Monthly Archives: December 2012

Progress in labeling … lawsuit against General Mills reaches a settlement

FoodFacts.com has been following the lawsuits that have been filed against various food manufacturers based on misleading labeling. Today, we have some news regarding one of those suits that was brought against General Mills by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and a consumer protection law firm.

It focused on Strawberry Naturally Flavored Fruit Roll-Ups – which actually aren’t made with any strawberries. That’s right, no strawberries at all – just pears from concentrate and some “natural flavors,” so they can taste like strawberry.
The settlement of the lawsuit requires General Mills to market this product differently than they have been. As long as the product does not contain actual strawberries, the new labels cannot include any images of strawberries. In addition to this important fact, as long as the packaging reads “Made with Real Fruit,” General Mills is required to state the actual percentage of real fruit included in the product. The Center for Science in the Public Interest feels that this requirement will give consumers a more honest definition of the food product they are purchasing. Many purchasing these products currently believe they are made completely or mostly from fruit. While the most honest labeling for the product would be Pear Naturally Flavored Fruit Roll-ups, the removal of strawberry images from the packaging is certainly a more accurate representation.

While these changes aren’t required to take effect until 2014, FoodFacts.com is encouraged that there is actual progress being made in labeling the products in our food supply in a more honest manner. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has been behind other labeling changes and advertising issues. They’ve been behind agreements with Kellogg’s regarding improvements made to the products they manufacture that are specifically targeted to children as well as the removal of partially hydrogenated oils from Kentucky Fried Chicken.

FoodFacts.com will continue to keep our community updated on other developments in the numerous lawsuits against food manufacturers that may help consumers make more educated food choices free from misleading product claims.

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/the-strawberries-are-about-to-disappear-from-the-labels-of-strawberry-fruit-roll-ups-122712.html
http://www.startribune.com/business/184878301.html?refer=y

Broccoli really could be a power vegetable …

FoodFacts.com is always thrilled to find research information that links a simple vegetable to a powerful way to combat disease and improve our health. Today we found just that.

There’s a new study out from the Baylor College of Medicine that shows that a compound in cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, can actually kill leukemia cells in a lab. Wow! We could actually be serving up a cancer killer on our families’ plates without ever having known it!

The compound is called sulforaphane. The study showed that by incubating sulforaphane along with leukemia cells caused the cancer to die – it also didn’t appear to have any effect at all on healthy cells.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the form of leukemia most common in children. It is curable in about 80% of cases. There are some children, though, who don’t respond to traditional treatment. It’s because of that unfortunate fact that Baylor researchers are searching for an alternative to traditional treatments.

The sulforaphane found in broccoli was used in a concentrated form in this study. Researchers are commenting that eating the vegetable may not have the same effect as the lab results. However, the important news is that the effects seen in the lab can lead to effective alternative and natural treatments for leukemia.

An older study also linked sulforaphane to the destruction of breast cancer stem cells in mice and lab cultures, and also prevented new tumor cells from growing.

Hippocrates might have really been on to something. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Since our inception, FoodFacts.com has always believed that there really are natural options that can be employed in science and medicine that can help us fight disease and remain healthy. We will keep following the news regarding this research and keep you informed.

In the meantime, please read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/17/sulforaphane-leukemia-broccoli-cruciferous-vegetables_n_2286333.html

Genetically Modified Salmon could hit supermarkets quicker than first thought … Frankenfish gets initial FDA Approval

FoodFacts.com learned today that it’s quite possible that GMO salmon may soon be coming to a seafood section near you – but you might not know it when it gets there. Nicknamed “Frankenfish” due to its abnormally large size in comparison to natural salmon, genetically modified Atlantic salmon was given initial approval. This was the last step in the process to market.

