Category : Food Labeling

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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

Join the Food Revolution with Woody Harrelson, Alicia Silverstone & Jane Goodall

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Three years ago, our my friends John and Ocean Robbins began a modest summit that they hoped would help inspire people to learn more about healthy food. The information from that summit spread like wildfire and has inspired over 150,000 people from all over the world!

This year, they’ve stepped it up to a whole new level. There’s more urgency than EVER before… For you, your health, the health of your loved ones, as well as for our struggling planet.  Joining John and Ocean Robbins are celebrities like Woody Harrelson, Jane Goodall, Alicia Silverstone, Amy Goodman, and MORE! These cultural persuaders are joining with expert doctors and food activists because they’ve realized that if we don’t do something now, we’re in trouble. They’ve chosen to use their platforms and names to inspire a critical mass where health becomes the norm.

Without a revolution, we are left in the hands of companies like Monsanto and Coca-Cola, who have spent tens of millions of dollars in recent years trying to stop anything that would interfere with their relentless pursuit of profits.

Think they care about our health? No way. Their bottom line is green, all right. But when healthy food is gone, you can’t eat money!

Find out all about how to join the revolution here, at no cost, where for a week you’ll be fully empowered with all the latest information and TRUTH about your food, how it’s grown, and what the heck is in it.

This is a major globally broadcast summit. John and Ocean Robbins, the hosts, have made it completely complimentary for you to participate.

You can listen in the comfort and convenience of your own home, from your computer or phone.

Plus, this is cool: When you register, you’ll get a copy of The Real Food Action Guide, which reveals medical breakthroughs the corporate food industry hopes you never discover, and gives your family the truth about GMOs.

Sign up here

Again, there’s no cost to attend the online Food Revolution Summit event, happening April 26 – May 4. Get your access details now. You’ll hear directly from Jane Goodall, Woody Harrelson, Alicia Silverstone, and 20 more brilliant speakers!   

 

Get The “411” On GMOs This Friday

CFH has designated April 11 as the day to acknowledge how important it is to really know what’s in the foods and beverages we feed to ourselves and our families – and to share the “411”.

Visit our website to check out some of the things you can do to participate in this national day of communal education and acitivism – one of which is to sign our petition to properly label products containing high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS.

In this alert we’d like to re-focus your attention on another category of foods and beverages long overdue for accurate, informative labeling – those that contain genetically modified ingredients, commonly referred to as GMOs. While the push continues nationwide to pass laws requiring the labeling of products containing GMOs, so far it has been unsuccessful.

Commemorate Read Your Labels Day 2014 and make sure this success won’t elude us much longer by learning more about the issue – and sharing what you learn with friends and family.

GMO Mini SummitRecently we told you about the GMO Mini-Summit, a congregation of 20 of the world’s leading experts — such as Jeffrey Smith, Robyn O’Brien and Vandana Shiva — sharing breaking news about the health and environmental effects of GMOs. All the compelling content – including the additional interviews with experts conducted over the five weeks following the Summit – are still available in the Empowerment Package, a digital download of all 9 GMO Summit and all 9 Second Wave Presentations. Get the Empowerment Package, and 50% of the cost will be donated to CFH. Get informed and share it with friends and family, all the while knowing you are also empowering us at CFH to continue our work.

Do You Always Read the Labels on the Products You Buy?

CFH Chairman Jim Turner notes: “The majority of us don’t check the list of ingredients on food package labels. The big food manufacturers are counting on this. If we don’t read or understand the ingredients in their products, they can put pretty much whatever they want to into our food.

“We sponsored the first ‘Read Your Labels Day’ this last April to help Americans to be aware of how many chemicals are used in processed foods and beverages,” Mr. Turner added. “The response was tremendous. We had stories on TV stations around the country, and the news was covered by major grocery publications. Even some of the biggest supermarkets, including Whole Food Markets, hosted ‘Read Your Labels Day’ events in their stores. We’re expecting an even bigger success in 2014.”

What can you do to help make Mr. Turner’s prediction come true?

  1. For years CFH has tirelessly advocated for truth in labeling – re-acquaint yourself with our efforts to inform consumers about what’s really behind the flashy slogans and deceptive packaging. There’s the food coloring carmine, made from ground-up insects. Or the campaign by Mio to convince you that you need a colored stream of artificial ingredients to dress up your drinking water. Or tech and data company Vestcom’s in-store information program “healthyAisles” that does more to obfuscate than to enlighten.
  2. Sign the petition to accurately label products containing the artificial goop high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS.
  3. While you shop, look for the “Top 10 Ingredients to Avoid,” a list of questionable sweeteners, preservatives, and industrial chemical additives, such as HFCS, aspartame, and monosodium glutamate.
  4.  Take photos of products containing these awful ingredients and share them via Twitter, on Facebook, or Instagram (using the hashtag #ReadYourLabels).
  5. And, of course, share the “411” with friends, family, or the person in front of or behind you in the check-out line. An informed consumer is a force to be reckoned with.

