Monthly Archives: June 2011

Do you know what’s in your Taco??

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Foodfacts.com takes a closer look at what’s really in a some Taco Bell products. By simply looking at the Nachos Bell Grande at Taco Bell, some would think there are maybe 5 or 6 ingredients. There’s the sour cream, layers of nacho cheese, mountain of tortilla chips, some tomatoes, little bit of chive, and topped off with ground beef. In reality, this menu item contains about 125 ingredients; some of which aren’t ideal, and may possibly cause some hazardous health effects. At Food Facts we like to point out these controversial ingredients and help consumers become more aware of what’s REALLY in their food.

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Let’s start off with autolyzed yeast extract, because many people may be unfamiliar with this ingredient, and coincidentally it is in all three featured products. This ingredient naturally contains glutamic acid, a flavor enhancer. Therefore, most types of yeast extract are used as food additives to help give flavor to different products. In autolyzed yeast extract, sodium chloride is added during the fermentation process to create monosodium glutamate, commonly referred to as MSG.

Most consumers are very familiar with MSG because it has received a great deal of attention in recent years. This ingredient can be found in salad dressings, mixed seasonings, snacks, chips, beef stocks, and much more. With the increased popularity of this product, came increased reports of migraine headaches, dizziness, nausea, and so on. In fact, all the symptoms of MSG can be categorized as “MSG Symptom Complex”, because there is a large variety of symptoms that may occur. Also, some people may also have intolerance to MSG, so be careful to check food labels for monosodium glutamate, yeast extract, and other hidden MSG forms.

The Burrito Supreme at Taco Bell is another menu-favorite. Aside from this item providing a hefty dose of the recommended daily value for sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol; it also contains a variety of controversial ingredients you may not be aware of. burrito-supremeThe one ingredient some may be curious about is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ. Not only is this ingredient a mouth-full, it is also a phenol used as a food additive to enhance storage life of different products. Although deemed safe by the FDA, certain studies have shown that high doses of TBHQ are not only carcinogenic, but may also cause damage to DNA and promote growth of tumors. Make sure to read food labels carefully for this food additive.

Crunchy tacos are a staple for the Taco Bell franchise. Although these more basic items contain less controversial ingredients, they still include hidden MSG and TBHQ. taco-bell-beefTheir nutrition label also displays high amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, which consumers should carefully monitor when eating at any fast-food restaurant.

What’s really in Snapple Apple!

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Foodfacts.com looks into what’s really in Snapple “Apple.” Many consumers and bloggers recently took notice that “Snapple Apple” contains zero apples! Instead, this “apple” drink contains pear concentrate. Isn’t this false advertising? The Consumerist recently reached out to Snapple in regards to this matter to receive the following e-mail back:

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“Thank you for contacting our Company regarding our ingredients in our products.

Our Company complies with all applicable labeling regulations promulgated in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory bodies. Product flavor components that form part of our “natural” or “natural and/or artificial flavors” ingredients are considered proprietary to our Company.
If you have a concern regarding the intake of this product, we suggest that you contact your health care provider. If you have known sensitivities to any substance listed in the ingredient statement, we advise discontinuing use of the product.

Thanks again for contacting us.

Sincerely,
Consumer Relations”

So why doesn’t Snapple Apple use actual apple juice in their “apple” drink? The Consumerist points out that a real apple apparently doesn’t provide the same “apple” taste some people expect. However, pears are somehow able to provide the “true apple flavor.”

Apples score very high at Food Facts! They provide plenty of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and lutein, (an antioxidant which promotes eye health in preventing macular degeneration, light sensitivity, and cataracts.) Snapple Apple is missing out.apple

Next time you’re looking for an apple juice or any type fruit juice, make sure to look for “100% pure” or “100% fruit juice” to get all the nutrients of the fruit or vegetable.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

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Many people recognise monosodium glutamate (MSG) as the additive used, for example, in some Chinese and Japanese food, but few know what it is, let alone what its effects on the body are. Now a new report focuses on how monosodium glutamate may be just one of the causes of the Slow Poisoning of America.

