Category Archives: controversial food additives

McDonald’s cheeseburgers fail the all-American burger experiment — they’re the only burgers that don’t decompose!

McDonald's Cheeseburgers Don't DecomposeWhat happens when you place burgers from seven different fast food chains in jars, close the lids and leave them alone for 30 days. You’d expect that every one of them would age and grow mold, wouldn’t you? After all, that’s what happens to food when it’s left out for a month, especially in a tightly closed jar. Frighteningly, it appears that this isn’t always the case.

As the fast food giant McDonald’s launched its “Our Food. Your Questions” campaign earlier this week, BuzzFeedBlue conducted the all-American burger experiment in the YouTube video “How Fast Do Burgers Age?”

Seven burgers from seven different fast food chains, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr., Jack in the Box, In-N-Out, and Umami Burger were each placed into their own glass jar for a month. BuzzFeed expected to see what commonly happens to food that’s left unrefrigerated for 30 days — to look unappetizing with mold. In reality, all burgers should look unpleasant and unable to be stomached after a month because it is a natural process of decomposition.

All of the fast food burgers, minus one, were covered in mold after 30 days. From Wendy’s to In-N-Out, mold could be spotted on the surface of the food with gray fur, fuzzy green dots, and even white dust on the cheese. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), when a food shows heavy mold growth, “root” threads have invaded it deeply. This can increase the possibility of poisonous substances contained in and around these threads that could spread throughout the food.

The McDonald’s cheeseburger was the only one from the seven fast food giants that did not change in its physical appearance. There was no mold, no rot, or anything. The burger looks the same on day 30 as it did on day one. McDonald’s burgers seem to be immune to the natural aging process of foods, but why?

On McDonald’s Canada website, Laura B asked: “How is it that a McDonald’s burger does not rot?” Dr. Keith Warriner, program director at the University of Guelph’s Department of Food Science and Quality Assurance suggests the burgers do not rot because they are laden with chemicals.

“In the example of a McDonald’s hamburger, the patty loses water in the form of steam during the cooking process. The bun, of course, is made out of bread. Toasting it reduces the amount of moisture. This means that after preparation, the hamburger is fairly dry. When left out open in the room, there is further water loss as the humidity within most buildings is around 40 percent.” The burger simply dries out and does not rot since there is a lack of moisture or high humidity.

Interestingly, the other burgers undergo the same cooking process, so why did they decay so much more than the McDonald’s hamburger patty? Melanie Warner, author of the book Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Foods Took Over the American Meal, conducted several food experiments earlier this year and found some other fast foods like chicken sandwiches and American cheese can pass the mold-free test. These items are small in size and have a relatively large surface area, which helps it lose moisture very fast.

Standing out from the crowd is usually considered a good thing. This is one of those cases where it’s just not. We actually want to see food covered in mold growth after sitting in a jar for 30 days. It lets us know that it’s actual food. And that explanation provided by McDonald’s just doesn’t cut it for us. FoodFacts.com is constantly talking about how controversial ingredients can affect our health. The incredible, non-decomposing cheeseburger is certainly a clear manner of illustrating the point. And by the way, McDonald’s, while we have a pretty clear idea of the ingredients in the bun, the cheese, the pickles and the ketchup, we’d like to see a few more details concerning that beef patty now.

http://www.medicaldaily.com/all-american-burger-experiment-what-happens-your-best-fast-food-burger-when-left-jar-30-307363

PepsiCo introduces Caleb’s Kola craft soda — don’t get too excited!

CalebsWe’re sure you’ve heard that craft sodas (handcrafted carbonated beverages) are the next big thing. The term “craft soda” has somehow developed a halo effect. It’s one of those terms that consumers assume infers a healthier option. And to be fair, a little internet research reveals that some of these sodas actually are better choices. According to most recent reports, craft sodas are flying off grocery store shelves and exciting consumers at restaurants across the country. So it makes sense that mainstream soda manufacturers want to get in on the action — especially since soda sales overall have been dropping pretty quickly here in the U.S.