Keep an eye out for more on this as “Read Your Labels Day” — April 11, (4/11) nears.

Get Ready for “Read Your Labels Day” 2014

April 11th is that day we hope you’ll join the campaign to “take back our food.” That’s when Citizens for Health will sponsor its second annual Read Your Labels Day—a day set aside for recognizing and exposing the health risks of the toxic additives found in the ingredients of everyday food products.

We invite all our readers to take photos of products containing these awful ingredients and share them on Facebook or Instagram (using the hashtag #ReadYourLabels). And tell your friends – because by “going viral,’ we hope to hold the manufacturers of these adulterated products accountable – and to influence them to start removing these health hazards from the foods we eat and feed our families every day (as the Food and Drug Administration now wants to do with partially hydrogenated oils, which are responsible for just about all the added trans fat in our diet).

Here’s the list of the top 10 food additives to avoid:

  1. High fructose corn syrup
  2. Aspartame
  3. Hydrolyzed protein
  4. Autolyzed yeast
  5. Monososium glutamate
  6. Potassium bromate
  7. Brominated vegetable oil, or BVO
  8. BHA and BHT
  9. Trans fats
  10. Artificial colors

Contents of Iconic Soup Cans Not So Healthy Once You Peek at Ingredient List

by Bill Bonvie

As the weather outside gets colder, there’s one type of “comfort food” that tends to be consumed in much greater quantities. I’m referring, of course, to soup.  And there’s one company (an American institution, really) that, more than any other, has over the years come to be synonymous with soup — the one that made the word “Soup” its middle name way back in 1922.  That would be the Campbell Soup Company, whose traditional red and white cans are considered so iconic that they became one of pop artist Andy Warhol’s best-known subjects back in the 1960s.

As one of the company’s classic commercial jingles once  put it, “Have you had your soup today? Campbell’s, of course,” then went on to say, “Once a day, every day, you should have a bowl of Campbell’s Soup.”

But while Campbell’s remains the nation’s No. 1 seller of canned soups, its popularity has lately been somewhat dented.  In fact, over the past decade, the company has reportedly lost about 13 percent of its market share — a trend attributed to the “millenial” generation’s having been largely turned off by its standard line of products. To get them back, Campbell’s recently began marketing a new line of “Go” soups in easy-to-open microwaveable plastic pouches with ingredients considered more appealing to a younger demographic.

Make no mistake, however — those long-familiar soup cans remain supermarket staples, and there are still many consumers who continue to take for granted that they contain some of the “healthiest” and highest quality ingredients on the market.  And one can hardly blame them, considering that’s how these soups have been promoted throughout their history, from the early 20th Century ads that described them as “The Mainspring of Health,” “healthful, wholesome and absolutely dependable,” and “the standard of soup perfection” to the company’s current web site with its “Nutrition and Wellness” page offering a variety of “Healthy Eating Plans.”

Exposed throughout their lives to such messages, most shoppers have no reason to assume that these are anything but totally wholesome and beneficial products. That is, unless they bother to look at the actual ingredients those iconic cans contain.

Whatever blends of ingredients Campbell’s Soups may have used in an earlier era,  you can be sure that they didn’t include some of the atrocious additives you’ll now find listed on their labels, where, incidentally,  you’ll also occasionally  find the same slogan used in that old commercial jingle, “Once a day — everyday.”

So we thought it might be helpful to put together a week-long “menu” of what such a recommendation would actually mean if you and your family were to take it literally:

Monday:  How about starting the week with some Cream of Mushroom — the kind with “25 % less sodium.”  A peek at the ingredients, however, tells you what the company would probably just as soon you didn’t know — that along with pure monosodium glutamate, it also contains soy protein concentrate and yeast extract, a trio of flavor enhancers of the kind often referred to as “excitotoxins” because of their ability to literally excite certain brain cells to death (especially in children), and which have been associated with a whole range of adverse effects, including aggressive behavior. Then again, you might prefer the Cream of Mushroom with roasted garlic, which in addition to those three aforementioned additives, features yet another excitotoxin, whey protein concentrate,and some partially hydrogenated soybean oil, a source of that artery-clogging trans fat that the Food and Drug Administration has now proposed phasing out of our diet.

Tuesday:  What could be healthier than some Cream of Asparagus — with some more monosodium glutamate and soy protein concentrate thrown into the mix for good measure?

Wednesday: Sounds like a good day for some hearty Minestrone, in which you’ll find not only monosodium glutamate and yeast extract mixed in with the tomato puree, carrots, potatoes and other veggies, but some good old high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) — that cheap laboratory sweetener that researchers have identified as a prime suspect in obesity, diabetes, and a host of other health problems.

Thursday: Let’s go with that old favorite, Chicken Noodle soup. Actually, there are a number of variations on this traditional theme available.  For those on a reduced salt diet, for example, there’s the one with “25% less sodium,” which makes up for it with those three taste tricksters monosodium glutamate, yeast extract and soy protein isolate. Or, perhaps you might prefer the Healthy Request Chicken Noodle, whose lineup of ‘healthy ingredients’ include HFCS, soy protein isolate and yeast extract, as well as mechanically separated chicken, which here at Food Identity Theft we like to refer to as “chicken ooze”.  There’s also one made especially for “Healthy Kids”, which includes that ever-present trio of brain-zapping flavor enhancers monosodium glutamate, yeast extract and soy protein isolate, in addition to some of that yummy “chicken ooze.”

Friday: Lentil soup, anyone?  And what would it be without some more added monosodium glutamate, along with unspecified “flavoring” and “spice” that often are nothing more than excitotoxins under a generic alias?

Saturday: New England Clam Chowder is always an all-time favorite — especially with a ‘flavor boost’ from still more monosodium glutamate and a little yeast extract thrown in to the pot for good measure.

Sunday: A Campbell’s Soup week just wouldn’t be complete without some form of tomato soup, the “classic” version of which has high fructose corn syrup as its second ingredient right after tomato puree.  You’ll also find HFCS  in the “Healthy Request” version (“M’m! M’m good for your heart” — not!) and the Old Fashioned Tomato Rice variety (bet you didn’t know HFCS was used as an additive in the good old days).  But just for a change, that would be a day off from monosodium glutamate.

Campbell soup ingredients

By now, of course, you might feel a slight buzz in your brain from the constant diet of excitotoxins — as might your kid (which could well serve as an example of the more recent Campbell’s slogan, “It’s amazing what soup can do”).  But don’t forget — this is something the folks at Campbell’s would like you to keep right on doing “once a day, every day.”

If, on the other hand, that doesn’t sound like such a great idea, despite all the health claims you’ve come to associate with Campbell’s Soup, you might just want to opt for soup without all those undesirable ingredients. If you don’t have time to throw together some homemade soup fixings in the crock pot (which isn’t all that difficult a thing to do), there are some genuinely healthy, ready-to-eat commercial alternatives available right in your supermarket, such as the organic varieties offered by Amy’s Kitchen, which include low-sodium versions (Amy’s Organic Lentil Soup, to cite just one example, is made from filtered water, organic lentils, organic celery, organic carrots, organic onions, organic potatoes, organic extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and 100% pure herbs and spices with “no hidden ingredients”).

That’s the kind of soup you really can have every day — without the risk of those additives making you nuts.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is Deemed “The New Trans Fat”

One month ago, the Food and Drug Administration issued a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils — a major source of trans fat in processed foods — are not longer “generally recognized as safe. Today Citizens for Health issued a press release urging the FDA to grant the same status to high fructose corn syrup.

The topic was covered by BevNet — the beverage industry’s leading source for information. Read their report here

Here is our official statement following the FDA’s decision related to trans fat:

High Fructose Corn Syrup is Deemed “The New Trans Fat”

Researchers Link Questionable Sugar Substitute to Serious Health Risks

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Following the Food & Drug Administration’s recent decision that it no longer considers the man-made additive “partially hydrogenated oils,” (commonly referred to as “trans fat”) safe, consumer groups and independent doctors are now targeting the highly controversial sugar substitute High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) as the most dangerous ingredient in the nation’s food supply.

Jim Turner, who chairs Citizens for Health, a leading consumer awareness group, believes the demise of HFCS will soon follow the fate of trans fat:

  • Both are highly-processed industrial ingredients shrouded in secrecy.
  • Both spent millions on lobbyists, TV ads and highly paid advocates to try and convince consumers that their products are safe.
  • As health concerns escalated, food companies, supermarkets and restaurants voluntarily removed these ingredients.
  • Communities began banning or restricting these ingredients to stem the burgeoning medical costs associated with them.
  • Lawsuits piled up, claiming these ingredients cause serious health damages.

As clinical evidence against HFCS mounts, independent researchers are going on record to alert consumers about its health risks:

  • Obesity expert Dr. Robert H. Lustig stated, “Type 2 diabetes was unheard of in children prior to 1980–when High Fructose Corn Syrup began to be incorporated into processed foods.”
  • Dr. Mark Hyman, Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, said HFCS “is driving most of the epidemic of heart disease, cancers, and diabetes.”
  • Dr. Michael Goran, Director of the Childhood Obesity Research Center, reported that the HFCS found in many soft drinks are at excessive concentrations not Generally Recognized as Safe by the FDA.

