Category Archives: Food Additves to Avoid: Acesulfame-K

Food additive approvals … are conflicts of interest endangering consumers?

The FoodFacts.com website offers an extensive collection of information on controversial ingredients – which include many food additives. BHA, BHT, TBHQ, Azodicarbonamide, Sodium Benzoate and numerous food dyes are just examples of the many additives that are currently considered GRAS – or Generally Recognized as Safe by the FDA.

After educating yourself on any of these additives, it’s surprising to find that they are included in the GRAS list. We sometimes wonder why an additive that’s also included in antifreeze made it into our food supply … or how coloring that has been shown to exacerbate ADHD tendencies in children is still an allowable ingredient. Today we read about a study that may provide some insight into these and other important questions regarding the safety of a variety of different additives.

The study was conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C. Researchers used conflict of interest criteria developed by a committee of the Institute of Medicine to analyze 451 GRAS notifications that were voluntarily submitted to the FDA between 1997 and 2012.

For the 451 GRAS notifications, 22.4 percent of the safety assessments were made by an employee of an additive manufacturer, 13.3 percent by an employee of a consulting firm selected by the manufacturer and 64.3 percent by an expert panel selected by either a consulting firm or the manufacturer, according to the results.

“Between 1997 and 2012, financial conflicts of interest were ubiquitous in determinations that an additive to food was GRAS. The lack of independent review in GRAS determinations raises concerns about the integrity of the process and whether it ensures the safety of the food supply, particularly in instances where the manufacturer does not notify the FDA of the determination. The FDA should address these concerns,” the study concludes.

The Food Additives Amendment of 1958 allows manufacturers to determine when an additive is GRAS. After a GRAS determination is made, manufacturers are not required to notify the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), although in some instances the agency is notified, the authors write in the study background. The study goes on to add that the individuals that companies select to make these determinations may have financial conflicts of interest.

Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., of New York University, commented on the study saying it provides an important addition to the growing body of evidence for undue food industry influence on food safety policy. Nestle also commented that the lack of independent review in GRAS determinations raises serious questions about the public health implications of unregulated additives in the food supply, especially the additives that the FDA does not even know about.

FoodFacts.com wanted to get this important information out in front of our community. We should all be aware of the possibility that the Generally Recognized As Safe designation can be more about food manufacturers than food safety. In response to these findings, we encourage our community to reach out within their own networks and educate other consumers regarding the use of controversial ingredients in food  products.   Our knowledge can be a powerful thing. And as always, let’s avoid processed foods, so that we can avoid the questionable additives that are lurking in our food supply.

http://media.jamanetwork.com/news-item/research-examines-conflicts-of-interest-in-approvals-of-additives-to-food/

Foodfacts.com Explores the Controversial Ingredient Gelatin

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Foodfacts.com wants you to get to know what controversial ingredients are in your foods. Lets take a look at the controversial ingredient Gelatin. Gelatin, also known as gelatine, is a colorless water soluble protein. The jelly which is used in most of the desserts and sweets is made of gelatin. Gelatin in its natural form is colorless, odorless and tasteless. There have been many conceptions, misconceptions and beliefs about ingredients in gelatin. Let us have a look at it in detail.

Gelatin Ingredients
Collagen is one of the chief ingredients of gelatin. Collagen is a scleroprotein found in the bone, cartilage and tendons of animals. When the bones or tissues of animals are boiled, collagen yields gelatin. Hence, getting straight to the point, you should know that gelatin can be obtained only from animal tissues. There is a wide spread misconception that gelatin is obtained from horse hooves, which is incorrect. Horse hooves or bones are never used in the production process of gelatin. Tissues of pigs, cattle and fish are prominently used in order to obtain gelatin.

Therefore, it is no doubt clear that as gelatin is gotten from animal sources, it cannot be considered as a vegetarian meal or product. Similarly, any product containing gelatin, like marshmallows, gummy bears, Peeps, Jell-O, etc. can never be included in vegan food products. Many capsule covers are also made with gelatin and hence, vegetarians should specifically have a check at the label of any medicine to make sure whether they are vegetarian or not. Gelatin is also one of the chief ingredients of toothpaste, certain cosmetics and soups and canned hams. Gelatin is commonly available in the form of granules, flakes as well as cubes.

Kosher Gelatin
The answer to the query, ‘is Kosher gelatin vegan or not’ is very ambiguous. Kosher or Kashrut, are a set of rules followed by the Jewish community about the production and edibility of food products. According to Kosher laws, any food items that contain flesh are considered as non-kosher while those gotten from plants are considered as kosher. However, as gelatin is obtained from bones and not from actual flesh, it is considered as kosher and can be eaten by Jewish adherents. Secondly, only the gelatin that comes from fish and all types of vegetarian gelatin are considered kosher. However, it is always advisable to check the Kosher laws and gelatin ingredients thoroughly before consuming any of such products.

Vegan Gelatin
Vegans may be disappointed to find that gelatin used in their favorite desserts is obtained from an animal source and hence, cannot be consumed. One should also know that no such product as the vegan gelatin exists. However, one may not be aware but, there are various substances that have similar properties like that of gelatin and can be used as a substitute to it. Agar agar, or only the agar, is a widely used vegan substitute for gelatin. Agar is obtained from seaweed or red algae and is used as an ingredient in many vegan desserts all over the world. Agar is obtained by boiling, purifying and drying red algae or red seaweed. The properties of agar are not exactly similar to that of gelatin, as it is more slimy and softer than gelatin. But nonetheless, it makes an excellent gelling agent in vegan marshmallows and jellies. Some of the other vegan substitutes for gelatin include Xanthan, Biobin, Guar and Carob fruit.

If you’re confused about the same, refer to food guide.

Now that you are aware of gelatin ingredients, it is always advisable to check the label of every product, specially desserts or canned foodstuffs. Presence of gelatin in it means it has been prepared from an animal source which definitely is not a vegan option!

Foodfacts.com Recall Alert! Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc. Recalls Grape Tomatoes Due to Salmonella Risk

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Foodfacts.com has learned that Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc. of Tracy, CA has been notified by grower Six L’s that a specific lot of grape tomatoes supplied to Taylor Farms Pacific may be contaminated with Salmonella. This product has been recalled by Six L’s.

This lot of grape tomatoes was used in the following products made by Taylor Farms Pacific for Albertsons, Raley’s, Safeway, Savemart, Sam’s Club, & Walmart and is being voluntarily recalled as a precautionary measure. No illnesses have been reported.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people may experience fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), and abdominal pain. In rare cases the organism can get into the bloodstream and cause more serious complications. For more information visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at www.cdc.gov1.

Albertsons:

Brand Product Description Size Package Use By UPC State
Albertson’s
Taylor Farms Seafood Salad
15 oz
Plastic tray
5/5/2011

AZ

Albertson’s
Taylor Farms Seafood Salad
15 oz
Plastic Tray
5/6/2011

AZ

Albertson’s
Taylor Farms Seafood Salad
15 oz
Plastic Tray
5/7/2011

AZ

Albertson’s
Taylor Farms Seafood Salad
15 oz
Plastic Tray
5/8/2011

AZ

Albertson’s
Taylor Farms Cobb Salad
14 oz
Plastic Tray
5/5/2011

AZ

Albertson’s
Taylor Farms Cobb Salad
14 oz
Plastic Tray
5/8/2011

AZ

Albertson’s
Italian Sub Pasta Salad
(sold at the Deli counter)
Varies

5/7/2011
10030223091148
OR

Raley’s:

Brand Product Description Size Packaging Use By UPC States
Raley’s
Raley’s Seafood Louie 6ct Salad
14 oz
Plastic tray
5/5/2011
46567504223
CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’s Mediteranean 6 ct Salad
11.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/4/2011
46567501192
CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’s Mediteranean 6 ct Salad
11.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/5/2011
46567501192
CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’s Family size Green 6ct Salad
17 oz
Plastic Tray
5/5/2011
46567501222
CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’s Tomato Caprese Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies

5/5/2011

CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’sArtichoke& Vegetable Pasta Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies

5/5/2011

CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’s Greek Quinoa Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies

5/5/2011

CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’sMediteranean Orzo Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies

5/4/2011

CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’sMediteranean Orzo Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies

5/5/2011

CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’sMediteranean Orzo Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies

5/6/2011

CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’sMediteranean Orzo Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies

5/7/2011

CA,NV

Raley’s
Raley’s Cobb
10 oz
Plastic Tray
5/4/2011
46567504230
CA,NV

Raley’s
Raley’s Classic Chef
11.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/4/2011
4656750120
CA, NV

Safeway:

Brand Product Description Size Packaging Use By UPC States
Signature Café
BLT Salad with Chicken
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/4/2011
21130-06325
AZ, OR, WA, NM,ID,MT

Signature Café
BLT Salad with Chicken
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/27/2011
21130-06325
Vons and Pavilions in California and Nevada

Signature Café
Caprese Salad with Crostini
8.25oz
Plastic Tray
4/30-2011-5/5/2011
21130-06582
OR, WA, AZ, NM,ID, MT

Signature Café
Caprese Salad with Crostini
8.25oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/7/2011
21130-06582
WA, OR, AZ, CA, NM, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Caprese Salad with Crostini
8.25oz
Plastic Tray
4/27/2011
21130-06582
Vons and Pavilions in California and Nevada

Signature Café
Chef Salad
11oz
Plastic Tray
4/27/2011
21130-06252
CA, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Chef Salad
11oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/4/2011
21130-06252
AZ, OR, CA, WA, NM, WA, ID, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Chef Salad
11oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/5/2011
21130-06252
WA, CO, CA,AZ, OR, NM, ID, MT,NE, SD, WY(excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Chef Salad
11oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/7/2011
21130-06252
OR, AZ, CA, NM, WA, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Chef Salad
11oz
Plastic Tray
4/27/2011
21130-06252
Vons and Pavilions in CA, NV

Signature Café
Cobb Salad
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/2/2011
21130-06251
WA

Signature Café
Cobb Salad
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/3/2011
21130-06251
WA, CO, AZ, OR, NM, ID, MT, NE, SD, WY

Signature Café
Cobb Salad
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/4/2011
21130-06251
AZ, OR, CA, WA, NM, ID, MT (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Cobb Salad
12oz
PlasticTray
4/27/2011
21130-06251
CA, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Cobb Salad
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/28/2011
21130-06251
CA, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Cobb Salad
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/27/2011
21130-06251
Vons and Pavilions in CA, NV

Signature Café
Cobb Salad
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/28/2011
21130-06251
Vons and Pavilions in CA, NV

Signature Café
Greek Salad
13.5oz
Plastic Tray
4/27/2011
21130-06257
CA, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Greek Salad
13.5oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/3/2011
21130-06257
WA, OR,CO, AZ, NM, ID, MT, NE, SD, WY

Signature Café
Greek Salad
13.5oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/4/2011
21130-06257
WA, AZ,OR, CA, NM,ID, MT, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Greek Salad
13.5oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/5/2011
21130-06257
WA, CO, CA, AZ, NV, NE, NM, SD,WY, ID, MT, OR (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Greek Salad
13.5oz
Plastic Tray
4/27/2011
21130-06257
Vons and Pavilions in CA, NV

Signature Café
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies
Deli Counter
4/30/2011-5/5/2011
21256300000
CA, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies
Deli Counter
4/30/2011-5/6/2011
21256300000
CA, CO, NE,NM, SD,WY,NV

Signature Café
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies
Deli Counter
4/30/2011-5/7/2011
21256300000
CA, CO, WA, NE, NM,SD, WY, NV

Signature Café
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies
Deli Counter
4/30/2011-5/8/2011
21256300000
CO, WA, CA, NE, NM,SD, WY, NV

Signature Café
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies
Deli Counter
4/30/2011-5/9/2011
21256300000
WA, Vons and Pavilions in CA, NV

Signature Café
Turkey Parmesan and Pasta Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies
Deli Counter
4/30/2011-5/7/2011
48205016601
OR, CA, WA, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Turkey Parmesan and Pasta Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies
Deli Counter
4/30/2011-5/8/2011
48205016601
CA, OR, AZ, WA, NV, NM

Savemart:

Brand Product Description Size Packaging Use by States
Savemart
Pacific Coast Cobb Salad
12.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/7/2011
CA

Sam’s Club:

Brand Product Description Size Packaging Use by States
Sam’s
Sam’s Greek Orzo Pasta

2.5 lb
Plastic Tray
5/8/2011
CA

Sam’s
Sam’s Chicken BLT Spinach 2/4 Cnt Salad
1.5 lb
Plastic Tray
5/8/2011
CA

Wal-Mart:

Brand Product Description Size Packaging Use By UPC States
Wal-Mart
Marketside Seafood Salad
16.25 oz
Plastic Tray
5/4/2011
68113191702
WA,NM, UT

Wal-Mart
Marketside Seafood Salad
16.25 oz
Plastic Tray
5/6/2011
68113191702
NM, UT

Wal-Mart
Marketside Seafood Salad
16.25 oz
Plastic Tray
5/8/2011
68113191702
WA, NM,UT

Wal-Mart
Marketside TU Chef
6.75 oz
Plastic Tray
5/2/2011
68113138952
NV, UT,AZ

Wal-Mart
Marketside TU Cobb
5.25 oz
Plastic Tray
5/6/2011
68113145793
WA

Wal-Mart
Marketside Chef Salad
15.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/2/2011
68113191697
NV

Wal-Mart
Marketside Chef Salad
15.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/5/2011
68113191697
NV

