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The Questions of Fluoridegate

Scandal Widens, Calls for Hearings Grow as New Revelations Highlight Science in Conflict with Officials’ Statements on Water Fluoridation Safety

Part 1 of a Series, By Daniel G. Stockin, MPH

Following the Hurricane Katrina formaldehyde trailers fiasco and the Washington D.C. lead-in-drinking water disclosures, now yet another scandal provides evidence that what is said and done by public health experts may not be as important as the reasons behind what is left unsaid and undone.

Enter Fluoridegate, a multi-faceted scandal unfolding while simultaneously a growing number of cities and water utilities have halted water fluoridation or are considering legislation to end it.

City officials in Milwaukee, New York City and Phoenix have recently discussed ending water fluoridation. Quebec and Calgary in Canada, College Station in Texas, and Pinellas County in Florida have ended it, along with numerous smaller cities and agencies.

“I think there are safety concerns and fiscal concerns causing people to rethink fluoridation,” says Wally Babb, a former Georgia water plant operator reveling in the cities’ actions, since he was fired in 2008 for his stance against fluoridation.

“But I also think prosecutors and investigative bodies are going to be very interested to ask why certain groups and individuals did not share key information about fluoridation risks,” he says.

“If any scandal ever deserved a series of investigative hearings, this is it. This is going to call some very high level people on the carpet.”

Prominent Washington D.C. product safety attorney James S. Turner concurs.

“The evidence is shocking,” he says. “It’s time to put some of the key players under oath in Fluoridegate hearings.”

The developments point to a central question: Did a group of vested interest federal and private sector officials collude to use the public health infrastructure to control what the public hears about fluoridation and divert attention from increasingly bad news about harm from fluorides?

For those still unfamiliar with the developments, here are some of the deeply troubling questions of Fluoridegate.

Controlling the Discussion and Talking Points

Water fluoridation is the long-standing practice of adding fluoride chemicals to drinking water to help prevent cavities. For decades, Americans have been told that the practice is entirely safe, though controversy about fluoridation safety has never completely disappeared.

In 2011 a Freedom of Information Act request asked for the names, titles, and job descriptions of all persons past and present inside the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that had input into CDC’s decision to support fluoridation. The request turned up a disturbing fact: CDC’s Oral Health Directors, acting alone within CDC for more than 35 years, had sole input and control in deciding to support fluoridation.

The revelation raised obvious questions. How were CDC’s dental professionals, with expertise in oral health, competent to assess new research and make statements about possible harmful outside-the-mouth effects from fluorides? Why did CDC not seek assistance and input from its own cancer, diabetes, and minority health professionals, and from toxicologists in its sister organization, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry?

Were improper influence and the Oral Health Division’s close ties to the American Dental Association with its long history of denying harm from fluoridation the reasons CDC continued to deny any outside-the-mouth harm?

Interestingly, a letter from ADA had protested that it was “very disturbed” about a proposed reorganization in CDC that would downgrade the status of the Oral Health Division, folding it inside another unit. In explaining that ADA had “come to value its relationship with the (Division of Oral Health)” and describing the two organizations’ “close collaborative relationship,” ADA listed water fluoridation as its number one example of collaborative efforts with the Division.

Was it collaboration…or collusion?

With the information disclosed by the Freedom of Information request, actions by CDC were now seen in a new light. CDC had continued to offer stout assurances that more than 60 years of “extensive research” had proven fluoridation to be safe. But in 2006 the prestigious National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies of Science issued a 507 page report on fluorides that documented a long list of fundamental, basic-in-nature whole-body research that had never been performed.

Had CDC officials been lying in saying that extensive fluoridation safety research had been performed?

CDC had also issued a widely-circulated statement that fluoridation was one of the 10 great public health achievements in the 20th century. But in a 2008 article in Scientific American, John Doull, chairman of the NRC fluoride committee, stated, “…when the U.S. surgeon general comes out and says this is one of the 10 greatest achievements of the 20th century, that’s a hard hurdle to get over. But when we looked at the studies that have been done, we found that many of these questions are unsettled and we have much less information than we should, considering how long this [fluoridation] has been going on.” He also stated, “The thyroid changes do worry me.”

Cleverly calling fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements had worked public relations wonders. It had preemptively diverted many from a deeper investigation of fluorides. But the NRC report and other developments would bring fluorides back under the microscope.

Unnerving Information for HIV, Organ Transplant, Diabetes and Kidney Patients

In addition to dismaying information about thyroid concerns, buried within the voluminous NRC report were other unnerving admissions such as this statement: “More research is needed to clarify fluoride’s biochemical effects on the brain.”