In fact, MSG (which is often disguised by names like “hydrolyzed vegetable protein” or “HVP”, “yeast extract” or “autolyzed proteins”) is, like aspartame, a member of the group of chemicals known as “excitotoxins” (the clue is in the name!). These toxic compounds are known to interfere with brain chemistry and have been implicated in many neurological diseases, such as brain cancers, MS, fibromyalgia, depression and hyperactivity (ADHD). In fact, they overexcite brain cells to the point of cell damage and even cell death.

MSG has also been linked to obesity and, indeed, many products that contain MSG now also contain horrific chemicals like “high fructose corn syrup” (whose purpose is to make you chemically addicted to the food in the same way as sugar).

Monosodium glutamate is the sodium salt of the amino acid glutamate, and is a commonly used flavor enhancer, regarded by the FDA as “generally safe”, meaning that food manufacturers can use as much of it as they like. It has been around for many years, and is found not only in take away meals from Chinese restaurants, but many other food sources, in which it is listed as either “monosodium glutamate”, “MSG” or “hydrolyzed vegetable protein”.

In a recent book on the subject, Dr Russell Blaylock reported that MSG also causes severe disturbances in the endocrine system, affecting levels of hormones such as LH (Leutenising hormone), GH (growth hormone) and prolactin. (Excitotoxins by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 263)

Another recent work stated that “The stress-induced abnormalities in blood-brain barrier permeability suggest differing MSG effects dependent on existing states of relaxation or stresses. The suggestive evidence for MSG-induced neuroendocrine effects is substantial, coupled with the observation of increased obesity in children.” ( In Bad Taste by George R Schwartz MD, page 39)

In short, MSG is a leading cause of obesity and may well be implicated in many other conditions. It should be avoided at all costs, just like its chemical relatives.

Recent Food Recalls

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At Food Facts we find it important that consumers get the latest news on important food safety issues and recalls. Below are a list of recent recalls as listed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Earth Fare Recall on Frozen Spicy Bean Burgers in Akron, Ohio Due To Possible Health Risks
Contact:
Consumer:
828-281-4800
Extension. 180

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 17, 2011 – Earth Fare, Fletcher, NC is recalling its frozen Earth Fare Spicy Bean Burger with UPC code 8-78602-00518 and lot codes #05311 and #06711 because of a potential Salmonella contamination. No other Earth Fare Veggie Burger products were affected.

The product was distributed and sold only in the Earth Fare located in Akron, OH.
Salmonella is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e. infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis. For more information on Salmonella, please visit the website for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov.1

The product is sold in 10-ounce boxes with lot code: #05311 and #06711 and displays the following UPC code:
• 8-78602-00518 Earth Fare Natural Spicy Bean Burger

There have been no reported incidents by consumers. Earth Fare assures every precautionary measure should be taken when it comes to consumer health and safety. This recall does not impact any other frozen veggie burgers sold at Earth Fare.
The recall was the result of a routine sampling program conducted by the Food and Drug Administration, which revealed that the finished product contained the bacteria. Earth Fare has removed all affected lot codes from all store shelves as FDA and the company continue their investigation as to the cause of the problem.

If consumers have purchased product with the indicated UPC code and lot codes, they are urged to return the product to the store for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company by calling 828-281-4800 x. 180, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Dole Fresh Vegetables Announces Precautionary Recall of Limited Number of Italian Blend Salads
Contact:
Consumer:
(800) 356-3111

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Media:
Marty Ordman
(818) 874-4834
marty.ordman@dole.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 22, 2011 – Dole Fresh Vegetables is voluntarily recalling 2,880 cases of DOLE® Italian Blend salad with Use-by Date of June 19, 2011, UPC code 7143000819 and Product Codes 0049A157201A, 0049A157201B, 0049A157202A, 0049A157202B, 0686A157202A, 0686A157202B and 442 cases of Kroger Fresh Selections Italian Style Blend salad with Use-by-Date of June 19, 2011, UPC code 1111091045 and Product Codes A157201A & A157201B, due to a possible health risk from Listeria monocytogenes. Dole Fresh Vegetables is coordinating closely with regulatory officials. No illnesses have been reported in association with the recall.

The Product Code and Use-by Date are in the upper right-hand corner of the package; the UPC code is on the back of the package, below the barcode. The salads were distributed in twelve U.S. states (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin) and three Canadian provinces (New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec).

