Category Archives: facts

GMO Labeling

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Foodfacts.com likes to provide followers with consistent updates on GMO production. We recently came across this article that we think will help educate those unfamiliar with genetic modification; and also update others on the labeling issue still going on.

Silk Soymilk and some of its other beverages recently completed the verification process of the Non-GMO Project. Why the careful wording? Given the ubiquity of genetically modified organisms in some U.S. commodity crops — 93 percent of soybeans grown in the United State are genetically modified according to Craig Shiesley of Silk — no product is able to call itself completely free of GMOs. However, Silk and some other companies, such as Whole Foods with its 365 products, have sought to do is to get as close as possible, using a certification process from the non-profit Non-GMO Project, which holds products to a standard of 99.1 percent GMO free.

Shiesley, general manager of the Silk business, says the verification process for the company’s soymilk, coconut milk and almond milk took 12 to 14 months, a surprise for the company, which had always sourced non-GMO ingredients.

“The reason (the verification process) elevates this to another level if that it goes from verifying the ingredient to verifying the entire process,” Shiesley says. “For example, (it verifies) that there’s no cross contamination in the dehullers.”
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GMO in the food supply

Currently labeling for GMOs is not required in the United States, as it is in European Union countries and Japan. The percentage of U.S. processed foods that include at least one genetically engineered food is estimated at about 60 to 70 percent, according to a 2010 fact sheet from Colorado State University. Even foods labeled as natural, a term that has no legal meaning, may contain genetically engineered crops; however, USDA certified organic foods forbid GMOs.

Do GMOs matter?

The answer depends on whom you talk to. Companies such as Monsanto, DuPont and Bayer that supply genetically engineered seed, say the crops, often engineered to be resistant to herbicides such as Monsanto’s Roundup, are nutritionally identical to non-modified crops. The U.S Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration agree with this position. They say the engineering allows them to grow crops more efficiently and with fewer, less toxic pesticides.

Opponents say the effects on human health and the environment have not been fully tested. They fear genetic modification may be involved in an increase in food allergies and other problems, and they say weeds may become resistant to herbicides, requiring more toxic herbicides to kill them.

Labeling

In addition, they argue that a U.S. decision not to require products with GMOs to be labeled has kept consumers in the dark about how deeply genetically-engineered crops reach into the food chain. Surveys have shown that many consumers don’t know that they regularly consume genetically engineered foods. For retailers with a consciousness about food and how it’s produced, the lack of labeling means they have no way to verify GMOs in products unless the items are certified organic.
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Mark Retzloff, president and chairman of Alfalfa’s, says the grocery has worked hard to verify that the canola and other oils in its bulk dispensers are not from made from genetically modified seed crops. The store has verified that the dairy products it stocks are from cows not dosed with hormones. However, unless the product is certified organic or has the new Non-GMO label, the store can’t verify if cows have been fed genetically-modifed grain. He is particularly concerned about genetically modified alfalfa, which the U.S. approved for use earlier this year. While certified organic milk producers won’t use it, the possibility of contamination through the cross-pollination of organic and GMO crops, as has happened with corn and soy is concerning, he says. In addition, as the genetically engineered seed becomes available, farmers may have a hard time buying non-GMO seed.

“From my own experience at Aurora Dairy, we buy about 40,000 to 50,000 tons of alfalfa hay. It’s all organic. If we start having trouble doing that, it restricts our ability to produce organic milk,” he says, adding that milk is a gateway product into organics for many consumers.

Whole Foods is currently putting its 365 brand products through Non-GMO verification. The products don’t currently carry the label. However, customers can go to Whole Food website and click to find Non-GMO certified products.

“It’s a significant focus of the company right now to work on verification,” says Ben Friedland, regional marketing coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Region.

Asked about the company’s position on GMOs, Friedland says: “We believe in farmers’ right to farm non-GMO crops and our customers’ right to choose whether they want GMOs. We work to provide opportunities for both our stakeholders,” Friedland says.

Shiesley of Silk says the Non-GMO verification is extremely valuable to his company. For the Silk products that are not organic — the company switched some of its Silk line from organic to natural in 2009, Shiesley says because the company wanted to source soybeans domestically — the non-GMO verification offers assurances.