The technical jargon and size of the report are daunting, but readers willing to wade through it learn that consumers are ingesting uncontrolled amounts of fluorides through their water supply without our scientists knowing what this does to our brains.

Because fluorides deposit cumulatively in the bones over time, the report also says it is “paramount” that research be conducted because bone marrow is where immune cells have their genesis. It points out that research could be conducted to determine “what percentage of immunocompromised subjects have adverse reactions” at various levels of fluoride in water.

News of this is understandably alarming to organ transplant patients and persons with HIV/AIDS or congenital immune diseases, but there has been little or no communication of the concerns about fluoride immune system impacts to these groups.

The NRC report also listed diabetics, kidney patients, seniors, children, outdoor workers and other groups as “susceptible subpopulations” that are especially vulnerable to harm from ingested fluorides.

What was done with these startling statements in the report? Had they been quickly acted on and formally distributed by federal officials to affected stakeholder groups such as the National Kidney Foundation, the American Diabetes Association, thyroid health advocates, HIV support groups, child health groups, etc? If so, the groups were uniformly and strangely quiet about receiving it. And why did the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and CDC’s parent health agency take nearly five years, and until EPA was threatened by a fluoride fumigant lawsuit, to issue a tepid recommendation to slightly lower the level of fluorides in drinking water?

Was the fix in because the dental industry, water agencies, and other groups would face tremendous legal liability if fluorides were now admitted to be potentially harmful? And were CDC and other groups working to “spin” the NRC report, to do damage control?

Fluoridation advocates cited statements within the report that its purpose was not a specific assessment of water fluoridation, implying that the process of studying fluorides produced no information useful in assessing fluoridation safety. This tactic backfired because it is akin to saying that efforts to put a man on the moon did not produce information useful for other spaceflight programs. Plus, the report designated certain groups as “susceptible subpopulations” without respect to what concentration of fluoride was in their water.

Again, the question: Did a group of vested interest federal and private sector officials collude to use the public health infrastructure to control what the public hears about fluoridation and divert attention from increasingly bad news about harm from fluorides? This is where Fluoridegate hearings will come in. Both federal and state agencies and attorneys general will find numerous avenues of fertile investigation.

Harm to Minorities: the Issue that “Has the Potential to Gain Traction”

One of the key areas for investigation will focus on fluoridation promoters’ actions concerning disproportionate fluoridation risks and harm for minority groups.

For example, why did CDC fail to openly inform the black community of news that blacks are disproportionately harmed by “dental fluorosis,” a permanent and in many cases disfiguring staining of teeth that indicates childhood overexposure to fluorides? CDC continued to not openly share the information with minority advocacy groups even after The Lillie Center in Georgia presented a detailed fluoridation ethics complaint to CDC citing the omission in 2007.

And the issue of harm to black citizens continues to grow. In an April 2011 letter, leaders of the American Dental Association requested assistance from U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh to help deal with concerns raised by civil rights leaders Ambassador Andrew Young and Rev. Gerald Durley. The two courageous black community leaders had publicly issued letters calling for a halt to fluoridation. In the ADA leaders’ letter to Dr. Koh they explained why they were seeking his assistance to address the concerns Young and Durley had raised about fluoridation safety for minorities.

The letter from ADA leaders stated: “We believe that this issue has the potential to gain traction.”

Gain traction? Fluoridation advocates had long scoffed that fluoridation opponents’ arguments were unfounded. In fact, they said, fluoridation was especially helpful for minority and low income populations, helping eliminate oral health disparities. So what was there about the issue of minorities being harmed by fluoridation that could possibly gain traction?

Could it be that there is substance to the concerns? Does fluoridation in fact disproportionately harm minority populations?

Here we find more grist for Fluoridegate hearings. Studies and other information on fluoride exposure levels and harm had never effectively or formally been presented to minority leaders until recently, by fluoridation opponents.

For example, a fall 2009 study published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry documented that black children are ingesting significantly more fluorides in water than white children. And CDC released information in 2005 documenting that blacks and hispanics have disproportionately more dental fluorosis than whites. CDC’s statistics were found deeply buried in the very last of 23 dizzying data tables in an article in CDC’s August 26, 2005 “MMWR” publication.

The news spread. Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter Bernice King spoke out against fluoridation on a radio program. Her cousin, Alveda King, spoke out against fluoridation on her blog. And in the summer of 2011, the League of United Latin American Citizens passed a resolution opposing fluoridation.

