Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What's Really in Ice Cream

Do You Know What's in Your Ice Cream?
Recently, I was in my local mainstream grocery store, picking up the very few items that I feel comfortable purchasing there, and walked over to the frozen section to check out the ice cream options as my son had been asking for ice cream. I picked up one, put it back, grabbed another brand, put it back, one after the other, reading the ingredients listed on the packaging. I was amazed and completely grossed out by what I read on the labels. THIS is what food manufacturers are calling Ice Cream??? And there is an entire aisle, as there is in every grocery store chain, devoted to this chemically-laced Frankenfood. I admit that there was a time when I would have put whatever brand was on sale into my cart and taken it home. But as I have become more aware of EXACTLY what is in our food, I am more and more baffled as to why anyone is purchasing these foods...am I the only one who actually reads the labels??? In case I am, let me share with you what is in grocery store ice cream...

Here is the ingredient list for Breyer's Original Chocolate Chip Chookie Dough Ice Cream: Milk, Cream, Sugar, Whey, Natural Tara Gum, Natural Flavor, Annatto (Color). Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pieces: Wheat Flour, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Palm Oil, Water, Soybean Oil, Powdered Sugar (Sugar, Cornstarch), Chocolate Liquor, Salt, Cocoa Butter, Natural Flavor (Milk), Soy Lecithin, Baking Soda. Chocolate Flavored Chips: Sugar, Coconut Oil, Cocoa Powder (Processed With Alkali), Milkfat, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract.

Here is the ingredient list for Publix's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream: Milk, Cream, Sugar, Cookie Dough Pieces (Wheat Flour, Brown Sugar, Chocolate Chips (Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin)Vegetable Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oils)Water, Natural Flavors, Soy Lecithin and Salt) Corn Syrup, Chocolate Chips (Sugar, Coconut Oil, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Butter Oil, Lecithin, Vanilla) Cookie Dough Flavor (Brown Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Natural FlavorsMolasses and Salt) Stabilizer (Carob Bean Gum, Guar Gum) Natural Flavor and Annatto Color.

Here is the ingredient list for Edy's Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frozen Dairy Dessert: Skim Milk, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough [Wheat, Flour, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Margarine (Soybean Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Water, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Mono and Diglycerides, Annatto Color, Turmeric Color, Vitamin A Palmitate, Whey) Soybean Oil, Chocolate Chips (Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract) Eggs, Water, Corn Starch, Molasses, Soy Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Salt]Cream, Semi-Sweet Chocolate [Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Milkfat, Soy Lecithin, Vanillin (Artificial Flavor) Natural FlavorSugar, Dextrose, Corn Syrup, Polydextrose, Corn Starch, MalodextrinMono and Diglycerides, Cellulose Gel, Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Natural FlavorSorbitol, Carrageenan, Citric Acid, Annatto Color.

Here is the ingredient list for Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Flavored Ice Cream (no Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Available): Milk, Cream, Sugar, Skim Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Natural and Artificial Vanilla FlavorCellulose Gum, Vegetable Gums (Guar, Carrageenan, Carob Bean)Salt, Annatto Color.

Here is the ingredient list for Blue Bunny Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Original Ice Cream: Milk, Cream, Sugar, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough {Bleached FlourSugar, Vegetable Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oils)Chocolate Chips (Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla and Natural FlavoringWater, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Bicarbonate, Salt, Artificial FlavorButtermilk, Whey, Corn Syrup, Chocolate Chips (Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Dextrose, Soy Lecithin, Vanillin) Guar Gum, Mono & Diglycerides, Natural Flavors, Artificial FlavorsSodium Phosphate, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Citrate, Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80, Brown Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Molasses, Salt.

Here is the ingredient list for Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream: Cream, Skim Milk, Liquid Sugar, Water, Unbleached Wheat Flour, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Egg Yolks, Butter, Eggs, Expeller Pressed Soybean Oil, Chocolate Liquor, Coconut Oil, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali)Vanilla Powder, Milkfat, Soya Lecithin, Carrageenan.