Citizens for Health has filed a petition asking the FDA to take action against food and beverage manufacturers that use HFCS concentrations above approved limits, and to require accurate HFCS labeling information.  Concerned consumers are encouraged to visit the Citizens for Health website to submit their comments and sign the petition.

Thanksgiving: A Perfect Occasion for Demonstrating the Delectability of ‘Real’ Food

Thanksgiving offers a wonderful opportunity — not only to “gather together” with family members and friends from near and far for a traditional homemade feast, but in so doing, to reject today’s fraudulent food culture in favor of the kinds of things that Mother Nature intended to sustain us.

You might even say that there’s no better way to show how thankful we are for the ‘blessings of the harvest’  than to restore them to their proper place on our table. By that, I mean preparing and serving only the kinds of foods that are the ‘real deal’, rather than the adulterated, additive-laden, disease-promoting products that manufacturers have substituted for no other purpose than to minimize their costs and maximize their profits.

In an age when children have been encouraged by multimillion-dollar marketing campaigns to develop cravings for junk food and parents persuaded to serve nutrition-deficient, ready-made meals permeated with neurotoxic flavor enhancers and other synthetic ingredients that wreak havoc on health, Thanksgiving is an occasion for reintroducing to our families the simple delights of genuine food.

Take cranberry sauce, for example. Now, the cranberry is one of nature’s most healthful fruits — loaded with antioxidants, phyto-nutrients, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.  Unfortunately, commercial food processors such as Ocean Spray have made it easy to serve canned varieties of cranberry sauce (either jellied or “whole berry”) that have been sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the laboratory concoction that studies have linked to our current epidemics of obesity and diabetes, as well as various other health problems.

But with just a little more effort than that required to open a can and coax the HFCS-sweetened blob out with a knife, you can make HFCS-free cranberry sauce all by yourself. Fresh cranberries, water and sugar cooked till the berries pop will thicken as it cools and taste amazing (see recipe measurements here. Note, this recipe calls for orange juice, but you can also substitute water using the same amount).

Even worse than the canned cranberry sauce are commercial variants on some of the other stuff  traditionally served at Thanksgiving — like stuffing, for instance.

Two of the worst examples of this good side dish-turned bad are made by Kraft — Stove Top Turkey Stuffing and Stove Top Cornbread Stuffing.  Both look like laboratory creations, having been laced not only with HFCS,  but two other atrocious additives — partially hydrogenated soybean or cottonseed oil (a source of trans fats that ‘s now being officially phased out by the Food and Drug Administration as a cause of thousands of heart attacks every year) and hydrolyzed protein, a form of disguised MSG that can actually destroy certain brain cells — especially in children and the elderly.

Other brands of commercial stuffing mix, such as Arnold “Premium” Cornbread Stuffing and Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing, aren’t much better, despite the image of wholesomeness these brands have tried to cultivate.  Both contain HFCS and that coronary artery disease-inducing partially hydrogenated oil.

Even if you have to make your stuffing from scratch (which is not all that complicated) there is absolutely no excuse to be using chemical concoctions like the ones mentioned above.  Arrowhead Mills, for example, makes a ready-seasoned organic stuffing mix that’s just as easy to prepare as Stove Top.

Let’s talk turkey — the unadulterated kind

Then there’s the turkey itself, which can also contribute its own share of unhealthy ingredients to the mix. Watch out for any bird that is said to be “self basting,” deep basted,” or any similar claim. Also check the packaging for any added ingredients. You should be cooking a turkey, not conducting a lab experiment.

Of course, no Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without the seasonal scrumptiousness of pumpkin pie for dessert.  And your local supermarket can no doubt accommodate you with a choice of at least two or three brands, Marie Callender’s being a prime example. The problem is, Marie’s pumpkin pie comes with something besides pumpkin. It contains so much partially hydrogenated oil  that it actually registers on the trans fat scale of the Nutrition Facts label. (Most products that harbor this artificially processed artery clogger are able to use a loophole in the law to falsely claim they contain contain “zero trans fat.”)

A far better idea is to bake your own pumpkin pie using ready-made canned pumpkin, adding your own ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon, condensed milk and an additive-free pie shell (Arrowhead Mills makes a good one of those as well). You can also make your own pie shell from scratch, it’s much easier than you think. Just be sure to use graham cracker crumbs that have good ingredients, i.e., no partially hydrogenated oils, HFCS or artificial flavors or colors. The recipe is easy to find (also on every can of pumpkin), and easy to prepare. Just make sure you allow enough time to chill your creation in the fridge.

With just a little bit of extra effort, you’ll have a Thanksgiving table of which you can really be proud — one that’s free of the junk foods that the big food companies would like to have us think are traditional dishes and “original recipes.” And you can prove to your family and your guests that old-fashioned, genuinely ‘natural” food tastes even better than cheap, “convenient” imitations — and can make for a holiday feast that’s every bit as enjoyable as those pictured by Norman Rockwell.