That brings us to PepsiCo’s latest introduction — Caleb’s Kola craft soda. Sounds like it could be “handcrafted,” doesn’t it? Don’t be fooled though. The only major difference here is that Caleb’s Kola is sweetened with cane sugar. The rest of it really could be Pepsi.

Here are the nutrition facts straight from the new website:

Calories:         110
Sodium:          50 mg
Sugar:             29 grams

How does that stack up against a regular Pepsi?

First, FoodFacts.com needs to mention that a can of Pepsi offers one 12 ounce serving. A bottle of Caleb’s Kola contains 10 ounces of soda. This smaller bottle does contain less calories per serving. It contains additional sodium. And it does contain what appears to be less sugar. A bottle of Caleb’s Kola contains a little over 7 teaspoons of sugar, while a 12 ounce can of Pepsi contains a little over 10 teaspoons. At the end of the day though, ounce for ounce, they’re fairly similar.

For us, an acceptable soda would feature a completely different ingredient list than sodas from the mainstream brands. As a general statement, sodas are chemical concoctions with absolutely no nutritional value. Many of the ingredients featured are harmful — phosphoric acid, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors. There’s just no way we could ever be fans of a beverage containing these items.

So how does the ingredient list for Caleb’s Kola read?

Sparkling Water, Cane Sugar, Caramel Color, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavor, Sodium Citrate, Caffeine, Gum Arabic, Citric Acid, Kola Nut Extract

FoodFacts.com can’t be a fan of Caleb’s Kola. The ingredient list isn’t so much different from the non-handcrafted options available.

As far as craft soda is concerned, we’ll keep right on looking. This one isn’t doing anything for us!

http://calebskola.com/about

Because breakfast wasn’t bad enough … introducing the Jimmy Dean for lunch

Jimmy-Dean-Macaroni-and-CheeseWe get it. Brands need to keep growing. They need to break into new markets. Develop increased market share. Find new customers. FoodFacts.com understands this applies to every brand … not simply the ones that offer consumers healthier options. But we have to confess that seeing Jimmy Dean branch outside of the breakfast food arena might have been a bit too much for us.

Jimmy Dean isn’t our idea of a healthy brand. The ingredient lists for the majority of their breakfast sandwiches are far too long and far from healthy. Needless to say we really couldn’t get excited about their new lunch options.

We decided to look a little further and picked the Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese Bowl as our subject. There are plenty of other options but we went with this one because honestly it’s one of the better offerings in the new lunch line.

First let’s look at the nutrition facts:

Calories:                         440
Fat:                                 15 grams
Saturated Fat:                8 grams
Cholesterol:                   45 mg
Sodium:                         1020 mg

O.k., it isn’t a burger — but that doesn’t make it good. And we’re really not happy about the sodium level in this lunch option. Let’s make a loose comparison. You can have a cup of Betty Crocker Cheese Pizza Macaroni and Cheese (about 236 grams as opposed to the 255 gram serving size for the Smoked Bacon Macaroni and Cheese Bowl) for 80 less calories, 13 less grams of fat, no saturated fat at all, and 530 mg less sodium. We should point out that there’s no bacon in that one. But there’s still a big difference between the fat and sodium content of the two products.

The ingredient list follows:

Ingredients: Elbow Macaroni (Water, Durum Wheat Semolina, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, and Folic Acid), White Three Cheese Sauce (Water, Skim Milk, Cheddar/Parmesan, Mozzarella Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Cream, Corn Starch, Whey, Natural Flavors, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Xanthan Gum, Spice and Yeast Extract), Shredded Cheddar Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto Color), Bacon (Cured with Water, Salt, Sugar, Sodium Phosphates, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite, Smoke Flavoring)

Like we said, this is one of the better Jimmy Dean lunch products. We’re still not thrilled with the list and believe that it could be a lot better.

But if you’ve ever taken a good look at the ingredient lists for the Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches, the Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese Lunch Bowl is actually an improvement, albeit a slight one.