Here is the ingredient list for Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream: Cream, Skim Milk, Cookie Dough (Flour, Sugar, Butter, Coconut Oil, Brown Sugar, Corn Oil, Water, Fructose, Corn Syrup Solids, Salt, Vanilla, Baking Soda) Sugar, Chocolaty Chips (Sugar, Coconut Oil, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Cocoa, Butter Oil, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla) Egg Yolks, Natural Vanilla. 

Here is the ingredient list for Mayfield Select Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream: Milkfat and Nonfat Milk, Cookie Dough and Chips {Cookie Dough [Flour(Bleach White), Sugar, Brown Sugar (Sugar, Molasses) Margarine (Liquid and Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Water, Salt, Whey Solids, Mono and Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Beta Carotene (Color)Vitamin A Palmitate)Water, Vanilla, Salt, Baking Soda] Chocolate Chips [Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Artificial Flavoring] Sugar, Corn Syrup, Brown Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sweetcream Buttermilk, Whey, contains Less than 2% of Molasses, Guar Gum, Mono and Diglycerides, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 80, Cellulose Gum, Carrageenan, Natural and Artificial FlavorsAnnatto (Color), Salt.

Here is the ingredient list for Mayfield Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Select Ice Cream: Milk, Cream, Nonfat Milk, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Cookie Dough {Unenriched Flour, Brown Sugar, Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Chocolate Chips [Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin]Water, Natural Flavors, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate) Chocolate Chips [Sugar, Chocolate, Coconut Oil, Soy Lecithin (an Emulsifier)Vanilla Extract, Salt] Vanilla Extract, Brown Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Natural Flavors, Molasses, Mono and Diglycerides, Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Salt, Carrageenan, Annatto (Color).

Creamy, Healthier Ice Cream - What's the Catch?
On a quest to create an ice cream that provides full-fat and creamy flavor while at the same time providing the virtues of a bowl of steamed vegetables, the ice cream industry has probed the depths of the Arctic Ocean. So, for those people who struggle with temptation in the freezer section, new industrial processes have provided a way for manfacturers to produce very creamy, dense, reduced-fat ice creams with fewer additives.

What is this "miracle" probed from the depths of the Arctic Ocean, you ask? A protein cloned from the blood of an Arctic Ocean fish, the ocean pout. But, don't be alarmed, no fish will be mined - the manufacturers are not going to go to the cost of extracting this protein from the fish - a process that Unilever describes as "not sustainable or economically feasible". Instead, the compaay has developed a process for making it - altering the genetic structure of a strain of baker's yeast so that it produces the protein during fermentation. This ingredient, called an ice-structuring protein, makes the ice cream creamier by preventing ice crystals from growing. Ice Cream manufacturers using this genetically engineered protein include: Dreyer's/Edy's (Slow Churned), Breyers (Light Double Churned) and Haagen-Dazs (Light).

Almost all commercial ice creams contain industrial ingredients that mimic the effects of butterfat and egg yolks: some are natural (although still entirely unneeded), like carrageenan, extracted from algae plentiful in the Irish Sea; others are synthetic, like monoglycerides and diglycerides. Personally, I don't know what's wrong with making ice cream the old-fashioned way - cream, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract. And if you want to know what's really in that carton, take it out of the freezer and set it in your sink overnight. Once thawed, all of the synthetics, gum, chemicals and junk will be left in the carton for you to see.

Needless to say, I did not purchase any ice cream from that grocery store. I did, however, buy some heavy cream to make my own.

The NY Times.com

This post is linked at Real Food Wednesday http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2011/08/real-food-wednesday-8312011.htmlutm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed3A+kellythekitchenkop+%28Kelly+the+Kitchen+Kop%29

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Major Drug Research Company Fakes Documents to Get Drugs Approved - FDA Shrugs it's Shoulders

It is truly astounding to witness the utter corruption that takes place - and practically in plain sight - within the pharmaceutical drug industry. The FDA has announced that drug firm, Cetero Research, for many years knowingly forged thousands of clinical trial documents for drug companies in order for them to gain drug approval. The FDA's response to this was basically to shrug it's shoulders -this massive, years long corruption is basically NO BIG DEAL.

