more fruits, vegetables, and lean meat, and more naturally gluten-free grains like brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat, rather than just buying prepackaged products labeled “gluten free,” Sandquist says.
She adds, however, that gluten-free products are “evolving” and may become healthier overall as manufacturers develop ways to fortify them.

Article provided by Carina Storrs

Bacteria seen in nearly half of U.S. meat

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Foodfacts.com has learned that Almost half of the meat and poultry sold at U.S. supermarkets and grocery stores contains a type of bacteria that is potentially harmful to humans, a new study estimates. Researchers tested 136 packages of chicken, turkey, pork, and ground beef purchased at 26 grocery stores in five cities around the country, and found that 47 percent contained Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), a common cause of infection in people. What’s more, roughly half of the contaminated samples contained strains of the bacteria that were resistant to at least three antibiotics, such as penicillin and tetracycline. Some strains were resistant to a half dozen or more.

Although the high contamination rates may sound alarming, the threat these bacteria pose to humans is still unclear.
“We know that nearly half of our food supply’s meat and poultry are contaminated with S. aureus, and more than half of those are multidrug resistant,” says Lance B. Price, Ph.D., the senior author of the study, which was published Friday in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. “What we don’t know [is] how often these transfer to people. We need more studies to quantify the public health impact.” S. aureus, and drug-resistant strains in particular, can cause serious infections and even death in humans. However, simple precautions including cooking meat thoroughly, washing hands after handling meat, and keeping raw meat separate from other foods to prevent cross-contamination are believed to neutralize the risk of infection, according to experts not involved in the research.

“Numerous studies of this type done in other countries…have generally come up with the same findings, that multidrug-resistant S. aureus are present in a variety of animal meats,” says Pascal James Imperato, M.D., the dean of the School of Public Health at SUNY–Downstate Medical Center, in Brooklyn. “But, so far, no one has been able to draw a connection between the presence of those bacteria in meats and human illness.” Multidrug-resistant bacteria strains are “always a concern for humans,” says M. Gabriela Bowden, Ph.D., a bacteria expert and assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, in Houston. “But if you follow the hygiene rules that you would follow for Salmonella or E. coli, there shouldn’t be a problem.”
The meat, which was sold under 80 different brands, was purchased in Los Angeles; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Fort Lauderdale; and Flagstaff, Ariz. The variety and number of S. aureus strains found on the samples suggest that the livestock themselves — rather than contamination during processing and packaging — are the source of the bacteria, the study notes.

Each year farmers and ranchers give millions of pounds of antibiotics to farm animals, most of them healthy, to make them grow faster and to prevent — rather than treat — diseases, says Price, the director of the Center for Food Microbiology and Environmental Health at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, a nonprofit organization in Flagstaff.
The combination of bacteria, antibiotics, and livestock living in close quarters creates the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive and mutate, which may explain the high levels of drug-resistant S. aureus seen in the study, he adds. Virtually all (96 percent) of the S. aureus strains Price and his colleagues isolated had developed resistance to at least one antibiotic. Strains resistant to three or more antibiotics were found in 79 percent of turkey, 64 percent of pork, 35 percent of beef, and 26 percent of chicken samples.
“It’s four different meats from four different animals in different geographical areas,” Bowden says. “[S. aureus] may be more prevalent than we think.”

Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), which has been a particular menace to humans in hospitals and communities alike, was found in one package each of beef, turkey, and pork, though not chicken. This sample size wasn’t large enough to arrive at an accurate estimate of its prevalence in meat nationwide, according to the study.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture currently monitor the country’s meat supply for evidence of four major types of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (including Salmonella and E. coli). The study findings suggest that S. aureus should be screened for regularly as well, the researchers say.

Article provided by Amanda Gardner

Is “Natural Flavoring” Really Natural?