Let the Litigation Begin

As part of its efforts to support community water fluoridation programs, the American Dental Association had published a long list, a compendium of organizations that had lent their names as endorsing fluoridation. Dozens of national and international health advocacy, government, and professional organizations were on the seemingly impressive list.

But now it appears that organizations on the list may be named in legal actions. Citizens and decision makers relied on the organizations’ listed names in deciding to buy-in to fluoridation. Very telling will be the groups’ responses to a simple question: Did your group do its own research into potential fluoridation risks prior to allowing your name to be used on ADA’s list, or did you provide a courtesy endorsement of fluoridation without doing your own research?

The list of persons, groups, companies, and agencies that may be sued extends beyond the organizations in ADA’s compendium list. It includes almost anyone that should have warned users of fluoride products of various concerns related to fluorides. Water utilities, bottled water providers, toothpaste sellers, government agencies, nonprofits and industry trade groups, and numerous other individuals and groups may find themselves in the lawsuit cross hairs.

Washington DC toxic tort attorney Chris Nidel said this: “I think when we look back we’ll ask why Fluoridegate didn’t surface earlier. There are serious concerns about possible conflict of interest and heavy editing of information being fed to the public about fluoride risks and impacts.”

Two fluoride-related legal cases were filed in 2011 in Maryland and California courts. Both cases encountered significant, but not unexpected challenges. It’s still early in the process of developing various types of fluoride litigation, but given the now-strongly growing interest in pursuing legal actions, the future looks to hold many fluoridation and fluoride-product-related cases. The sheer number of potentially harmed citizens — persons with dental fluorosis, kidney patients tipped into needing dialysis, diabetics, thyroid patients, etc — numbers in the millions.

Concerning upcoming legal cases and hearings, perhaps most delicious to long-time fluoridation opponents is the prospect that for the first time, key officials in government and private sector agencies can be put on the witness stand and directly questioned about harm from fluorides.

A few interesting questions may be: Why are we warned to spit out pea-sized amounts of fluoridated toothpaste, but we were told we can ingest the same amount of fluoride when it comes in a large glass of fluoridated drinking water? How can it be safe to drink as much fluoridated water as we’d like? And why haven’t Americans been told that fluorides accumulate in the pineal glands in our brains?

In 2008, the National Kidney Foundation’s board of directors quietly issued a new position statement on fluoridation, causing NKF’s name to be removed from the ADA’s compendium list of fluoridation endorsers. But why did NKF not openly announce its new statement? Was it because NKF had been a recipient of grant monies from the CDC and did not wish to risk the ire of CDC officials? Did NKF risk the health of its own constituents, most of who today do not know that the National Research Council has designated kidney patients and diabetics as especially susceptible to harm from ingested fluorides?

Affecting Our Babies and Even Our Pets

Many Americans do not know that for one-time, acute exposures, fluorides are known to be slightly less toxic than arsenic and slightly more toxic than lead. But even with longer-term, lower level chronic exposures, the risks are real, especially for babies and other groups that are particularly vulnerable to harm from fluorides. The NRC report stated that on a body weight basis, infants and young children are ingesting 3-4 times the amount of fluorides as are adults.

On another front, what is fluoridated water doing to our pets and horses? This issue has received little attention until recently, but given Americans’ deep protective instincts for their pets and horses, the issue threatens to become an enormous one in its own right. News of the deaths of the fluoridated water-poisoned horses of Colorado resident Cathy Justus is quickly spreading. A growing number of stunned pet and horse owners are educating themselves further about fluorides before they continue to provide fluoridated water for Fido, the family feline, or a beloved horse.

There are so many facets to the Fluoridegate scandal that it will not be surprising if a number of attorney generals, district attorneys, politicians, investigative journalists, philanthropists, and others make their mark uncovering the harm done and the names of those responsible. Fluorides are an equal opportunity offender, so it is also not surprising that both Democrats and Republicans are joining the calls for Fluoridegate hearings or for a halt to fluoridation.

What are the other key issues? Will there be sacrificial lambs among those subpoenaed for Fluoridegate hearings and court cases? Who will point fingers at each other to try to escape blame?

Part 2 of The Questions of Fluoridegate will delve further into the numerous swirling questions.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Daniel G. Stockin, MPH, is the former manager of the EPA Western Regional Lead Training Center. He is a career public health professional with a background in toxics assessment and hazardous materials management. He is known internationally for his work at The Lillie Center Inc., a Georgia-based firm working to end water fluoridation. He may be reached at: stockin2@yahoo.com

© 2012 The Lillie Center Inc. This article may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without modification.