Shiesley says he also believes the label will raise awareness.

“I hope we’re at a tipping point with consumer understanding toward Non-GMO,” he says. “Unlike organic labeling which went through legislation and took eight-plus years, the industry can self-regulate … I don’t think we can wait five years plus with this.”

He points to consumer awareness on trans-fat and many companies’ subsequent reformulations of their products as an example of how awareness can change push industry to make changes.

“We bring 40 million consumers along with us when we go to Non-GMO (labeling),” he says.

Carol Carlson, chair of Slow Food Boulder County approves of voluntary labeling, but would also like to see mandatory standards.

“I think GMO contamination is a huge concern for all of us,” she says. “Anything that can be done to bring awareness to what we’re eating and whether it contains GMOs is a very good thing.”

She also urges Boulder Countians who disapprove of GMOs to become involved in county policy on Boulder County Open Space agricultural land.

(DailyCamera)

Are you Happier with the “New” Happy Meal?

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Foodfacts.com would like to report that McDonald’s president, Jan Fields, announced today that the major fast-food franchise will now be serving healthier happy meals for their younger customers.

Regardless of criticism, this is quite a big deal for many of the advocates of child nutrition. McDonald’s has been seen as a major antagonist against the fight to end childhood obesity for many years now. McDonald’s previous happy meal combinations ranged anywhere from 500-700 calories per serving, with sodium numbers going through the roof. The new happy meal will be approximately 470 calories, compared to the previous 570 calorie option. Also, saturated fat will now be reduced from 20 to 14 grams, which is still pretty high, but a good start. However, we assume these happy meals will still contain a decent amount of sugar. We’re not quite sure of the exact number yet, but the previous happy meal contained about 89 grams of sugar (or 22 teaspoons).

So what exactly are they changing? The soda is gone. Instead of kids getting a Coke or Sprite, they’ll be receiving low-fat milk. Also, apple dippers (slices) will be served, IN ADDITION to a smaller serving of french fries. The caramel dipping sauce normally associated with their apple slices will not be included. Also, parents may choose to scrap the fries all together and get 2 bags of apple dippers instead, which we’re sure some are likely to do.

We have not come across any information pertaining to a change in the chicken nuggets, or burgers. We assume these famous staples will remain untouched during this happy meal makeover.

We’re excited to hear the reactions and feedback from our followers on this announcement as to whether or not you feel this is just a ploy for press, or a step in the right direction for fast-food.

The Potato Project

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Today’s blog at Foodfacts.com features a video that has stressed the importance of eating organic. Without the harmful pesticides, chemicals, hormones, and toxins, you are reducing the risk of certain cancers and improving your overall health. Various doctors, scientists, researchers, and even some government officials, have been promoting the health benefits of eating organic items for many years now. However, most consumers continue to purchase what they are more familiar with, processed and chemically-treated foods. This may not be due solely to stubborn ways, but rather higher costs, lack of information, and even lack of access to these resources. Though we don’t believe anyone should be punished for not choosing organic, we do believe consumers should become more familiar and educated on healthier options before they make their decisions.

If you have read all the information; listened to all the scientists; and even read all the research, and still nothing… watch what Elise has to say.

Happy Foods That Won’t Make You Gain Weight

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Foodfacts.com looks into foods that will boost happy brain chemicals while helping you stay slim. When you’re in a funk, your first instinct isn’t to whip up a bowl of lentil soup or pour yourself a glass of milk. But compounds in these foods may help ward off depression, fight fatigue, and reduce anxiety by increasing levels of mood-boosting brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. Traditional comfort foods, like those loaded with sugar, saturated fat, alcohol, and caffeine, on the other hand, can actually amplify edginess—not to mention blow your diet. To perk up without packing on the pounds, pick one of these nine healthy eats next time you’re feeling down.

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The mood booster: Tryptophan

We hear tryptophan and we immediately think turkey—and tired. Truth is, when the amino acid is consumed with carbohydrates instead of protein, it’s more effective in aiding the body’s production of serotonin, a tranquility-inducing brain chemical. A study published in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia found that foods containing tryptophan, like mustard greens, pumpkin seeds, and bananas, offer mood-elevating effects. Tryptophan levels are often low in people suffering from depression, although researchers are unclear as to whether the relationship is a cause or a consequence of the condition. The next time you feel down, try 3 cups of air-popped popcorn for 100 calories instead of gnawing on a drumstick.