It is no secret that the FDA routinely works in illicit tandem with drug companies to get dangerous drugs on the market in exchange for lining their pockets with cash. The FDA's own scientists have even publicly indicted the agency for censoring truthful scientific data, intimidating and unfairly targeting supplement companies and using the drug approval system to extort cash from drug companies in exchange for its rubber stamp of approval. The entire racket between the FDA and Big Pharma is mind-bogglingly extensive and crooked. In truth, the FDA is really not interested in regulating the drug industry and, like with Big Ag, has told Big Pharma to go regulate itself.

As evidenced by the FDA's recent announcement "against" Cetero, where initially it appears that the FDA is upset at Cetero for lying via its clinical trial documents. But what does the FDA do, it tells the drug companies to go back and redo the clinical trials themselves. The FDA declared that both an internal company investigation and a third-party audit revealed "significant instances of misconduct and violations in conducting clinical trials". Between April 2005 and June 2009 there were at least 1,900 instances of fraud and falsified studies. And each of the studies were falsely used to prove that a drug was safe before it went on the market.  "The pattern of misconduct was serious enough to raise concerns about the integrity of the data Cetero generated during the five-year time frame," said the FDA.

Here, in the real world, the FDA's solution to tell the fox to go guard the hen house, while simultaneously reassuring the world that the fox itself is safe and would never hurt anybody, is outrageous. In fact, the agency is actually alleging that all approved drugs - even those that were approved with falsified Cetero data - are perfectly safe and "unlikely to be affected" by this massive criminal cover up.

Need more, how about this? One would assume that the nation's food and drug regulatory agency would, at the very least, have records of which drug companies used Cetero for their early clinical trials. Such information is standard on any drug application, right? Apparently not. The FDA actually has no idea which drug companies used Cetero's services and it is now asking drug companies to search their records and determine whether or not they contracted with Cetero. HA! Does the FDA really think the drug companies that used Cetero are going to willingly participate in this? Of course not!!! It would mean the companies would have to go back and redo their clinical trials if they fess up.

- Why doesn't the FDA itself have records of the research companies used for the drugs that it approves?

- Why is the FDA apparently unconcerned about the safety of these drugs, considering they were approved using falsified data?

- Why is the FDA not attempting to hold Cetero accountable for its actions, other than to make an announcement about them?

Despite the nonchalant way in which the mainstream media is reporting on this issue, what Cetero has done is nothing short of high-profile crime. By falsifying drug trial data, Cetero has willingly put millions of people's lives at risk. The only right thing to do is immediately shut down the company and order a full investigation. Followed closely by pulling every drug, that had falsified data, off the market immediately!!!! All parties involved must be held accountable, including those at the FDA that may have been complicit as well.

But the real kicker is that the FDA also stated that this is not really that big of a deal. Millions of people's lives are on the line as potentially fatal drugs were approved with false data - but according to the FDA, nobody should be concerned. In fact, the FDA has known for years that Cetero has been falsifying data and has done absolutely nothing about it.

So there you have it. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth as only the FDA can shovel it. It is absolutely insane, but the FDA expects you, me and the world to take it seriously.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

GMO Labeling Wars Continue

The FDA and USDA are at it again...not only do they want to prohibit the labeling of products that contain GMO ingredients, they also want to prohibit the labeling of products that don't contain GMO ingredients. Basically, they are trying to outlaw truth in labeling and openly working to deceive the public. In a draft of their written position, the FDA and USDA stated that mandatory labeling of GMOs is "false, misleading [and] deceptive" because it implies that there is a difference between GMO ingredients and non-GMO ingredients.
Fortunately, science and pure common sense, which are both lacking at the FDA and USDA, indicates that GMOs are different than non-GMOs and that the public has a right to know the types of ingredients that are in the products they buy. Not only are GMOs structurally different than non-GMOs, but GMOs are actually toxic. Several studies have shown they are harmful to the body. For more information regarding the dangers of GMOs, check out the following website: http://www.seedsofdeception.com/.

The labeling matter is further complicated because the FDA has maintained a tough stance for food makers who don't use genetically engineered ingredients and want to promote their products as an alternative. The agency allows manufacturers to label their products as not genetically engineered as long as those labels are accurate and do not imply that the products are therefore more healthful.