In A Victory For Consumers, FDA Turns Thumbs Down On “Corn Sugar” Alias For HFCS

Thanks to Linda Bonvie, blogger for the Citizens for Health project Food Identity Theft, for the following post.

For the past several months, we here at Food Identity Theft have urged our readers to submit their comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the Corn Refiners Association’s petition to allow the name “high fructose corn syrup” to be officially changed to “corn sugar.”

The last word on this hot-button issue has just come down from the FDA itself.  And it’s “no.”

The CRA will now have to quit referring to high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, as “corn sugar,” which it has been doing these days at every opportunity, apparently on the assumption that its 2010 petition would ultimately be granted despite the overwhelming opposition of consumers.

But the FDA had other ideas – the main one being that sugar is defined as “a solid, dried, and crystallized food; whereas syrup is an aqueous solution or liquid food.” (Duh!!!) Or so the agency informed CRA President Audrae Erickson in a letter dated May 30 (Wednesday) and signed by Michael M., Landa, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, which also states that “…your petition does not provide sufficient grounds for the agency to authorize ‘corn sugar’ as an alternate common or usual name for HFCS.”

While the Corn Refiners Association had ignored a letter last year from the FDA that asked them to stop using “corn sugar” as a synonym for HFCS, which Erickson did a total of 10 times in two TV interviews last week, the official denial of the name change should now make such substitution verboten in the CRA’s commercials and communications. (In fact, one can’t help but wonder whether her blatant and repeated flouting of the FDA’s directive finally spurred the agency to act on this long-standing petition).

The FDA’s rejection of the proposed name change also quite clearly reaffirms “corn sugar” as a “standard of identity” for dextrose (an ingredient with NO fructose) and declines the CRA’s request that “corn sugar” be eliminated as an alternate name for dextrose.

“We are not persuaded by the arguments in the petition that consumers do not associate ‘corn sugar’ with dextrose,” notes the letter. “The term ‘corn sugar’ has been used to describe dextrose for over 30 years.”  It further points out that “’corn sugar’ has been known to be an allowed ingredient for individuals with hereditary fructose intolerance or fructose malabsorption, who have been advised to avoid ingredients that contain fructose. Because such individuals have associated ‘corn sugar’ to be an acceptable ingredient to their health when ‘high fructose corn syrup’ is not, changing the name for HFCS to ‘corn sugar’ could put these individuals at risk and pose a public health concern.”

The latter concern has been raised in a number of the comments submitted to the FDA by members of the public, which ran against the petition 100 to 1. Most, however, expressed indignation over the idea that an industry group would try to attach a new, innocuous-sounding identity to an increasingly unpopular ingredient that so many consumers have been going out of their way to avoid in an attempt to make it appear to be something it’s not.

So confident were the corn refiners in the pending approval of their petition, that in a press release issued last week they said, “Transitional co-labeling, such as ‘Corn Sugar (High Fructose Corn Syrup),’ and CRA’s education campaign will ensure consumers are well informed about the name change.”

While the FDA may well have denied the petition of its own volition, one can’t help but credit the growing public outcry over this deliberate attempt to confuse consumers (which, perversely, has been presented as an attempt to eliminate consumer “confusion”) with having set the stage for this major victory over attempted food identity theft.

To read the entire FDA response to the CRA’s petition, click here.

Record-Breaking One Million Americans Tell FDA: We Have a Right to Know What’s in Our Food

New National Survey Shows Majority of Americans United

on Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food

Media contact:
Sue McGovern
sue@mcgov.com
Direct: 781-648-7157
Cell: 781-315-3400
 

Washington, D.C. (March 27, 2012) – The Just Label It (JLI) Campaign announced today that a record-breaking one million Americans of all political persuasions have called on the FDA to label genetically engineered (GE) foods. The campaign also announced a new national survey revealing that Americans across the political spectrum stand united in support of labeling food that has been genetically engineered. This is a striking contrast to the partisan divisions plaguing our political system.

“Pink slime, deadly melons, tainted turkeys, and BPA in our soup have put us all on notice that what we eat and feed our families is critically important,” said Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working Group, a JLI partner. “Americans overwhelmingly demand safety, transparency and labeling of genetically engineered foods. It’s time for the FDA to come clean and restore public confidence in our food system.”

Since October, JLI, (www.justlabelit.org), the national campaign to require GE-food labeling and its more than 500 partner organizations have spearheaded an historic number of public comments for a GE-foods labeling petition (Docket #FDA 2011-P-0723-001/CP). March 27 is the date when the FDA is required to respond to the petition.  It took less than 180 days to accumulate the record number of comments.

