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Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network’s Thanksgiving Recipe For a Healthier Future

  1. ffan_flyerDonate your time and/or money to FFAN’s crucial effort today!
  2. Sign FFAN’s Food Safety Petition: “Say Bye Bye Becquerels!”
    Keep harmful radioactivity out of our children’s food.
  3. Submit Your Comment to the FDA: Insist they lower the acceptable levels of radioactive contaminants allowable in our food supply.
  4. Write a Letter (sample here) to your Representative to demand FDA do their jobs to protect our families by monitoring our food supply.
  5. Join FFAN on Facebook to get up-to-date information. Radiation continues to emit from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plans, affecting the global environment and food supply. Education and awareness are key.
  6. Donate $5 to FFAN Today! Help us continue this vital work.

Please share FFAN’s recipe with family and friends. Let’s give our children a chance for a healthy life.

Happy Thanksgiving! http://FFAN.us

The FDA as Consumer Adversary Rather Than Advocate

By Bill Bonvie

In the more than two years since the Food Identity Theft blog was launched, it has offered numerous examples of how our food supply has been corrupted, adulterated and defiled by a whole variety of  awful additives, including synthetic sweeteners, pernicious preservatives and neurotoxic flavor enhancers that have been implicated in health problems ranging from obesity and diabetes to cancer to heart disease to Alzheimer’s.  But the question invariably raised by such revelations is: why has all this been allowed to happen when we have a regulatory agency — the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — set up for the specific purpose of guarding against such flagrant fraud and abuse?

GormleyBook--Health at GunpointThe answer can be found in a new book entitled Health at Gunpoint: The FDA’s Silent War Against Health Freedom by James J. Gormley, an award-winning journalist and editor who has had over two decades of experience reporting on health and nutrition issues and serves as senior policy adviser and vice president of Citizens for Health. (Purchase the book at Amazon.com by clicking here.)

If the book title sounds a tad exaggerated, it really isn’t, since Gormley offers a number of examples of how the FDA has indeed used the force of arms to back up its actions against companies that have run afoul of is edicts.  As the author points out, however, such “raids” have not been aimed at protecting the public from dangerous contaminants, but rather at removing from the marketplace various products, such as vitamins and supplements, that did not conform to the FDA’s ideas of what should and shouldn’t be available to American consumers. In one particularly outrageous case, a squad of nine FDA agents, 11 U.S. marshals and eight state police staged an 11-hour raid on an Oregon-based vitamin company in 1990 for the “crime” of offering to mail customers reprints of articles about the benefits of CoQ10 — a naturally occurring enzyme whose use is widely heralded today by both alternative and conventional practitioners.

While Gormley devotes one of the book’s six chapters to what’s been done to our food supply under FDA oversight, the broader picture he provides is of an agency that has strayed so far from the ideals on which it was founded that its original leader, consumer champion Dr. Harvey Wiley, disowned it a year before his death in 1930 in a treatise entitled The History of a Crime Against the Food Law:  The Amazing Story of the National Food and Drugs Law Intended to Protect the Health of the People, Perverted to Protect Adulteration of Food and Drugs.

Nor is it just the FDA’s “shameful record” of caving in to the demands of agribusiness and Big Pharma that’s covered in Health at Gunpoint.  The agency’s follies are also presented within a fascinating historical and global context that will give you a much better understanding of the lamentable socioeconomic and sanitary conditions that led to its creation, the diverse health and wellness movements and forms of alternative healing to which they also gave rise, the longstanding campaign by conventional medicine to suppress any and all such competition, and how the regulatory process here in the U.S. compares to — and is influenced by — international initiatives such as Codex.

The maneuver that got HFCS on the market

One example of the latter is provided in an inset on “Codex and Big Industry ” which explains how  Big Corn overcame the FDA’s initial reluctance to approve high fructose corn syrup by managing to get a green light for its use as an additive from the Codex Commission, which is considered the “international voice of food standards.”  As a result, the author points out, HFCS “has become ubiquitous in the food supply and Americans, especially children, have become less healthy.”