The next time we’re craving macaroni and cheese, we’re making it from scratch with our own choice of ingredients. Yes, it’s certainly an indulgence, but FoodFacts.com is much more comfortable with an occassional indulgence with better ingredients than we are with Jimmy Dean for lunch!

http://www.jimmydean.com/products/bowls/smoked-bacon-mac-cheese-bowl#nutritional_info

Most children in the U.S. are exposed to artificial food dye — many at levels that can trigger behavioral difficulties

dyesArtificial food dyes have been a very controversial topic for years now. These chemical colorings carry many problems with them straight into our food supply. Unfortunately, one of the most concerning problems surrounding artificial colors is that they’ve almost certainly been linked with hyperactivity and behavioral problems in children. Unfortunately, according to new information coming from the FDA, this important message hasn’t reached everyone just yet.

Nearly every child in America is exposed to Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Blue 1, according to a new estimate of Americans’ exposure to the controversial chemicals released by the Food and Drug Administration. For children who consume a lot of dyed foods, the estimate of the amount of Red 40 alone exceeds the amount of total dyes sufficient to trigger hyperactivity and other adverse effects on behavior in some studies.

The results were first released at a poster session held at a conference sponsored by the American Chemical Society on August 13. FDA has not yet published the full results and says the assessment is ongoing.

This meal of Hamburger Helper (2 cups), salad with Kraft Creamy French dressing (4 T.), and Powerade Orange (8 oz.) contains 47.5 mg of artificial food dyes. Behavioral tests found as little as 30 mg can trigger hyperactivity or ADHD symptoms in sensitive kids.

“Such widespread exposure to artificially colored foods is bad news for all children, since artificially colored foods aren’t healthy foods in the first place,” said Center for Science in the Public Interest senior scientist Lisa Y. Lefferts. “The FDA is failing kids and parents by allowing the use of these purely cosmetic chemicals in food, which trigger behavioral problems in some children, as even FDA conceded in 2011.”

The FDA tested more than 580 foods whose labels indicated they contained artificial colors, and matched the test results with government data on food consumption for those products, to produce exposure estimates for the general population, young children, and teenage boys. The estimates only include foods that contain dyes, and only include data for people who consumed those foods over a two-day period. The agency has not yet publicly disclosed the brand names of the tested foods.

FoodFacts.com is difficult for parents to be vigilant about eliminating food dyes from their families’ diets. Often it can be a daunting proposition. And often, if your child isn’t affected by smaller levels of artificial colors, it’s easy enough to think this might not be a problem for your family. But it’s important to remember that the studies that have been conducted point to the idea that it isn’t just kids with ADHD who are affected by artificial colors. These chemicals can trigger hyperactivity and behavioral problems in ANY child. If that’s not enough to keep foods with artificial colors out of your home, you can throw in the additional problems associated with colorful processed foods. Things like migraines and facial swelling in adults, the possibility of carcinogenic contaminants, and DNA in mice included in certain animal studies and you can easily see the importance of keeping artificial food dyes out of your diet.

http://cspinet.org/new/201409041.html

Introducing Oreo’s newest flavor: Pumpkin Spice Oreos

sgfwpemysfg3byqk9ijwMaybe the fall flavor craze has really gone too far now. We’re sorry but we really can’t imagine Oreo lovers hoping for a Pumpkin Spice flavored Oreo. It just doesn’t seem incredibly appealing. But it’s also possible that FoodFacts.com has been overwhelmed with everything pumpkin related this season.

That said, we are admittedly not thrilled with this idea. And, admittedly, we’ve been underwhelmed by previous Oreo flavor introductions. For instance the Cookie Dough Oreo wasn’t particularly tasty — and it didn’t make much sense to us. Cookie Dough flavored cream stuffed between two cookies. Did anyone else notice a redundancy there?

Here at FoodFacts.com we take our responsibility of informing our community about what’s really in the foods they’re eating very seriously. So if you’re among the millions of consumers who just can’t say no to pumpkin-spice anything and these cookies seem like a great idea to you, we thought you’d be interested in the ingredients used to create this latest fall “innovation.”