“In recent years, Americans have shown a real interest in knowing more about our food and now there is a clear mandate for the labeling of genetically engineered foods. This petition asks the FDA to stand up for the rights of average Americans, and not just a handful of powerful chemical companies. It’s time for the FDA to give Americans the same rights held by citizens in forty nations, including all of our major trade partners, to know whether our foods have been genetically modified.  The FDA needs to restore confidence in our food and our right to know about the food we eat and feed our families,” said Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield, a JLI partner.

 

New Survey Results: Motherhood, Apple Pie and GE Food Labeling

Consumer support for GE-foods labeling in the U.S. is nearly unanimous, according to the political opinion survey on GE food labeling conducted by The Mellman Group on behalf of JLI. Explained pollster Mark Mellman, “Few topics other than motherhood and apple pie can muster over 90 percent support, but labeling GE-foods is one of those few views held almost unanimously.”  “The survey found nearly all Democrats (93% favor, 2% oppose), Independents (90% favor, 5% oppose) and Republicans (89% favor, 5% oppose) in favor of labeling. The study also revealed that support for labeling is robust and arguments against it have little sway. (For the survey findings, visit www.justlabelit.org)

Colorado mother and author Robyn O’Brien, who founded the AllergyKids Foundation, a JLI partner, after one of her children had an allergic reaction to breakfast, said:  “Americans are responding to the call for GE foods labeling because they want more information for their families. Like allergen labeling, GE-food labels would provide essential and possibly life-saving information for anyone with a food allergy. Being responsible for the health and safety of my children, I believe it’s my right to know about the food I feed my family…from allergens, to ‘pink slime’ to GE foods.”

###

About Just Label It

JUST LABEL IT (JLI) is a national coalition of 500 diverse organizations dedicated to the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, also referred to as genetically modified, or GMOs.  The Just Label It message is simple: consumers have a right to know about our food so we can make informed choices about what we eat and feed our families. For updated information, visit the Just Label It website, (www.justlabelit.org)

What is a GMO?

“Genetically engineered foods,” “genetically modified organisms,” or GMOs, are organisms that have been created through application of transgenic, gene-splicing techniques that are part of biotechnology. This relatively new science allows DNA (genetic material) from one species to be transferred into another species, creating transgenic organisms with combinations of genes from plants, animals, bacteria, and even viral gene pools. The mixing of genes from different species that have never shared genes in the past is what makes GMOs and GE crops so unique. It is impossible to create such transgenic organisms through traditional crossbreeding methods.

Citizens for Health Joins “Just Label It” Campaign

Washington, D.C.Citizens for Health is excited to announce we have joined an effort with hundreds of organizations representing millions of Americans called the “Just Label It: We Have A Right to Know” campaign. The core of the campaign is a petition to the FDA that calls for products that use ingredients produced with genetic engineering to disclose this information on the label.

If you agree, as we do, that you have a right to know if the food you are eating has been genetically engineered, join us in this effort. We must make sure the FDA hears loud and clear that Americans want access to truthful, non-misleading information about what we put into our bodies – we want GE foods labeled.

Sign the petition now!

Please share this opportunity for action with any people you know who share your interest in knowing what is in your food.

And take a moment to watch this important video: Just Label It: We Have a Right to Know

Tester to FDA: High fructose corn syrup isn’t “sugar”

Senator says proposed name change is designed to confuse consumers

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is sending the Food and Drug Administration a clear message: high fructose corn syrup isn’t sugar – and don’t try to pretend that it is.

High fructose corn syrup is chemically processed corn starch used to sweeten beverages and foods like soft drinks and cereals.  The Corn Refiners Association is petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to change the syrup’s name to corn sugar.

Tester, the Senate’s only active farmer, said that consumers have come to understand the differences between high fructose corn syrup, whose name was established by the agency years ago, and sugar that comes from sugar beets or sugar cane.

In a recent bipartisan letter to Food and Drug Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Tester argued that changing the name would deny consumers their right to make knowledgeable choices about what ingredients they put in their bodies.

“We are concerned that if FDA were to allow companies to change the name of high fructose corn syrup to ‘corn sugar’ on food labels, it would confuse customers and mislead them,” Tester and his colleagues wrote.  “We urge you to follow your science-based process for consumer protection so that consumers are able to readily identify food ingredients.”

Tester added that the proposed change could negatively impact Montana farmers and sugar beet refinery workers.  With nearly 45,000 acres of sugar beets grown in Montana, Tester says he believes it’s critical for Montana’s economy and jobs to prevent the corn industry from confusing corn syrup with sugar.

Some nutrition experts also say that foods and beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup contribute to a growth in childhood obesity.

Tester is joined in opposition to the Corn Refiners Association’s petition by the U.S. Beet Sugar Association, the National Consumers League, the Consumer Federation of America, the Consumers Union and Citizens for Health.

“Montana’s consumers deserve the whole truth when they go to the store and look at what’s in the food they’re buying,” Tester said.  “I expect swift action to deny this petition.”

Tester’s letter to Food and Drug Commissioner Hamburg is available here.

Federal Judge Rules Against Corn Processors

Contact: Gene Grabowski
(202) 270-6560
Email: ggrabowski@levick.com

 Consumer Deception at Issue in False Advertising Case

LOS ANGELES — (October 22, 2011) – A federal judge has ruled that the case brought by American sugar farmers against big corn processors to stop their false advertising about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) must go forward.

According to U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall, who issued two opinions comprising her ruling on Friday, “Plaintiffs have met their burden in showing a reasonable probability of success on their argument that the statements are false.” The judge also ruled that the challenged statements in Corn Refiners Association’s multi-million dollar campaign “constitute ‘commercial speech.’”

Judge Marshall made these rulings, in part, based on documents the CRA and its members had previously submitted to the Mexican government involving a regulatory issue in that country. “There is evidence in the record indicating that Defendants have themselves made statements about the different chemical make-up between table sugar and HFCS,” the judge wrote. “Plaintiffs have also submitted studies and papers that support its allegation that CRA’s claim that HFCS is sugar and/or natural is false and/or misleading.”

According to the lawsuit, consumers have increasingly sought to avoid products containing HFCS because of a wide range of health concerns. The lawsuit claims that the CRA has engaged in false advertising about these concerns. As part of this effort the CRA has advertised that HFCS is “corn sugar,” equated it with real sugar and called it natural – none of which is true.

While the corn processors have petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval to substitute “corn sugar” for “high-fructose corn syrup” on ingredient labels, the sugar-producing plaintiffs assert that the defendants did not even wait for the FDA’s response – which is still pending – before beginning their “corn sugar” re-branding efforts.

“We are gratified by Judge Marshall’s ruling and we look forward to a final resolution of our case so that the Corn Refiners Association is forced to end its deceptive campaign aimed at misleading American consumers,” said Adam Fox of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, who argued the case before the court.

For a copy of the Court’s rulings filed Friday, Oct. 21, or the original lawsuit, contact Justin Wilson at jwilson@levick.com.

Millions of American Consumers are Food Identity Theft Victims

 Food Packaging Deceptions Threaten National Food Integrity

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Primary Media Contact:
Kevin Sanchez                                                          
Hollenbeck Associates                                              
(415) 227-1150 ext. 10                                                   
kevin@hollenbeckassociates.com

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Even as more American families are trying to make healthier diet choices, many duplicitous food makers are contributing to the spread of Food Identity Theft.  Despite government safeguards and restrictions, dozens of food producers are misleading consumers with deceptive packaging or attempting to conceal questionable ingredients on labels.

While some of the deceptions are subtle, others are much more serious. Some make claims that are simply untrue, while others are in direct violation of Food & Drug Administration policies. Food Identity Theft issues include:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup trying to change its name to “corn sugar” in order to conceal itself from consumers;
  • “Blueberry” muffin mixes, breakfast cereals and pastry products that have absolutely no blueberries in them;
  • Spaghetti sauces “Made from California Vine-ripened Tomatoes” that are made using industrial tomato concentrate (tomato paste and water).

“These companies are knowingly trying to pull a con on American families,” said Jim Turner, who chairs the non-profit consumer protection group, Citizens for Health. “We have the right to know what’s in the products we’re buying, and that means clear, accurate, and truthful package labeling.”

Citizens for Health has launched a new website, www.FoodIdentityTheft.com, to alert consumers about these deceptive practices. With important information, links to the latest news stories, videos, and regulatory updates, site visitors will be aware of the most flagrant Food Identity Theft culprits.

Numerous consumer action groups, including the National Consumer League, the Consumer Federation of America, and the Center for Food Safety, have all publicly denounced Food Identity Theft deceptions.  Many businesses, including Whole Foods Markets, Jason’s Deli and Stonyfield Farm, actively support truth in food labeling practices.

