Category Archives: yahoo

What is Polysorbate 80?

chemical flasks with reagents

Here at Foodfacts.com, we like to keep viewers aware of possible health implications from a variety of products and ingredients. Today we feature Polysorbate 80.creamsicle

Polysorbate 80, also known as polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate, is a common food additive used as an emulsifier in a wide variety of products, mostly different ice creams. What it does is help make frozen treats smoother and more resistant to melting. Why do we classify this ingredient as controversial? Many studies have been done showing possible links to infertility, bladder cancer, negative interactions with Crohn’s disease, and in some cases anaphylactic shock. turkey-hill

Most humans in US and Canada consume approximately 0.1g of polysorbate 80 in their foods each day. In addition to foods, polysorbate 80 is now also an additive in H1N1 flu shots, and other vaccinations. With the increasing incidence of influenza in recent years, polysorbate 80 consumption is expected to rise even more.

Although polysorbate 80 is currently deemed safe for consumption, it’s wise for consumers to make their own judgments over these different types of additives. Check back to Foodfacts.com to see what other products contain this ingredient!

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.

Popcorn 49105main_popcorn

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.

Avocadoavocado

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

Foodfacts.com looks into How To Protect Yourself From Food Poisoning

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Foodfacts.com looks into how to protect yourself from food poisoning. The CDC estimates that roughly 1 in 6 Americans will get sick from food-borne illnesses each year. E. coli outbreaks continue to be a public health problem, both in the States and abroad, especially since our food supply has gone global and we’re able to have fresh produce year-round by importing fruits and veggies. Now, E. coli outbreaks are happening on a never-seen-before scale in Germany with more than 2,500 infections and more than 25 deaths reported since last month. Experts aren’t sure exactly which vegetable triggered the outbreak (though many are pointing to organic sprouts at the moment), or even which country it originated from.

“This particular outbreak shouldn’t affect Americans because it’s rare that perishable produce will make it across the Atlantic, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t risk of an outbreak here in the States,” says Keith R. Schneider, Ph.D, Associate Professor in the Department of Food Safety and Human Nutrition at the University of Florida. Dr. Schneider points out that we’ve had multiple outbreaks in the States, from the salmonella incident linked to Jalapeño peppers in salsa to the E. coli outbreak connected with spinach.

“It’s hard to find the exact source of a food-borne illness because it typically takes two to three days for the first symptoms of an infection to appear, and longer for people to actually visit a doctor. By then, you can’t remember exactly what you ate last Tuesday,” says Dr. Schneider. “Moreover, contamination might not be from a specific farm or food, but from a point of distribution. It might be from one guy named Eddie who isn’t washing his hands while packaging food.”

Still, the health benefits of eating fresh produce far outweigh the risk, says Dr. Schneider. “You’re much more likely to get sick from meat than you are from produce. You can find pathogens on poultry 50 percent of the time. That’s not even a reason for alarm because all it takes is cooking meat fully to completely kill the bacteria.”

The key to avoiding food-borne illnesses is safe handling practices, says Francisco Diez, Ph.D, Professor of Food Safety and Microbiology in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota. “Since poultry is especially likely to have salmonella or another pathogen called campylobacter that normally lives in the intestines of birds, it’s important to cook meat to the proper temperature,” says Dr. Diez.

He recommends using a food thermometer to cook the center of any type of meat or fish to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. “This temperature has sufficient heat to destroy harmful bacteria without overcooking so the meat stays tender and juicy.” Also wash your hands before and after handling meat, and avoid cross contamination by using separate cutting boards and knives for meat and produce.

When it comes to fresh produce, there are certain types that may be more susceptible to pathogens. Here is Dr. Diez’s list of top five at-risk produce, and how to protect yourself from illness.

alfalfa-sprouts-5901. Sprouts.

This type of plant, especially alfalfa sprouts, has been linked with E. coli and salmonella. It grows in wet, humid environments that make it easy for bacteria to thrive. The more bacteria on a plant, the greater your chances of getting sick.