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Foodfacts.com wants everyone to be aware of what the term “Natural Flavor” means on the side of a products label. We’ve all heard of products being labeled “artificially flavored” or “naturally flavored,” but ever wonder what exactly “natural flavor” means? Is it really natural? What is the difference? Well, the definition of “natural flavor” under the Code of Federal Regulations is: “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional” (21CFR101.22). Any other added flavor therefore is artificial. (For the record, any monosodium glutamate, or MSG, used to flavor food must be declared on the label as such). Both artificial and natural flavors are made by “flavorists” in a laboratory by blending either “natural” chemicals or “synthetic” chemicals to create flavorings. Gary Reineccius, a professor in the department of food science and nutrition at the University of Minnesota says “The distinction in flavorings–natural versus artificial–comes from the source of these identical chemicals and may be likened to saying that an apple sold in a gas station is artificial and one sold from a fruit stand is natural.” He also says, “Artificial flavorings are simpler in composition and potentially safer because only safety-tested components are utilized. Another difference between natural and artificial flavorings is cost. The search for “natural” sources of chemicals often requires that a manufacturer go to great lengths to obtain a given chemical…. Furthermore, the process is costly. This pure natural chemical is identical to the version made in an organic chemist’s laboratory, yet it is much more expensive than the synthetic alternative. Consumers pay a lot for natural flavorings. But these are in fact no better in quality, nor are they safer, than their cost-effective artificial counterparts.”

So what about organic foods? Foods certified by the National Organic Program (NOP) must be grown and processed using organic farming methods without synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes, petroleum-based fertilizers and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Organic livestock cannot be fed antibiotics or growth hormones. The term “organic” is not synonymous with “natural.” The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) defines “natural” as “a product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product) may be labeled natural.” Most foods labeled natural are not subject to government controls beyond the regulations and heath codes. Steffen Scheide, organic savory flavorist for an ingredients supplier says, “Minor ingredients, such as natural flavors, often cause some confusion with regard to NOP rules. Only ‘natural flavors,’ as defined in the CFR—not artificial or EU-Nature-Identical Flavors—can be considered in the development of organic foods.”

The NOP food labeling standards include a National List of Allowed Synthetic and Prohibited Substances. This list has a section on allowed non-synthetic substances, some with restrictions (205.605(a)) for products labeled “organic” or “made with organic ingredients.” Four categories of organic labels were approved by the USDA, based on the percentage of organic content: 100% Organic, Organic, Made with Organic Ingredients, and Less than 70% Organic. Natural flavors, then, can be considered NOP compliant as “organic” when used under the 95% rule (flavorings constitute 5% or less of total ingredients and meet that meet the appropriate requirements) if their organic counterparts are not available. “Made with organic ingredients” can be used on any product with at least 70% organically produced ingredients.”

According to the National List, under section 7CFR205.605(a)(9), non-agricultural, non-organic substances are allowed as ingredients that can be labeled as “organic” or “made with organic,” including “flavors, non-synthetic sources only, and must not be produced using synthetic solvents and carrier systems or any artificial preservative.” Other non-synthetic ingredients allowed in this section include: acids such as microbially-produced citric acid, dairy cultures, certain enzymes and non-synthetic yeast that is not grown on petrochemical substrates and sulfite waste liquor.

So, it seems that “natural” might not be so natural and that even some organic foods might contain some of these “natural flavors.” There are still many grey areas for consumers and producers alike. Research is being done and attempts are being made to produce more organic flavorings, but the process is slow. We as consumers need to be more aware of what ingredients go into our foods and also take more initiative to encourage the government’s responsibility to regulate these ingredients and disclose the information to the public.

Article provided by: Phil Lampert

Understanding the Dangers of Sodium Benzoate as a Food Preservative

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Foodfacts.com wants to make you more aware of what controversial ingredients manufacturers are putting into our foods. Sodium benzoate is a commonly used preservative in such items as soft drinks, fruit juices, and jams. Here’s why you need to be concerned about it.

As more people become aware of the chemicals they put into their bodies when they eat processed foods, food preservatives have come under increasing scrutiny. These chemical additives serve the important purpose of stopping the growth of bacteria and fungi which could cause illness if left unchecked. Unfortunately, the dangers of food preservatives are becoming increasingly recognized. One unhealthy preservative that’s received recent attention is sodium benzoate.

Sodium benzoate is a commonly found preservative in such food and drink products as fruit juice, soft drinks, coffee flavoring syrups, as well as a variety of condiments. Although the FDA has previously classified sodium benzoate as a safe preservative, this classification is now being questioned. It appears that sodium benzoate forms a chemical known as benzene when in the presence of vitamin C. Benzene not only causes damage to DNA, the genetic material, it’s also a known carcinogen and appears to play a role in a variety of diseases due to it’s DNA damaging capabilities.

Another reason sodium benzoate may be considered an unhealthy preservative is its effect on children. Some studies have shown that sodium benzoate along with artificial food colorings can cause children with ADHD to be more hyperactive. This can be a particular problem for kids who consume soft drinks on a regular basis since most carbonated beverages have sodium benzoate as a preservative. Because of increasing awareness of this problem, Coke is planning on removing this unhealthy preservative from its soft drink products this year.