No illnesses have been reported in association with the recall. This precautionary recall notification is being issued due to an isolated instance in which one package of Dole Italian Blend salad yielded a positive result for Listeria monocytogenes in a random sample test collected and conducted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

No other Dole or Kroger salads are included in the recall. Only the specific Product Codes, UPC codes and June 19, 2011 Use-by-Date of Italian Blend salads identified above are included in the recall. Consumers who have any remaining product with these Product Codes should not consume it, but rather discard it. Retailers and consumers with questions may call the Dole Food Company Consumer Response Center at (800) 356-3111, which is open 8:00 am to 3:00 pm (PDT) Monday – Friday.

Retailers should check their inventories and store shelves to confirm that none of the product is mistakenly present or available for purchase by consumers or in warehouse inventories. Dole Fresh Vegetables customer service representatives are already contacting retailers and are in the process of confirming that the recalled product is not in the stream of commerce.

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that can cause foodborne illness in a person who eats a food item contaminated with it. Symptoms of infection may include fever, muscle aches, gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea. If it spreads to the nervous system symptoms may include headache, stiff neck or confusion. The illness primarily impacts pregnant women and adults with weakened immune systems. Most healthy adults and children rarely become seriously ill.

Kashi Recalls Select Frozen Pizzas Because They May Contain Plastic Fragments
Contact:
Consumer:
(877) 864-3521
Media:
(269) 961-3799

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 6, 2011 – Kashi is recalling approximately 11,000 cases of frozen pizzas, including Mediterranean Thin Crust Pizza, Roasted Vegetable Thin Crust Pizza, and Mushroom Trio and Spinach Thin Crust Pizza due to possible plastic fragments in an ingredient in the pizza crusts.

The impacted products include the following individually packaged pizzas:
• Kashi Mediterranean Thin Crust Pizza packaged in a 12.7 ounce box and marked with UPC Code 1862732905 3 and Best If Used Before date of either May10 12NU, May18 12NU, or May19 12NU;

• Kashi Roasted Vegetable Thin Crust Pizza packaged in a 12.2 ounce box and marked with UPC Code 1862737342 1 and Best If Used Before date of either May09 12NU or May14 12NU;

• Kashi Mushroom Trio and Spinach Thin Crust Pizza packaged in an 11.9 ounce box and marked with UPC Code 1862737344 5 and Best If Used Before date of May17 12NU.

No other Kashi frozen pizzas or other products are included in the recall, and no consumer complaints have been reported. The products were distributed nationwide through U.S. retail grocery stores.

“People who buy Kashi trust the quality and safety of our foods,” said David DeSouza, general manager. “We apologize for this situation and are working closely with our suppliers and retail customers to resolve it quickly.”

Consumers with questions or who would like a replacement may contact the Kashi Consumer Response Center at 877.864.3521 Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, or visit www.Kashi.com1.

What’s in your Happy Meal?

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McDonald’s Scrambled Eggs

Foodfacts.com takes a deeper look into the ingredients in some of McDonald’s most popular foods!McDonald’s scrambled eggs are not just made with whole eggs; they are also filled with preservatives, hydrogenated oils, food coloring, and other additives. In fact, there are approximately 20 different ingredients in the 3.3oz serving that McDonald’s provides each morning to millions of consumers that may possibly believe they are receiving a well-balanced meal.

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One of the first ingredients listed on the nutrition label is sodium acid pyrophosphate. This food additive helps scrambled eggs maintain their “appealing” yellow color. What some may not know is that this product is also used in petroleum production. The chemicals in this compound help to prevent clumping in oil-well drilling mud. Still think that’s appetizing?

Some other ingredients listed in this product are sodium benzoate, and beta carotene colors. This is quite controversial considering that some studies recently done by the Food Standards Agency, have shown that sodium benzoate in the presence of food coloring may cause hyperactive behavior in children. Although this study is still being investigated, it is good information to know for the next time you bring your kids to the McDonald’s drive-thru window.

Aside from all the food additives and preservatives, these scrambled eggs also have 4g of saturated fat, and 520mg of cholesterol. These numbers represent 20% of the daily value for saturated fats and 173% of daily value for cholesterol, just in this one serving alone. Sounds like it may be healthier just to prepare your eggs at home.