Ingredients: Sugar, Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine, Mononitrate (Vitamin B1) Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid, Palm and/or Canola Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cornstarch, Salt, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Artificial Color (Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Blue 3 Lake), Paprika Oleoresin (Color)

We’d like to call your attention to the fact that there is absolutely NO PUMPKIN anywhere in that list. Oh wait, they’re PUMPKIN SPICE Oreos, not PUMPKIN Oreos. Technically that would mean that these should taste like nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and anything else we use to flavor actual pumpkin pie. Funny, we don’t see any of those ingredients on the list either. We do, however, see Natural and Artificial Flavors — which of course is what the folks over at Oreos are using to impart the taste of pumpkin pie spices to the cream inside this cookie. And then, to make it look authentic (because all of those spices carry a rich, deep color), they’ve added a healthy dose of artificial colors.

We’re sorry, this ingredient list doesn’t tempt us with the flavors of the fall season. If we’re building a snowman in the winter, we want to use real snow — not fake snow from a snow machine. The same theory applies to food. The real thing doesn’t contain ingredients that have already been identified as fake, chemical creations. It wouldn’t have been that difficult to use actual spices here.

We’re sticking with the idea that if we’re craving pumpkin — or pumpkin spices, we’re going to actually make something completely out of the box — maybe a pumpkin pie — using the actual ingredients that seem to be inspiring waaaaay too many products this season. Crazy idea we’ve got there. At least we’ll know what we’re eating.

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2014/09/pumpkin-spice-oreos-the-snacktaku-review/

Can you walk off the negative health effects associated with high-fructose corn syrup?

Pouring a glass of colaWe all know the details of the controversies surrounding high-fructose corn syrup. We all remember the “corn sugar” commercials that tried to convince us that “sugar is sugar.” And we know that just about everyone in the FoodFacts.com community remembers the angrily disputed research linking high-fructose corn syrup to obesity, diabetes and even cancer. There have been some attempts by manufacturers to remove it from a variety of products, but for the most part, high-fructose corn syrup is still a far too popular ingredient in far too many common products, including — and most especially soda.

We’re pretty comfortable with the idea that the consumption of high fructose corn syrup puts people at risk for developing a variety of health problems. But the risk drops substantially if those people get up and move around, even if they don’t formally exercise, two new studies found.

The problem with the sweetener is that, unlike sucrose, the formal name for common table sugar, fructose is metabolized primarily in the liver. There, much of the fructose is transformed into fatty acids, some of which remain in the liver, marbling that organ and contributing to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

The rest of the fatty acids migrate into the bloodstream, causing metabolic havoc. Past animal and human studies have linked the intake of even moderate amounts of fructose with dangerous gyrations in blood sugar levels, escalating insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, added fat around the middle, obesity, poor cholesterol profiles and other metabolic disruptions.

But Amy Bidwell, then a researcher at Syracuse University, noticed that few of these studies had examined interactions between physical activity and fructose. That was a critical omission, she thought, because movement and exercise change how the body utilizes fuels, including fructose.

Dr. Bidwell sought out healthy, college-aged men and women who would agree to drink soda in the pursuit of science. They were easy to find. She gathered 22.

The volunteers showed up at the university’s physiology lab for a series of baseline tests. The researchers assessed how their bodies responded to a fructose-rich meal, recording their blood sugar and insulin levels, and other measures of general and metabolic health, including cholesterol profiles and blood markers of bodily inflammation. The students also completed questionnaires about their normal diets and activity levels and subsequently wore an activity monitor for a week to gauge how much they generally moved.

Then half of the volunteers spent two weeks moving about half as much as they had before. The other 11 volunteers began moving around about twice as much as before, for a daily total of at least 12,000 steps a day, or about six miles.

After a rest period of a week, the groups switched, so that every volunteer had moved a lot and a little.

Throughout, they also consumed two fructose-rich servings of a lemon-lime soda, designed to provide 75 grams of fructose a day, which is about what an average American typically consumes. The sodas contained about 250 calories each, and the volunteers were asked to reduce their nonfructose calories by the same amount, to avoid weight gain.