Because the conversion of sodium benzoate to benzene occurs in the presence of vitamin C, this unhealthy preservative may be particularly unsafe when used in fruit jellies, jams, and fruit juices where high vitamin C fruits are present. It’s also thought that heat plays a role in the conversion to benzene, so heating products containing this preservative could increase the risk of negative health effects.

Unfortunately, many of the preservatives used in common food products have raised health concerns although sodium benzoate appears to be under the most scrutiny right now. To reduce your risk of exposure, read nutrition labels closely and avoid products that contain sodium benzoate, which can also be listed on the label as E211. Be particularly careful to avoid buying products high in vitamin C that have this unhealthy preservative and never put any product containing sodium benzoate under heat. To avoid the dangers of food preservatives entirely, avoid processed and packaged foods and make your own fresh items at home.

Article provided by: www.ehow.com

Changes coming on food safety rules

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The country is about to witness dramatic changes in food norms, impacting the industry significantly, if initiatives being taken by the Food Safety & Standards Authority (FSSAI) are a yardstick.

Formulation of food recall procedures in case of unsafe or hazardous products , mandatory compliance with GAP (good agricultural practices) for big retailers, labelling changes for packaged food items, organic food certification, setting water quality standards and verification of claims by food supplement companies are among the major reforms being planned by the sector regulator and the government.

FSSAI is currently in the process of consulting with industry stakeholders on food recall procedures. Speaking to Business Standard, FSSAI chairman P I Suvrathan said food recall was a rather complex process and the Authority would be able to come out with related norms early next year.

The provision of recall exists in the new integrated food safety law, expected to come into effect this August, but “we have not developed a recall procedure yet”, said Suvrathan. According to him, many countries do not have a recall procedure. The draft food recall rules state the objective of the procedure as “guiding food business operators on how to carry out a food recall through an efficient, rapid identification, as well as removal of unsafe food and food that violate the Act and Rules & Regulations…” Informing consumers about the food hazard, establishing a written recall plan, and having a follow-up action plan are also part of the draft.

OTHER PRIORITIES
The Authority is also set to look at GAP (good agricultural practice) as an effective way of assuring food safety. FSSAI will now start putting GAP-certification as a mandatory condition for large retail companies in India. “GAP is important because a major part of all food products originate from agriculture,” the FSSAI chairman said. If we know the extent of pesticide a farmer is using, checking food safety and level of contamination will be that much simpler.

Organic food is another area of focus for the Authority. What can be called organic and what is near-organic are some of the things that FSSAI will look at. “We have plans of taking up organic food certification,” said Suvrathan. Many agencies and ministries are working in this area and FSSAI is consulting with all of them on the issue.

Another priority area are new guidelines on labelling and claims by manufacturers of food products and health supplements. If a food product or supplement manufacturer claims something, it will have to establish it. The Authority has developed the first part of the regulation and the new norms should be in place by the end of this year.

“We are updating the current labeling provisions. Scientific backing for claims will be necessary. What study have you done, what is the evidence — you have to prove your claims. These are the questions we will ask,” said Suvrathan.

As for contents on the cover/packaging, the print size and logo, everything will be vetted. “Often companies say that they have to make the print very small because they need to put in so many things as part of labelling.” Now, they have been told that only relevant information like expiry date and ingredients should be there. Take away all that is irrelevant.”

Setting standards for quality of water used in food products is also on the to-do list of the Food Safety Authority. “Water is dealt with by 15 agencies, including several ministries in India,” said Suvrathan . The Authority will come out with a standard for potable water within six months.

Information provided by: http://www.business-standard.com

Entenmann’s donuts recalled over smell and mold!