The genetically engineered salmon was developed by AquaBounty and uses DNA from a Chinook salmon and something called an ocean pout (which is an eel-like fish). This genetic combination caused the fish to grow twice as fast as wild salmon. This makes the production of the fish more cost effective for the manufacturer. While we’re all aware of the copious amounts of genetically engineered products in our food supply, the FDA’s approval for the new salmon is actually the first time a genetically engineered animal product would be available to consumers anywhere in the world. Of course, consumers won’t know which salmon they’re buying – the larger sized, faster growing genetically engineered fish or the wild product that only contains its own genes.

There is plenty of opposition to the genetically engineered salmon. Obviously, for consumers the big issue is the labeling. But, others are perturbed by possible effects on the fishing industry in this country as well as the impact the GMO salmon could have on the wild salmon population.

The approval process is to be followed by a 60-day public comment period regarding the genetically engineered salmon. After that time comments will be reviewed and final approval can be given in early 2013. AquaBounty insists that its methods of raising the new salmon circumvent any possible problems being brought to light by the fishes’ opponents.

FoodFacts.com will monitor the FDA site to locate the public comment area for genetically modified salmon, so that we can alert you to it. In the meantime, there is certainly a lot of reading you can do on this controversial subject. We’ve shared the links below in hopes that you will educate yourself further on the many and varied potential issues that may be moving in to your grocery store in the very near future.

http://my.firedoglake.com/edwardteller/2012/12/26/fda-approves-frankenfish-what-could-possibly-go-wrong/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/21/aquaadvantage-genetically-modified-salmon-no-threat_n_2347757.html
http://www.livescience.com/25799-frankenfish-salmon-gmo.html

Can consuming processed meats increase your chances of developing thyroid cancer?

FoodFacts.com has always maintained the position that the consumption of processed meats is not the best choice to make while trying to maintain a healthy diet. We know that most in our community feel the same way and try to avoid processed meats as much as possible.

We recently read about some new research published in the International Journal of Cancer that links nitrites used in processed meats to a increased risk of cancer. The study comes out of the Department of Health Studies at the University of Chicago and focused on participants with higher and lower intakes of nitrites.

Over 73,000 females up to the age of 70 were followed through a food frequency questionnaire. They were followed for an 11 year period. During that follow-up period, 164 cases of thyroid cancer developed within this population. While there was no general association made between nitrate intake and risk for thyroid cancer in most of the studied population, that in the highest range of nitrite intake had a 100% increased risk of developing thyroid cancer when compared with those who had the lowest range of nitrite consumption. You read that right – a 100% increased risk!

While the study is suggesting a link, that link may be quite factual because nitrites can be converted into cancer causing N-nitroso compounds. These compounds have already been discovered to cause other types of cancers.

Nitrites are common ingredients in products such as hot dogs, processed deli meats, ham, bacon, sausage, and many boxed or canned products where preservatives are found. FoodFacts.com cannot stress the importance of reading ingredient labels strongly enough. There are times when a consumer picks up a product in which they would never expect to find nitrites and the ingredient is listed clearly on the product.

In addition to the possibility of picked up a processed food product where you wouldn’t expect to find nitrites as an ingredient, FoodFacts.com is also aware that there are many folks who do have a difficult time completely giving up foods like bacon and sausage. For these folks, the research suggests that taking a high dose of a Vitamin C supplement, or drinking a high Vitamin C fruit juice can help prevent the conversion of nitrites into N-nitroso compounds. The study also points out that while a juice product may be labeled as high in Vitamin C, it is a more reliable option to take Vitamin C supplements regularly because you can be sure of the content of the supplement more readily than that of the juice.

When looking for a healthy Vitamin C supplement, keep in mind that FoodFacts TRI Nutritionals offer you pure, natural, real ingredients that are free from most items you may be actively avoiding in your supplements, like sugar, salt, gluten and corn. FoodFacts.com would, of course as always, be an advocate of eliminating nitrites from your diet completely. It’s one of the best, healthiest decisions you can make for your body.