The dairy industry was warned in 1994 that it could not use "Hormone Free" labeling on milk from cows that are not given engineered hormones because all milk contains some hormones.

A flurry of enforcement letters have been sent to food makers, including B&G Foods, who was told it could not use the phrase "GMO-free" on its Polaner All Fruit strawberry spread label because GMO refers to genetically modified organisms and strawberries are produce, not organisms.

Spectrum Canola Oil was told that it could not use a label that included a red circle with a line through it and the words "GMO," saying the symbol suggested that there was something wrong with genetically engineered food.

And the rocket scientists over at Monsanto had this to say, "Requiring labeling for ingredients that don’t pose a health issue would undermine both our labeling laws and consumer confidence. Ensuring that such labeling is accurate would also put a huge burden on regulatory agencies."

"This to me raises questions about whose interest the FDA is protecting," said Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio), who has introduced legislation that would require labeling for genetically engineered food. "They are clearly protecting industry and not the public."


Monday, August 22, 2011

Local Butcher Chooses Factory Farmed Meat

Last week I learned that there was a butcher shop that wasn't too far from my home - and for a minute, I was really excited! I remember going to the the butcher shop with my mom and grandmother as a little girl. I have been looking for someplace to purchase grass fed and pastured meats between purchasing larger orders directly from a local farmer and/or buying online to save on the high cost of shipping. So, I quickly sent an email inquiring where they procurred their meat - local or not - if the meats were grass fed/pastured without hormones/antibiotics, fed a diet with no GMO Corn/GMO soy and was the meat minimally processed? All perfectly reasonable questions, right? Here was the response:

"Thanks for your questions. Of course many of our products come from different farms and from various vendors, so it would be misleading to answer your questions with a short response where a lengthy and detailed one is much more appropriate.

We do not personally uphold the idea that technology in food always has negative outcomes, and we bring in products that are in line with that belief. I am 100% up front and honest with customers when they come into my shop about the products we carry, so that they can make a decision as to what to buy. We are not an organic shop. Many people cannot afford the price tag that comes with the organic certification, and some do not believe in the practice at all. Fortunately we all have the right to do our own research and buy the foods we are comfortable feeding our families.

As in the case of any hot topic issue, there are extremists on both fronts. Our goal is to be a middle ground between two very extreme worlds, so that consumers have an option to buy better quality food, that is still affordable. Each and every consumer is certainly entitled to their own beliefs and if our shop does not fall into a certain belief system, we are not an appropriate fit for that consumer.

As store owners, we are also entitled to sell the food we have researched and believe in. I do not sell anything that I do not feed my own family. I believe in the products I sell based on the research I have done that comes from numerous scientifically based sources, and will not sell a product to anyone who is looking for something different. To do so would be a complete corruption of my morals.

Please let me know if you have any questions about a certain product that I carry."

Thank you,
Christina Noble

Noble Meat Market

I was certainly not surprised at her response, but I was a bit taken aback...not only did I get the feeling that she was being defensive, she actually called me (and you) EXTREMIST because we choose to purchase meat from animals grown a certain way. Since when does wanting something your way make us extremist? I was sad that a person whose livelihood centers around selling meat was so short-sighted and obviously had fallen for the hype that Big Ag and the FDA are selling. I sent her this response:

"Thank you very much for your response and your honesty. It is refreshing. I appreciate that you also provided a detailed explanation of your personal beliefs and that your products are aligned with those beliefs.

I do not consider myself an extremist, more of a member of a growing population in search of the truth and the types of "real" food that our ancestors ate. The foods not altered with antibiotics, hormones, GMO corn, GMO soy, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and not contributing to the epidemic of obesity in the U.S. I appreciate your stance in taking the middle ground. It certainly is the safe place to take a stand and allows you to run your business without challenging your belief system.

As for the cost of organic, grass-fed, pastured, etc. meats, they are more costly due to the fact that they are not subsidizied by the U.S. government unlike the meats produced at Factory Farms and whose lobbyists are running and controlling the FDA. The same FDA who is firmly in bed with Big Ag and Big Pharma and much more concerned with money than the health of human beings.