McDonald’s Big Mac

McDonald’s Big Mac is 3 buns, 2 beef patties, and 100 other ingredients. This sandwich lists high fructose corn syrup, ammonium chloride, propylene glycol alginate, sodium benzoate, and calcium disodium, just to name a few.

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What sticks out most in the above list is probably ammonium chloride. You may have heard of this ingredient because it is very commonly used in shampoos as a thickening agent, cleaning products, various glues, fertilizers, textiles and leather, and even fireworks and explosives. In the Big Mac and many other foods, ammonium chloride is used as a food additive. This inorganic compound helps maintain color in food products, changes the texture of foods, and sometimes adds a “spicy” flavor. Would you want the same ingredients listed on your cleaning products also listed on the foods you eat?

A possible positive for this sandwich, there is a lot of protein, about 25 grams. Also, because of the 2 beef patties, the Big Mac also provides 25% of your daily value for iron. However, you also get 1,040mg sodium, 29g total fat, 10g saturated fat, and 75mg cholesterol. This sandwich is also 540 calories, 260 of these calories are just from fat alone.

McDonald’s Grilled Chicken Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap

A few years ago, McDonald’s introduced snack wraps to their long-chain of restaurants. These snack wraps are considered the “healthy” quick items to grab during the day that can help hold you over until dinner time.

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This Grilled Chicken Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap from McDonald’s is about half the size of the quintessential Big Mac, but lists more ingredients. Due to the fact these snack wraps are marketed to be the healthy options, one would think it would have fewer, and simpler ingredients. However, one of the ingredients that stick out most is sodium metabisulfite. This substance is commonly used as a disinfectant in home brewing and winemaking to sterilize process equipment. In this snack wrap, it is a food additive that helps to preserve the product over a period of time.

Sodium metabisulfite has also been shown to cause allergic reaction within the respiratory system to those who are sensitive to sulfites. The acceptable daily intake is about 0.7mg per kg of body weight. However, the amount is not specified in this product, so those who are sensitive to sulfites may want to be extra careful.

McDonald’s Large French Fries

McDonald’s french fries are a staple at the thousands of restaurants. Commonly, most people visit the drive-thru just to order a side of fries. Although they may taste good, and be somewhat fulfilling for many consumers, the list of ingredients is a turn-off for some.

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For those that may not be as familiar with the chemistry behind hydrogenated fats, it is basically a process to convert monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to the less-healthy saturated fats. This is done because changing the level of saturation, also changes a products physical properties. The more saturated the product, the better it bakes or cooks.

These McDonald’s French fries include hydrogenated oils so that the product maintains its form during the frying process. However, this process increases the amount of total fat and saturated fat in the product. These French fries contain about 18% of the daily value for saturated fat, and 38% of the daily value for total fat, which are pretty high numbers.

Another ingredient in this product is dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent. McDonald’s reported that this compound is used in a matter of safety, to prevent the oil on both the fries and chicken nuggets from foaming. This chemical is a type of silicone-polymer that is commonly used in hair shampoos, lubricating oils, contact lenses, medical devices, and so on. If more people knew about this ingredient, would it still be such a huge seller?

McDonald’s M&M McFlurry

The McDonald’s McFlurry came into production around the late 90’s. This was an instant hit with consumers because it beat the ordinary vanilla soft-serve they had originally offered. Snickers, M&Ms, Oreo, and other flavors have been featured in McFlurry items to increase sales of these popular desserts. Not only are there candies and cookies, but also a long list of ingredients that some may consider controversial. Among these ingredients are 10 different food colorings, and also carrageenan.

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Food colorings have been reported to increase hyperactive behavior in children diagnosed with ADHD. Although clinical studies have shown mixed results in this matter, many parents believe that food colorings eliminated from the diet improve their children’s behavior. The McFlurry is equipped with Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6, and Blue 2.

Carrageenan has raised eyebrows in recent years because many people believe it causes certain health implications. Results from studies have shown that rats, monkeys, and guinea pigs consuming a certain amount of carrageenan may not only obtain ulcerations in the GI tract, but also GI cancer. Current studies are also examining the relationship between carrageenan consumption and inflammatory bowel disease and also Crohn’s Disease.