We invite you to read more about this fascinating study:  http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Nutrition/Food/processed_meat_linked_to_thyroid_cancer_1222120314.html

Even a small deficiency of Vitamin B-12 may put your at risk for accelerated cognitive disease

Since launching FoodFacts TRI Nutritionals earlier this month, FoodFacts.com has been actively researching vitamins and supplements and their effects on our health and well being.

Today we found a recent study that suggests that older adults may be at greater risk for accelerated cognitive decline if they aren’t getting enough Vitamin B-12. The study comes out of the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

Researchers at the HNRCA at Tufts examined data from almost 550 men and women who were enrolled in a heart study. They focused on their scores of the Mini-Mental State Examination. This exam consists of a list of questions and tasks that are routinely used to diagnose dementia. The participants were split into five groups all based on the levels of Vitamin B-12 in their blood.

The two groups of participants who had the lowest levels of Vitamin B-12 had experienced significantly Being in the two lowest groups was associated with a significantly faster rate of cognitive decline. This was determined by following their test scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination over the course of eight years.

While a severely low level of Vitamin B-12 deficiency is related to cognitive impairment, this study suggests that there are adverse effects related to levels of deficiency that are not considered severe. Over time, those participants in the second lowest group of Vitamin B-12 levels had the same outcome as those in the very lowest group. This leads researchers to believe that even small deficiencies of this important vitamin are effecting a larger population.

The analysis discovered that the Mini-Mental State Examination scores dropped an average of .24 points per year for the first three groups of participants, while falling an average of .35 points yearly in the lowest two groups. This is a meaningful difference in cognitive decline.

The study raises a definite concern regarding the population’s intake of Vitamin B-12 and notes that it becomes more difficult to maintain normal blood levels of the vitamin as we age. Older adults seem to have a more difficult time absorbing Vitamin B-12 from food into the blood stream. It’s because of that that the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that people over 50 incorporate B-12 fortified foods or supplements into their diets.

FoodFacts.com is again happy to see that science is exploring the effects of natural solutions to health problems. If you’re over 50, you might want to consider this product from FoodFacts TRI Nutritionals for its quality ingredients and purity. However you decide to supplement, make sure you do. It’s a natural answer to a difficulty that would be best to avoid!

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205102613.htm

If you’ve got food allergies, you may soon be able to find allergens in food with your smart-phone!

FoodFacts.com knows firsthand how many people in our population are affected by food allergies. Peanuts, dairy, soy, dairy, wheat … the list goes on. It’s such a serious issue – especially for our children. And, we know that it’s entirely possible that foods you think are safe and do not contain your allergens can actually fool you in the worst possible way.

Today we read about a marvelous new piece of technology that we wanted to share with our community. Coming out of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied science is a new device called the iTube. This new technology attaches to a smart-phone and can detect allergens in food samples. It uses the phone’s camera and works with a smart-phone app that runs a test that actually boasts the same level of sensitivity as a common lab test. It’s pretty amazing.

Because food allergies can be life-threatening and because even though there are labeling laws regarding common food allergens, research into products like this one have been ongoing. Cross-contaminations can still occur during processing, manufacturing and transportation. The products that have been developed to date have been large and complicated, they haven’t been embraced at all. Using them in common settings has been burdensome and discouraged their use by consumers.

Understanding the need for an accurate product that would accomplish the same goals, the researchers set out to address these issues by creating a product that could easily work for the food allergic population. The iTube weighs just two ounces and is designed to test the allergen concentration of foods through a test called a colorimetric assay.

The user grinds up the food in question and mixes it in a test tube with hot water and a special solvent. After letting the mixture set for a few minutes, the user follows a procedure to ready the sample for testing. The sample is then measured for the concentration of the allergen through the iTube. The iTube and iTube app take the process one step further for users. Instead of just a yes or no regarding whether or not the allergen is present, it actually tells the user how much of that allergen is present.