Walnuts

The mood booster: Alpha-linolenic acid

While EPA and DHA, two omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna, and fish oil supplements, have been touted to help depression sufferers beat the blues, a new study of 55,000 women published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid in plant foods like walnuts, soybeans, and flaxseed, is the real star in alleviating depression symptoms. In the 10-year study, Harvard University researchers found that the risk of depression was lower among women who consumed more ALA, a compound previously thought to have few health benefits.

Cottage Cheese

The mood booster: Tyrosine

Low-fat sources of protein, like egg whites and low-fat cottage cheese, are packed with tyrosine, an amino acid that aids the brain’s production of norepinephrine and dopamine, two chemicals that influence motivation and reaction time. Early studies showed that tyrosine could be used to alleviate symptoms of depression, as it is an essential building block for the mood-regulating brain chemicals norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. Enjoy half a cup for only 90 calories and stock up on 14 g of filling protein.

sunflower_seedsSunflower Seeds

The mood booster: Selenium

A Nutritional Neuroscience review of five studies on selenium and depression linked deficiencies in the mineral to poorer mood. Another study published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine suggests that selenium can help prevent postpartum depression. When 44 postpartum women received 100 mcg of selenium daily, they scored lower on a postnatal depression scale. While Brazil nuts offer the biggest dose of selenium—a half-ounce serving packs 272 mcg—sunflower seeds are a lower-calorie snack option. A quarter cup of roasted seeds in their shells has about 70 calories and delivers 30% of the daily recommended value of selenium, while a single Brazil nut packs around 30 calories.

Lentils

The mood booster: Folate

Skip the mac and cheese and make a hearty bowl of soup your new favorite comfort food. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that of the 2,682 middle-age Finnish men in the study, those whose diets contained the least folate were 67% more likely to suffer from depression. Research suggests that low levels of the B vitamin impair the metabolism of neurotransmitters, leaving your brain short on serotonin and dopamine. Get your folate fix with a cup of lentils, which contains 230 calories and provides 70% of your daily folate and 63% of your daily fiber.

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The mood booster: Oleic acid

Healthy fats, like those found in olive oil and avocados, don’t just keep belly fat at bay. They can also ward off a bad mood. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid, increases the feel-good chemical serotonin in the brain, keeping you calm. In a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers at the University of Nivarra in Spain found that people who consumed a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, nuts, fish, and olive oil were 30% less likely to become depressed.

Citrus Fruit

The mood booster: Vitamin C

For only 60 calories a pop, it’s easy to get nearly 100% of your daily recommended vitamin C in one place. Skip your orange and you might end up feeling bitter. In a study conducted by doctors at Jewish General Hospital in Montreal and published in the journal Nutrition, researchers found that when vitamin C-deficient hospital patients were supplemented with 500 mg of vitamin C twice daily for 1 week they experienced a 34% reduction in mood disturbance. Even the smell of citrus can put you in a better state of mind. When participants in an Ohio State University study smelled lemons, they reported greater improvements in mood and had higher levels of norepinephrine compared with when they sniffed lavender or unscented water.

Low-Fat Milk

The mood boosters: Vitamin D, calcium, whey protein

While research has linked deficiencies in vitamin D and calcium—two essential nutrients found in milk and fortified juices—to mood disorders, like depression, seasonal affective disorder, and PMS, a lesser-studied compound in dairy products can help you keep your cool in high-stress situations. An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that alpha-lactalbumin, a component of whey protein, improves cognitive performance in stress-prone individuals by increasing levels of tryptophan and serotonin in the brain.

banana-2Bananas

The mood booster: Magnesium

This portable treat makes a great 100-calorie snack when you’re craving something sweet. Bananas are a good source of magnesium, a mineral that helps the brain deal with stress and may help boost mood, too. In a study of 5,700 adults published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, researchers linked higher levels of anxiety and depression to study participants with lower magnesium intake. Bananas are also packed with potassium, which helps boost alertness, tryptophan, an amino acid that aids the body in producing mood-boosting serotonin, and mood-stabilizing vitamin B6.