Also discussed are the effects of a globalized food culture, which has brought about the destruction of sustainable agriculture in many locales, and resulted in a large number of people being both overfed and undernourished due to the widespread depletion of nutrients in soil used for growing crops, as well as an increased threat of  food contamination.

Despite the FDA’s giving in to so many of industry’s demands, however (due in large measure, not surprisingly, to the corruption of officials with promises of private sector jobs, to say nothing of political influence), aroused consumers have occasionally succeeded in exerting enough pressure on both the agency and on lawmakers to protect their rights — and their health. While we recently saw how this can work in the FDA’s denial of the corn refiners’ attempt to reclassify HFCS as “corn sugar” perhaps the best example was the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in 1994.

To give you a better idea of the key role this landmark legislation has played in safeguarding the rights of the American public, the author has devoted an entire chapter to “The Canada Example” — the sorry saga of how the availability of vitamin and herbal supplements largely dried up in our northern neighbor after its official health agency decided to impose the same kinds of restrictions on these traditional remedies and preventatives as it does on pharmaceuticals.  Not only were thousands of items removed from the shelves of health food stores and innovation stifled, but U.S. supplement makers stopped exporting their products to Canada to avoid prohibitive costs of meeting criteria, despite the popularity of these products with health-conscious Canadian consumers.

In fact, as Gormley shows us, before the passage of DSHEA, such commodities faced a similar fate in the U.S. at the hands of pro-pharmaceutical regulators at the FDA,and even today, are regularly threatened with stringent restraints (and that’s not to mention the adverse publicity given to any warning issued about a supplement, even while FDA-approved drugs kill tens of thousands of people and cause adverse reactions in millions more every year).

With a wealth of information packed into a half dozen chapters and a number of insets, Health at Gunpoint presents a strong case for consumer awareness of developments that might jeopardize our rights to buy healthy, nutritious food and whatever supplements we feel are best suited to  our individual needs — or even our right to know about such matters.

And speaking of the right to know, here’s something you may not have known (I certainly didn’t until I read this book) — that an apparent cure for cancer, consisting of a tea brewed from various herbs, was known to Indians in Canada. In chapter 5, you’ll find the story of how this formula was passed on to a nurse, whose aunt recovered from terminal stomach cancer after being administered it,  and who subsequently went on to work with her aunt’s doctor and other physicians to give it other cancer patients with similar results, only to be persecuted and prosecuted by the authorities for her efforts.  However, one individual who successfully used it to rid himself of cancer — and proclaimed it a cure for the disease after spending a decade researching it — was none other than the personal physician for President Kennedy.

This is the kind of stuff  all of us really ought to know about — as is the matter of how we go about protecting ourselves from our protectors. Which is why you really ought to order a copy of this book.

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Who’s Afraid of Supplements? “Do You Believe in Paul Offit?”

by Alison Rose Levy

The Medical Establishment’s “Favorite” Doctor and His Crusade Against Supplements and Alternative Medicine

Paul Offit’s new book and media blitz pretend to be objective, but really offer one-sided bashing of natural healthcare.

Dr. Paul Offit, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at? Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia? has authored a new book, Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine (Harper, 2013 ). Now on the stump, he encourages thinking more critically about healthcare treatments. Too bad his is a one-sided view. And that his intended audience is unlikely to be convinced because health information has been increasingly available over the last 25 years. Nor do many physicians and prominent medical organizations subscribe to his views (although a few legislators do).

“People are systematically choosing to manage their own health in a way that is unprecedented,” points out James S. Turner, chairman of Citizens for Health, a health advocacy group with over 100,000 members. “The conventional treatments that Offit champions are often very helpful. The problem is that the industry has oversold them, and more and more people see that now.”

If Offit’s book had aimed to explore all health options even-handedly for their upsides and their downsides, it might have truly advanced the conversation about how to better health and lower healthcare costs. (And ranking below 16 developed nations across the lifespan and for all income levels, while stuck in the midst of a polarized debate over costs and coverage, the U.S. sorely needs that conversation.) But instead, in his book and media tour, Dr. Offit plays the predictable role of debunker, single-mindedly championing his own medical brand. Unfurling an arch skepticism about the use of herbs and other nutritional supplements, for example, Offit presents himself as the stalwart for science. But it’s instructive to see what happens when he encounters someone conversant with the health literature.