While the product has been successfully tested, it isn’t yet available for consumers. But it does appear that it’s headed our way. FoodFacts.com will keep our community updated on the progress made in bringing it to market. We’d love for you to be among the first to know when you can try it for yourself! Meanwhile, you can read more here:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121212205 920.htm

Possibly, a natural solution for improved dental health

Many people in our FoodFacts.com community are very enthusiastic about coconut oil. The health benefits of coconuts have been coming to light in the last few years. A few of those benefits include thyroid support, heart health support, improving metabolism and helping your skin stay healthy, to name a few.

Today we read about a new benefit that has slipped under the radar until now. Coconut oil is a natural product you can use to improve your dental health. It appears that the coconut and most especially its oil, is a powerful destroyer of microbes that can be harmful to our health.

The Athlone Institute of Technology’s Bioscience Research Institute tested the effectiveness of coconut oil against oral bacteria. The human mouth commonly contains some strains of streptococcus bacteria. The researchers tested coconut oil against bacteria both in its natural and semi-digested state. In order to do this they added enzymes to the coconut oil to replicate the semi-digested condition.

The research team had analyzed other, past research that had demonstrated that there are other types of food, that when partially digested could, in fact, destroy bacteria. Certain bacterias bind to tooth enamel and that binding had been significantly reduced when the teeth were exposed to enzyme-modified foods like milk.

The team set out to see how coconut oil would interact with streptococcus bacteria. Their findings have shown that digested coconut oil does have an effect on oral bacteria and the yeast that causes thrush.

This is an exciting finding as it may hold future advancements for oral health care. It’s mentioned by the researchers that with the growing problem of antibiotic resistance in the population, we’ll need to be looking towards new and natural ways of fighting infections.

People are already trying coconut oil out as a mouth wash because of this information. In a process termed as oil pulling, people are using coconut oil to “pull” food, debris and bacteria out of their teeth. Oil pulling seems to be a time-tested method for oral cleansing and now folks are using coconut oil. It’s working better for them than others they have previously tried.

FoodFacts.com invites you to check out the following links to see how you can incorporate coconut oil into your dental cleansing routines. It’s all natural, has only one ingredient (itself) and could help you promote your improved health overall.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/249804.php
http://www.naturalnews.com/028266_oil_pulling_detoxification.html

Vitamin D linked to women’s cognitive health

FoodFacts.com has always appreciated the importance of vitamin intake in the health of the population. Our concerns with the quality of the vitamins and supplements available today have led us to launch our own brand, FoodFacts TRI Nutritionals that meet our high standards for purity and natural ingredients. Needless to say, we pay a lot of attention to news concerning how vitamins affect our lives.

There are two new studies of note that are illustrating how vitamin D may have a direct effect on the cognitive abilities of women as they age. It appears that higher levels of vitamin D are associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. This is from research conducted at the Angers University Hospital in France. In another similar study out of the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis, researchers found that low levels of vitamin D in older women are linked with a greater risk of cognitive impairment and decline.

The U.S. research analyzed over 6,000 older women. These participants had their vitamin D levels measured during a study dealing with fractures and their cognitive functioning tested by a state examination.

Low levels of vitamin D in these women were associated with a higher risk of cognitive impairment. And for those women who were cognitively impaired, low levels of the vitamin were linked to a larger risk of continued cognitive decline.

The study originating in France considered data from almost 500 older women. These participants were part of an osteoporosis study. The women in the study group who developed Alzheimer’s disease had lower vitamin D intake weekly than those who developed other forms of dementia or no dementia at all.

Studies have been published earlier this year that expressed concern that both men and women are not getting enough vitamin D. Vitamin D can come from diet, supplements or the sun. So there are a number of different opportunities to incorporate it into your life. If you have any concerns about your intake of vitamin D, you should access your sources. If you’re looking for a way to supplement, allow us to suggest FoodFactsTRI Vitamin D. Coming from FoodFacts.com, you’ll know that these supplements contain nothing controversial and the purest ingredients available. Regardless of how you incorporate more of this important vitamin into your life, it’s important for everyone to access their current intake and adjust accordingly!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121130222245.htm

We’re welcoming a new brand to the FoodFacts.com family … Introducing FoodFacts TRI Nutritionals!