I encourage you to do some more research. There is a reason that organic foods are the largest growing segment of the food industry and that farmers markets are opening all over the country.

Thank you again for your response."

What do you think?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Campbell's Soup and BPA

"Eww Eww Toxic"! That's the new jingle for Campbell's soup.  No more  "M'm M'm Good," we now think "Eww Eww Toxic" is more appropriate.

According to experts, Campbell's Soup Company still uses toxic Bisphenol A (BPA) in their canned goods, despite the fact that it's proven harmful. Let's not let the company that markets directly to kids with products like Dora the Explorer "Kidshape Soups" get away with ignoring parents. Especially when parents have questions about a toxic chemical linked to breast cancer, infertility, early onset puberty, ADHD and obesity.

Sign on now to MomsRising.org's open letter to Campbell's demanding a response! http://action.momsrising.org/sign/2011_BPA-Campbells1/?akid=2897.1887819.GwC586&rd=1&t=2

Campbell’s Soup Company markets their products directly at parents and kids (complete with Toy Story characters in their soup), but it seems they can’t be bothered to respond to parents when they ask about toxic chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA) in their packaging.

Momsrising members, along with the Breast Cancer Fund, wrote Campbell’s in April asking about their use of BPA in their packaging.  When Campbell's didn't reply, more letters were sent in. Still no public response to the questions. Their silence only means we need to get louder.

It's now time to double the number of signatures on the open letter to Campbell's demanding a response to one key question: What are you doing to phase out BPA in your cans and what safe alternative are you replacing it with? With more signatures, we hope to put Campbell's (and the media) on notice that we are not backing down.

Please join by signing the petition today: http://action.momsrising.org/go/1078akid=2897.1887819.GwC586&t=3
And please forward the link to your friends, family and neighbors!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Aspartame The FDA's Dirty Little Secret - Part 1

I get so tired of hearing people say that aspartame/NutraSweet/ Equal must be safe because the FDA approved it! They use it as justification to chug down Coke Zero and feed themselves and their children sugar-free jello, drinks, popsicles, yogurt and 6,000 other products on the market today. I want to try and dispel all the hype about aspartame and educate people as to how EXACTLY it was that aspartame came to be approved and generally recognized as safe (GRAS).
Aspartame was "discovered" in 1965 at the G.D. Searle Company when a chemist, Jim Schlatter, was working on treatment options for gastric ulcers. He accidentally spilled some of the heated chemical on his hand, licked his hand and noticed that it had a sweet taste. He and a friend decided to try the chemical - two amino acids bonded by methanol - in coffee and both agreed that it had a sweet taste. And aspartame was born. Upon this discovery, Searle simply changed the paperwork they were submitting to the FDA from a drug to a food additive, without changing the actual chemical at all. The FDA rejected it.
Fast forward to March 1973, Searle submits it's final research on aspartame along with it's first petition to the FDA that aspartame be approved for use in food. In 1974, aspartame was approved by the FDA for use in carbonated beverages and in dry products. However, in December 1975, the FDA task force concluded that some of Searle's studies were questionable and the FDA withdrew the 1973 approval. But that didn't stop the G.D. Searle company from continuing to push for re-approval of aspartame as a food additive, not a drug.
In October 1980, amidst great controversy and corporate pressure for the re-approval of aspartame, the FDA gathered a Public Board of Inquiry (PBOI) to evaluate aspartame's safety. The PBOI advised against the approval of aspartame finding that it caused an unacceptable level of brain tumors in the animals tested. "The Board has not been presented with proof of a reasonable certainty that aspartame (NutraSweet) is safe for use as a food additive under it's intended conditions of use."