After each two-week session, the volunteers returned to the lab for a repeat of the metabolic and health tests.

Their results diverged widely, depending on how much they’d moved. As one of two new studies based on the research, published in May in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, reports, after two weeks of fructose loading and relative inactivity, these young, healthy volunteers displayed a notable shift in their cholesterol and health profiles. There was a significant increase in their blood concentrations of dangerous very-low-density lipoproteins, and a soaring 116-percent increase in markers of bodily inflammation.

The second study, published this month in The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, focused on blood-sugar responses to fructose and activity, and found equally striking changes among the young people when they didn’t move much. Two weeks of extra fructose left them with clear signs of incipient insulin resistance, which is typically the first step toward Type 2 diabetes.

But in both studies, walking at least 12,000 steps a day effectively wiped out all of the disagreeable changes wrought by the extra fructose. When the young people moved more, their cholesterol and blood sugar levels remained normal, even though they were consuming plenty of fructose every day.

The lesson from these studies is not that we should blithely down huge amounts of fructose and assume that a long walk will undo all harmful effects, said Dr. Bidwell, who is now an assistant professor of exercise science at the State University of New York in Oswego. “I don’t want people to consider these results as a license to eat badly,” she added.

But the data suggests that “if you are going to regularly consume fructose,” she said, “be sure to get up and move around.”

The study did not examine how activity ameliorates some of the worst impacts of fructose, but it’s likely, Dr. Bidwell said, that the “additional muscular contractions” involved in standing and taking 12,000 steps a day produce a cascade of physiological effects that alter how the body uses fructose.

Interestingly, the young people in the study did not increase the lengths of their normal workouts to achieve the requisite step totals, and most did not formally exercise at all, Dr. Bidwell said. They parked their cars further away from stores; took stairs instead of elevators; strolled the campus; and generally “sat less, moved more,” she said. “That’s a formula for good health, in any case,” she added, “but it appears to be key,” if you’re determined to have that soda.

FoodFacts.com still thinks that avoiding high fructose corn syrup AND soda is really what makes the most sense. What is striking here is that keeping our bodies moving can have such a tremendous effect on our health — and how that effect can be achieved with small efforts. Staying active can sometimes appear daunting — getting to a gym and exercising for a certain period of time each day can seem constricting and time consuming for some. But our bodies seem to appreciate increased activity in even the most basic of forms. Regardless of our dietary habits, it’s in our best interest to get moving and stay moving!

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/10/drink-soda-keep-walking/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

Baskin-Robbins picks up on the latest Fall trend with new Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream

mainLogoIt appears we no longer need to see the leaves falling from the trees around us to know that Fall has finally arrived. We just wait to see fast food chains and packaged food and beverage manufacturers introduce their new pumpkin-flavored anything to know that the new season is upon us. Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin tea, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pudding … there’s pumpkin everywhere!

Baskin-Robbins didn’t miss out on the pumpkin trend this year, introducing Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream.

We’re slowly discovering that many of the pumpkin options being offered don’t include any actual pumpkin, containing instead natural and/or artificial flavors. So FoodFacts.com had to investigate Baskin-Robbins latest fall addition.

We found out that in fact Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream DOES, in fact, include pumpkin in its ingredient list! But don’t get too excited — there’s more news ahead, and it isn’t all good.

Let’s start with the nutrition facts for a 4 ounce serving:

Calories:                          260
Fat:                                    12 grams
Saturated Fat:                    7 grams
Sugar:                               27 grams

Baskin-Robbins refers to a single 4 ounce scoop as a large serving. We’re not in agreement with their serving size assessment. 4 ounces of ice cream is the basic single serving size detailed on most packaged ice creams — and it’s not what most people are consuming as a serving. So we need to keep that in mind. We also need to keep in mind that the 4 ounce serving detailed on the Baskin-Robbins website contains almost 7 teaspoons of sugar, most of which (as indicated by the ingredient list) is added sugar. Please don’t misunderstand, we know it’s ice cream, but this one does appear to be somewhat over-sweetened. In addition, the ingredient list is really unpleasant, at best. Take a look:

Cream, Nonfat Milk, Cinnamon Cream Cheese Flavored Ribbon [Sugar, Cream Cheese (Pasteurized Milk and Cream, Cheese Culture, Salt, Carob Bean or Xanthan or Guar Gum), Invert Sugar, Water, Corn Starch, Spice, Caramel Color, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Natural Flavors, Annatto (Color)], Pumpkin Pie Base [Solid Pack Pumpkin, Brown Sugar (Sugar, Cane Molasses Syrup), Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Spices, Orange Juice Concentrate, Propylene Glycol, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Citric Acid, Yellow 6], Sugar, Ginger Snaps [Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Sugar, Molasses, Soybean Oil, Leavening (Baking Soda, Calcium Phosphate), Ginger, Salt, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Sulphur Dioxide], Corn Syrup, Cheesecake Base [Corn Syrup, Water, Cheese Blend (Nonfat Milk, Cellulose Gum, Lactic Acid, Cultures), Buttermilk, Natural Flavor, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative)], Whey Powder, Stabilizer/Emulsifier Blend (Cellulose Gum, Mono and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80), Red 40, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Blue 1.

Well over 50 ingredients. Artificial color. Natural Flavor. Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80. High Fructose Corn Syrup. And that’s just a handful of the controversial ingredients featured in this ice cream. There are so many sugar additions in this list — Sugar, Brown Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Molasses — even someone with a sweet tooth might think this is overkill. Even Ben & Jerry’s Cheesecake Brownie ice cream contains less sugar per serving — and honestly, those sugar additions are actual sugar unlike what we’re finding in this new Baskin-Robbins flavor.

It occurs to us that if we’re craving pumpkin flavor, it makes sense to cook with this beautiful fall vegetable. We can find organic pumpkin puree and prepare an actual cheese cake — one that doesn’t include the ingredients featured here. O.k. – it’s won’t be ice cream. But the weather’s cooling down anyway.

So Baskin-Robbins, while you did manage to include pumpkin in this new pumpkin-flavored offering, we’ll definitely be skipping the Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream. There are better treats out there to satisfy our fall food cravings!

https://www.baskinrobbins.com/content/baskinrobbins/en/products/icecream/flavors.html?popupurl=/content/baskinrobbins/en/products/icecream/flavors/pumpkin-cheesecake-ice-cream.html

Consumer voices heard by WhiteWave: Horizon and Silk products losing the carrageenan

iStock_000003462088SmallOne of the most common questions we get here at FoodFacts.com has to do with the controversial ingredient carrageenan. The questions take on a variety of forms, but the basic idea is “What’s wrong with carrageenan, it’s just seaweed, right?” The quick answer is “Nope, wrong.” Carrageenan isn’t seaweed. It’s derived from seaweed and therefore considered a “natural” ingredient. Carrageenan is extracted from the seaweed with an alkaline solution like potassium hydroxide (used to manufacture soaps, batteries and cuticle remover solutions, as well as in the refining of petroleum and natural gas). In short, chemicals are used to produce Carrageenan.

Carrageenan, used as a thickener and emulsifier in foods and beverages, will be phased out from Horizon and Silk products over time, said Sara Loveday, a company spokeswoman.

The ingredient has been the subject of criticism in some circles, with natural-food advocates pointing to animal studies that suggest it causes gastrointestinal inflammation and other problems.

Loveday says WhiteWave still thinks carrageenan is safe, but decided to remove it because customer feedback has been so strong.

“When you get to a certain point of how vocal and strongly a consumer feels about it, we felt it was time to make a change,” she said.

It’s just the latest example of a food maker removing an ingredient customers found objectionable. Regardless of whether an ingredient is safe, companies are finding themselves under growing pressure from customer sensitivities about ingredients, especially given their ability to mobilize on social media sites.