How to stay safe:

Rinsing well may lower the bacteria count but not eliminate it. “If you’re healthy, your immune system can fight off small amounts of pathogens,” says Dr. Diez. He recommends those most susceptible to food-borne illness avoid sprouts, which includes children younger than 8, people older than 65, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. If you eat sprouts, keep them refrigerated between 35 and 40 degrees to curb bacteria growth.

iceberglettuce2. Lettuce.

Though it’s not exactly clear why it may be more susceptible to contamination, one explanation is that the textured surface of lettuce leaves makes it easier for microbial cells to attach compared to smoother leaves, such as cabbage.

How to stay safe:

Remove the outer leaves on a head of lettuce before eating, and wash it thoroughly. You should submerge the entire head in a bowl of water and soak for a few minutes to loosen any soil, and run under regular water to help rinse away remaining particles.

3. Tomatoes.tomato

The juicy red fruit has been linked with regular but small outbreaks of salmonella, and experts aren’t sure exactly why. “Some people argue that the tomatoes might have been pre-washed with contaminated water that then got into the produce,” says Dr. Diez. “I wouldn’t recommend eliminating tomatoes from your diet because you can take precautions to prevent possible infection.”

How to stay safe:

If you’re eating tomatoes raw, be sure to wash thoroughly in plain water and use a towel to help to wipe away any remaining bacteria. Also, don’t buy tomatoes that are at all cut or bruised. When the skin of any vegetable is damaged, there’s more of a chance for bacteria to get into the product, and then there is no way to eliminate it unless you cook it to ensure pathogens get killed.

4. Melons.melon

Melons have a rugged surface, and pathogens may be more easily trapped in nooks and crannies. Plus, people often forget to wash this fruit since the fleshy part that you eat isn’t readily exposed to germs.

How to stay safe:

Bacteria gets transferred inside the flesh by knives when people cut through the rind of unwashed melons. Before you enjoy your summer cantaloupe or watermelon, be sure to thoroughly wash and scrub the outer surface with a soft produce brush.

5. Spinach.baby_spinach

Like lettuce and melons, spinach leaves‘ crinkly surface may make it more susceptible to bacteria. Also like other produce grown close to the ground, it may come into contact with contaminated animal feces.

How to stay safe:

Submerge spinach leaves in water and dry with a paper towel before eating to reduce your risk of pathogens, or serve cooked as a healthy side dish.

Information provided by Prevention.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

Poop Burger! Scientists in Japan create Meat out of Human Feces!

shit-burger
Foodfacts.com is looking into the storythat has been reported by various news outlets including both Fox News and Yahoo, that scientists in Japan have created a meat out of human feces! Yes, you read that correctly, human feces! Is their any truth to the story? We will let you be the judge of that.

Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from the Okayama Laboratory, has developed meat based on proteins from human excrement. Tokyo Sewage approached the scientist because of an overabundance of sewage mud. They asked him to explore the possible uses of the sewage and Ikeda found that the mud contained a great deal of protein because of all the bacteria.
The researchers then extracted those proteins, combined them with a reaction enhancer and put it in an exploder which created the artificial steak. The “meat” is 63% proteins, 25% carbohydrates, 3% lipids and 9% minerals. The researchers color the poop meat red with food coloring and enhance the flavor with soy protein. Initial tests have people saying it even tastes like beef.
Inhabitat notes that “the meatpacking industry causes 18 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions, mostly due to the release of methane from animals.” Livestock also consume huge amounts of resources and space in efforts to feed ourselves as well as the controversy over cruelty to animals. Ikeda’s recycled poop burger would reduce waste and emissions, not to mention obliterating Dante’s circle for gluttons.

It makes you wonder doesn’t it? How would the nutritional information for a burger made out of human feces compare to a burger made from McDonald’s? big-mac

The scientists hope to price it the same as actual meat, but at the moment the excrement steaks are ten to twenty times the price they should be thanks to the cost of research. Professor Ikeda understands the psychological barriers that need to be surmounted knowing that your food is made from human feces. They hope that once the research is complete, people will be able to overlook that ugly detail in favor of perks like environmental responsibility, cost and the fact that the meat will have fewer calories. So, would you ever consider eating meat made from human feces? Go to our facebook page and tell us what you think!

Information provided by Yahoo.com

**Update**

Is this story a hoax or a scam?
poopburger

When we first found this story at foodfacts.com, we were immediately shocked and repulsed. Since then, we have decided to do our own research and find whether or not this story is true. Many may believe at first site that this story is a scientific milestone; turning human waste into an edible protein source. However, others instantly raise skepticism, thinking how one could possible eliminate all waste and toxins from feces and serve it as a dinner, or why they would even want to!

Initially searching for more information on “Okayama Laboratory”, you find that this research establishment is not centered on food technology or sciences, but produces medical devices. I wouldn’t think this type of lab would have safety and sanitation codes allowing large quantities of excrement, but who knows. Also, with such a “miraculous” invention, one would think they would post a press release or somehow mention their ground-breaking science, but there is no word of this “meat poop” listed.

Next, I decided to look up the scientist that is deemed creator of this “meat product”, Mitsuyuki Ikeda. What I found is that it seems he has been made famous just by this story alone. Looking for his name on any search engine will mostly give you results of only the mysterious meat feces. However, if you go a couple pages through the results, you do find what seems to be a personal webpage for a Mitsuyuki Ikeda. Whether or not it’s the same one, we don’t know, but this webpage is centered around environmental education in school systems. Not too related, but at least this guy has some type of science background.

The large reason we believe this story is a hoax is because of the unprofessional nature of the accompanying video, “Solution to the Global Food Crisis – Let them eat TURD BURGERS!?”. The title alone makes you doubt the credibility behind this story, but they also show a few other components that just seem strange, like at 1:33 of the video, when the scientist open up the refrigerator labeled sh*t burger, and again later on lifts a sh*t burger bag. Another part shows the scientist going over his calculations and scientific process, with a pointer shaped like a giant finger, just weird.

What are your thoughts? Is this news story fake or real? Check it out below.

6 Foods That Weaken Bones

Foodfacts.com looks into 6 foods that can cause your bones to weaken. To build and maintain h5 bones, eating the right foods makes all the difference. By the same token, certain foods can actually sap bone strength by leaching minerals right out of the bone, or they block the bone’s ability to regrow. Surprisingly, some of these are foods we eat lots of every day. Here, the six biggest bone-sappers:

1. Soft drinks

Soft drinks pose a double-whammy danger to bones. The fizziness in carbonated drinks often comes from phosphoric acid, which ups the rate at which calcium is excreted in the urine. Meanwhile, of course, soft drinks fill you up and satisfy your thirst without providing any of the nutrients you might get from milk or juice.soda

What to do:
When you’re tempted to reach for a cola, instead substitute milk, calcium- and vitamin D-fortified orange juice, or a fruit smoothie made with yogurt. Or just drink water when you’re thirsty, and eat a diet high in bone-building nutrients.

2. Salt

Salt saps calcium from the bones, weakening them over time. For every 2,300 milligrams of sodium you take in, you lose about 40 milligrams of calcium, dietitians say. One study compared postmenopausal women who ate a high-salt diet with those who didn’t, and the ones who ate a lot of salt lost more bone minerals. Our American diet is unusually salt-heavy; many of us ingest double the 2,300 milligrams of salt we should get in a day, according to the 2005 federal dietary guidelines.

What to do:
The quickest, most efficient way to cut salt intake is to avoid processed foods. Research shows that most Americans get 75 percent of their sodium not from table salt but from processed food. Key foods to avoid include processed and deli meats, frozen meals, canned soup, pizza, fast food such as burgers and fries, and canned vegetables.

3. Caffeine

coffee2The numbers for caffeine aren’t as bad as for salt, but caffeine’s action is similar, leaching calcium from bones. For every 100 milligrams of caffeine (the amount in a small to medium-sized cup of coffee), you lose 6 milligrams of calcium. That’s not a lot, but it can become a problem if you tend to substitute caffeine-containing drinks like iced tea and coffee for beverages that are healthy for bones, like milk and fortified juice.