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Foodfacts.com has learned that Six kinds of mini-donuts have been recalled by Bimbo Bakeries USA Inc., because “they may develop an uncharacteristic smell and become moldy,” the company says. Three kinds of Entenmann’s Pop ‘Ems were pulled in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah:

- Powdered Pop ‘Ems, 10-ounce package, UPC Code 72030-01570
- Cinnamon Pop ‘Ems, 10-ounce package, UPC Code 72030-01985
- Rich Frosted Pop ‘Ems, 10.5-ounce package, UPC Code 72030-01571

And three kinds of Bimbo’s Donitas mini-donuts were recalled in California, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming:
- Sugared Donitas, 8 count, 3.6-ounce package, UPC Code 74323-07039
- Powdered Donitas, 8 count, 4.0-ounce package, UPC Code 74323-04976
- Chocolate Frosted Donitas, 8 count, 4.3-ounce package, UPC Code 74323-09964

The Entenmann’s products come in blue and white bags with dates between May 11 and June 6 printed in a circle on the upper right portion of the package. The Donitas come in cellophane wrappers, with the same dates in the same locations on the packaging. Although serious health problems are unlikely from consuming the products, the company initiated the recall after receiving complaints from customers about an unpleasant odor and “temporary illness.”
If you’ve bought one of the products, take it back to the store for a full refund.

The Effect of Food Additives on Your Child’s Health

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Foodfacts.com wants to make everyone more aware of the harmful effects of Food Additives on Your Child’s Health. Do you ever wonder how Jello gets its pretty colors? Or how the taste of vanilla can exist in food that doesn’t contain vanilla beans? Additives and chemicals are added to our everyday foods and beverages and most have nothing to do with nutritional value. They exist to fulfill consumer’s expectation of perfection. We know that Mother Nature may not produce a perfect fruit or vegetable so we keep them unblemished with the use of fungicides, pesticides and herbicides. With the continued high demand from consumers for meals that are easy to prepare and taste good, the industry of food additives in the category of flavorings and flavor enhancers is expected to top $1.46 billion this year.

Food additives are not new (originally they were made from coal tar oil) and children have been eating them for decades. So why do we care about them now?

Today our children are exposed to additives and chemicals everyday all day. Instead of the occasional candy, or special occasion pink cupcakes, children growing up in the United States are digesting chemicals from breakfast until bedtime. Multi-colored toothpaste, colored breakfast cereals, artificial whip toppings, bubble gum, liquid medicine and highly processed convenience foods in lunchboxes (can you say Lunchables?) More children are drinking soft drinks with artificial color, flavor, caffeine and aspartame. The more they have the more they crave, and for a tired parent, sometimes the path of least resistance becomes the choice.

More importantly, pesticides, hormones and synthetic food additives have been shown to affect brain development, behavior and learning abilities in children. What you put in your shopping cart is more important than ever!

FOOD DYES Listed on the ingredients label as “Yellow No. 5″, “Red #3″, etc., dyes are used primarily to make food appear fresher than it is, or in the case of many foods made for children, to attract them with bright colors. They are used in breakfast cereals, drinks, candy, bakery goods, puddings, gelatin desserts, just to name a few. Instead, look for carrots and beets as natural coloring agents on the label.

ARTIFICIAL FLAVORINGS Are made up of hundreds of combinations of chemicals, both natural and synthetic. A popular flavoring agent is “vanillin”, also listed as “vanilla flavoring”. This flavoring agent is made from the waste product of paper mills. Instead, look for “pure vanilla” on the label. MSG, salt and sodium containing agents are popular food additives. MSG has been linked to brain damage and infertility in laboratory animals and many people who eat MSG complain of headaches, chest pains and numbness. It’s primarily used to intensify flavor in meats, condiments, pickles, soups, candy and baked goods.

PRESERVATIVES There are about one hundred preservatives, which are used to prevent food from going “bad”. BHA, BHT and TBHQ are three commonly used preservatives. They may also be listed as “anti-oxidants” because they prevent the fats in food from “oxidizing” or spoiling. (There are natural and beneficial anti-oxidants but they are more expensive than the synthetic versions that are currently widely used.) You can find them in beverages, ice cream, candy, baked goods, soup bases, potatoes, breakfast cereals, dry mixes, enriched rice, animal fats and shortenings containing animal fats. These preservatives can cause allergic reactions and have been known to affect kidney and liver functions, brain function and may also convert other ingested substances into cancer-causing additives.

Nitrates, nitrites and sulfites, sodium benzoate, calcium propionate and citric acid are preservatives that trigger terrible symptoms in allergy sensitive kids, but for some they are deadly. Nitrates and Nitrites are used as a color fixative in cured meats, and studies have linked them to cancer. Sulfites are used for their anti-browning effects and to keep fruits and vegetables crisp longer.

SWEETENERS - Refined starches, high-fructose corn syrup and all artificial sweeteners (NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet’n Low, Sucralose, Acesulfame-K) not only rob your children of their health, but artificial sweeteners have been linked to brain damage, MS, Lupus and other central nervous disorders. Excessive sugar intake in children is also a contributing factor to our current childhood obesity epidemic.