Shockingly, the FDA again approved aspartame for consumer use in 1981. To many medical practitioners and consumer interest groups, the approval was a gross betrayal of public trust; especially as the approval seemed tainted by heavy financial interest. How could all of this really happen? No doubt there were apparently some questionable decisions behind the FDA approval of aspartame and it appears the approval was not for the benefit of you and me. Here's why, according to Jim Turner, Washington consumer attorney and author of The Chemical Feast: The Nadar Report on the Food and Drug Administration. Turner has actively opposed aspartame's approval since the 1970's.
"Searle, a drug company with little experience in food regulations, began studies on aspartame to comply with the FDA approval process, but they failed to do so," states Turner. The early tests of the chemical additive showed it produced microscopic holes and tumors in the brains of mice, epileptic seizures in monkeys and was converted by animals into dangerous substances, including formaldehyde.

In 1974, however, in spite of the information in its files, the FDA approved aspartame as a food additive. But the agency also made public, for the first time, the data supporting the food-additive decision. This data was then reviewed by renowned brain researcher Dr. John Olney from Washington University in St. Louis, as well as other research scientists.

Dr. Olney discovered two studies showing brain tumors in rats and petitioned the FDA for a public hearing. Consumer Action for Improved Foods and Drugs, represented by Mr. Turner, also petitioned for a public hearing based on "the approval process having been founded on 'sloppy' science" and on the reports showing aspartame caused epileptic seizures in monkeys and damage to the human eye.

Dr. Olney had already demonstrated in laboratory studies that aspartic acid (forty percent aspartame) caused microscopic holes to form in the brains of rats after each feeding. Aspartame also includes fifty percent phenylalanine, which is proven to harm children with PKU and methyl (wood) alcohol, which is a carcinogen and extremely neurotoxic in large amounts.

Faced with this array of possible health dangers, the FDA granted the hearing requests. In lieu of withdrawing its aspartame approval, the agency requested that Searle refrain from marketing the sweetener until after completion of the hearing. It then proposed that a Public Board of Inquiry (PBOI) review the matter.

In July of 1975, as the FDA prepared for the PBOI review, an FDA inspector conducted a routine inspection of Searle's Skokie, Illinois testing facility and found many "deviations" from proper procedure protocols. This report led the FDA commissioner, at the time, to create a Special Commissioner's Task Force to review Searle's laboratories.

In December of that year, the Task Force reported serious problems with Searle's research on a wide range of products, including aspartame. It found 11 other pivotal studies conducted in a manner so flawed that it raised more doubts concerning aspartame's safety and created the possibility of serious criminal liability for G.D. Searle. The FDA then delayed aspartame's approval.   It also contracted, over serious internal objection from several FDA representatives, a group of university pathologists (at Searle's expense) to review most of the studies and a task force was eventually set up to review three selected studies. The U.S. Attorney for Chicago requested a grand jury review of a 1960's monkey seizure study.

Not surprisingly, the pathologists paid by Searle only reviewed one part of Searle's laboratory protocols: Searle's failure to properly report data. Not surprisingly, they did not re-open the study's design or conduct protocols. And lo and behold, the Searle-funded pathologists found no serious problemsThe FDA task force, on the other hand, found Searle's key tumor safety study unreliable, but their recommendations were ignored.

FDA Chief Counsel Richard Merrill submitted a 33-page letter to U.S. attorney Samuel Skinner recommending a grand jury investigation into G.D. Searle "for concealing material facts and making false statements in reports of animal studies to establish the safety of aspartame." Two specific studies of concern were cited. No action was taken, and Skinner allowed the statue of limitations to run out. Along with two of his aides, Skinner joined Searle's law firm shortly after that.

During the time period these committees met, the FDA organized the PBOI. G.D. Searle and the FDA Bureau of Foods each nominated three members for the board and the FDA commissioner selected one member from each list they submitted. In October 1980, based on its limited review, the board blocked aspartame marketing until the tumor studies could be explained. Unless the FDA commissioner overruled the board, the matter was closed.

The next month, November 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected U.S. President. Donald Rumsfeld (former congressman from Skokie, Illinois, former White House Chief of Staff and twice former Secretary of Defense) had been President of G.D. Searle since January 1977. He left Searle and joined the Reagan transition team. A full court press began against the FDA's board decision to suspend aspartame approval.