“Americans who want to eat healthier need to know that companies like Betty Crocker, Smucker’s, Kellogg’s, Contadina and General Mills, and trade groups like the Corn Refiners Association, are attempting to mislead them on food package labels,” said Linda Bonvie, Senior Editor at FoodIdentityTheft.com.

About Citizens for Health

Funded by concerned consumers, non-profit partners, food growers, and businesses, Citizens for Health is a non-profit organization that provides over 100,000 supporters with consumer news, action alerts, and ways to demand access to healthy food, non-toxic products, and truthful, non-misleading health information.  More information is available at www.citizens.org.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a representative from Citizens for Health, please contact Kevin Sanchez of Hollenbeck Associates at 415-227-1150 ext 110 or kevin@hollenbeckassociates.com.

 

CFH Posts Its Comments to the FDA re the Corn Sugar Sham

By now you are all familiar with the all-out campaign by the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) to change the name of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to “corn sugar.”

In March we alerted you to their petition to the FDA, which they claim is in the interest of “consumer clarity.”

This week CFH submitted its official comments to the FDA, and you can read the letter here.

We will repeat a question here we’ve asked many times over: How can changing the name of a product consumers have become familiar with over nearly three decades actually lead to greater clarity?

Quite simply, it won’t.

It is a misguided effort by the corn refining industry leadership to hide an ingredient (HCFS) that grows more unpopular by the day.

Sales of HFCS are down 11% and an ever-increasing number of manufacturers, markets, and schools are rushing to eliminate the man-made sweetener. The more aware and informed consumers become about HFCS, the more they seek alternatives or avoid products containing HFCS altogether.

The CRA is feeling the pinch and is naturally eager to protect the bottom line of its refiner members. CFH is leading the way in the fight against this corn sugar sham.

Last week we launched a new website dedicated to protecting your right to know what is contained in what you eat and drink – FoodIdentityTheft.com – and CFH supporters have sent more than 21,000 messages to decision-makers, from Congress to the FDA, urging them to deny the CRA’s petition.

Please take a moment now and submit your own comments to the FDA telling them to resist this “corn sugar sham.”

If you haven’t already sent a message, please do so! Consumer input and participation is the most critical part of our multi-pronged campaign to preserve your access to truthful, non-misleading health and nutrition information.

Also be sure to check back often at Citizens.org and FoodIdentityTheft.com for updates and further opportunities to take action.

March for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food 10/1/11 – 10/16/11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
adam@right2knowmarch.org

Right2Know March Announces Events During 313 Mile Walk to the White House for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food

Coalition Demands a “Reset” by
Obama Administration on GMO Labeling

 

NEW YORK, NY – In two days a diverse coalition of organizations, businesses and individuals will begin to march from the Historic Flatbush Food Co-op in Brooklyn, NY to the gates of the White House to ask the Obama Administration to support labeling of genetically engineered foods, also termed “Genetically Modified Organisms” or “GMOs”. The GMO Right2Know March will feature daily events between New York and Washington, DC October 1-16 as hundreds of marchers are expected to walk part or all of the 313 miles to the White House. The route and details on daily events can be viewed at Right2KnowMarch.org.

“Pesticide companies develop Genetically Engineered food crops by combining DNA from plants, animals, bacteria and viruses, to contain or resist pesticide, which results in more pesticides sold and sprayed,” says Michael Hansen, Chief Scientist of Consumers Union. “Genetically engineered foods contain untested novel foreign compounds that can be detrimental to our health, just as they are to the environment and farmers’ livelihoods. American consumers deserve the choice whether they want to eat GMOs, just like their counterparts in Europe and Japan,” says Hansen who will join the Oct 1 NYC Right2Know March kick-off rally at Prospect Park at 11am to 1pm followed by marchers walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to the United Nations.