Information provided by: Fitbie.com

Top 10 Scariest Food Additives

Here at foodfacts.com, we like to keep our readers informed of all current and up-to-date information regarding health and food. Here is a recent news article discussing the 10 scariest food additives in some of the most popular food products most can find in their pantry.

There was a time when “fruit flavored” and “cheese flavored” meant “made with real fruit” and “made with real cheese.” Today? It’s artificial everything. Most of the food at your local supermarket is no more authentic than Snooki’s tan. Our fruit comes packaged in Loops, our cheese delivered via Whiz. Sure, it’s edible, but there’s no way your great grandparents would recognize this junk as food.

The problem with additives runs deep. The FDA currently maintains a list of ingredients called Everything Added to Food in the United States (EAFUS), which features more than 3,000 items and counting. Thankfully, most EAFUS ingredients are benign, but a few of them do have potentially harmful effects. Why they’re legal is a mystery to us. Some of them might be backed by powerful lobby groups, while others probably survive simply because some guy at the FDA has too much paperwork on his desk and hasn’t made time to adequately review the data.

Below are 10 of the most dubious ingredients hiding in your food, compliments of Eat This, Not That! 2011. Even if you’re not convinced of their danger, you have to admit this: The more filler ingredients you cut from your diet, the more space you have for wholesome, nutritious foods.

Scary Ingredient #1: Olestrapringles
A fat substitute synthesized by Procter & Gamble. Because human digestive enzymes can’t break down the big molecules, Olestra contributes 0 calories to your diet.

Why it’s scary: In the late ’90s, Frito-Lay released Olestra-enhanced WOW chips and Procter & Gamble introduced Fat Free Pringles. Both products were required to carry warning labels to notify customers about the risk of “loose stools.” Within 4 years, some 15,000 people had dialed in to a hotline set up specifically to handle adverse-reaction complaints. Apparently the complaints didn’t move the FDA, because in 2003, the administration revoked the warning-label mandate. If you want to take your chances with diarrhea, go ahead, but first consider this: Olestra also appears to interfere with the body’s ability to absorb some crucial nutrients like beta-carotene and lycopene. To counteract the effect, processers add some nutrients back, but it’s unlikely that all the blocked nutrients are adequetly replaced.

Furthermore, just last week I tweeted that an animal study at Purdue University found that fake fats like Olestra may cause more weight gain than real fat.

Where you’ll find it: Lay’s Light chips, Pringles Light chips

Scary Ingredient #2: Caramel Coloring
An artificial pigment created by heating sugars. Frequently, this process includes ammonia.stove-top

Why it’s scary: Caramel coloring shows up in everything from soft drinks and sauces to breads and pastries. When made from straight sugar, it’s relatively benign. But when produced with ammonia it puts off 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, chemicals that have been linked to cancer in mice. The risk is strong enough that the California government, a bellwether for better food regulation, categorized 4-methylimidazole as “known to cause cancer” earlier this year. Unfortunately, companies aren’t required to disclose whether their coloring is made with ammonia, so you’d be wise to avoid it as much as you can.

Where you’ll find it: Colas and other soft drinks, La Choy soy sauce, Stove Top stuffing mix

Scary Ingredient #3: Saccharin
An artificial sweetener discovered by accident in the 1870s.sweet-n-low

Why it’s scary: Studies have linked saccharin to bladder tumors in rats, and in 1977, the FDA required warning labels on all saccharin-containing foods. In 2000, the agency changed its stance and allowed saccharin to be sold without warning labels. But that doesn’t make it entirely safe. A 2008 Purdue study found that replacing sugar with saccharin in rats’ diets made them gain more weight, proving once again that you should be aware of these faux fat foes.

Where you’ll find it: Sweet ‘N Low, TaB cola

Scary Ingredient #4: Potassium Bromate
A compound that conditions flour and helps bread puff up during baking.

Why it’s scary: Potassium bromate causes thyroid and kidney tumors in rats, and it’s banned from food use in many countries. In California, products containing potassium bromate are required to carry a cancer warning. Fortunately, negative publicity has made the additive relatively rare, but until the FDA banishes it, you should remain on the lookout.