WhiteWave, based in Broomfield, Colorado, did not immediately detail when the ingredient would be phased out of various products. But in a communication with Hari that was shared with The Associated Press, the company said carrageenan will be removed from Horizon flavored milked in the first quarter of next year. It will be removed from all other Horizon items such as eggnog, low-fat cottage cheese and heavy whipping cream, by the second quarter of 2015, the statement said.

The ingredient will be removed from its top five Silk Soy and Coconut drinks by the second quarter of 2015 and other Silk products in 2016.

FoodFacts.com is thrilled with this great news! Carrageenan is an ingredient that confuses so many consumers because it is considered natural, no matter how it is produced. It’s great to see a major manufacturer listening to consumer voices and removing it from their popular products. Consumer voices count. There’s more and more proof of that every day. We know that the consumers who are speaking their minds about carrageenan will express their approval for this move by WhiteWave with increased loyalty for their favorite products. And we know that WhiteWave will set the tone for other manufacturers to step up to the plate and follow suit.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/whitewave-remove-ingredient-horizon-silk-25042264

Coca-Cola Company to remove brominated vegetable oil from U.S. soft drinks

Coca Cola Company Removes Brominated Vegetable OilBrominated vegetable oil is a highly controversial ingredient that’s banned in many different countries worldwide, but is still, for some reason allowed for human consumption here in the U.S. You can find it in some citrus-flavored soft drinks. The Coca-Cola company has announced that they will be removing brominated vegetable oil from soft drinks sold in the U.S.

FoodFacts.com is obviously very happy with this news. But we still certainly wonder why it remains true that there are several ingredients other countries have seen fit to ban that still degrade our food supply here in America.

Though there are exceptions running both ways, it’s generally accurate to say, “Food regulations in the European Union are much stricter than in the United States.”

This especially holds true for chemical preservatives; there are many for which you can say, “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows this substance in food and drink, but it is banned in the EU, and possibly elsewhere too.”

For example, the chemical azodicarbonamide is, according to FDA regulations, “Generally Recognized As Safe” in food — in densities no greater than 45 parts per million. But in most of the world, azodicarbonamide is used primarily in the manufacture of rubber and plastics. Various governments in Europe and Australia consider azodicarbonamide a “respiratory sensitizer” that can trigger asthmatic reactions, and in Singapore, using azodicarbonamide in food warrantshigh fines and lengthy prison sentences.

Azodicarbonamide made American headlines last February when the Subway sandwich chain, presumably responding to a petition started by a health-food blogger, announced that it would henceforth stop using the chemical in its bread.

And this week another company, presumably in response to a petition, announced plans to alter its recipes so that the products it sells in America are more in line with its offerings elsewhere in the world: the Coca-Cola company will stop adding bromiated vegetable oil to its American drink products. Brominated vegetable oil contains bromide, which has proven useful as a flame retardant, though Japan and the European Union ban it for human consumption.

Why the wide discrepancy between the U.S. and worldwide views of such chemical additives? Is the United States too lax about food safety where chemicals are concerned — or is the European Union too strict?

Charles Vorhees is a Cincinnati toxicologist who studied the neurological effects of BVOs in the early 1980s. In 2011 Vorhees said, “Compounds like these that are in widespread use probably should be reexamined periodically with newer technologies to ensure that there aren’t effects that would have been missed by prior methods … I think BVO is the kind of compound that probably warrants some reexamination.”

There are definitely cases of people who developed massive health problems after excessive consumption of bromide. Consider this example from the 2011 SciAm article:

In 1997, emergency room doctors at University of California, Davis reported a patient with severe bromine intoxication from drinking two to four liters of orange soda every day. He developed headaches, fatigue, ataxia (loss of muscle coordination) and memory loss.

In a 2003 case reported in Ohio, a 63-year-old man developed ulcers on his swollen hands after drinking eight liters of Red Rudy Squirt every day for several months. The man was diagnosed with bromoderma, a rare skin hypersensitivity to bromine exposure. The patient quit drinking the brominated soft drink and months later recovered.