Tonight we have a tremendous announcement to make here at FoodFacts.com. We are launching FoodFacts TRI Nutritionals. We’ve been around a long time – well over 15 years. One of the things we’ve been exceptionally aware of throughout those years is how poorly most vitamin and supplement products rate on our Health Score.

FoodFacts.com has brought its tremendous knowledge to bear in this product category and is debuting FoodFacts TRI Nutritionals – vitamins and supplements you can feel good about. Take a look at our new site: FoodFactsTri … for the most part we are free of everything you want to avoid – Gluten, Sugar, Salt, Yeast, Dairy, Artificial Flavors, Artificial Colors. Our brand – FoodFacts Tri – has been run through our own scoring system.

We’re so excited – just take a look … These days your expenditures are so important. We really believe that our new brand of vitamins and supplements are really above the bar that’s been set. And we want you to know that this launch for FoodFacts TRI Nutritionals has taken us well over twelve months to formulate and decide on so that we can present to you the best formulations we can honestly bring to market.
We are happy with our work. Please visit our site: www.foodfactstri.com. Please let us know what you think! We hope that you’ll be happy with the research and development we’ve put behind this new brand!

FoodFacts.com will continue our research and hopes to add to our brand with products you can feel good about. We want to bring you the products you can trust for purity and quality. We hope you’ll feel the same way!

The power of social media … Saying no to GMOs on the Cheerios Facebook page

FoodFacts.com definitely considers this story food for thought. It appears that consumers who are staunchly against GMOs and avidly for GMO labeling on food products have paid more than a bit of attention to the Facebook Cheerios page. They are expressing their extreme disapproval for the non-labeling of GMO ingredients in the popular General Mills’ product.

The General Mills’ Cheerios Facebook page was intended to be a social media outlet for consumers to share their childhood memories of Cheerios. Let’s remember that regardless of ingredients, Cheerios were and still are the first “finger food” that most pediatricians recommend for babies/toddlers. They’re actually included in evaluations for the Pincer Grasp (the incredibly important physical achievement for young toddlers that involves being able to pick up a small object between the thumb and index finger). Do a search in Google images for Pincer Grasp. Most of the images that turn up in the search will, in fact, involve Cheerios. Combine all that with the heart-healthy marketing campaigns and the little cartoon bees for the “Honey Nut” variety and it really isn’t so unusual that Cheerios is an incredibly popular brand here in the U.S.

But the power of social media can show its force on even the most popular of brands. It appears that late in November anti-GMO posters hijacked the Cheerios Facebook page. It seems that GMOInside – a coalition of organizations was somehow behind the efforts to inundate the Cheerios Facebook page with comments from Anti-GMO consumers.

General Mills contributed $1.1 million to the efforts to defeat Proposition 37 in California – the proposed bill to require the labeling of GMO ingredients in California’s food supply. While General Mills’ contribution was less than those of many other companies.

The floodgates opened when General Mills promoted a smartphone app that asked users to tell them what the Cheerios brand meant to them. They printed the comments in the classic Cheerios typeface and put them up on the Facebook page. But GMOInside asked its followers to send messages to General Mills via that same app.

So if you visit the Cheerios Facebook page right now, you’ll see posts from consumers telling General Mills they aren’t buying Cheerios anymore because General Mills isn’t labeling the product appropriately.

The power of social media is a huge and all-encompassing force. FoodFacts.com is hopeful that General Mills will take note of the plethora of messages on the Cheerios Facebook page. Consumers are simply asking for transparency and honesty. The request is not for them to remove ingredients from Cheerios, but to let consumers decide for themselves whether or not to include GMO ingredients in their diets. The only way a Cheerios consumer can do that is for General Mills to label Cheerios accordingly. We like the idea. We hope they do too.

http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/12/general-mills-cheerios-facebook-page-anti-gmo-campaign/
http://gmoinside.org/launch-gmo-inside-campaign-cheerios/