(FoodFacts.com)

5 Chemical Foods to Remove from Your Diet

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Foodfacts.com is teaming up with our friends over at Dietsinreview.com to help inform you about what chemicals you should try removing from your diet. These days it seems you need an advanced science degree to read and understand a food ingredient label. Most of us scan over them simply because it’s easier. However, what we’re overlooking in all that multi-syllabic jargon are chemical additives that can have incredibly negative effects on our health.

Manufacturers use chemical additives for a number of reasons, including a longer shelf life, better taste or color, and even to keep production costs down. We’ve identified five that are especially concerning, and hope you’ll take an extra minute to review your food labels before making a purchase.

Trans Fat – One of the most controversial additives, this can be found on food labels as “Partially Hydrogenated Oil or Vegetable Oil.” The consumption of trans fat can be detrimental to cardiovascular health, and it has been linked with the obesity epidemic. Watch food labels closely because a food with less than.5 grams of trans fat per serving is allowed to list zero grams on its label.

Foods with Trans Fat: Fried Food, Microwave Popcorn, Margarine, Crackers, Chips, Store-bought Cookies

Artificial Coloring - Food dyes are a chemical and offer no nutritive value, meaning they don’t offer any vitamins or minerals. Artificial coloring is noted in food labels, with some of the more common (and considered carcinogens) being Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 3, Yellow 6.

Foods with Artificial Coloring: Soda, Candy, Juice, Frosting, Canned Fruit, Hot Dogs

Sodium Nitrite or Nitrate - These additives are used to give “cured meats” a salty taste and give their reddish hue. As an example hot dogs nd bacon would be more of a grey hue without these chemicals. Linked with cancers in adults and children, these are easily avoided by looking for natural meats and checking labels.

Foods with Nitrites or -ates: Bacon, Hot Dogs, Sausage, Deli Meat

Saccharin or Aspartame - These artificial sweeteners are actually sweeter than natural sugar, but far worse for your health. While they’ve made it possible for many to enjoy sweet treats, the affects on the body aren’t any better. Saccharin has been considered for ban by the FDA, and is linked with multiple types of cancers in many studies. These are manufactured chemical additives and, like the others, offer nothing in the way of nutrition.

Foods with Artificial Sweeteners: “Sugar” Packets, Diet Soda, Sugar-Free or Reduced-Sugar Foods

Diacetyl - The buttery flavor you enjoy from many packaged foods is probably not butter, but instead dactyl, a chemical ingredient linked with a lung disease nicknamed “popcorn lung.” While that health concern helped reduce its use, it’s still looking at the ingredients label to see if it’s lurking.

Foods with Diacetyl: Artificially-flavored Butter Products, Microwave Popcorn

By Brandi Koskie for DietsInReview.com

Meat Glue: The Meat Industry’s Dirty Secret

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Did you know your meats contain this meat glue? Just one more way food producers can sell more, while lowering the quality of what you consume. If it’s so harmless and miraculous, why didn’t we know before? It’s not on labels because technically it not part of formulation of the product. That’s a giant stretch. It is not harmless…and yes, you are actually ingesting it all the time!

It creates a type of franken-meat in that it allows butchers to use the undetectable glue to piece together scraps of meat into a seamless full meat cut. England banned use of Thrombin coagulant last year. They found it mislead consumers to think they are getting a prime cut for their money, and also the original glue was made from cow and pig blood, something they didn’t think was wise in restaurant meats.

When multiple pieces are globbed together, bacteria has a better chance of growth. “If there is a bacteria outbreak, it’s much harder to figure out the source when chunks of meat from multiple cows were combined,” said Keith Warriner who teaches food science at University of Guelph.

The EU recently brought back the use of the new glue, Thrombian, or Transglutaminase, right along with Australia, Canada and the US. The FDA, of course, deems it GRAS (generally recognized as safe).

It’s hush-hush because meat preparers are afraid to lose their suppliers and customers. The next time you buy natural and organic meat, it wouldn’t hurt to ask about its use.

Meat Glue: It sounds utterly repellent; like some pre-industrial, rustic adhesive, but it’s actually a fine, tasteless powder that looks like icing sugar and is it makes meat and other proteins stick together like super glue. If your eating meat, chances are you’re eating or have eaten the glue at some point.