What to do:
Limit yourself to one or two cups of coffee in the morning, then switch to other drinks that don’t have caffeine’s bone-sapping action. Adding milk to your coffee helps to offset the problem, of course.

4. Vitamin A

In the case of vitamin A, recent research is proving that you really can get too much of a good thing. Found in eggs, full-fat dairy products, liver, and vitamin-fortified foods, vitamin A is important for vision and the immune system. But the American diet is naturally high in vitamin A, and most multivitamins also contain vitamin A. So it’s possible to get much more than the recommended allotment of 5,000 IUs (international units) a day — which many experts think is too high anyway.

Postmenopausal women, in particular, seem to be susceptible to vitamin A overload. Studies show that women whose intake was higher than 5,000 IUs had more than double the fracture rate of women whose intake was less than 1,600 IUs a day.

What to do:
Switch to low-fat or nonfat dairy products only, and eat egg whites rather than whole eggs (all the vitamin A is in the yolk). Also check your multivitamin, and if it’s high in vitamin A, consider switching to one that isn’t.

5. Alcohol

Think of alcohol as a calcium-blocker; it prevents the bone-building minerals you eat from being absorbed. And heavy drinking disrupts the bone remodeling process by preventing osteoblasts, the bone-building cells, from doing their job. So not only do bones become weaker, but when you do suffer a fracture, alcohol can interfere with healing.

What to do:
Limit your drinking to one drink a day, whether it’s wine, beer, or hard alcohol.

6. Hydrogenated oils

For a number of years now, we’ve known from studies that the process of hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oil into the solid oils used in commercial baking, destroys the vitamin K naturally found in the oils. Vitamin K is essential for h5 bones, and vegetable oils such as canola and olive oil are the second-best dietary source of this key nutrient, after green leafy vegetables. However, the amounts of vitamin K we’re talking about are tiny here — one tablespoon of canola oil has 20 micrograms of K, and one tablespoon of olive oil has 6 micrograms, as compared with 120 micrograms in a serving of spinach.

What to do:
If you’re eating your greens, you don’t need to worry about this too much. If you’re a big lover of baked goods like muffins and cookies, bake at home using canola oil when possible, and read labels to avoid hydrogenated oils (which many manufacturers of processed foods have eliminated in recent years).

Information provided by Yahoo health.

Man Made Meat: Coming Soon!!!!

ground-meat
Foodfacts.com is teaming up with our friends over at Dietsinreview.com to look into the future of meats! In less than one year from now we could be reading the food review of the world’s first in vitro hamburger. Yes, you read that right. (Check out our blog on Meat Glue)
As an answer to our globe’s growing population and increasing meat consumption, scientists in the Netherlands are very close to debuting their meat grown from stem cells of healthy cows. The scientists have been working to grow muscle tissue from a small number of stem cells they’ve extracted from the cattle.
As awkward as this process sounds, the researchers believe it’s going to be beneficial for the world. As the trends lead us to believe that the world’s meat consumption is expected to double by the year 2050, this man-made meat will be able to be produced without the need for livestock.
The meat is expected to be more affordable and lead to the sustainability our growing population needs. In vitro meat production could lead to a 35 to 60 percent reduction in energy consumption. Land requirements for farming would decrease by 89 percent and the production of greenhouse gas would decrease due to non-conventional farming.
This product does not stand alone in its unique nature. In 2009, strips of pork were grown using a similar stem cell method and fish fillets have been grown in a lab from the muscle tissue of goldfish.dietsinreview
What a brave new world we live in. “It’s too difficult to farm these days, you say? Well, let’s just grow a burger in the lab!” These practices are still in the very early stages and it’s unclear when or if these products will be available to the public.
As the information is still limited regarding this meat production, I, for one, am curious what the taste test will reveal. I am also curious who else is making today the day they become a full fledged (slightly grossed out) vegetarian?

Article Provided by: Lacy Jaye Hansen

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

alg_campbells_soup1
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.
hain_75_years_lg
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.

Azodicarbonamide: What Do You Know and Why You Should Care?

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Foodfacts.com wants to help you learn more about what controversial ingredients manufacturers are putting into your foods. Let’s look into the relatively little-known ingredient called Azodicarbonamide. If you enjoy eating bread, donuts, subs and bread-related products while eating out, perhaps you should read this.

Online research indicates that azodicarbonamide is used in the food industry as a food additive, a flour bleaching agent and improving agent. It reacts with moist flour as an oxidizing agent. The main reaction product is biurea (not urea), which is stable during baking. Secondary reaction products include semicarbazide and ethyl carbamate.

The United States allows azodicarbonamide to be added to flour at levels up to 45 ppm. Use of azodicarbonamide as a food additive is banned in Australia and in Europe. In Singapore, the use of azodicarbonamide can result in up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of $450,000.

The principal use of Azodicarbonamide is in the production of foamed plastics. The thermal decomposition of azodicarbonamide results in the evolution of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and ammonia gases which are trapped in the polymer as bubbles to form a foamed article. Common examples of this application are window and door gaskets, padded floor mats, gym/exercise mats, and shoe soles.

In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive has identified azodicarbonamide as a respiratory sensitiser (a possible cause of asthma) and determined that products should be labeled with “May cause sensitisation by inhalation.”

Azodicarbonamide may cause an allergic reaction in those sensitive to other azo compounds (such as food dyes). The consumption of azodicarbonamide may also heighten an allergic reaction to other ingredients in a food.

One of America’s largest fast food chains uses azodicarbonamide extensively in their breads, and a well-known donut chain uses it in their cooking and preparation of donuts.

In connection with food safety, it has wrongly been claimed that azodicarbonamide is completely decomposed into common, harmless substances during baking, either into urea or (alternatively) into gasses (carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen, and ammonia) Toxicological studies of the reactions of azodicarbonamide show that it is rapidly converted to biurea in dough, which is a stable compound not decomposed upon cooking.

7/6: National Fried Chicken Day! Read before you order!

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Here at FoodFacts.com, we like to keep our followers up-to-date with current trends, research, and events. Today we share with you that July 6, 2011 is deemed National Fried Chicken Day. In fact, July 6th has celebrated this “holiday” for many years now. Although we aren’t so sure how it was originated, we do know that many people do choose to celebrate this day, especially with the immense patriotism still lurking from Independence Day.

We too would like to celebrate this holiday, but in a more health-conscious manner. You see, fried chicken can be very high in trans-fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Therefore, we would like to take the time to reveal some products you may want to learn more about, prior to indulging. Today we have decided to feature the very popular chicken-based franchise, Chick-Fil-A.

We’ll start off with the breakfast Chicken Biscuit. This sandwich provides about 51% of the daily value for sodium alone. With only a 5.1 oz serving, and 440 calories, 1,230mg of sodium is quite a lot, especially to start off the day! biscuit2Although this sandwich is high in protein with 17g, and also carries a decent amount of iron, this still cannot compensate for the 8g of saturated fat and variety of controversial ingredients. You may want to replace ordering this ingredient-packed sandwich with an item more nutrient-dense and filling, such as the yogurt parfait with granola. This may be a better option for a morning meal or snack.

Then there’s the Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe. The pros of this sandwich, it has a good amount of protein, vitamin C, and calcium, most likely from the tomato, lettuce, and single slice of cheese. However, this 570 calorie sandwich also contains 8g saturated fat, and 27g total fat. These amounts count for approximately 40-42% your daily value of saturated fat and total fat, which are undeniably very high numbers for one single sandwich. spicy_chicken_sandwich2We must also point out that this sandwich contains almost 100 different ingredients. Some of which include monosodium glutamate (MSG), high fructose corn syrup, a variety of coloring additives, and TBHQ, all controversial ingredients which we have thoroughly discussed in prior blog posts. To get your chicken “fix” without all the extra mess, you may want to instead try the char-grilled chicken garden salad, without dressing or on the side.

To find chicken and other recipes for today and the rest of the week, try the Foodfacts.com recipe page!