Wal-Mart
Marketside Chef Salad
15.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/6/2011
68113191697
NM,AZ,UT

Wal-Mart
Marketside Chef Salad
15.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/7/2011
68113191697
WY,WA

Wal-Mart
Marketside Buffalo Salad
17 oz
Plastic Tray
5/7/2011
68113138805
WY

Wal-Mart
Asian Chicken Salad
17.25 oz
Plastic Tray
5/5/2011
68113138806
NV

Wal-Mart
Asian Chicken Salad
17.25 oz
Plastic Tray
5/3/2011
68113138806
AZ, NV

Wal-Mart
Asian Chicken Salad
17.25 oz
Plastic Tray
5/6/2011
68113138806
AZ

Wal-Mart
Marketside Ranch Cobb Salad
15 oz
Plastic Tray
5/6/2011
68113191699
NM, UT, AZ

Wal-Mart
Marketside Ranch Cobb Salad
15 oz
Plastic Tray
5/7/2011
68113191699
WY

Wal-Mart
Marketside Ranch Cobb Salad
15 oz
Plastic Tray
5/5/2011
68113191699
NV

These products should not be eaten. Customers may return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Taylor Farms Pacific has notified the FDA and USDA of this voluntary recall.

Consumers with any questions may contact Taylor Farms Pacific directly at 209-835-6300 between the hours of 8am to 5pm PST, Monday through Friday, or visit the FDA and USDA websites.

Food Additves to Avoid: Acesulfame-K

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Foodfacts.com wants to make you more aware of what controversial ingredients are being put into our foods. Acesulfame-K, also known as acesulfame potassium, represents one of the food additives used for sweetening aliments and drinks. Our body does not metabolize this food additive, so it is passed in urine, thus having no caloric value. This makes it a viable alternative to sugar in numerous diet drinks and foods. However, caution is required when consuming foods containing this artificial sweetener, as it is not totally safe.
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Comparison between Acesulfame-K and Other Sweeteners
It is possible to compare the saccharinity of food additives, in order to determine which one is more potent. In terms of sweetness, acesulfame-K is:

■One-quarter as sweet as sucralose
■Nearly half as sweet as saccharin
■Equal to aspartame
■Between 180 and 200 times as sweet as table sugar (sucrose)
Keep in mind that acesulfame-K is frequently mixed with other similar food additives, such as aspartame or sucralose.

Foods Containing Acesulfame-K
Acesulfame-K is often added to baked foods or to foods that have a long shelf life, because this food additive does not decompose in the presence of heat. Aspartame, on the other hand, is not stable in such conditions. Acesulfame potassium is added to a wide range of products, some of the most important being:
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■Alcoholic drinks
■Chewing gum
■Gelatin desserts
■Syrup
■Yoghurt
It is best to check the ingredient list, in order to see whether acesulfame-K or other similar food additives are included. However, this artificial sweetener is not only present in foods and drinks, but also in pharmaceutical products, such as chewable and liquid drugs, as acesulfame potassium is able to improve their taste. Acesulfame-K does not promote dental caries, but there are many other numerous reasons to avoid it, as it may pose serious threats to your health.

Reasons to Avoid Acesulfame Potassium
Acesulfame-K has been approved by the US FDA, but there are several potential problems correlated with consumption of this food additive. Even though there are many studies that attest its safety, acesulfame potassium is still suspected of causing benign thyroid tumors. In rats, the development of such tumors took only 3 months, a period in which the concentration of this additive in the consumed food was between 1 and 5 percent. This is a very short period of time, so the substance is believed to have significant carcinogenic properties.

Methylene chloride, a solvent used in the manufacture of acesulfame potassium, is the substance that may give the food additive its potential carcinogenic characteristics. In addition, exposure to methylene chloride for long periods of time may lead to such side effects as:
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■Breast tumors
■Chronic respiratory disease
■Depression
■Headaches
■Kidney and liver problems
■Leukemia
■Lung tumors
■Mental confusion
■Nausea
■Visual disturbances
Acesulfame potassium may also increase the appetite, by tricking the satiety signals of our body. When consuming products that contain this artificial sweetener, cravings for extremely sweet foods may develop. In these conditions, taste perception is changed and the taste of fruits and vegetables do not feel tasty anymore.

Insulin secretion increases considerably when consuming foods rich in acesulfame-K. Also, the feelings of low blood sugar will intensify. All these problems make the safety of acesulfame potassium questionable. Additional long-term studies may be required for revealing the true benefits and downsides of this artificial sweetener.

Information provided by: http://www.3fatchicks.com