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This sort of thing has been a boon to the food industry, which can now treat all sorts of proteins like meat or fish as just another material to be processed, but in the hands of molecular gastronomists it’s become a way to manipulate food in a way that would have been previously impossible. It’s possible, for example, to make tenderloin rolls wrapped in bacon that hold together perfectly without the need for twine or toothpicks. So what kind of glue is it exactly?

Produced as Activa by Japan’s Ajinomoto Company, it’s scientific name is “transglutaminase” and it belongs to the family of clotting enzymes which are eight in number.

Thrombin is a coagulation protein which together with the fibrous protein fibrin can be used to develop a “meat glue” enzyme that can be used for sticking together different pieces of meat. It can be made from blood taken from either cows or pigs.

Less than a year ago, the European Parliament had voted to ban bovine and porcine thrombin. The House said the meat glue has no proven benefit for consumers and might mislead them instead.

The Parliament estimated that there is “a clear risk that meat containing thrombin would find its way into meat products served in restaurants or other public establishments serving food, given the higher prices that can be obtained for pieces of meat served as a single meat product”.

But two weeks ago, all but one of the European Union nations voted in favor of using Thrombian, or Transglutaminase (TG). They now join other developed nations such as the U.S., Canada, and Australia who approved the product.

The Swedish government’s recent approval of the use of Thrombian prompted the Swedish Consumers’ Association and politicians to join together to criticize this approval. “We do not want this at all–it is meat make-up,” Jan Bertoft of the Association told IceNews, a daily Icelandic newspaper.

“The problem is that Thrombian-enhanced products look like real meat. It is the dishonesty in it that makes us think that it is not okay,” said Bertoft. For example, pork tenderloin can have numerous small parts fused together to produce what will appear to be a full fillet.

According to blog, Cooking Issues, Meat Glue is commonly used all the time, primarily to:

• Make uniform portions that cook evenly, look good, and reduce waste

• Bind meat mixtures like sausages without casings

• Make novel meat combinations like lamb and scallops

According to the Food and Drug Administration’s website, Transglutaminase is classified as a GRAS product (generally recognized as safe).

Health Canada approved the product. However, the glue also raises food-safety issues, says Keith Warriner, an associate professor of food science at the University of Guelph, in a phone interview from his office. If there is a bacteria outbreak, it’s much harder to figure out the source when chunks of meat from multiple cows were combined.

Yet another innovation is “modified atmosphere packaging”, the widespread practice of filling meat packaging with adjusted levels of oxygen and other gases. The gases can keep meat from losing its fresh-looking red hue. Shiv Chopra, an Ottawa food-safety expert and retired Health Canada scientist, said in an e-mail that the technique is “dangerous” because it may prevent shoppers from seeing when meat has gone bad. UBC’s Allen agreed: “This can be misleading to consumers.”

Invariably, industry justifies use of these so called meat glues because they are used only during processing and resist declaring it in the label obviously maintaining that it is not a part of the formulation of the product. While technically they are correct, the fact still remains that the so called processing aid stays right there in the final product.which certainly requires declaration for the information of the consumer.

If the idea of fish slurry or chicken puree glued together with an enzyme isn’t appealing to you, use it as motivation to learn more about where your food comes from. Try shopping from farmer’s markets more, so that you know who has grown your vegetables, or raised your meat if you eat it. Although between the chemicals, pollutants, cruelty and maybe reconsider what it means to eat meat at all.

Article provided by: Lois Rain

GMOs in Zambia

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GENETICALLY Modified Organisms (GMOs) are not the solution to increased agricultural output in Zambia, says a Zambian academician based in the US.

Professor Henry Kyambalesa said what the country needed was ambitious agricultural policies and programmes designed to overcome the salient hurdles to increased agricultural output.

Prof Kyambalesa said GMOs were not the solution because the country was blessed with good weather, fertile soil, several perennial rivers and hardworking citizens.

World Food Programme country director Pablo Recalde recently advised the government to reopen the debate on the introduction of GMOs as way of helping reduce poverty in the country.

But Prof Kyambalesa said there were a number of key issues that needed to be addressed in order to derive benefits from the agriculture sector and maintain Zambia as a GMO free country.

Prof Kyambalesa said inconsistent and unrealistic agricultural policies and inadequate investment in agricultural development by the government was limiting increased agricultural output.