In January 1981, Rumsfeld told a corporate sales meeting attendee that he would call in his chips and get aspartame approved by the end of the year. On January 25th, the day President Reagan took office, the previous FDA commissioner's authority was suspended and the next month the appointed commissioner's job went to Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes.

According to Turner, transition records do not show why the administration chose Dr. Hayes, a professor and Defense Department contract researcher. In July of that year, Dr. Hayes, defying the FDA, approved aspartame for dry foods - his first major decision in office. In November 1983, the FDA approved aspartame for soft drinks - Hayes' last decision. Hayes was under fire for accepting corporate gifts and left the agency to work at Searle's public-relations firm as senior medical advisor. Shortly after the FDA soft-drink approval, Searle began test marketing and complaints began to arrive at the FDA's doorstep.

The complaints were more serious than the agency had ever received on any food additive. At the same time, independent research scientists began looking more closely at the dangers of this manufactured chemical sweetener. In 1985, the FDA asked the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to review the first 650 complaints on aspartame (there were over 10,000 registered complaints as early as 1991).   The CDC realized that the symptoms in approximately twenty-five percent of the complainants stopped and then restarted, either purposely or by accident, when aspartame use was stopped and then restarted. The FDA discounted their report.

Time progressed and aspartame use increased and according to data released in 1995 - human brain tumors, like those in the animal studies, had risen 10% and previously benign tumors grew forcefully. Searle and the FDA deputy commissioner defended that the data posed no problem. Two years later, this FDA deputy commissioner became vice president of clinical research for Searle.

From 1985 to 1995, approximately 400 aspartame research studies were performed both by Searle researchers and independent scientists. Most interestingly, those studies finding no problems with aspartame were one hundred percent funded by G.D. Searle. All studies funded by non-industry sources raised very serious questions and doubts concerning aspartame's safety in the public food supply.

"Given this record, it is little wonder that many health-conscious people believe avoiding NutraSweet improves their quality of life," states Turner, "If and when a scientific consensus concludes that aspartame puts some, if not all , of its consumers at risk, it will be much too late. The point is to eat safely now. Remember: the brain you save may be your own."

Janet Starr Hull
US Food and Drug Administration

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The BioTech Industry Thinks We're Stupid

At a time when more Americans then ever before want to know more about their food - where it is grown, what it contains, how it is produced - the FDA's recent decision to approve GMO salmon, which will be available for sale in the U.S. in 2-3 years, seems completely and utterly ridiculous. Coupled with the statisics that show industrialized agriculture is being criticized, farmers markets are popping up everywhere and organic food is one of the fastest growing segments of the food industry, it makes you wonder what the FDA is thinking (and question if they live in a cave completely oblivious to the outside world with the possible exception of Big Ag). This landmark decision approved the first GMO animal to be consumed by humans in the U.S. And it scares me to death!

The FDA flat-out refuses to even consider labeling genetically altered food. In the case of the GMO salmon, the FDA says it cannot require a label on the GM food once it determines that the fish is not "materially" different from other salmon. The FDA defends its approach, saying it is simply following the law, which prohibits misleading labels on food. And the fact that a food, in this case salmon, is produced through a different process, is not sufficient to require a label.

Not only does the FDA refuse to allow labeling of GMO foods, they are also restricting conventional food makers from stating on their labels that their products do not contain any genetically modified ingredients.

The biotechnology industry is opposed to mandatory labeling, saying it will only bewilder a public that is not well informed about genetic engineering. "Extra labeling only confuses the consumer," said David Edwards, director of animal biotechnology at the Biotechnology Industry Organization. "It differentiates products that are not different. As we stick more labels on products that don't really tell us anything more, it makes it harder for consumers to make their choices."

In the European Union and Japan, it is nearly impossible to find genetically modified foods, largely because laws require labeling, said William K. Hallman, director of the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers University. "No one wants to carry products with such a label," he said. "The food companies figure that consumers won't buy it." There is nothing to stop salmon producers or food makers in the United States from voluntarily labeling their products as genetically engineered - except a fear of rejection in the marketplace, Hallman said. And David Edwards thinks consumers are confused.