Where you’ll find it: Johnny Rockets Hoagie Roll

Scary Ingredient #5: Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Petroleum-derived antioxidants and preservatives.
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Why they’re scary: The Department of Health and Human Services says BHA is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” yet the FDA allows it to be used anyway. BHT is considered less dangerous, but in animal research, it too has resulted in cancer. Oddly, the chemicals aren’t even always necessary; in most cases they can be replaced with vitamin E.

Where you’ll find it: Goya lard, Golden Grahams, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Orbit gum

Scary Ingredient #6: Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
A semi-solid fat created when food processors force hydrogen into unsaturated fatty acids.sandwich

Why it’s scary: Partially hydrogenated fats are the principle sources of trans fat in the American diet, and a Harvard study estimated that trans fat causes 70,000 heart attacks every year. The good news: Partially hydrogenated oils are beginning to slowly retreat from our food. Progressive jurisdictions like New York City are starting to restrict the allowable amounts in restaurants, and many chains are switching to healthier frying oil. Still, the battle isn’t over. At Long John Silver’s, for example, there are still 17 menu items with more than 2 grams of the stuff. According to the American Heart Association, that’s about the maximum you should consume in a single day.

Where you’ll find it: McDonald’s McChicken, Long John Silver’s Broccoli Cheese Soup

Scary Ingredient #7: Sulfites
Preservatives that maintain the color of food, and by releasing sulfur dioxide, prevent bacterial growth. fig-enwton

Why it’s scary: Humans have used sulfites to keep food fresh for thousands of years, but some people—especially asthma sufferers—experience breathing difficulties when exposed. In the 1980s, unregulated use resulted in at least a dozen deaths, prompting the FDA to slap warning labels on wine bottles and develop new guidelines for proper use. Now restaurants can no longer soak fresh ingredients in sulfites. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, there have been no known deaths since the new legislation took hold. The bottom line: If you’re among the majority of people not sensitive to sulfites, consumption won’t hurt you. If you’re not sure, ask your doctor for a test.

Where you’ll find it: Wine, Sun-Maid Mixed Fruit, Jolly Ranchers, Fig Newtons

Scary Ingredient #8: Azodicarbonamide
A synthetic yellow-orange dough conditioner bagel

Why it’s scary: This chemical is used most frequently in the production of industrial foam plastic, and although the FDA has approved its use for food in the States, the United Kingdom has labeled it a potential cause of asthma. In a review of 47 studies on azodicarbonamide, the World Health Organization concluded that it probably does trigger asthmatic symptoms. The WHO concluded, “exposure levels should be reduced as much as possible.” I’ll put it more concisely: Avoid it.

Where you’ll find it: Dunkin’ Donuts bagels, McDonald’s burger buns

Scary Ingredient #9: Carrageenan
A thickener and emulsifier extracted from seaweed.popsicle

Why it’s scary: Seaweed is actually good for you, but carrageenan is a mere seaweed byproduct. Through animal studies, it has been linked to cancer, colon trouble, and ulcers. It isn’t certain that carrageenan harms humans, but avoiding it is clearly the safer option. Most studies examined degraded forms of the additive, and research from the University of Iowa found that carrageenan could be degraded through the normal digestive process.

Where you’ll find it: Weight Watchers Giant Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream Bars, Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches, Creamsicles

Scary Ingredient #10: Ammonium Sulfate
An inorganic salt that occurs naturally near active volcanoes and is used commercially to nourish yeast and help bread rise.4036996_orig

Why it’s scary: This nitrogen-rich compound is most often used as fertilizer, and also appears commonly in flame retardants. Thankfully, the ingredient only sounds scary—a 2006 Japanese rat study found the additive to be non-carcinogenic. Both the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the FDA deem it safe.

Retrieved from: Yahoo.com

One in Twelve U.S. Children May suffer from Food Allergies

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Foodfacts.com realizes that more and more children are now suffering from food allergies. Nearly 6 million U.S. children or about one in 12 kids are allergic to at least one food, with peanuts, milk and shellfish topping the list of the most common allergens, a new study finds.

Researchers conducted a nationally representative survey of the parents of more than 40,000 children. About 8 percent reported having a child who had a food allergy. Of those, about 30 percent said their child was allergic to multiple foods.