“…In 2000, the Comesa secretary general identified an array of factors limiting increased agricultural production in Zambia,” Prof Kyambalesa said.

“They are as follows, non-availability of financial capital, and the high cost of agricultural credit; inadequate transport and storage infrastructure, and the high cost of transport.”

He said other factors included the under-provision and high cost of agricultural inputs; an inefficient agricultural marketing system; inadequate skills in agricultural production and marketing.

Prof Kyambalesa said late president Levy Mwanawasa did the right thing to refuse relief food from the USA which was genetically modified, describing it as “poisonous” and “intrinsically dangerous”.

“It is important to note that genetically engineered foods do not taste better, they are not more nutritious, they do not cost less, and they do not look nicer than non-genetically modified foods,” he said.

Prof Kyambalesa said there were numerous potential risks to human health, the environment and the economy associated with using GMOs.

(The Post Online- June 14 2011)

LA School District Bans Flavored Milk

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Jamie Oliver has set forth a new generation of revamping school lunches. As seen in the first season of his popular TV show, “Food Revolution”, Oliver first modified school lunches in Huntington, West Virginia. This community was deemed by the CDC as one of the top unhealthiest cities in America, with high rates of obesity, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. The main concept of this revolution was to get rid of sodium-packed processed foods, and bring in fresh foods made on site with loads of fruits and vegetables.

This year Jamie Oliver focused his attention on the Los Angeles School District. Below is an article from Los Angeles Times revealing their latest triumph.

L.A. Unified removes flavored milk from menus

The Los Angeles school district becomes by far the largest in the country to do so, as part of its effort to make school food healthier and help combat childhood obesity.

The Los Angeles Unified School District on Tuesday, with a 5-2 vote on a new dairy contract, became by far the largest district in the country to remove flavored milk from its menus, part of its effort to make school food healthier and help combat childhood obesity.

The milk issue has overshadowed other changes in the district’s food services division, which serves 650,000 meals a day at 1,000 sites. A menu overhaul is underway that will mean fewer meals that resemble fast food and more vegetarian offerings. Spinach tortellini in butternut squash sauce and California sushi rolls, along with many ethnic foods, are to be added. Corn dogs, chicken nuggets and other breaded items are out, said Dennis Barrett, food services director.

“Absolutely, by the fall the district will be a national leader,” said Matthew Sharp, senior advocate with the California Food Policy Advocates, who has long worked on school food reform.

The Board of Education does not generally vote on individual menu items, but it weighed in on flavored milk because it must approve large contracts. The board approved a five-year, $100-million dairy contract Tuesday that excludes chocolate and strawberry milk. It includes low-fat and nonfat plain milk as well as soy and Lactaid milks.

L.A. Unified, the nation’s second-largest district behind New York City, has been in the forefront among large urban districts in the effort to improve cafeteria food. The district banned sodas on campuses in 2004, starting a trend followed by the state and districts across the country. Later that year, the school board passed a motion to ban the sale of junk food during the school day by restricting the calories and fat content in snack foods. It also endorsed farm-to-school programs and called for more produce to be served.

And in 2005, the board approved the Cafeteria Improvement Motion, which required that foods have less salt, banned added trans-fats and limited saturated fats.

Not every initiative has panned out. A call for salad bars at all schools “where facilities permit” has left many campuses without them. And some school food activists and others say the cafeterias still have a long way to go.

Among his first acts as superintendent in April, John Deasy appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s TV talk show with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to say he would propose eliminating flavored milk.

Responding to Tuesday’s decision, Oliver said, “This is a giant step forward for the health and future of 680,000 kids in Los Angeles, and leads the way for more school districts around the country to follow.” Oliver set his recent “Food Revolution” reality TV series in Los Angeles, and, among other things, loaded a school bus with sand to demonstrate students’ sugar consumption.

Parents and others have also lobbied against chocolate and strawberry milk, saying flavored milk contains unnecessary added sugar in a county where about one in three kids is overweight or obese.

Board member Tamar Galatzan, who voted against the plain-milk contract, suggested that the district was letting “a TV chef who’s trying to get publicity” dictate the decision.

