Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Former Big Food Executive Switches Sides

A former Big Food Executive, Bruce Bradley, comes clean about food industry deception. Mr. Bradley spent 15 years as a food marketer at companies such as Nabisco, Pillsbury and General Mills. He has since "become more educated about the risks and environmental impact of eating processed foods," is a big CSA fan and has created a blog to share the truth.

During a recent interview with Andy Bellatti on Grist.org, Mr. Bradley shared some insight about the industry, the people behind today's processed food companies and his blog.

On your website you write that you've "seen some disturbing trends in the food industry over the past 20 years." What have you found most insidious?

The landscape has changed dramatically since I started my career at Nabisco in 1992. In response to Wall Street profit pressures and the growing power of retailers like Walmart, the food industry has undergone a tremendous wave of consolidation and cost cutting.

This has hurt our food supply in many ways. First, huge, multinational food companies now dominate the landscape. Wielding far greater lobbying power and much deeper pockets, these companies have been very successful in stagnating food regulation. Second, cost savings have been a key profit driver for the industry, but they've had a devastating impact on both food quality and food safety. Think factory farming and GMOs, just to name a couple of examples. Third, as consumers' health concerns have increased, processed food manufacturers have become even more aggressive in making dubious health claims or co-opting fad diets to market their brands and develop new products.

The net impact of this transformed landscape has been disastrous from a public health perspective -- with obesity rates skyrocketing and a never-ending flood of food recalls.

How does the food industry respond to those in the public health and nutrition arena who systematically call them out? Is there is a legitimate fear that one day "the people" will realize how unhealthy many of their products are?

The average person working at a food company doesn't view public health and nutrition "food cops" as a threat. In fact, they are embracing many of the ideas coming from these sources. For example, books like Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma were extremely popular when I was at General Mills, and I learned about CSAs from an R&D scientist working on one of my teams.

Now if you're talking about the Big Food company executives, I do think they feel threatened. However, most of these executives tend to dismiss those who "call them out" as wrong or misinformed, versus taking a serious look at changing their business model. After all, these executives and their companies have a huge interest in maintaining the status quo.

On your blog you say, "confusion is one of the tried and true tools of the processed foods industry." Can you say more about the subtle and not-so-subtle ways these companies confuse us?

I think one of the main ways the processed food industry is trying to grow and defend their business is by funding self-serving research. The goal of these studies isn't to uncover "the truth" or to improve public health. Instead, the research is carefully constructed to create sound bites and statistics to help market their products or combat potential regulation. This is one of the primary ways we end up with conflicting studies that confuse consumers on what they should eat or drink.

Is this purposeful misdirection? Intent is always tough to prove, especially if you don't have firsthand knowledge. Research tends to be the work of a select few within processed food companies, and I was never part of one of those groups. That said, if you dig into these studies and their methodology, you can usually find the telltale signs of how they have "stacked the deck" in their favor.

What are three things you think every consumer should know about Big Food?
  • Big Food is profit-driven. Don't be fooled into thinking a brand or the food company that owns it cares about you or your health.
  • Think critically. Most claims and advertising by Big Food companies are meant to manipulate you, not educate you. Read your labels and do your research.
  • There is no free lunch. Over the long-term, you always get what you pay for. Cheap food is very expensive once you add up the true costs -- like the taxes you pay to subsidize Big Food companies, health consequences like obesity or diabetes, the devastating harm to our environment, and the inhumane treatment of animals raised within the industrialized food system.
For more insider information, check out Bruce's blog. Be sure to check out his series, All Natural... Really? WARNING: This blog is not for the faint of heart and many things you learn there really will make you sick!

SOURCE:
Grist.org

Monday, November 7, 2011

Susan G. Koman Response to Pinkwashing Letter and KFC Buckets

The following post is not intended to offend. I just personally believe that there is an awful lot of lying going on in America, both in the for-profit and the not-for-profit camps. I get really angry when companies con people and play on their weaknesses. And I get even angrier when I learn the money that not-for-profit companies make is not really used for the purposes in which it was intended. Especially when a company like Susan G. Komen for the Cure, that makes $400 million (2010) in earnings per year, spends a miserly 21% or $84 million on actual research. Doesn't it make you just a little bit curious as to where the other $316 million goes?

As a Real Food eater, I am very aware of what processed foods can do to our bodies and how the chemicals used to process them can actually cause us to get sick, sometimes terminally. So, when I saw that Susan G. Komen for the Cure had partnered with KFC, I was outraged. I signed my name to a letter from Breast Cancer Action that indicated my level of angst. I am writing this post so that I can not only share that letter, but the follow-up letter from "some unnamed person" at SGK and my response to that letter. If this is an area that is sensitive for you, you might want to stop reading now.

Original Letter to SGK and KFC
Dear KFC and Susan G. Komen for the Cure,
I am appalled by your “Buckets for the Cure” partnership. I share Breast Cancer Action's shock at this outrageous campaign, which uses the breast cancer epidemic to improve the American public's perception of KFC, and increase the company’s profits from the sale of pink buckets of chicken. There is no doubt in my mind that countless people affected by breast cancer find this campaign offensive and upsetting, as is evident from many blog posts and Facebook pages I have seen.

KFC (with Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s blessing) is engaged in one of the worst examples of pinkwashing. A pinkwasher is a company that purports to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink-ribboned product while at the same time manufacturing products that contribute to the disease. In this
case, KFC is encouraging people to buy pink buckets of chicken to demonstrate its alleged commitment to ending the breast cancer epidemic. However, KFC's food is unhealthy and much of it is marketed to low-income communities. KFC thus contributes to the significant problem of providing poor food choices
for low-income communities in the United States, who disproportionately suffer from poor breast cancer outcomes and other problems that may be exacerbated by an unhealthy diet.

Instead of partnering with a corporation that sells unhealthy food, I believe that Susan G. Komen for the Cure should work with companies that do not contribute to the breast cancer epidemic.

Response from SGK
Thank you for your email. The KFC partnership in 2010 helped Komen reach women in about 800 communities not currently served by a Komen Affiliate, with the pink buckets and links to a website with breast health information. It also helped us raise more than $4.2 million for cancer research and other
programs.  It has not been continued this year. I hope this is helpful to you.  Please feel free to email back if you need more information.

Sincerely,
Susan G. Komen for the Cure

My response back to SGK
Dear Unnamed Person at Susan G. Komen for the Cure:
Thank you for your canned response. But, no, your response was NOT helpful! Encouraging people to eat disgusting fried chicken that 1) has been raised on factory farms and treated with hormones and chemicals that have been shown to contribute to breast cancer, and 2) contributes to obesity which is one of the factors which increases a persons chances of getting breast cancer - all in the name of curing Breast Cancer??? Ludicrous! Do you people even read your own website???

And let's address that $4.2 million that you so proudly admit to earning. How do you justify the fact that only 21% of those funds actually go towards research and finding a "cure"? And quite frankly, I don't think you really do want to find a cure because if you did there are any number of other ways that all those funds could be used rather than supporting Big Pharma and putting more money in their pockets with your support of chemotherapy (chemical poisoning) and radiation (burning).

An article in Oncology Today (2004) reported that the survival rate of women in the US who received chemotherapy was only 2.1%. Michael Boyer, head of Medical Oncology at the Sydney Cancer Centre, disagrees. He says that the survival rate is closer to 5%. And Guy Fague (The War on Cancer: An anatomy of failure, a blueprint for the future. Springer, 2005), concluded that chemotherapy for cancer is based on "flawed premises with an unattainable goal, cytotoxic chemotherapy in its present form will neither eradicate cancer not alleviate suffering." So, I ask, why is SGK focusing on treatment??? I truly think the pharmaceutical companies have the treatment piece covered. Why would an organization that is called, "Susan G. Komen for the Cure" not be funding and contributing 100% OF IT'S PROCEEDS to finding that cure? 

