Category : High Fructose Corn Syrup

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Associated Press Story: FDA Skeptical of Corn Sugar Sham

September 19, 2011

In a story posted on September 15, the Associated Press reports that in response to the Corn Refiners Association’s original request to use the term “corn syrup,” Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods, told colleagues he was uncomfortable with changing the name and suggested that allowing it would deprive consumers of important information and invite ridicule.

Read the whole story here.

Why Frito-Lay’s Move Towards “Clean Labels” Is Smart Marketing

By Melanie Warner via www.industry.bnet.com

Frito-Lay has decided to reformulate its snacks so that by mid-2011 more than half of the company’s sales will come from products without things like MSG and artificial colorings and flavorings. The move illustrates why PepsiCo (PEP), Frito’s corporate parent, is the most savvy and proactive of the major food companies when it comes to health and nutrition.

Recent ill-conceived remarks about obesity aside, PepsiCo executives are taking the lead in responding to Americans’ increasingly sophisticated concerns about the healthfulness of food. A Deloitte survey done in March found that 31% of respondents said “over-processed food” was among their top concerns. And 29% said they were highly concerned about the “possible use of chemical ingredients that are detrimental to long-term health.”

It’s this kind of consumer sentiment that’s inspiring major manufacturers, Pepsi among them, to ditch high fructose corn syrup and replace it with sugar, which is thought to be more natural.

Clearly, Pepsi can’t stop making processed food any time soon, but it can make its products a bit healthier and more closely resembling actual food. In the age of Michelle Obama, that’s what every major packaged food company (restaurants are a different story) wants to do, and virtually all them have pledged to cut back on some combination of sodium, calories and/or saturated fat.

But Frito-Lay’s full-fledged embrace of what the industry likes to calls “clean labels,” which was announced at the company’s annual meeting last week, takes the endeavor to a whole new level. It’s a rare acknowledgment that the healthfulness of a product depends not just on easily manipulated things like calories and fat, but on the quality of the ingredients that go into the product. Artificial food colorings, which can cause hyperactivity in children and are linked to cancer in lab rats, and MSG, which causes some people to have allergic reactions, are the kind of things that make food products sound more like a chemistry experiment than something made from things that once grew in soil or from a tree. According to that Deliotte survey, a majority of consumers — 55% — say they understand half or less of the ingredients in food these days.

The fact that Frito-Lay is already making products without chemical additives in its line of so-called natural snacks will no doubt help make the transition easier. The company has already figured out how to make Cheetos, for instance, without yellow 6, MSG and partially hydrogenated soybean oil that was extracted using hexane, a neurotoxic and highly flammable chemical.

The big challenge will be taking out all this “dirty” stuff without raising prices significantly, since Frito Lay’s core customers are accustomed to getting their snacks for cheap.

Image by Flckr user Merry~Blues

Why Are Doctors Selling Out to Coke?

coca-cola
By Marion Nestle

On October 6, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) announced its new partnership with Coca-Cola. What does AAFP get from this? A grant “to develop consumer education content on beverages and sweeteners for FamilyDoctor.org.”

The AAFP, says its president, looks forward to working with The Coca-Cola Company, and other companies in the future, on the development of educational materials to teach consumers how to make the right choices and incorporate the products they love into a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Coca-Cola must be thrilled with this. As its CEO explains in an op-ed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, soft drinks are entirely benign and have nothing to do with obesity. Obesity is due to lack of physical activity and eating too much of other foods, not Coke. His view of the situation is entirely predictable.

But what about the AAFP? Family practice doctors have been telling me for years that it is not unusual for them to see overweight kids and adults in their practices who consume 1,000 to 2,000 calories a day from soft drinks alone. The first piece of advice to give any overweight person is to stop drinking soft drinks (or other sugary drinks).

This partnership places the AAFP in an embarrassing conflict of interest. I gather that members were not consulted. They need to make their voices heard. I hope AAFP members decide that no matter what Coke paid for this partnership, their loss of credibility is not worth the price.

Addendum: Here’s what a Chicago Tribune blogger has to say about this.

Further addendum, October 10: As noted in the comments, AAFP members were consulted, more or less. Apparently, they decided Big Food was less of a problem than Big Pharm. Really? How about selling out to neither?

Original link: The Atlantic Food Channel: Nutrition Blog

Marion Nestle is professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She is the author of Food Politics, Safe Food, What to Eat, and Pet Food Politics. She writes Food Matters for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Corn Syrup’s Mercury Surprise

By Melinda Wenner Via www.MotherJones.com

Corn Syrup Mercury

If the specter of obesity and diabetes wasn’t enough to turn you off high- fructose corn syrup (HFCS), try this: New research suggests that the sweetener could be tainted with mercury, putting millions of children at risk for developmental problems. In 2004, Renee Dufault, an environmental health researcher at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), stumbled upon an obscure Environmental Protection Agency report on chemical plants’ mercury emissions. Some chemical companies, she learned, make lye by pumping salt through large vats of mercury. Since lye is a key ingredient in making HFCS (it’s used to separate corn starch from the kernel), Dufault wondered if mercury might be getting into the ubiquitous sweetener that makes up 1 out of every 10 calories Americans eat.

Dufault sent HFCS samples from three manufacturers that used lye to labs at the University of California-Davis and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The labs found mercury in most of the samples. In September 2005, Dufault presented her findings to the FDA’s center for food safety. She was surprised by what happened next. “I was instructed not to do any more investigation,” she recalls. FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek says that the agency decided against further investigation because it wasn’t convinced “that there was any evidence of a risk.”

At first, Dufault was reluctant to pursue the matter. But eventually, she became frustrated enough to try to publish the findings herself. She had her 20 original samples retested; mercury was found in nearly half of them. In January, Dufault and her coauthors—eight scientists from various universities and medical centers—published the findings in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health. Although they weren’t able to determine what type of mercury was present, they concluded that if it was organic, the most dangerous form, then based on average hfcs consumption, individuals could be ingesting as much as 200 micrograms of the neurotoxin per week—three times more than the amount the fda deems safe for children, pregnant women, women who plan to become pregnant, and nursing mothers.