While you’ll read a lot of news that speaks pointedly about the amounts allowed in food products being far too small to cause harm, you may want to consider some other ideas as well:

Brominated vegetable oil has been shown to bioaccumulate in human tissue and breast milk, and animal studies have found it causes reproductive and behavioral problems in large doses.

Bromines are common endocrine disruptors, and are part of the halide family, a group of elements that includes fluorine, chlorine and iodine. When ingested, bromine competes for the same receptors that are used to capture iodine. This can lead to iodine deficiency, which can have a very detrimental impact on your health.

Bromine is a central nervous system depressant, and can trigger a number of psychological symptoms such as acute paranoia and other psychotic symptoms. Bromine toxicity can also manifest as skin rashes, acne, loss of appetite, fatigue, and cardiac arrhythmias.

The Coca-Cola Company is taking a big step and we’re happy to know that soon Fanta and Fresca will be sold without the brominated vegetable oil. And for all the claims of “a little won’t hurt anyone,” we’d like to emphasize the bioaccumulation of the ingredient. To us, that basically means that there’s really no such thing as just a little brominated vegetable oil. The U.S. needs to catch up with other countries and begin banning chemical additives that citizens abroad don’t need to worry about in their food supply.

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/coca-cola-to-remove-flame-retardant-from-american-drinks-050614.html

Holiday flavored chips. Yes. Really.

Well that’s new and different, isn’t it?

We’re used to holiday flavors all around us. We’ve posted recently about the new holiday flavored coffees being offered from the major coffee retailers. Most of us are looking at holiday cookies every day in our offices thanks to home bakers who faithfully, every year, get to work in their kitchens to create incredible holiday flavors for us all to enjoy. And many of us are attending holiday parties offering us an array of seasonal flavors on their tables.

Let’s face it – we’re all about holiday flavors. So it’s no wonder that Pringles picked up on that and decided to offer us some holiday flavored chips. That’s right for a limited time we can all enjoy Cinnamon Sugar Pringles and Pecan Pie Pringles. Honestly, we’re not quite sure how tasty this sounds, but we haven’t tried them yet. So FoodFacts.com did a little research to fill you in on how these holiday Pringles stick up. Here’s what we found:

Cinnamon & Sugar Pringles:
Serving Size: about 15 chips
Calories: 150
Fat: 9g
Ingredients: Dried potatoes, vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: corn oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, and/or sunflower oil), corn flour, wheat starch, sugar and maltodextrin, contains 2% or less of rice flour, salt, dextrose, cinnamon, caramel color, natural flavor and paprika extract (color). Contains wheat ingredients.

If you’re counting out 15 chips, or crisps as Pringles refers to them, it’s honestly not too bad. But the ingredient list certainly leaves something to be desired – complete with some caramel color and “natural” flavor (which really isn’t natural at all).

Pecan Pie Pringles:
Serving Size: about 15 chips
Calories: 150
Fat: 9g
Ingredients: Dried potatoes, vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: corn oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, and/or sunflower oil), corn flour, wheat starch, sugar and maltodextrin. contains 2% or less of rice flour. salt, dextrose. butter (cream, salt). dried molasses, gum acacia, natural flavors, yellow 6 lake, red 40 lake, blue 1 lake and canola oil.
Contains wheat and milk ingredients.

This flavor has the same profile for calories and fat. But let’s take a closer look at the ingredient list here. In addition to those “natural” flavors included in the cinnamon & sugar flavor, the Pecan Pie Pringles are exceptionally colorful – including Yellow 6, Red 40 and Blue 1. Not the best option out there for any snack.

So that’s the FoodFacts.com assessment of holiday flavored chips. While they aren’t that bad in terms of calories and fat, upon closer look there are better ways to indulge this holiday season. Interesting flavors to be sure – but we’re always concerned about how interesting flavors are derived, and honestly, these ingredient lists leave something to be desired. We’re pretty positive that we can find other ways to flavor our holiday season that don’t include the controversial ingredients in these limited edition Pringles flavors.

http://www.pringles.com/products/limited-edition