Products Using “Carmine” – A Food Coloring Derived from Ground-Up Insects

Below are just a few recently released products that contain the insect-based food coloring known as “carmine.” There are thousands of others already on the market. Please check back here from time to time for updates to the list as we identify more products containing carmine — food coloring made from crushed whole cochineal beetles.

 

quik

Nestle Nesquik: Chocolate Cookie Sandwich (Strawberry)

alive

Nature’s Way: Alive Women’s 50+ Multivitamin/Multimineral

superdieter

Laci Le Beau: Super Dieters Fast Dissolve

mentos

Rainbow Mentos

fruitconcentrate

Healthy America: Triple Strength Natural Cranberry Fruit Concentrate

libidomax

Applied Nutrition: Libido Max for Women

prenatalmulti

CVS Pharmacy: DHA Prenatal Multivitamin

memoraid

Naturade: MemorAid with Omega 3 & Vitamin D

smoothie

Lucerne: Smoothie Dairy Beverage (Strawberry Banana)

twinlab

Twinlab: Ripped Fuel

werthers

Werther’s: Original Sugar Free Caramel Cinnamon Flavored Hard Candies

hotpockets

Hot Pockets: Snackers

parfait

Meijer: Strawberry Yogurt Parfait

candymix

Harry & David: Valentine Candy Mix

yoplait

Yoplait: Original Variety Pack

redvelvetcake

Betty Crocker: Red Velvet Cake Mix

omega3

Jamieson Natural Sources: Omega-3 Age Defence

 

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Lunch Box Wars: Consumer Advocates Want Dannon to More Clearly Label Bug-based Ingredients

CochinealLos Angeles, CA, September 17, 2013—Taken aback by Dannon’s blasé attitude about using an allergenic, bug-based extract and not just berries to color their yogurt, one of the nation’s most powerful natural health watchdog groups is pressuring the yogurt giant—and hundreds of other food companies—to come clean with consumers.
Citizens for Health, the consumer advocacy group best known for keeping dietary supplements legal and for protecting the integrity of organic labeling, wants Dannon and other food companies who use the insect-based dye carmine, also known as cochineal extract, in their products to more clearly label them or switch to plant-based alternatives.
“When consumers asked Starbucks to stop using bugs in their Frappacinos last year, the company responded with sensitivity and complied within 48 hours without any further prompting,” says Jim Turner, president of Citizens for Health and former food policy advisor for Ralph Nader. “It’s mindboggling that Dannon would so off-handedly dismiss the very same consumer request. They’re just crying out to be challenged.”
Citizens for Health has partnered with a national fitness guru to help get their message out. Michelle Dozois, creator of several multi-million-selling fitness DVDs, is using her influence in the health and fitness community to educate consumers further.
“Michelle is a leader in the health and fitness community, but also a mom who believes that her kids deserve better than bugs,” Turner says. “She can talk mom to mom.”
Dozois is asking people to sign a petition posted on the Take Action website:

The petition was organized by the scientist-led advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest that first put Dannon in the spotlight this summer. “Our two groups work closely together,” Turner says, “and truth in labeling is an important shared value.”
“I’m not opposed to people eating insects if that’s what they want to do,” says Dozois, “I just don’t want to be tricked into putting bug-based extracts into my kids’ lunch boxes. I want Dannon and other food companies to clearly label bugs!”
Dozois is available for interview upon request.
# # #
Media Contact: Chris Kelley, 406-333-9999, chris@polestarcom.com

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Food Safety ACTION ALERT: Stop the FDA’s War on Small-Scale Farmers and Food Producers

Washington, DC – You may recall back in 2010 we worked to stop passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The bill was an effort by Congress to appease angry consumers fed up with a spate of incidents of food contamination (like that year’s salmonella outbreak and recall of eggs) resulting from the unhealthy livestock farming practices of industrial suppliers.

We were concerned that the bill would apply the regulations explicitly crafted to regulate large industrial facilities (factory farms and industrial agriculture and manufacturers) to small businesses as well (family farmers, organic growers, farmer’s markets, food artisans and local suppliers). The financial impact of complying with the burdensome reporting requirements could have put such small suppliers out of business.

That’s why we fought so hard for the Tester-Hagan amendment. It authorized more modest reporting requirements for small providers and exempted them from the extensive ones required of larger companies. This exemption is essential to the continued vitality of the local foods movement.

Read Your Labels: Are Recent Nutritional Snapshots Helping – or Confusing?

Yet Another Company Jumps Into the Business of Helping Consumers Make “Healthy” Food Choices

Courtesy of
FoodIdentityTheft Blogger and CFH Contributor

July 11, 2013

“Everybody wants to get into the act,” a catchphrase made famous back in the day by show business legend Jimmy Durante, seems to have found a new meaning.  Apparently, everybody now wants to get into the act of helping the busy food shopper quickly determine what items are the “healthiest” ones to grab off the supermarket shelf.

But isn’t this a good thing? After all, supermarket shopping can be an annoying, tedious chore that isn’t exactly top on most people’s list of fun things to do. But if you plan on eating the food taken home from such an expedition, it helps to know what’s in it. And the only real way to acquire such knowledge is to read the ingredient label — something all of these health-conscious ‘helpful Hannahs’ seem to be steering you away from by calling your attention to superficial and often misleading criteria instead.

The latest player in this  game of mock health marketing appears to be the technology and data company Vestcom out of Little Rock, Ark. Vestcom, which specializes in “shelf-edge solutions,” consisting of messaging and pricing information tags posted on store shelves, has now entered the nutrition advice arena with “healthyAisles,” which it describes as “nutrition info your customers can trust.”

The healthyAisles tag makes the same kinds of nebulous claims as do all those other quick nutrition guides. It’s angle is to choose from a list of  35 “health and wellness” attributes such as “heart healthy” or “low sodium” to describe each product without offering much more in the way of information as to what these processed foods actually contain. The system has already been sold to enough retailers to now appear in over 5,000 stores, according to the trade pub FoodNavigator.com.

Just why another such ersatz health-and-nutrition merchandising system is needed isn’t readily apparent. But Vestcom is holding firm to the concept that healthyAisles is “fact based,”  “effective,” and a “national strategic partner with the Unite States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate,” although it doesn’t exactly specify what that “strategic” partnership consists of. Perhaps the company’s competitive edge is its appeal to older shoppers seeking a nostalgic connection to a time when buying food was considered strictly a woman’s job, as evidenced by its tag line: “Give her the nutrition advice she seeks, precisely when and where she needs it.”

Other consumer-confusing in-store “information” programs include:

  • Safeway’s “SimpleNutrition” program
    SimpleNutrition is comprised of 22 “benefit messages” under “two groups of messages” that are supposed to meet “lifestyle, dietary” and “specific nutrition or ingredient criteria.” Could anything be simpler than that?
  • Publix Markets’ “Nutrition Facts” tags
    Apparently not bothered that “nutrition facts” is the exact same term the government requires for processed food packaging information panels, Publix, a Southern supermarket institution, now features its own “Nutrition Facts” program that asks, “Who has time to analyze food labels? Luckily, when you shop with us, you don’t have to.”
  • Stop & Shop’s Healthy Ideas
    The creative naming of these programs is pretty much the biggest difference between them. Stop & Shop, for example, wants us to have “a simple way to know it’s healthy”: all you have to do is look for the Healthy Ideas shelf tag! Healthy Ideas tags are also on nearly all the fruits and vegetables in the produce department. Duh.
  • NuVal Scoring System
    This “nutrition made easy” program was purportedly “developed independently by a team of nutrition and medical experts.” NuVal is another shelf-tag system that rates the “nutritiousness” of foods by scoring them from 1 to 100 using a patent-pending algorithm. But despite all the hoopla from NuVal, and its partner company Topco Associates, LLC, the system is a bizarrely flawed idea that rates sugar-free jelly higher than eggs.
  • Guiding Stars
    Described as  “Nutritious choices made simple,” Guiding Stars appears to be another variation on the theme, It uses a rating system featuring one to three big yellow stars — perhaps to appeal to those those who can’t count to the higher NuVal numbers.
  • Supervalu Nutrition iQ
    Called “The better-for-you food finder” (which, by the way, is a pending trademark), nutrition iQ is a “shelf tag navigation program” that uses color coded tags below products to show which ones make the “healthy” grade. As Heidi Diller, Albertsons’ registered dietitian, explains in a Youtube video, “reading labels is important, but that takes time. If only there was an easier way to shop healthy. Let our science guide you..(to) better-for-you shopping.” Unfortunately nutrition iQ omits more facts than it offers.
  • Facts Up Front from the Grocery Manufacturers Association
    Soon to be the focus of a big-bucks advertising campaign, Facts up Front features some tiny blue boxes that will provide data on calories and three nutrients – but nothing, of course, about a product’s ingredients.
  • Walmart’s “Great for You”
    This front-of-package icon is designed to appear on food products that conform to the mega-retailer’s standard of healthiness.

There are also a number of nutrition advice programs that have ‘bit the dust’, including:

  • Smartspot, Pepsico’s self-serving “more nutritious” designations on its own brands, which was launched in 2004 and canned in 2010;
  • Sensible Solutions, a similar idea from the marketing gurus at Kraft, which made its debut in 2005 and was“put on hold” in 2009;
  • Smart Choices, a promotion designed and paid for by the food industry that got bad press when its ‘better-for-you’ icon started appearing on Kellogg’s Froot Loops packages. It came and went in 2009.

So there you have it, eight ways the food industry is helping us to shop.

If only it were that easy.

Organic Consumers Association Supports Crackdown on Radioactive Food

Early last month Citizens for Health, along with the other coalition members of Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network (FFAN), filed a petition with the FDA to drastically reduce the amount of radioactive cesium permitted in food, from a ridiculous 1200 Bq/kg to 5 Bq/kg (see why here, read why here). The Bq (Becquerel) is a measure of radioactivity. The FDA is now accepting comments on our petition and every person’s voice counts, so leave a comment in support here!

We thought you would appreciate the chance to review comments in support of this petition recently submitted by the Organic Consumers Association:

“The Organic Consumers Association supports the Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network’s petition requesting the Commissioner of Food and Drugs to promulgate regulations to protect U.S. consumers from Cesium 134 and Cesium 137 contamination.

No food should have more than 5 Bq/kg of Cesium 134/137. All food should be tested for and labeled with its Cesium 134/137 contamination.

The damaged Fukushima units continue to leak 10 million becquerels of Cesium 134 and 137 per hour into the environment with no sign of stopping. Unfortunately, Cesium bioaccumulates and biomagnifies over time. Since Cesium 134 has a hazardous life of about 10-20 years ad Cesium 137 has a hazardous life of about 300-600 years, the threat of contamination in our food supply is a long-term issue that deserves immediate attention.

We are alarmed at the lack of testing currently in place to meet the present-and-growing threat of Cesium 134 and 137 contamination in our food supply. The time is past-due for a comprehensive response to radiation present in our food supply from the Fukushima disaster.

Various products in the U.S. food supply have Cesium 134 and 137 contamination, including pistachios, oranges from California, grapefruits from Florida, prunes from California, and almonds from California.

The California coastline itself is now in danger of radiation contamination. Scientists at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station found levels of Cesium 134 and 137 from the Fukushima disaster in bluefin tuna caught off the California coast in Feb. 2013.

FDA should promulgate a binding U.S. threshold of 5 Bq/kg of Cesium 134-137 contamination, but there is no safe dose. Consumers should have the information they need to manage their own Cesium 134/137 intake. The FDA should require the testing and labeling of Cesium 134/137 in food.”