And here's another question for you, where does the other $3.3 million from selling buckets of chicken go???? Salaries, marketing, pinkwashing??? And while we are questioning where the money is spent, is it really necessary for the CEO of a non-profit organization to make $500,000+ a year? That's more than the president of the United States. Even Steve Jobs, past-CEO to one of the most profitable companies in the world, only made $1/year. Sounds like there are a few more things going on at SGK then a "cure" for breast cancer, but that's just me...     

While I am certainly glad to hear that someone at your organization has come to their senses and realized that buckets of greasy, MSG and soy oil soaked chicken is NOT the correct affiliation for breast cancer awareness and cure, I am still stunned that SGK allowed themselves to be aligned with KFC in the first place. And as long as the pinkwashing continues, I will continue working from my side to educate anyone and everyone about who and what SGK for the Cure is really all about.

Again, thank you for your time in providing a canned response. Please don't waste time responding back if you can provide nothing more than SGK rhetoric. I can read all about it on your website.

Please let me know what you think...is SGK doing what they should be in seeking a cure for breast cancer?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Susan G. Komen Deems BPA Safe

When I wrote this post, The Pink Cure Nonprofit Gone Bad, just a few days ago (about how the Susan G. Komen Organization has become a nonprofit organization that I no longer trust or care to be associated with), little did I know that there would be further fodder again so soon.

SGK Deems BPA Safe
The Susan G. Komen Foundation is denying that BPA (bisphenol A) causes cancer and that it has been linked specifically to an increase in breast cancer. Specifically, the website says: "Links between plastics and cancer are often reported by the media and in e-mail hoaxes. However, there is no scientific research to support a link between using plastic items, such as drinking water from a plastic bottle, and the risk of breast cancer. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in some plastic food and beverage containers. Small amounts of BPA from the containers can get into the food and beverages inside. As a result, we can be exposed to low levels of BPA. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest a link between BPA and the risk of breast cancer."

REALLY???!!! For an organization whose main focus is the prevention and treatment of breast cancer to allow such careless, blase statements on their website is truly shocking. Not only is the information misleading, it demonstrates a significant ignorance by the individual who wrote it. SGK has become a place where many go for information, for hope. And now we know that the information is at best questionable and, at worst, completely wrong. It raises the question of why? Why would SGK not at least make the statement that there have been concerns and they are doing research? Isn't that what they are supposed to be all about?

Perhaps to find the the best answer to this question, we need to follow the money trail. Many of SGK's biggest sponsors are corporations who utilize the chemical, BPA, in their products and have also downplayed the health concerns. Sponsors - Coca-Cola (the shareholders voted by a 3-to-1 margin to continue using BPA in the lining of its soft-drink cans), Geneal Mills, Georgia Pacific and 3M - just to name a few. Is it surprising that 3M, who has contributed more than $1 million to SGK since 2007, is also a member of The American Chemistry Council? The same council who has doggedly insisted that BPA is safe. The same council who has fought fiercely against fedeal and state proposals to ban the chemical.

SGK has come under heavy criticism for the statements on their website. In an interview, SGK's chief scientific adviser, Dr. Eric Winer, had this to say in response to the criticism, "If a woman is particularly worried about plastics, she can avoid plastics in her life." Throughout the interview, Winer deflected other experts' criticisms by stressing personal responsibility. "Nothing stops an individual woman from living her life a certain way. And if she chooses to do that, she can do that." Sounds like another medical "professional" riding the CYA train to hell.

More Chemicals Downplayed
Sadly, SGK's role of downplaying the link between chemicals and breast cancer isn't limited to BPA. Organochlorine pesticides (including the infamous DDT) is also listed as one of the "Factors That Do Not Increase Risk" on their website. A 2007 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives even suggested that women exposed to DDT as adolescents were five times more likely to develop breast cancer during adulthood. SGK's position on the role chemicals play in cancer perhaps reflects the debate within the public-health community over the importance of addressing the influence of environmental factors on cancer. Research has shown that only about 10 percent of breast cancer cases in the United States can be traced to hereditary factors. "We now know from just a whole lot of science that environmental variables have a strong influence on gene expression," said Dr. Ted Schettler, Science Director of the Science and Environmental Health Network.

BPA Studies
Following are statements from studies that have shown the link between BPA and breast cancer and many other health problems. Note that none of these studies were conducted by the companies actually using BPA.

"More than 130 studies have linked BPA to breast cancer, obesity, and other health problems," according to the United States' President's Cancer Panel (2010).

"A study by the California Pacific Medical Center found that BPA even made healthy breast cells behave like cancer cells and decreased the effectiveness of yet another breast cancer drug."

"According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 93% of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. New analysis by the CDC indicates that many Americans are exposed to BPA at levels far above the safety threshold set by the EPA."

"Of the more than 100 independently funded experiments on BPA, about 90% have found evidence of adverse health effects at levels similar to human exposure. On the other hand, every single industry-funded study ever conducted -- 14 in all -- has found no such effects." - The Real Story on BPA

"Promise Me" Perfume Toxic?
And last, but certainly not least, the SGK foundation has come under further attack over their "Promise Me" perfume. A rival cancer-fighting charity claims that the perfume contains toxic chemicals that are not only not listed on the label, but linked to breast cancer. The executive director of Breast Cancer Action, Karuna Jagger, said that they had the fragrance tested after concerns that "it contains a number of chemicals of concern that are not listed on the ingredients." "I let them (SGK) know what chemicals were found and they responded in a confusing way," she told CBS San Farncisco.

SGK responded first by saying that they test all their ingredients and then stated that they were working with their manufacturer to reformulate the perfume. So which is it, is it safe because you tested it or does it need to be reformulated because it includes toxic chemicals that have been linked to breast cancer?

In a world teeming with man-made chemicals with unknown long-term effects, using ANY artificial ingredients is taking a chance with your health and the health of those around you (none of us has a say about what a stranger or friend uses on their own body and exposes us to). SGK's act of partnering with a manufacturer to "pink brand" a product that includes chemicals linked to breast cancer just proves that they are no different than any other organization (albeit they certainly have more free money to work with). They have put profit before people, health and humanity.

Linked at Real Food Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stuff We Need to Know

There is so much great information and so many relevant posts out on the web that periodically I will share some of them with you. Please let me know if you see some that I need to know about!

The High Fructose Corn Syrup Name Game

Avoiding GMOs When Eating Out

9 Ways to Fix Our Food System

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Pink Cure Nonprofit Gone Bad

I have been very aware for years that most nonprofit organizations are little more than income generating frauds that can and do make more money, with less restrictions and accountability, than those in the for-profit sector. They have marketing budgets that most for-profits would kill for; and who is their target audience - those who want to give back or help in some small way. Unfortunately, most of us do not have the time, the means or the knowledge to do the kind of work that results in the wiping out of hunger or finding the cure for cancer. So, we open our checkbooks and contribute to those organizations that convince us they are doing a good thing. It makes us feel better when we do and the US government gives us a tax break to boot!

Here's a bit of a reality check about those nonprofit organizations who ask for our money - the creators (and the friends they "hire") earn exorbitant salaries, have little to no experience working in the nonprofit arena and contribute only 20% of the monies raised to the actual cause. Yes, you read that correctly, the government states that a nonprofit need only give 20% of it's annual donations directly to the cause for which the nonprofit was created. I don't know about you, but there is something about that which just doesn't sit right with me. So, when I read the following article, I just had to share it with you. By the way, I couldn't have said it better myself. Please come back after you read it and share your thoughts.

I Will Not Be Pinkwashed: Why I Do Not Support Susan G. Komen for the Cure
October 22, 2011
By
[I'll admit. I'm a little nervous to put this one out there. The closest I've come to writing anything super controversial has been standing up for my beloved, saturated-fat-laden butter. And this is obviously something much more serious. But it's something I feel I absolutely have to say, and I hope you'll listen with an open mind.]

Pinkwashing America

It’s October.
And that means, it’s prime pink season. It’s national “Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”
It’s that magical time of the year when shades of pale pink are plastered onto every product, every container, every conceivable gadget or gizmo that the Susan G. Komen Foundation can get their hands on.
When that iconic symbol of overlapped ribbon is supposed to adorn every man, woman, and child who ever had a mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, niece or aunt who faced the horrifying struggle of breast cancer.
But I am not buying it.

Susan G. Komen: For Cure or Con?

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a multi-million-dollar company with assets totaling over $390 million dollars. Only 20.9% of these funds were reportedly used in the 2009-2010 fiscal year for research, “for the cure.” Where does the rest of the money go? Let’s have a look. Read the rest of the article here

Friday, October 21, 2011

Enter to Win US Wellness Meats Beef Tallow - $100 Value

If you would like to have a chance to win $100 worth of healthy beef tallow from US Wellness Meats, head over to Kelly the Kitchen Kop to enter! And if you would like to purchase some of the best grass-fed beef on the planet, head over to US Wellness Meats. You'll thank me!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lucky Charms Tops List of Healthiest Breakfast Choices

Recently, I signed my name to a petition that was sent to various cereal manufacturers. I wanted them to know that I strongly oppose them in their fight against a proposed, voluntary set of nutrition guidelines for foods that are marketed specifically to children. These guidelines contain recommended guidelines for calories, unhealthy fats and sodium for foods marketed to kids, as well as minimum thresholds to ensure that the foods provide things of value to kids' diets like fruit, vegetables or whole grains.

Remember that I said these proposed guidelines are voluntary, they can be adopted or ignored as each company sees fit. In response, the food industry has developed their own, far inferior set of nutrition standards for foods marketed to kids. The really strange thing is that even though the proposed guidelines are completely non-binding and contain no regulatory force of any kind, they are pulling out all the stops to get the government to withdraw their marketing recommendations. Following is a letter that I received from General Mills (my comments in bold).

Thank you for your email regarding the Interagency Working Group proposal.  Please allow me to respond. Your email notes that we have lobbied against the Interagency Working Group (IWG) proposal.  That is correct.  We have serious concerns about the IWG proposal. 

Our most advertised product is cereal – and we stand behind it. Cereal is one of the healthiest breakfast choices you can make
(Reese's Puffs, Cookie Crunch and Lucky Charms are at the top of my list of healthy foods).  Ready-to-eat cereal has fewer calories than almost any other common breakfast option (fewer calaries and zero nutrition). Cereal eaters consume less fat, less cholesterol and more fiber than non-cereal eaters.  If it is a General Mills cereal, it will also be a good or excellent source of whole grains (whole grains to start that have been cooked to mush, high heat dried and forced through a sieve to create fun shapes and then sprayed with vitamins and nutrients as there is nothing nutrionally left after processing).

Childhood obesity is a serious issue – and General Mills wants to be part of the solution.  But if the issue is obesity, cereal should perhaps be advertised more, not less
(yes, because more artificial, processed ingredients with sugar and trans fat is THE solution to childhood obesity).  Because frequent cereal eaters tend to have healthier body weights  – including people who choose sweetened cereals. It’s true of men. It’s true of women. It’s true of kids.
 

Data published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, based on the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), found that frequent cereal eaters tend to have healthier body weights overall, including kids who eat sweetened cereals.  To be precise, kids who eat four to seven servings of cereal over a 14-day period are less likely to be overweight than kids who eat fewer than four servings of cereal. Kids who eat cereal more frequently, or more than seven times in 14 days, are even less likely to be overweight than kids who eat cereal less frequently. (As compared to what....non breakfast eaters, those eating bacon and eggs, poptarts, pancakes and syrup?)

Another study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association followed 2,000 American girls over a 10-year period.  It found that girls who demonstrated a consistent cereal-eating pattern had healthier body weights and lower body mass index (BMI) than those who did not.
(Again as compared to what? You cannot make a broad sweeping statement like that without context.)

General Mills’ ready-to-eat cereals are America’s number one source of whole grain at breakfast, and fortified cereals provide more iron, folic acid, zinc, B vitamins and fiber than any other conventional breakfast choice.  Eating cereal also has the added benefit of promoting milk consumption
(milk treated with antibiotics and hormones and pasturized at such high temperatures that it has a shelf-life of forever).  Forty-one percent of the milk children consume is with cereal – and the figure is even higher for African American and Hispanic children.

Many things have been written about the proposed IWG guidelines in the media and–many misstatements have been made. You can be assured than food and beverage companies have studied every letter, comma and period in the proposal.  We know what it says, and what it does not.  For example, we know that 88 of the 100 most commonly consumed foods and beverages could not be marketed under the IWG guidelines.  The list of “banned” items under the guidelines would include essentially all cereals, salads, whole wheat bread, yogurt, canned vegetables, and a host of other items universally recognized as healthy
(Thunderous applause!!!! Maybe we will finally get real, healthy food versus the processed garbage you and other companies like you produce)

Despite the characterizations used to advance them, the IWG guidelines would not be voluntary, in our view.  The IWG guidelines are advanced by two of the agencies most responsible for regulating the food industry, as well as the agency most responsible for regulating advertising.  Ignoring their “voluntary guidance” would not be an option for most companies.   Regulation has already been threatened (even demanded) should companies choose not to comply – and litigation would inevitably follow. 
It's about time the food industry was held responsible for the lies and cover ups that have been propagated upon us for years.

The IWG guidelines also conflict with most existing government programs and definitions relative to food.  For example, many products that meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s current definition of “healthy” could not be advertised under the IWG guidelines.  Many products included in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program fail the IWG standards, as do most products encouraged and subsidized under the USDA’s Women, Infants and Children Feeding Program (WIC)
(probably because they are processed garbage to begin with).  Even low-calorie, nutrient dense foods of the type specifically encouraged by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines broadly fail to meet the unique stringency of the proposed WIG restrictions.  In fact, it is readily apparent that the new IWG guidelines have no parallel whatsoever – from a nutrition or science standpoint – with any other U.S. government food or nutrition program (again, thunderous applause!!!! It is time to move away from BigAG and the status quo).
Curiously for guidelines purportedly developed to address obesity, the IWG guidelines fail to include any reference to calories. The inexplicable omission of a measure as important as calories also works to the disadvantage of cereal products (that's what this is really about isn't it, the poor light with which cereal will truly be shown), which are inherently low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods (low calorie does not necessarily mean healthy).  Importantly, this is true of both unsweetened cereals and sweetened cereals, because both tend to have roughly equal numbers of calories per serving – most being about 120 calories per serving – whether sweetened or not.

Finally, your email suggests companies should focus on providing feedback via public comment.  We agree.  We have reviewed every detail of the IWG proposal – and we remain opposed, as our public comment explains. Thank you again for your email, and for allowing us the opportunity to respond.

Sincerely,
       
Tom Forsythe
Vice President, Corporate Communications
General Mills



Here is the ingredient list for Reese's Puffs:
INGREDIENTS:
Corn (whole grain corn meal), sugar, Reese's creamy peanut butter (roasted peanuts, sugar, contains 2% or less of: mono- and diglycerides, peanut oil, salt, molasses and corn starch), dextrose, modified corn starch, canola and/or rice bran oil, corn syrup, salt, Hershey's cocoa, tricalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, red 40, yellows 5&6, blue 1 and other color added, trisodium phosphate, zinc and iron (mineral nutrients) vitamin C (sodium ascorbate), a B vitamin (niacinamide), artificial flavor, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate), vitamin A (palmitate), a B vitamin (folic acid), vitamin B12, vitamin D, wheat flour, vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) and TBHQ added to preserve freshness. Contains Peanuts and Wheat ingredients. Two questions - 1) If this cereal is made from "whole" grains and is so healthy, why does it need to be fortified? 2) Where is the healthy in this ingredient list?

I guess I don't need to tell you that my blood was boiling after I read his response. Please tell me what you think.

See the Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Guidelines here.

This Post was shared on Real Food Wednesday.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Naked Juice Products Using GMOs

I recently ran across this article - Naked Juice Faces Class Action Lawsuit for Using GMOs and Synthetic Substances in it's "Non-GMO" and "All-Natural" Products

Sadly, I am not one bit suprised by this news. I have been convinced for a while that many companies who "claim" to be offering "All Natural" and non-GMO products have been lying to consumers. Why wouldn't they? The FDA has not been able to establish a definition for the term "All Natural".  According to the USDA, “natural” means food that “contains no artificial ingredients or added colors and is minimally processed.” Which should be pretty clear, but obviously these companies have their own version of "All Natural". It has become a game of "Catch Me If You Can" for many of these companies and the odds are in their favor. Make no mistake, labeling items "All Natural" is nothing more than marketing hype and another way for food manufacturers to fool you into spending your dollars on their products.

These companies are violating the law by using GMOs and synthethic ingredients in their products, but...who's checking???? Certainly not the FDA who would like nothing better than for these products and the companies who make them to quietly go away. It is not in the FDA's best interest for these companies to survive, much less thrive, and if they are lying to consumers and using their friend Monsanto's GMO ingredients, so much the better.

Dare I mention that what Naked Juice (Wesson Oil, Kashi and Santa Cruz) is doing is fraud? And blatant fraud at that. Hopefully, this lawsuit will wake companies up to the fact that they cannot lie to consumers and get away with it. We as consumers need to be more prudent with our purchasing dollars. Right now, the only way we can vote is with our money. We must put companies and the FDA on alert that we will not be lied to any longer, that we will not accept GMO food and that we have the right to know what is being put into our food!

Following is the article from Max Goldberg with his comments. Please let me know what you think.

The lawsuits against industrial food companies just keep piling up. First, it was Wesson Oils who got sued for using GMOs in its products that the company claimed were “100% Natural”. Then, Kashi got sued for using prescription drugs, irradiated substances, pesticides that are a by-product of uranium mining, and federally declared hazardous substances in products that it claimed were “All-Natural” and contained “Nothing Artificial”.

Now, here comes a class action lawsuit against Naked Juice (owned by PepsiCo) for using genetically-modified ingredients and synthetic substances in products that were marketed as “Non-GMO” and “All-Natural”.

Highlights of the Naked Juice lawsuit accuse the company of:
1) Labeling its products as "Non-GMO” when, in fact, it knowingly used genetically-modified ingredients in its products.
2) False and misleading labeling of its products as “100% Juice”, “100% Fruit” and “All Natural” when the products contained many different synthetic ingredients and synthetic fibers such as:
* Fibersol-2 — a proprietary synthetic digestion-resistant fiber produced by Archer Daniels Midland and developed by a Japanese chemical company.
* Fructooligosaccharides — a synthetic fiber and sweetener.
* Inulin — an artificial and invisible fiber added to foods to artificially increase fiber content with the typical fiber mouth-feel.
3) Intentionally misleading and deceiving its customers.

Max says - In my view, the allegations in the Naked Juice lawsuit are much, much worse than the Kashi and ConAgra ones. Why? The legal crackdown on the use the term “natural” is something that is only now taking place. While companies may absolutely be violating the law by using GMOs and synthetic substances in products that they claim to be “all-natural”, the legal precedent has not been set yet. It soon will be.
Furthermore, since our government has done nothing to truly clarify and enforce what “natural” means, major food companies have been dancing around the issue hoping not to get caught. That party is coming to an end. However, with the Naked Juice lawsuit, the company is being accused of using GMOs when it states that its products are “Non-GMO”.
If proven true, this is blatant fraud and deception. No legal education or chemistry background is needed to tell you that this is clearly illegal. What makes matters worse is the packaging of Naked Juice products and how it sells the promise of something incredibly wholesome and healthy.
As I have stated before, this is only a major positive for the organic industry and for all consumers.

The more people that realize “natural” means very little, the more they will gravitate towards organic, where there are standards, enforcement and regulation.

To read the full legal complaint, click HERE (PDF file).

This post was shared on Fight Back Fridays and Real Food Wednesday.

SOURCE: Max Goldberg

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Truth About Your Food - Taco Bell Mexican Pizza

The next post in the series, The Truth About Your Food (see Doritos, see Skittles, see Subway 9-Grain Wheat)...

What's really in...Taco Bell Mexican Pizza = 540 calories, 30g fat (8g saturated), 1,020mg sodium.
It's Italian, it's Mexican, it's...well, it's got a whopping 64 different ingredients, so it's hard to tell just what exactly it is. On the face of it, this meal doesn't look too bad. There are two pizza shells, ground beef, beans, pizza sauce, tomatoes and three cheeses. Nothing alarming, right? Even the nutritional vital signs, while high, compare favorably to most fast-food pizzas. It only gets scary when you zoom in on what it takes to stitch those pieces together. That's when you see all of those 64 smaller ingredients, including an astounding 24 in the ground beef alone. Yikes!

Now, some of those ingredients amount to little more than Mexican seasonings and spices, but there are also loads of complex compounds such as autolyzed yeast extract, maltodextrin, xanthan gum, calcium propionate, fumaric acid and silicon dioxide. Any of those sound familiar? The last one might - if you've spent any time at the beach. But chances are you normally refer to it by its common name - sand.

That's right, sand is made from fragmented granules of rock and mineral, and the most common of them is silicon dioxide, or silica. This is also the stuff that helps strengthen concrete and - when heated to extreme temperatures - hardens to create glass bottles and windowpanes.

So, why exactly does Taco Bell put sand in the Mexican Pizza? To make it taste like spring break in Cancun? No quite. As it turns out, Taco Bell adds silica to the beef to prevent it from clumping together during shipping and processing. The restaurant uses the same anti-caking strategy with the chicken, shrimp and rice.

I "love" this letter from Taco Bell...they justify adding spices and chemicals that they conveniently label "other ingredients" because plain ground beef from CAFO farms tastes boring. Perhaps if they used a better quality of meat - the kind raised humanely, grass fed without antibiotics, hormones, etc. - it wouldn't be necessary to add their "12% secret recipe".

SOURCE:
David Zinczenko

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Truth About Your Food - Subway 9-Grain Wheat

To continue in the series, The Truth About Your Food (see Doritos, see Skittles)...

What's Really in...Subway 9-Grain Wheat (6") = 210 calories, 2g fat (.5g saturated), 410g sodium
Okay, so you're probably not in the habit of ordering a la carte bread loaves at Subway, but there's a good chance you've eaten at least a few sandwiches built on this bread. The good news is that Subway actually delivers on the nine-grain promise. The bad news: eight of those nine grains appear in miniscule amounts. If you look at a Subway ingredient statement, you'll find every grain except wheat listed at the bottom of the list, just beneath the qualifier "contains 2% or less". In fact, the primary ingredient in this bread is plain old white flour and high-fructose corn syrup plays a more prominent role than any single whole grain. Esentially this is a white-wheat hybrid with trace amounts of other whole grains like oats, barley and rye.

So, outside the nine grains, how many ingredients does Subway use to keep this bread together? Sixteen, including such far-from-simple ingredients as DATEM, sodium steroyl lactylate, calcium sulfate and azodiacarbonamide. But here's one that's a little unnerving: ammonium sulfate. This compound is loaded with nitrogen, which is why it's most common use is as fertilizer. You might have used it to nourish your plants at home. And Subway does the same thing; the ammonium sulfate nourishes the yeast and helps bread turn brown. What, did you think that dark hue was the result of whole grains? Hardly. It's a combination of the ammonium sulfate and the caramel coloring. Seems like Jarod might frown on that sort of suberfuge.

From Examiner.com:
Subway's 9 Grain Bread:
You may think that the bread that they make in house would be considered fresh, right? Think again. Here is a list of the ingredients for a piece of their 9 Grain Bread, which sounds oh-so-hearty. My annotations are in bold type to help you understand what this food is really made of:
Enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, barley malt, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid) (anytime a flour is enriched, it means that the food manufacturer has stripped the flour of nearly all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, so they are legally bound to introduce back in the synthetic vitamins) , water, yeast (source of MSG, and a common allergen), high fructose corn syrup (need I say more? a cause of blood sugar imbalances and weight gain), whole wheat flour, wheat gluten, contains 2% or less of the following: oat fiber, soybean oil (Genetically Modified), salt, wheat bran, rolled wheat, rye nuggets, dough conditioners (DATEM, sodium stearoyl lactylate), yeast nutrients (calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate), degermed yellow corn meal, rolled oats, rye flakes, caramel color (contains cancer-causing nitrates, and is GM), triticale flakes, parboiled brown rice, refinery syrup, honey, barley flakes, flaxseed, millet, sorghum flour, azodiacarbonamide (Use of azodicarbonamide as a food additive is banned in Australia and in Europe. In Singapore, the use of azodicarbonamide can result in up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of $450,000), natural flavor (another source of MSG) (maltodextrin, natural flavor, silicon dioxide, lactic acid). Contains wheat.

Subway's Oven Roasted Chicken Patty:
Oven roasted chicken with rib meat (conventionally produced with growth hormones, pesticides, antibiotics), water, seasoning (corn syrup solids, vinegar powder [maltodextrin (GM sugar syrup, source of MSG), modified corn starch & tapioca starch, dried vinegar], brown sugar, salt, dextrose (a sugar derived chemically from starch), garlic powder, onion powder, chicken type flavor [hydrolyzed corn gluten (MSG!), autolyzed yeast extract (MSG!), thiamine hydrochloride, disodium inosinate & disodium guanylate]), sodium phosphate.
That chicken sure went through the ringer, didn't she? Bathed in MSG (a flavor enhancer that is a nuerotoxin used to make mice obese for diabetes trials in labs). Lathered in sugar.

Subway anyone???

SOURCE:
David Zinczenko
Natalie Pescetti

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Truth About Your Food - Skittles

Continuing with my series, The Truth About Your Food (see Doritos)...

What's Really in Original Skittles...1 pack = 250 calories, 2.5g fat (saturated), 47g sugar
They're sweet, chewy and brightly colored. Now, what are they? Well, the basic formula for each chewy neon orb is a gross mashup of sugar, corn syrup and hydrogenated palm kernal oil. That explains why every gram of fat is saturated and each package has more sugar than two twin-wrapped packages of Peanut Butter Twix.

So, those three ingredients plus a few extra fillers are basically all it takes to get the general consistency and flavor, but to achieve that color spectrum, Skittles brings in a whole new list of additives. When a Skittles ad tells you to "taste the rainbow", what it is really telling you to do is taste the laboratory-constructed amalgam of nine artificial colors, many of which have been linked to behavioral and attention-deficit problems in children, which prompted the Center for Science in the Public Interest to petition the FDA for mandatory labels on artificially colored products. The FDA's response: we need more tests.

In the meantime, there's a very large-scale test going on all across the country, and every Skittles eater is an unwilling participant. And that doesn't even factor in the blood-sugar roller coaster you go on when you ingest a Skittle's bag worth of sugar.

SOURCE:
David Zinczenko

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Truth About Your Food - Doritos

Men's Health editor in chief and author of the series Eat This Not That, David Zinczenko, wrote an article -The Truth About Your Food. It's really interesting information and had a huge impact on me long before I began my Real Food journey.

What's Really in Nacho Cheese Doritos...11 chips = 150 calories, 8g fat (1.5g saturated), 180mg sodium
The concept is, well, sort of brilliant: nachos and cheese without the hassle of a microwave. Or even a plate, for that matter. You just tear open the bag and start snarfing. And as a parting gift, Dorito's leave your fingers sticky with something that looks like radioactive bee pollen. Now here's the question: Do you have any clue what's in that stuff? Here you go -

To create each Dorito, the Frito-Lay food scientists draw from a well of 39 different ingredients. How many does it take to make a regular tortilla chip? About three. That means that some 36 ingredients wind up in that weird cheese fuzz. Of those 36, only two are ingredients you'd use to make nachos at home: Romano and cheddar cheeses. Alongside those are a cache of empty carbohydrate fillers like dextrin, maltodextrin, dextrose, flour and corn syrup solids. Then comes a rotating cast of oils. Depending on what bag you get, you might find any combination of corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil and sunflower oil. Some of these will be partially hydrogenated, meaning they give the chip a longer shelf life and spike your heart with a little shot of trans fat. (The reason you won't find this on the label is that FDA guidelines allow food manufacturers to "round down" to zero.)

And then, after the fats and nutrionally empty starches, there's a seasoning blend, which includes things like sugar, "artificial flavoring" and a rather worrisome compound called monosodium glutamate. Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is the flavor enhancer largely responsible for the chip's addicting quality. The drawback is that it interferes with the production of an appetite-regulating hormone called leptin. A study of middle-aged Chinese people found a strong correlation between MSG consumption and body fat. What's more, the FDA receives new complaints every year from people who react violently to MSG, suffering symptoms like nausea, headaches, burning sensation, numbness, chest pains, dizziness and so on. Talk about radioactive bee pollen.

SOURCE:
David Zinczenko

Monday, September 26, 2011

BPA in Kids' Canned Food

Earlier this month, The Breast Cancer Fund tested six different foods marketed to and consumed by kids:
  • Annie's Homegrown Cheesy Ravioli
  • Campbell's Disney Princess Cool Shapes, Shaped Pasta with Chicken in Chicken Broth
  • Campbell's Spaghettios with Meatballs
  • Campbell's Toy Story Fun Shapes, Shaped Pasta with Chicken in Chicken Broth
  • Chef Boyardee Whole Grain Pasta, Mini ABC's & 123's with Meatballs
  • Earth's Best Organic Elmo Noodlemania Soup
Every food sampled tested positive for BPA with Campbell's Disney Princess and Toy Story soups testing the highest. Sadly, even organic food manufacturers, like Annie's and Earth's Best, are using these toxic cans.

The Report - BPA in Kids' Canned Food.

BPA has been linked to breast cancer, obesity, prostate cancer, learning disabilities, diabetes, early puberty, infertility, and more! Read more here.

Tell Campbell Soup Company, Con Agra (maker of Chef Boyardee), Annie's Homegrown and Hain Celestial (maker of Earth's Best) to stop marketing BPA to kids.


SOURCES:
The Breast Cancer Fund
FoxNews.com

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stop Childhood Obesity!

Childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions. Nine out of ten commercials shown during Saturday morning television promote foods of poor nutritional quality (Center for Science in the Public Interest and the University of Minnesota). And with names like Kid Cuisine, Kool-aid and Danimals, is there any question that these food giants know exactly what they are doing? Kids represent an important demographic to marketers and the companies they represent - $2 billion dollars a year to be exact. Kids today have their own purchasing power, influence their parent's buying decisions and are the adult consumers of the future.

Big Food Companies continue to undermine the efforts of parents to teach and instill traditional and healthy eating habits in their children. Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission is working to establish voluntary, newly-proposed guidelines aimed at promoting more healthful foods for children. And guess who is fighting these new voluntary guidelines tooth and nail???? Big Food - Dannon, General Mills, Hershey's, Kellogg's, Kraft, McDonald's, Nestle, PepsiCo, Sara Lee and Unilever. These same food companies are calling these voluntary guidelines "irredeemable," "counterproductive," "unnecessary" and "monumentally flawed." They're promoting their own weaker set of guidelines instead AND trumpeting a bogus study that predicts economic disaster if these proposed standards - which are voluntary - are adopted.

Please join the Environmental Working Group and the Center for Science in the Public Interest to get the attention of the CEOs of large food manufacturers and tell them to stop their attacks. Demand today that these food companies use their resources to market healthier food to our children! Stand up to Big Food on behalf of our children, they deserve nothing less! Sign the petition here.

SOURCES:
ScienceDaily.com
CommercialAlert.org
Environmental Working Group

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Modern Milk is Frankenfood

Sadly, what we consume today as "milk" is not your grandmother's milk. Like most of the other overly processed foods available on grocery shelves today, milk has been altered, stripped and reconstituted. There are so many additives and processes involved that buying a gallon of milk (or a cup of yogurt) at your grocery store guarantees that you'll get a mixture of substances from all over the country - possibly the world. When all is said and done, the product that you actually purchase is a far cry from what actually came from the cow.

Homogenization - John Bunting, a dairy farmer who researches and writes about dairy for The Milkweed, says "homogenization is not good". "The milk is pumped under high pressure which smashes the milk molecules so hard. Homogenization splits and exposes the molecules." The hard science goes like this: A raw milk molecule is surrounded by a membrane, which protects it from oxygen. Homogenization decreases the average diameter of each fat globule and significant;ly increases the surface area. Because there's now not enough membrane to cover all of this new surface area, the molecules are easily exposed to oxygen, and the fats  become oxidized.

Milk Solids - Critics believe that milk solids, which are sometimes added back into the milk, contain oxidized, or damaged, forms of fat and cholesterol. Nonfat milk solids are created through a process of evaporation and high heat drying which removes the moisture from skim milk. Exposure to high heat and oxygen causes fats to oxidize. And oxidized cholesterol has been shown in numerous studies to lead to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and to raise LDL, aka "bad" cholesterol. One study from 2004 found that oxidized dietary fats are a "major cause" in the development of atherosclerosis.

This phenomenon worries Nina Planck, author of Real Food. "This damaged cholesterol is much different than what I call "fresh cholesterol," which is found in egg yolks, whole milk, and butter," she said. "We know that fresh cholesterol has one main effect and that is to raise HDL [or ‘good' cholesterol]. On the other hand, oxidized cholesterol raises LDL." What's more, Planck says that the law does not require manufacturers to tell consumers when milk solids are in food or milk. "It's a [potential] scandal because it's unlabeled," she says.

Michael Pollan writes about this as well in In Defense of Food: "In the case of low-fat or skim milk, that usually means adding powdered milk. But powdered milk contains oxidized cholesterol which scientists believe is much worse for your arteries than ordinary cholesterol." In California, where the industry reports the ingredients on its website, all industrially produced milk contains nonfat milk solids. Even "whole milk" is a product of reconstitution; it contains at least 3.5 percent milk fat and 8.7 percent nonfat milk solids. This is also true for (industrially produced) organic milk.

Are these milk solids really as big of a problem as Planck and others in her camp believe them to be?  Lloyd Metzger is doubtful. He says there's virtually no fat left in the milk to oxidize. Bunting agrees, "If it's skim milk, there might be small amounts - but that's not a real concern. If you're worried about oxidized fat, it's homogenization that is the real culprit." Has Bunting seen evidence of the health impacts associated with oxidized fats in milk? "No," he says. "But who's going to fund it? The USDA is the largest funder of dairy research in this country and they're not going to fund a study they don't want to hear about."

Milk Protein Concentrates (MPCs) - MPCs are made using ultra-filtration - milk is forced through a membrane to remove some of the lactose. MPCs have less carbohydrates and more protein than other milk solids and are often used in protein bars and drinks as well as in some processed cheeses Nonfat milk solids are approved for food use, but MPCs are not considered GRAS (generally regarded as safe) by the FDA. "MPCs have undergone a change," says Bunting. "They cannot be reconstituted into anything called milk." He suspects that the protein in MPCs is not as digestible as that in milk, but it has never been tested. He says Kraft, in particular, uses a lot of MPCs.

Lorraine Lewandrowski, a fourth-generation dairy farmer in Newport, N.Y., is also concerned about MPCs. "MPCs are derived from milk, but they're not really milk," she said. "There have been a lot of complaints by farmers concerned about MPCs being added to cheese to boost production." She says that typically around 10 pounds of milk yields one pound of cheese. MPCs - many of which come from overseas - can increase yields considerably. The MPC's are being imported from countries such as New Zealand, Mexico and China and "we cannot trust foreign governments with the safety of these ingredients", says Planck.

Milk doesn't have to contain nonfat milk solids, MPCs, or any other additives. Mark McAfee, founder of Organic Pastures, offers an alternative in California. "What is in our bottle comes straight from grass-fed, pasture-grazed cows. All we do is chill it and test it," he said.

In the New York region, where the sale of raw milk is illegal, small dairies leave their milk unhomogenized and pasteurize it at low temperatures to avoid damaging the milk molecules. "The real issue is trust," Bunting said. "If people could buy from someone they trusted, we wouldn't even need pasteurization. It extends shelf life, but it's not a safer product."


I don't know about you, but I want my milk (butter, cream, cheese, yogurt, etc.) to come from that cow right there...




SOURCES:
Grist.org
RealMilk.com
Why Modern Milk is Bad for You

This post was shared at Real Food Wednesday.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Are You Getting the Flu Shot?

I took my son to the pediatrician last week and there were signs all over the facility announcing that "flu shots had arrived". A special area had even been set up so that you could come in and get a flu shot without having to have an appointment or see a doctor, similar to what is offered at local retail outlets. It's very disturbing to me that you can walk into any number of drug stores (and other locations), pay a fee and get a flu shot. Heaven forbid, what if you were somehow harmed by the shot and incapacitated, how would anyone treating you even know that you had gotten a flu shot?

Meanwhile, back at the Pediatrician's office, the person sitting at the desk when we checked in asked if we were going to get flu shots that day. Very nicely I said, "no we are not going to get flu shots". Then, we were escorted back to the examining room, the nurse taking the vitals mentioned that flu shots were available. When I didn't give a response one way or the other, she asked if we would be getting flu shots. Once again, I nicely said that we would not be getting flu shots. She then looked at me and said, "so, you are refusing the flu shot for you and your son?" Refusing? How about I'm exercising my constitutional right to say no?! I responded, "I would not say that I am refusing, rather that I am declining the flu shot". And then, the pediatrician informed us that flu shots were available and asked was my son going to get one? At that point, I began to wonder if they were making a commission on each flu shot they "sold".

I'll admit, two or three years ago I wouldn't have hesitated to get the shot for my son (I have never had one and don't ever plan to get one), but since I began to read and find out exactly what Big Pharma and the FDA are up to, my decisions about what enters our bodies has changed drastically. I believe it needs to be a personal and educated choice that everyone should make for themselves. But what I experienced at the pediatrician's office really made me question the lengths that health care facilities will go to get people to have a flu shot. I am certain that there are a lot of people who would have just gone ahead and gotten the shot for themselves and their child if they had been in my situation. We have been trained since birth to believe that "doctors know best" and we make decisions and choices based upon that belief system regardless of whether it is sound or not.

I truly hope that some of you will pause and think twice about getting a flu shot for yourself or a loved one. But don't just take my word for it (or your doctor's), please do some research of your own. Find out the pros and cons, the risks, the side effects, etc. Here are some links that will give you more information and more to think about:
Why I never Get Flu Shots or Snorts by Chet Day
Dr. Mercola Flu Shot Information
The Forbidden Truth About the World Health Organization's 2009 "Pandemic"
What's in the Flu Shot?
Funny Video of What's in a Flu Shot?

Please leave a comment and let me know if you do or do not get a flu shot and why/why not. I look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kashi Serves Up "All-Natural" GMO Soy, Corn and Sugar

As a young girl growing up in Michigan we visited the Kellogg's manufacturing plant on numerous occasions and I have very fond memories of the company as a whole, so it was VERY disappointing to learn about their most recent betrayal of consumers. Like so many of you, I too believed, purchased and consumed many of the Kashi products produced by Kellogg's, thinking that I was getting a better, healthier product that I could trust. It is outrageous to me that Kellogg's knowingly mislead consumers with their false claims and outright lies (and continues to do so)!

Kashi products have been labeled "all-natural" and/or containing "nothing artificial" since 1999, but in reality there are many unnaturally processed, synthetic and GMO ingredients in their products. Kashi senior nutritionist and healthy lifestyle expert, Jeff Johnson, said that the company stands by it's claims. He said, "Kashi provides comprehensive information about our foods to enable people to make well-informed decisions. We stand behind our advertising and labeling practices." Those same advertising and labeling practices that prompted a class action lawsuit by consumers. The suit claims that Kashi products aim to take advantage of a booming market for natural foods and beverages - a market that is growing by leaps and bounds.

The FDA, which regulates the labeling of packaged foods, currently has not defined the term "natural", but it has said that a product is not natural if it contains synthetic or artifical ingredients. I honestly don't know how much more "unnatural" GMO soy can be??? Which leads me to ask, "Mr. Johnson - what part of synthetic and artificial do you not understand?"

Another thing that greatly concerns me is that Kashi has a campaign directed at kids through parents, who not knowing any better, are purchasing these Frankenfoods for their kids. These parents have been led to believe that they are purchasing healthier items for their children when in reality they are paying more money for the same garbage in different packaging. On Kashi's home page there is a large block of text that states - "Want to help your kids eat better? We want to help. Explore our Kid-friendly top-10 favorites and get tips on serving your family good-for-you foods." Well, if GMO sugar, GMO corn and GMO soy are healthier, than Kashi just might be on to something...

This post was shared at Traditional Tuesdays and Real Food Wednesday.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Biotech Interests Using Big Guns to Fight GMO Labeling

I recently ran across a publication named, Western Farm Press. Described on it's wesite as Timely Reliable Information for Western Agriculture, what I found were a bunch of California biotech, BigAg proponents whose main purpose is to tell lies about organic and conventional farming, GMOs and to oppose anyone who wants to see GMO labeling become mandatory. From the amount of time and space that is devoted to these topics, there is obviously a very large concern that anti-biotech is starting to get way more attention than these BigAg proponents feel comfortable with.

In a recent article, Harry Cline refers to those of us wanting truth in labeling as the "anti-biotech/anti-genetically modified/anti-science crowd". He adds, "it is about time this GMO labeling issue be tackled head-on so the public can be told the truth. Truth is, everything we eat today has been genetically modified, using either conventional plant and animal breeding or biotech technology." Yes, it is time that the truth be told, but it is a much different truth than what BigAg or Western Farm Press would have us believe.

The article goes on to state that a University of California team of scientists has identified no less than 14 different "so-called" genetically modified feedstuffs that are fed to cattle. Included are: Roundup Ready corn, Bt grain and silage corn as well as distillers grain; Roundup Ready soybeans, Roundup Ready cottonseed, Bt cottonseed, Roundup Ready alfalfa, Roundup Ready canola, BST used to increase milk production, genetically-engineered Renet used in 90 percent of commercial cheese production, Roundup Ready sugar beets, glufosinate-resistant corn grain and silage, glufosinate-resistant cotton, glufosinate-resistant canola and imidazalione-tolerant corn.

While not all dairy cows are fed the list of chemicals, obviously enough cows are that Mr. Cline believes that all milk coming from the state of California would have to be labeled GMO. And, honestly, isn't that the real issue????? Dairy farmers are so concerned that if their milk is labeled GMO, consumers will stop buying it and drinking it.

Mr. Cline then goes on to spout the "absurdity" of the anti-biotech movement, the scarcity of products worldwide and how the only "logical" answer is biotechnology and scientific advancement. Maybe Harry should ask the farmers in India how biotechnology and Round-Up Ready frankenfood is working for them.

It's called GM Genocide - an estimated 125,000 India farmers have committed suicide after planting genetically modified "magic" seeds. Coerced by Monsanto and other biotech companies with promises of higher yield and big returns on investment, the farmers purchased the GMO seeds only to have the crops fail miserably and, in turn, be massively indebted to the BigAg companies. Many of the farmers have ingested the very insecticide they were told they wouldn't need, to kill themselves. The seed cost is 1,000 percent more than conventional, non-GMO seed. India farmers and some state governments are fighting back, taking legal action against Monsanto and turning to organic Indian crops instead of GMO.

Mr. Cline, you said, "it is time agriculture and food processors take on this anti-biotech crowd straight out, with the facts and put a stop to this mandatory GMO labeling nonsense. It is time consumers are told the truth." Yes, it is time consumers are told the truth. But let's tell the whole truth, not the "truth" that BigAg, the USDA, the FDA and people like you twist to suit your own purposes. Perhaps you and your biotech ilk won't be satisified until what happened in India happens in the US.

SOURCES:
Organic Consumer Association
Mail Online
Western Farm Press

This post was shared on Fight Back Friday.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

REAL FOOD Tortilla Soup

While the weather is a bit cooler in the South than would normally be expected at this time of the year, I am thoroughly enjoying it!!! Cooler temperatures to me means the smell of burning fireplaces, wearing my favorite sweaters, opening the windows, spectacular color change, college football and SOUP!!!!! My favorite thing to eat is soup. I have toyed for years with the idea of opening a "soup only" restaurant (with, of course, fresh bread, rolls and muffins). I've never been convinced that enough people love soup as much as I do to support such a venture.

In the past I have not always used the most healthy ingredients in all areas of my cooking, but soup has always been one of those areas (to me) that the ingredients make the difference between a soup that is good and a soup that is great. Thankfully, my soup recipes will not require a lot of modifications to make them "real". I made my first soup of the season last night and wanted to share the recipe with you. It ranks as one of my top 5 favorites. I hope you like it!

The Recipe
Ingredients
1-2 cups cooked, pastured chicken cut into bite-sized pieces or shredded (I used leftover roasted chicken)
1 green pepper, cleaned and quartered
1 onion, chopped
1 pint or quart grape tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth (homemade preferred)
2 cups fresh corn
1 quart homemade tomato sauce (I made mine with Heirloom tomatoes)
1 can Lime Rotel (yes, my one vice that I cannot give up)
4 TBSP pastured butter
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
Fresh Cilantro, to taste
Cumin, to taste
Sea Salt, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
Ground Red Pepper, to taste
Olive oil (for drizzling)
Organic Tortilla Chips
Shredded or Cubed Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt (raw or organic, full-fat)

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Wash grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise and place cut side down on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Place in oven for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until they are fully roasted and almost flat on the pan. When done, remove from oven and let cool in the pan. When cool to the touch, place everything in a food processor and process to a paste consistency. Set aside. This step could easily be done in advance, just refrigerate or freeze the tomato paste until you need it

Switch your oven from bake to broil. Move one of the oven racks close to the top of the oven. Place the green pepper cut side down on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in the oven. It will take approximately 15 minutes to roast the green pepper. The pieces will be browned on the top and the rest of the pepper should be soft.

Meanwhile, in a stock pot or soup kettle, melt the butter. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic and saute (I like my onions slightly caramelized as it adds a nice flavor to the broth). Once the green pepper has been roasted, add it to the stock pot with the onions and garlic. Continue sauteing until the onions have reached the translucent stage, remove stock pot from heat.

Pour all contents of the stock pot into the bowl of a food processor. Add can of Rotel, including liquid, and fresh cilantro. Chop ingredients until it reaches a chopped salsa consistency. Pour contents back into stock pot. Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chicken and corn. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, red pepper and cumin to taste. Heat gently, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, for approximately 30 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, crunch up tortilla chips into approximately 1/2" pieces. Add to the soup, stir and cook for approximately 15 minutes more. I always do a taste test here so that I can add more spices, if needed.

To Serve
Pour into bowls, sprinkle with shredded or cubed cheddar cheese and top with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt. We like to eat ours with either tortilla chips or cornbread. Enjoy!

This post was shared at: It's a Keeper Thursday and Pennywise Platter Thursday.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nestle To Cash In On Obesity

It doesn't come as a big surprise that Chairman and former CEO of Nestle, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, thinks that organic food has reached it's peak. “It will stay the same," he says. "I don't think it will grow much more.”

Reality, on the other hand, tells us that this man doesn't know what he is talking about. Organic Monitor estimates that global sales of organic foods reached $54.9 billion in 2009 with the largest markets being the U.S., Germany and France. The Organic Trade Association reports U.S. sales of organic food and beverages have grown from $1 billion in 1990 to $26.7 billion in 2010 with a growth in sales of 7.7% in 2010 over 2009. Organic food and beverage sales represented approximately 4 percent of overall food and beverage sales in 2010.

Brabeck-Letmathe continues his diatribe with statements such as "organic food cannot feed the world", "produces 30% less yield than normal agriculture" and "from a nutritional point of view, studies show no nutritional difference from bio to other foods. But it's more dangerous." Nutrition professors and some food scientists dispute many of those claims, suggesting that organic foods do show nutritional difference and are not more dangerous than processed foods. They consider those ideas to be myths that the big food industry promotes and suggest that large companies like NestlĂ©, Kraft Foods Inc. and Dole Food Company, Inc., don't embrace ideas in nutrition and fresh foods because it runs counter to their business model and profit base.

Brabeck-Letmathe added that he realizes that films like Food Inc., Michael Pollan books and farmer's markets are real trends that are shifting the American approach to produce and food production, adding that Nestle is investing more money in life sciences and the intersection of medicine and nutrition because its executives believe that how we eat plays a large role in chronic diseases. REALLY??????

Nestle and Brabeck-Latmathe have another reason for not wanting to see organic food production rise. Whole, organic and unprocessed foods represent not only a direct threat to NestlĂ©'s sales, it also threatens its new business line. You see, Nestle is is in the process of developing a line of neutraceuticals, or foods, designed to treat or prevent disease. And it's not unreasonable to assume that some of those foods will be designed to directly address diabetes, another chronic disease linked with obesity or obesity itself.

Don't you find it just a tad bit ironic that a company built on candy, sweetened beverages and highly processed convenience foods hopes to move into the business of treating obesity. Nestle is going to sell you highly processed, convenience "foods" until you are diabetic, obese or worse, at which point you will then begin purchasing their neutraceutical products to treat the obesity that originated with their junk food. A perfect business model - create the problem and then treat it.

And the medical journal, The Lancet, tell us that the pool for such products is growing at such a rapid rate that it's an epidemic that is just getting started. New estimates suggest that half the U.S. population will be obese by 2030.

List of Nestle Brands in the U.S. (not all-inclusive): Nestle, Cheerios, Trix, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Crunch, Nesquik, Shredded Wheat, Clusters, Gold Flakes, International Roast, Nescafe, Taster's Choice, Arrowhead, Aquapod, Deer Park, Deep Spring, Nestle Aquarel, Perrier, Poland Spring, Pure Life, San Pellegrino, Zephryhills, Nestea, Carnation, Nesquik, Libby's, Good Host, Juicy Juice, Carnation, Coffee-Mate, Dreyer's, Edy's, Haagen-Daz, Push-Up, Skinny Cow, Gerber, Good Start, NanSoy, PowerBar, Pria, Boost, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Nutren, Peptamen, Glytrol, Crucial, Impact, Isosource, Fibersource, Diabetisource, Compleat, Optifast, Resource, Buitoni, Maggi, CHEF, Haoji, Stouffer's, Lean Cuisine, Hot Pockets, Papa Guiseppi, Tombstone Pizza, Jack's Pizza, Digiorno, California Pizza Kitchen Frozen, Herta, Toll House, 100 Grand Bar, Aero, After Eight, Baby Ruth, Breakaway, Butterfinger, Chips Ahoy!, Chunky, Goobers, Heaven, Icebreakers, Kit Kat, Milky Bar, Matchmakers, Lion, Munchies, Nestle Crunch, Nips, Oh Henry, Peppermint Crisp, Raisinets, Rolo, Snowcaps, Smarties, Toffee Crisp, Turtles, Yorkie, XXX Mints, Bottle Caps, Donutz, Fizzy Jerks, FruiTart Chews, Fun Dip, Gobstoppers, Laffy Taffy, Nerds, Oompas, Pixy Stix, Rainbow Nerds, Runts, SweeTarts, Tart 'n Tinys, Wonka Bars, Chef-Mate, Santa-Rica, Davigel, Minor's. Nestle owns 30% of L'Oreal - Garnier, Maybelline, Lancome and The Body Shop stores.

SOURCES:
Fast Company
Grist

This post was shared at Real Food Wednesday.

Friday, September 2, 2011

REAL Fast Food - Chipotle

I can honestly say that I have eaten my share of fast food in my life -McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Chick-Fil-A, White Castle, etc. I was introduced to Chipotle a few years ago when they first opened in Atlanta. From the first time I experienced the food, I was hooked! So much so that I literally eat there almost every week (I heading there for lunch today), sometimes more. And judging by the long line that is always in place whenever I go there, I am obviously not the only one who finds their fare to be far and above what is offered at other restaurants (both fast food and casual dining alike).

So, imagine my delight when I began my quest to eat only real food - grass-fed and pastured meats, local produce, organic, etc., to learn that Chipotle only uses grass-fed and pastured meats!!!!! AND they also use organic, local and family farms for the majority of their products. Not only does their food taste excellent, is healthy and good for you, they support local farms in the cities where they are located. That's a Win, Win, Win in my book!!! Check out their Food With Integrity page for more information.

So, what can you expect at Chipotle? Four freshly made salsas, guacamole, black and pinto beans, grilled green peppers and onions, chopped romaine lettuce, cheese and sour cream from cows without anibiotics and hormones, cilantro-lime rice and chips freshly made every day with a hint of lime and kosher salt - yummy! And my very favorite part is that all of the food is freshly prepared at the location daily. Nothing made in a factory, shipped in, opened and poured into a container to heat. Classic culinary techniques - not shortcuts! That must be why it tastes so good! Don't take my word for it, get out there and try it for yourself!

As an aside, the most shocking thing to me about Chipotle is that they are owned by the largest contributor of empty calories in the fast food world - McDonald's. I would rather starve than eat the science experiments that McDonald's calls "food". Wonder what I'm talking about...check out this photo comparing a newly purchased McDonald's hamburger with one that is 12 years old (the one on the right was purchased in 2008 and the one on the left was purchased in 1996). See the full story here.


Photo Source:
Karen Hanrahan

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Homemade Ice Cream in a Zipper-top Bag

As a follow-up to my post - What's Really in Ice Cream - I ran across this super easy, super quick recipe for making ice cream and it only has 3 ingredients! I made it in 10 minutes and my son and I inhaled it! It was so good! And the really awesome part is that while the recipe calls for vanilla extract, I'm pretty sure that you could use any organic extract - orange, lemon, lime, almond, etc. - and have any flavor of ice cream you want!

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 cup organic half 'n half
2 Tbsp pure cane sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Supplies:
1 quart-sized zipper-top plastic bag
1 gallon-sized zipper-top plastic bag
Approximately 3-4 cups of ice
1/2 cup table salt

Directions:
1. Pour half 'n half, sugar and vanilla extract into the quart-sized zipper-top plastic bag. Seal and shake until sugar is dissolved.
2. Take gallon-sized zipper-top plastic bag and fill half-way with ice. Pour table salt over ice.
3. Take sealed quart bag and place into gallon bag making sure that there is ice on all sides. Seal securely.
4. Shake for approximately 5 minutes or until the ice cream has solidified (it will be similar to a soft-serve texture). I recommend shaking the bag over a sink as moisture builds up on the outside of the bag and flys off as you are shaking it. (The bag got so cold that I had to wrap a towel around it.)
5. Once solidified, remove the quart bag, rinse under water to remove the salt, open and enjoy!

This recipes makes approximately 1 cup of ice cream. It was just enough for two! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Next time, I think I will add crumbled up homemade brownies or cookies into the mixture after it is set and then stick it into the freezer and see if adding other ingredients will work. I also think I will try a version of mint chocolate chip by using peppermint extract and homemade chocolate chunk pieces - yummy!

What do you think? What version would you like to make? Do you have a quick homemade ice cream recipe to share?

This post was shared at Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Hearth and Soul Hop and It's a Keeper Thursday.