“I think we are demonizing milk,” Galatzan said. The juice the district serves at breakfast has more sugar than flavored milk, she said.

Board member Yolie Flores, who voted in favor of the contract, said students tell her that food is their No. 1 issue at school, and she wondered how it can be appealing and healthy when the district has “77 pathetic cents” to spend on food per meal.

A cup of fat-free chocolate milk served in L.A. Unified has 120 calories, with 20 grams (80 calories) of sugar. Strawberry fat-free milk has 130 calories, with 26 grams of sugar. White, plain nonfat milk has 90 calories, with 12 grams of sugar. (Milk contains some natural sugar in the form of lactose.) For comparison, a cup of Coke has 26 grams of sugar.

Emily Ventura, a research fellow at USC’s Childhood Obesity Research Center, said a child who chooses a school breakfast of sweetened cereal, chocolate milk, coffee cake and juice would eat 51 grams, or 204 calories, of added sugar.

Some flavored-milk advocates say students won’t drink milk at all if chocolate or strawberry isn’t offered. Julie Buric, vice president of marketing for the Milk Processors Education Program, cited an industry-funded study that shows milk consumption can drop 35% when flavored milk disappears. And in January the dairy industry held a seminar for California cafeteria workers called “Keep Flavored Milk From Dropping Out of School.”

About 60% of the milk taken by students is flavored, and some officials as well as the dairy industry say plain-milk-only policies could keep kids from the lunch lines altogether. Students are required to take three of the four items offered for breakfast and four of the five at lunch in order for school districts to receive reimbursements from the federal School Lunch Program and breakfast program.

The district needs to attract students to the cafeteria with an effective campaign that will introduce students to the new menu items and explain why flavored milk has disappeared, said Sharp of California Food Policy Advocates.

Megan Bomba, a project coordinator with Occidental College’s Urban and Environmental Policy Institute, agreed, saying “the meal needs to be better, not [that] we need to keep chocolate milk” to attract students to the cafeteria, she said.

The menu proposed for fall sounds more appealing and sophisticated, she added.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs school food programs and promotes the dairy industry, allows flavored milk in reimbursable school meals. New York City schools serve chocolate milk. Berkeley, Compton and San Diego as well as Boulder, Colo., Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., have eliminated flavored milk with at least some meals.

(Los Angeles Times – June 15 2011)

Genetically Modified Cows creating “Human Breast Milk”??

cow

Check out this article from the Huffington Post discussing how Chinese Scientists have genetically modified 300 dairy cows to produce human breast milk. What are your thoughts on this??

‘Human Breast Milk’ From Genetically Modified Cows?

Human-like milk from cows could be a viable alternative to regular ol’ infant formula in the not too distant future.

Chinese scientists genetically engineered 300 dairy cows to produce milk that contains nutrients found in human breast milk. Among the nutrients is lysozyme, a bacteria-fighting substance that improves infants’ immune systems early in life.

Scientists were able to do this by introducing genes that express these human milk properties to the embryos of Holstein cattle. These embryos were then implanted into surrogate cows that then produced milk containing human lysozyme and two other proteins in human milk, according to the Telegraph.

Infant formula made from cow’s milk doesn’t have as many of the nutritious, infection-fighting, immune-boosting elements as human breast milk. Breast milk is also easier for babies to digest than cow’s milk.

However, cow’s milk infant formula is able to support healthy babies with normal diet needs. Mothers may also choose to combine both breastfeeding and infant formula-feeding if the baby is not receiving the hydration or nutrition he or she needs.

Scientists, who published their work in March in the journal PLoS One, told the Telegraph that they hope to commercialize this milk research sometime in the next three years, though it will probably take longer before the actual genetically modified milk hits grocery store shelves.

“For the ‘human-like milk,’ 10 years or maybe more time will be required to finally pour this enhanced milk into the consumer’s cup,” study researcher Ning Li, director of the State Key Laboratories for AgroBiotechnology at China Agricultural University, told the Telegraph.

The milk still has to undergo safety tests before it can be sold, but farm workers who have tried the milk say it tastes sweeter and stronger than regular cow’s milk, according to the United Kingdom’s Sky News. “It’s good,” worker Jiang Yao told Sky News. “It’s better for you because it’s genetically modified.”

(Huffington Post- June 8 2011)