As the primary grocery shopper, you are the most important person in your family’s health. By reading labels and selecting wisely, you can protect your family and affect the sales of more wholesome foods.

Article provided by www.familymagazinegroup.com

What is the food additive BHT?

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Foodfacts.com wants you to know what controversial food additives are really being put into your foods. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is a food additive which is used as a preservative, and when it appears on food labels, it indicates that the manufacturer is concerned about the potential for the food to go rancid. BHT is also used as a preservative in a number of other things, ranging from cosmetics to jet fuel. The substance was developed in the late 1940s, and approved for use in the 1950s.

This substance is an antioxidant, preventing oxidation damage to fats. When foods which are high in fat are not treated with preservatives, the fats can go rancid very quickly, causing the fats to taste bad, and potentially creating health risks for consumers. By using preservatives like BHT, manufacturers can ensure that their foods are shelf-stable longer, and that their flavors will be retained. Essentially, BHT intercepts free radicals, preventing them from attacking the fats.

BHT often appears in things like potato chips, which tend to be high in fat, along with baked goods and a wide variety of other foods. In cosmetics and other products, BHT works in the same way, protecting the fats in the product from damage which could cause the product to separate or go bad in other ways. In some instances, a related substance known as butylated hydrooxyanisole (BHA) may be used instead of BHT. BHA began displacing BHT in the 1970s, due to concerns about the health risks of BHT.

In pure form, BHT is a crystalline white power. It is highly fat soluble, allowing manufacturers to mix it into food as it is produced so that consumers will not notice the appearance or flavor of BHT. Like other food additives, BHT must be identified on a label; you may also see it identified as E321 in the European Union, which uses a system of numbers to mark various food additives.

The health risks of this food additive are a topic of debate, and further research is clearly needed. Some studies have linked BHT with an increase in tumors and malignant cancers, while others have suggested that it may help to protect the body from free radicals which cause other cancers. BHT also seems to have some antimicrobial and antiviral activities, and it has in fact been used in medical research for treating conditions like herpes. The Food and Drug Administration still considers BHT to be safe, although consumers who wish to avoid it may want to check their labels carefully.

Safeway the latest to be snagged in grape tomato salmonella recall

grapetomatoes
Foodfacts.com has learned that Grape tomatoes potentially contaminated by Salmonella have been recalled from a variety of retail locations, and in a variety of retail products. The latest company snagged, or snagged again, in the recall is Safeway, which is expanding its earlier recall to include “Eating Right Veggie Party Platter.” On May 2, the company had recalled cafe salads and deli salads made with grape tomatoes.

The contaminated tomatoes were from Taylor Farms, and grown by Six L’s. Other companies and products involved in the rolling recall include:

•Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. (“Del Monte Fresh”) of Coral Gables, has been advised that a limited number of grape tomatoes in a specific lot of grape tomatoes grown in Florida by Six L’s Packing Company in Immokalee, Florida may be contaminated with Salmonella. The grape tomatoes may have been used in 63 cases of Vegetable Trays and Veg. Trio sold in Roche Bros. Supermarkets in the state of Massachusetts under the brand ROCHE BROS.

•Northeast Produce Inc. of Plainville, CT has been notified by grower Six L’s that a specific lot of grape tomatoes supplied to Northeast Produce Inc., may be contaminated with Salmonella. This product has been recalled by Six L’s. Northeast Produce Inc. is a customer of Six L’s and our recall is associated with the recall from Six L’s.

•Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc. of Tracy, CA has been notified by grower Six L’s that a specific lot of grape tomatoes supplied to Taylor Farms Pacific may be contaminated with Salmonella. This product has been recalled by Six L’s. This lot of grape tomatoes was used in the following products made by Taylor Farms Pacific for Albertsons, Raley’s, Safeway, Savemart, Sam’s Club, & Walmart and is being voluntarily recalled as a precautionary measure. No illnesses have been reported.

•In cooperation with Taylor Farms’ expanded voluntary recall of products containing grape tomatoes, Safeway is also expanding its voluntary recall to include fresh kabobs made with grape tomatoes sold in our full-service meat counter in several states. The kabobs were made using grape tomatoes supplied by Taylor Farms and sourced from grower Six L’s that were recalled due to possible Salmonella contamination.

•Mastronardi Produce of Kingsville, Ontario is voluntarily recalling a limited quantity of grape tomatoes.