Among kids with food allergies, 25 percent were allergic to peanuts, 21 percent were allergic to milk and 17 percent had an allergy to shellfish. Those were followed by tree nuts (13 percent), eggs (nearly 10 percent), finned fish (6 percent), strawberries (5 percent), wheat (5 percent), and soy (just under 5 percent).

While the study was a snapshot of the prevalence of food allergies in America and did not track change over time, researchers said anecdotal evidence — including reports from schools and the numbers of patients coming in to allergists’ offices — suggests that the rate is rising.

“Eight percent is a pretty significant amount of kids,” said lead study author Dr. Ruchi Gupta, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University and a pediatrician at Children’s Memorial Hospital, both in Chicago. “We are seeing a lot more cases. We are seeing a lot more in schools than we used to see. It does seem that food allergy is on the rise.”

The study is published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

Allergic reactions to foods can range from mild to severe. In the survey, about 61 percent of food allergic children had a mild to moderate reaction, including swelling of the lips and face, hives, itching, flushing or an eczema flare.

The remaining 39 percent had a severe or even potentially life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis — wheezing and trouble breathing, vomiting, swelling, persistent coughing that indicates airway swelling and a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

The foods most commonly associated with a severe reaction included tree nuts and peanuts, shellfish, soy and finned fish.eatingpeanutsduringpregnancymayincreasechildrensriskoffoodallergies_2248_800211243_0_0_7052658_300

“Especially for kids with multiple food allergies, it complicates their lives and makes it really tough on these kids to avoid multiple foods to stay healthy and stay alive,” Gupta said.

Parents of children with food allergies should always carry antihistamine and an epinephrine shot (i.e., an EpiPen) with them, Gupta said. Even with those close at hand, witnessing a child having a serious food reaction can be terrifying for parents, who don’t know how bad it’s going to get and need to decide within moments whether to administer the shot and call 911.

Often, reactions happen when parents least expect them — while they’re at a family gathering or some other social event, and the child accidentally ingests something.

Dr. Susan Schuval, a pediatric allergist at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., agreed that food allergies seem to be getting more common.

“We are seeing tons and tons of food allergies. There also seems to be an increase from what we’ve seen in the past,” Schuval said.

Right now, the only treatment available to most food allergic kids is avoidance. For parents and children, that means paying close attention to labels, taking precautions when eating out, bringing along their own food when they travel or go to social events such as birthday parties. It also means educating teachers, caregivers and other parents who may have their kids over to play about using an epinephrine shot and the seriousness of the allergy.

“They need to maintain their full alertness out of the home, in the schools and in restaurants,” Schuval said.

For some children, food allergies get better over time. Previous research has found many kids outgrow allergies to milk, egg, soy and wheat. Fewer outgrow peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish allergies.

A wheat allergy is different from celiac disease, in which wheat cannot be digested properly and, over time, damages the lining of the intestines.

For more information on food allergies and how to avoid them check out blog.foodfacts.com.

Information provided by: MSN News

MSG is sometimes hidden in food with labels that say “No Added MSG,” “No MSG Added,” and “No MSG”

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Foodfacts.com wants to help make you more aware about some of the things that manufacturers hide on their labels. Manufacturers are aware that many consumers would prefer not to have MSG in their food. Some manufacturers have responded by using “clean labels,” i.e., labels that contain only ingredient names they think consumers will not recognize as containing MSG — names such as “hydrolyzed soy protein.” Others advertise “No MSG,” “No MSG Added,” or “No Added MSG,” even though their products contain MSG.

Most offenders are small processors who are possibly being misguided by the FDA, the USDA, and/or consultants. Hain and Campbell’s, both large companies, are among those who have been alerted to both the deception that they are perpetrating and the illegality of what they are doing, yet continue with what the FDA has, in the past, termed deceptive and misleading labeling.
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Placing “No MSG,” “No MSG Added,” or “No Added MSG” on food labels has been deemed by the FDA to be false and misleading under section (403)(a)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act when the label also lists any hydrolyzed protein as an ingredient since it contains MSG.” Thus, to advertise “No MSG,” “No MSG Added,” or “No Added MSG” when there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in a product is illegal.