Ever since the FDA approved the first genetically altered material for use in food in 1992, when Monsanto developed a synthetic hormone injected into cows to increase milk production, the agency has held that it cannot require food producers to label products as genetically engineered. In the intervening years, the use of genetically engineered crops has skyrocketed - 93% of this year's soybean crop is genetically engineered, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Byproducts of those crops - soy lecithin, for example - are found in thousands of processed foods from chocolate bars to breakfast cereal. None is labeled as containing genetically modified ingredients.

The recent approval of GM salmon has consumer advocates worried about labeling for genetically engineered beef, pork and other fish which will soon be lined up for federal approval. The AquAdvantage Atlantic salmon has been given a gene from the ocean pout, an eel-like fish, and a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon. This particular salmon grows twice as fast as it's conventionally grown counterpart. Those of you looking to buy salmon will have a tough time picking out the conventional fish from the one created with genes from another species. You could be certain of getting the non-modified version if you bought salmon labeled as "wild," but most salmon consumed in the U.S. is farmed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Orange Juice or Orange Junk?

Have you bought any orange juice lately? Ever noticed that based upon the brand purchased that no matter when you buy it, March, August or December, it takes EXACTLY the same? Yeah, I never gave it much thought either, just chalked it up to the OJ farmers and their magic. Until now. Until I read an article that told me everything I didn't want to know about that beloved orange drink that I have been purchasing and consuming for more years than I will tell you. For those of you who can't part with your daily or weekly glass of OJ, you might want to stop reading now.

How exactly is it that OJ is processed in order to provide the same taste month after month after month? Can you say one big science project? All those big, sweet oranges are juiced into industrial-sized tanks and then all the oxygen is removed from them. This leaves a juice that is completely tasteless, but can be stored without spoiling for up to 12 months. Then, when the "juice" is ready to be prepared for our consumption, flavor packets are added to it. Flavor packets that have been carefully engineered to make it taste and smell fresh. And you won't find that flavor packet listed on the ingredient list as "technically" they have been derived from orange essence and natural oils.

Alissa Hamilton J.D, PhD, a Food and Society Policy Fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), explains the ins and outs of mass-produced juice in her book, Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice. She explains how OJ is really made:

"The technology of choice at the moment is aseptic storage, which involves stripping the juice of oxygen, a process known as "deaeration," so it doesn't oxidize in the million gallon tanks in which it can be kept for upwards of a year.

When the juice is stripped of oxygen it is also stripped of flavor-providing chemicals. Juice companies therefore hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that formulate perfumes for Dior and Calvin Klein, to engineer flavor packs to add back to the juice to make it taste fresh."

"[T]hose in the industry will tell you that the flavor packs, whether made for reconstituted or pasteurized orange juice, resemble nothing found in nature."

The juice is also typically designed to appeal to the taste preferences of the market, and will therefore contain different flavor packs or chemicals depending on where it will eventually end up. According to Hamilton, the juice created for the North American market tends to contain high amounts of ethyl butyrate, which is one of the most commonly used chemicals in both flavors and fragrances. Aside from being versatile in creating a number of different flavors, including orange, cherry, pineapple, mango, guava, and bubblegum, just to name a few, it's also one of the least expensive.

I hope I've opened your eyes to what we are really consuming and how our food is really created. Logic would tell us that a freshly-squeezed glass of OJ will last a day or two and yet that carton of OJ in your refrigerator has an expiration date of 30+ days in the future. There will be no more of those cartons in my refrigerator. My family and I will only be drinking OJ that I have personally squeezed from oranges that I have purchased.

Alissa says:
"People have a right to know how industrialized the process has become, so they can make decisions that are consistent with their values. Many who drink orange juice also have concerns about the environment and agriculture, but don't draw a connection. They might envision oranges growing in a Garden-of-Eden-like orchard in Florida, but I think if people took a trip to Bradenton (the home of Tropicana, a product of PepsiCo), and went to the processing plants, then yeah, they might make different choices."

Sources: Food Renegade, Dr. Mercola

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Truth About Canola Oil?

Have you ever wondered where Canola oil comes from? Unlike Olive oil (olives), Peanut oil (peanuts), