Category : Food Labeling

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Group Files Suit Over FDA’s Claim About Soy Protein’s Effect on Heart Disease

Weston A. Price Foundation filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  The lawsuit seeks to compel the FDA to provide a substantive response to the Citizen Petition filed by Weston A. Price Foundation on August 8, 2008, which challenged the FDA’s Final Rule that allows health claims to be made about soy protein’s effect on coronary heart disease. 

The FDA’s “Final Rule on Food Labeling: Health Claims; Soy Protein and Coronary Heart Disease” (effective on October 26, 1999), allowed foods containing soy protein to make advertising and labeling claims that 25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.

In its Citizen Petition, Weston A. Price Foundation raised concerns based on the large body of scientific evidence that fails to support the soy protein health claim permitted by the FDA’s Final Rule.  The Citizen Petition also discusses scientific evidence showing that soy protein consumption may have adverse health consequences, due to the presence of antinutrients, including protease inhibitors, phytates, lectins, saponins and oxalates, as well as phytoestrogens, in soy protein.  To prevent consumers from continuing to be misled about the connection between soy protein and heart health, the Citizen Petition requested revocation of the FDA’s Final Rule.

Under FDA regulations, within 180 days of the filing of a citizen petition, the FDA is required to either approve or deny the petition, or provide a tentative response indicating why the FDA has been unable to reach a decision.  To this date, the FDA has not approved, denied, or provided a tentative response to the Citizen Petition filed by Weston A. Price Foundation in 2008.

The lawsuit today is part of Weston A. Price Foundation’s continuing effort to bring truthful information to the public to enable consumers to make informed decisions about the food they eat.  The Foundation is additionally working to end the feeding of soy to prisoners.  The Foundation currently supports a lawsuit by Illinois prisoners, who allege health problems resulting from the large amounts of soy in the meals fed to them by the state.  For more details about that lawsuit, see the Foundation’s press release at http://www.westonaprice.org/press/experts-denounce-high-soy-diet-of-illinois-prisoners-2/.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nutrition education foundation with the mission of disseminating accurate, science-based information on diet and health. Named after nutrition pioneer Weston A. Price, DDS, author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, the Washington, DC-based Foundation publishes a quarterly journal for its 15,000 members, supports 600 local chapters worldwide and hosts a yearly international conference.  The Foundation phone number is (202) 363-4394, www.westonaprice.org, info@westonaprice.org.

What’s in a Name? A Lot When the Name is ‘Fructose’

If you’re trying to avoid high fructose corn syrup — as well you should be — one of the products you’d probably gravitate to is General Mills Vanilla Chex with natural vanilla flavor and “no high fructose corn syrup” (one of several additives it claims not to contain on the front of the box).

But before you buy it, confident that it will help protect your family against the various health problems like diabetes and obesity that studies have linked to all that ‘free fructose’ in HFCS, you might also want to check out the list of actual ingredients on the side of the package.

Because one of the things you’ll find on that list is “fructose” – a term that, according to the Corn Refiners Association, is now used to describe something previously known as HFCS-90, meaning that it is 90 percent fructose, as contrasted with regular HFCS, which contains either 42 or 55 percent.

Here’s what the CRA’s website, corn.org, has to say on the subject under the section on “high fructose corn syrups” (something brought to our attention just this week by “Food Babe” Vani Hari):

“A third product, HFCS-90, is sometimes used in natural and ‘light’ foods, where very little is needed to provide sweetness. Syrups with 90% fructose will not state high fructose corn syrup on the label, they will state ‘fructose’ or ‘fructose syrup’.”

And that’s something we here at Food Identity Theft find very, very interesting – the reason being that HFCS-90 is a product that our sponsoring organization, Citizens for Health, has been concerned about for quite some time.

In fact, this past August, CFA amended a petition it had originally submitted back in 2012 to the Food and Drug Administration asking that labeling be required specifying the amounts of fructose in products containing HFCS.  The petition was revised to include a request that food companies be notified that “any product containing HFCS sweetener with more than 55% fructose is considered to be adulterated” under federal regulations and “cannot be sold in interstate commerce.”

Read more on our sister site: FoodIdentityTheft.com: http://foodidentitytheft.com/whats-in-a-name-a-lot-when-the-name-is-fructose-and-the-product-its-in-claims-to-have-no-hfcs

Settlement Curtails Another Bogus ‘Natural’ Claim – Few Still Remain

For a long time the word “natural” was perhaps the most overhyped and ambiguous term to be used by the food industry. But it looks like that may be changing, despite the failure of the Food and Drug Administration to give it a clear-cut definition.

The latest indication of that is the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Center for Science in the Public Interest against General Mills for misusing the term in describing its Nature Valley Granola Bars, Crispy Squares and Trail Mix Bars as “100 percent natural.” The company has now agreed to refrain from such terminology if those products contain such highly processed ingredients as high-fructose corn syrup, high-maltose corn syrup and dextrose monohydrate.

But there are still a few that might be regarded as misleading, as we noted last May in a blog prompted by another such settlement, in which Kellogg’s agreed to stop using such phrases as “all natural” and “nothing artificial” on various products in its Kashi and Bear Naked lines.

Read more at our sister site FoodIdentityTheft.com: http://foodidentitytheft.com/another-settlement-helps-curtail-bogus-natural-claims-but-a-few-still-remain/

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Have Legitimate Food Fears? You May Be a Candidate For a Shrink

Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about “food fears.” In the past few months, for example, we’ve seen a couple of university “studies,” both funded by the Corn Refiners Association, which represents makers of high fructose corn syrup, that suggested that consumers harboring such fears are really ill-informed or don’t deserve to be taken seriously by the food industry.

But now, allowing concern about food to impact your lifestyle could have an actual stigma attached to it – that is, if the authors of an article published earlier this year in the professional journal Pyschosomatics succeed in getting it classified as a form of mental illness.

All of which would seem to suggest that there’s something irrational about the idea that the food we eat poses a threat to our well-being. So it might be only fair to ask: Is there?

Read more at our sister site, FoodIdentityTheft.com: http://foodidentitytheft.com/having-legitimate-food-fears-may-soon-make-you-a-candidate-for-a-shrink/

Are Additives In These Formulas Suitable for Babies?

We’ve talked about the risk posed to babies by the presence of whey protein concentrate, an “excitotoxin” containing free glutamic acid, in the “Good Start” products currently being marketed by Gerber as a preventive for childhood allergies (a claim now being disputed in a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission). In this one, we’d like to talk about two other problematic baby-food ingredients.

The first is hexane-extracted soy, which can be found in soy-based infant formulas.

Hexane is a neurotoxic, highly flammable, volatile chemical that is a byproduct of gasoline refining. It’s used in industrial glues and cleaning solutions. It can also be found in gasoline and numerous other consumer products, mostly adhesives, sealants and coatings, such as Rust-Oleum. But the most common use of hexane is as a solvent to extract the oils from nonorganic soy, canola and corn.

The Cornucopia Institute has been investigating hexane since its 2009 report, Behind the Bean was issued. It says that “nearly every major ingredient in conventional soy-based infant formula is hexane-extracted.”

We called two companies that make soy-based formulas, Abbot Laboratories, which makes Similac, and Mead Johnson, that makes Enfamil, to see what they had to say about the hexane-processed ingredients they use.

The Abbot specialist read from a prepared statement saying that many edible oils that have a “long history of safe use throughout the world (are) produced using the hexane extraction method,” and that the soy protein used in the company’s formulations are extracted this way, with “our suppliers’ standard practice” being to remove traces of hexane, adding that Abbot products have “been safely fed to millions of babies…and they have grown and developed normally.”

Mead Johnson told us that they had no information about hexane and soy; however a member of its product information department called back the next day, not about the soy, but to tell us its fatty acid additives DHA and ARA, are “purified” with hexane and that the “suppliers’ standard practice” is to remove all “detectable” traces of the chemical (the DHA and ARA are produced from laboratory-grown algae and fungus).

The Cornucopia Institute notes that “(t)he effects of consuming foods that contain hexane-extracted ingredients are . . .

Read more at our sister site, FoodIdentityTheft.com: http://foodidentitytheft.com/are-the-additives-in-these-formulas-really-suitable-for-babies/

CFH Petition Calls for Accurate Labels for Products Containing HFCS and Other Sugars

hfcs_labeling_callout_240pxYour Turn to Comment on FDA’s Proposed Changes to Labeling Rules

We’re gaining momentum in the fight to change the labeling of added sugar on nutrition labels. As you may know, more and more food manufacturers are leaving HFCS out of their foods.

Most recently, the FDA announced proposed changes to the nutritional information on product labels that would include information on how much added sugar a food contains. We at Citizens For Health applaud this move, but we need your help to encourage the FDA to do more.

Specifically: we’re asking the FDA to:

  • Include “nutritive sweetener” after “Added Sugars”
  • Identify the name of the added sugar
  • Identify the percentage of fructose if the added sugar is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

We need your comments on the amendment, even if you already commented on the the original petition. More than 30,000 comments were received on our original petition; we want to increase that tenfold for the amendment.

 

Consumers Vindicated: Manufacturers Leaving HFCS Out of More Packaged Foods

nohfcsThe power of well-informed consumers to reverse harmful food industry practices has once again been demonstrated by the response of a major company to the concerns of its customers.

The company is General Mills, which has come out with a TV commercial proclaiming that “What matters most should always come first – which is why we use whole grains in every General Mills Big G cereal and why we never use high fructose corn syrup.”

Apparently, they haven’t been listening to the mantra of the Corn Refiners Association, which is that companies need not bother removing HFCS from their products because most consumers really don’t care about the fact that it’s there. Or, perhaps we should add, was put there without anyone bothering to consult them – or without the benefit of research that has since linked it to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and a bunch of other health problems.

But the, the CRA has dismissed such studies, done by scientists at some of the country’s leading universities and medical facilities, as so much “false science” – just like it dismisses the concerns that an increasing number of parents have about the cumulative effects of HFCS in a wide range of products as hazardous to their children’s health.

The corn refiners claim that marketing surveys have confirmed their premise that the addition of HFCS in products is of no real interest to people who buy them. Well, here at Food Identity Theft, we’ve talked to many shoppers in the course of our research “in the field” (that is, in supermarket aisles).  And the majority of those we speak with are quite concerned – and have told us they want no part of products containing HFCS.

Read more at Food Identity Theft: http://foodidentitytheft.com/more-and-more-no-hfcs-labels-prove-the-power-of-the-consumer/

A ‘study’ in collusion: Cornell and the Corn Refiners

When we refer to “a study” done at some prestigious university, we’re usually talking about scientific research in which the effects of a particular substance on animal or human subjects have been carefully evaluated over a period of time, and then published in a peer-reviewed professional journal.  A number of such studies cited in this blog, for example, have suggested a link between high fructose corn syrup consumption and obesity, diabetes and other ailments.

But that’s not the sort of “study” that recently made headlines (and even made the Today Show) after being conducted by a team of “researchers” from Cornell University.

Their 40-page paper, “Ingredient-Based Food Fears and Avoidance: Antecedents and Antidotes,” was published not in any kind of scientific or medical journal, but one entitled Food Quality and Preference.  According to its description, “This study investigates food fears that are ingredient-based, focusing on the case of high-fructose corn syrup” and was based on “results of a national phone survey of 1,008 U.S. mothers.”

But then, the lead author, Professor Brian Wansink, doesn’t exactly fit the conventional image of a scientist.  He’s rather a member of the university’s “Applied Economics and Management Department” with a Ph.D. in food psychology and consumer behavior. But he is the director and founder of a “laboratory” — the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, which “is independently funded by grants and consumer groups” and “focuses on better understanding consumers and how they relate to foods and packaged foods.”

Oh, and one other thing.  This particular Ivy League “study” was funded by the Corn Refiners Association, the industry group representing manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup. Or so we were informed in an e-mail Monday night by Dr. Aner Tal, an associate researcher on the project.

Are you starting to get the picture?

Read more at: http://foodidentitytheft.com/a-study-in-collusion-cornell-and-the-corn-refiners/

Consumers Compel Food Makers To Remove HFCS From Products

In response to a backlash from consumers, a growing number of food and beverage companies have changed their recipes to remove industrial sweeteners that people find objectionable.  We’ve named High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) as the most important ingredient to avoid, and you listened. Furthermore, concerned consumers are asking businesses to remove it from their products.  The food and beverage industry is listening, replacing HFCS with natural cane or beet sugar.

Rather than abandoning brands that contain controversial ingredients, consumers are using social media, personal blogs and online petitions to urge companies to change what goes into their products.  Even First Lady Michele Obama went public, saying at a recent White House event, “Our bodies don’t know what to do with High Fructose Corn Syrup, and don’t need it.”

Food and beverage makers are responding to mounting negative comments.  Ingredient changes include:

  • Sara Lee’s removal of HFCS from its Soft & Smooth and 100% Whole Wheat Breads because their consumers, particularly moms, asked them to.
  • Kraft Foods’ elimination of HFCS from its Capri Sun Juice Drinks, Nabisco Wheat Thins and Premium crackers, and many of its salad dressings.
  • Subway’s removal HFCS from its sandwich breads.
  • Pepsi’s introduction of a new line of soft drinks “made with real sugar.”
  • Yoplait’s eradication of HFCS from all products, citing the change came from Tweets and emails from customers.
  • Chick-fil-A’s taking High Fructose Corn Syrup out of its sauces and dressings.
  • Kroger Supermarkets removing HFCS from its store-brand cereals following surveys with consumers.
  • Wild Oats announcing a new line of products at Walmart stores will not contain “the unwanted ingredient” HFCS.

Over the past decade, the use of High Fructose Corn Syrup in packaged foods and drinks has fallen 18%! That is definitely a move in the right direction.

First Lady Disses Corn Syrup, and the Corn Refiners Association is Not Happy

Yesterday at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, First Lady Michelle Obama made a comment about high fructose corn syrup that has raised the ire of The Corn Refiners Association.

According to the White House pool report, Mrs. Obama told her guest chef, celebrity chef Marc Murphy: “Our bodies don’t know what to do with high fructose corn syrup – and don’t need it.”

The corn syrup versus sugar debate is years old. Recently the New York Times reported that since 2008, the CRA appeared to have spent more than $30 million defending high fructose corn syrup.

Read the full story at USNews: http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2014/04/21/michelle-obama-disses-corn-syrup-trade-group-pushes-back

We encourage you to join Mrs. Obama in taking a stand against HFCS — Please sign our petition