In addition to daily marching, the following are major events planned by the Right2Know March:
RALLY – 1-Oct R2K Kick Off Event,11am – 1pm Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY
RALLY – 3 Oct, 10:45-11:45am Autumn Harvest Health Food 1625 East 2nd St, Scotch – Plains, NJ
MEET-UP – 3 Oct 4pm – 5pm George Street Coop Natural Foods 89 Morris St, New Brunswick, NJ
RALLY – 4 Oct, 2:15 -3:15pm Whole Earth Center 360 Nassau St, Princeton, NJ
MEET-UP – 5 Oct, 12:45 – 1:45pm Big Bear Natural Foods 322 West Trenton Ave #1, Morrisville, PA
NON-GMO FOAM RALLY – 6 Oct, 3:35 – 4:05pm Weavers Way Coop 559 Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia, PA
MEET-UP – 6 Oct, 7:05 – 8:05pm Mariposa Food Coop 4726 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, PA
RALLY – 7 Oct, 12 noon – midnight – The Ellen Powell Tiberino Memorial Museum, 3819 Hamilton St. Philadelphia, PA 19104
MEET-UP – 8 Oct, 11:45 – 12:45pm Martindale Natural Market 1172 Baltimore Pike, Springfield, PA
MEET-UP – 9 Oct, 10-2pm Newark Farmers Market, Market East Plaza, 280 E. Main Street, Newark, DE
RALLY – 13-Oct, 11am – 6pm – Maryland Institute College of Art, 1300 W. Mount Royal Ave, Baltimore, MD
WORLD FOOD DAY RALLY – 16 Oct Concluding Rally 12:30pm to 5pm at the White House in Lafayette Park 1600 H Street, NW Washington, DC Marchers estimated to arrive at 1pm. Event to feature Mom’s Panel and conclusion of the march

“The Right2Know March is an unprecedented effort to win genuine transparency on Genetically Engineered foods,” says Katherine DiMatteo of IFOAM and a lead coordinator of the Right2Know March. “Most Americans agree they have a right to know what is in the food they put in their own and their children’s bodies, but current federal policy favors the pesticide industry and hides the facts,” says DiMatteo. “It’s time to reset US policy on GMOs.”

Helping lead the march is Joseph Wilhelm, President of Rapunzel and Indian activist, Dr. Vanadana Shiva, both veteran GMO campaigners who twice marched across Europe for controls on GMOs and in support of GMO labeling, which is required in the EU. They will be joined at the events in NYC and Washington, DC as well as along the march, by advocates, media personalities, farmers and business leaders who will speak out for GMO labeling, including: Andrew Kimbrell (Founder, Center for Food Safety, Frances Moore Lapp? (Author, Diet for a Small Planet), Michael Hansen (Senior Scientist, Consumers Union), George Siemon (CEO, Organic Valley) and many others.

“No matter what you believe about GMOs, the bottom line is that we have a right to know what is in our food so we can all make better decisions for the health of our families,” says TV host and green lifestyle author Sara Snow.

Mothers are also marching and will speak out at the World Food Day Rally at the White House on October 16. “Without labeling, consumers have no way of knowing if the foods they are feeding their families have been genetically engineered to contain new proteins,” says Robyn O’Brien, author and founder of the Allergy Kids Foundation. “Because there is no definitive test that can be relied upon to predict whether a newly expressed protein might trigger an allergic reaction, it is important that genetically engineered foods are labeled so that the food allergic population can exercise caution and make an informed choice about what they eat. GMO labeling would provide essential and possibly life-saving information.”

Right2Know March spokespeople are available to debate GMO manufacturers on the labeling issue. “After 30 years and billions of dollars in research, only two principal GMO traits have been successfully developed: herbicide tolerance and insecticide production. Despite industry promises, there are no GMO traits currently on the market for increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other humanitarian or environmental benefit,” says Megan Westgate, Executive Director of the Non-GMO Project, fiscal sponsor of the Right2Know March. “Americans should have the right to opt out of this experiment, and this march is about standing up and demanding that freedom.”

Founding organizations of the Right2Know march include the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM), the Non-GMO Project and the Sustainable Living Roadshow, who are joined by founding organic brands Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and Rapunzel. In recent months, numerous titans of the organic and natural food sector have become sponsors of the Right2Know March including: Nature’s Path; Organic Valley; Stonyfield; United Natural Foods Incorporated (UNFI); Nutiva; Kamut International; and Dr. Hauschka Skin Care.

Members of the media are encouraged to follow the entire organizing effort and report on our progress. Please sign up for email alerts through our website or call Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671 to arrange interviews or for in person requests. Members of the public should call the Right2Know March Hotline: 202.557.5164 or email erica@right2knowmarch.org .

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Additional sponsors and affiliates include: Weleda; Biodynamic Farming and Garden Association; Center for Food Safety; Food Democracy Now; Organic Trade Association; The Organic Center; Independent Natural Food Retailers Association; National Cooperative Grocers Association; Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance; Northeast Organic Farming Association’s of New York, Vermont, and Connecticut; National Organic Coalition; Organic Farming research Foundation; Food and Water Watch; Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture; Organic Consumers Association; Sustainable Food Trust; Truth in Labeling Coalition; Organic Seed Growers Association; Institute for Responsible Technology; and Cuatro Puertas.