At one time, the FDA responded to the illegal use of the term “No MSG Added,” with both a Regulatory Letter and threat of seizure and injunction in case of non-compliance.(4) At one time, State Attorneys General sued manufacturers that made such claims, and won consent decrees from them, and sometimes fines were imposed.(5-6) But when the FDA began to look the other way, and the State Attorneys General turned their attention to other matters, the deceptive and misleading use of “No MSG” and No Added MSG” once more began proliferating.

Following the FDA’s announcement in 1995 that “…FDA considers foods whose labels say “No MSG” or “No Added MSG” to be misleading if the food contains ingredients that are sources of free glutamates, such as hydrolyzed protein,”(7) the incidence of such misleading and deceptive labels regulated by the FDA began to decline. At the same time, similar labels regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) continued proliferating. At the USDA they don’t simply fail to enforce the regulation. The USDA actually approves labels of meat and poultry products that claim “No MSG,” “No MSG Added,” or “No Added MSG” when they contain free glutamic acid.

Clearly, it is false and misleading to claim “No MSG” or “No MSG Added” on a product label when MSG is present, even if it is present as a constituent of an ingredient.

Those making such claims should be able to demonstrate, through valid tests for free glutamic acid content, that there is no (zero) free glutamic acid in their products.

Even if one could assume that a particular label reflected the ingredients actually in the product (which one cannot), review of product labels to determine the presence of MSG would not be satisfactory, and will not substitute for analysis of the end product. The number of products/ingredients /substances that contain MSG is not finite, i.e., new ingredients that contain MSG are invented and/or renamed every day. To keep track of them would be virtually impossible. Moreover, MSG can be freed from protein during processing or manufacture given appropriate conditions. For example, any ingredient that contains a bit of protein can be hydrolyzed if hydrochloric acid, enzymes, heat, and/or other substances or conditions that cause glutamic acid to be separated out of its host protein are present, resulting in some processed free glutamic acid (MSG). Hydrolyzation of protein inevitably creates some (processed) free glutamic acid (MSG).

Only if there is no (zero) free glutamic acid in an end product can one legitimately claim that there is no MSG. The burden of proof for a claim about the absence of MSG must lie with those making the claim.

If you write or call to ask whether or not there is MSG in a product…

If you want to find out if there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in a product, you must ask the manufacturer for information about “free glutamic acid.” Don’t ask about “MSG.” Manufacturers find it convenient, when speaking to consumers, to tell them that there is no “MSG” in their product, meaning that there is no ingredient called “monosodium glutamate.” Even if a manufacturer tells you there is no MSG in a product, there may be autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed pea protein, carrageenan, sodium caseinate, enzymes, and a whole slew of other ingredients that contain or create processed free glutamic acid (MSG) during manufacture.

If you are told that all of the MSG in a product is “naturally occurring,” thank the manufacturer for that meaningless information, but explain that all processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is referred to as “natural” by the FDA — so “natural” tells you nothing. In fact, as the word “natural” is defined by the FDA, the food ingredient “monosodium glutamate” is “natural.”

It is the amount of processed free glutamic acid in the product that will determine whether or not you might suffer an MSG reaction. (Everyone has a different tolerance for MSG.) If the manufacturer claims not to know whether or not there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in his or her product, ask that the product be analyzed for free amino acids, including free glutamic acid. There are tests for measuring free glutamic acid. The AOAC Official Methods of Analysis (1984) gives one method. There are others. The cost of testing should be no more than $150.

We have been advised by the FDA that if any such misbranded products are brought to their attention, they will act to correct the situation. To report misbranded products to the FDA, please call the FDA at 888-723-3366 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., eastern time – and keep a record of your call.

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.

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

Worst Energy Drink

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Rockstar Energy Drink (1 can, 16 fl oz)
280 calories
0 g fat
62 g sugars

Sugar Equivalent: 6 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnuts

Foodfacts.com is looking into the unhealthiest drinks in America. None of the energy provided by these full-sugar drinks could ever justify the caloric load, but Rockstar’s take is especially frightening. One can provides nearly as much sugar as half a box of Nilla Wafers. In fact, it has 60 more calories than the same amount of Red Bull and 80 more than a can of Monster. If you’re going to guzzle, better choose one of the low-cal options. We like Monster; it offers all the caffeine and B vitamins with just enough sugar to cut through the funky extracts.

Information provided by menshealth.com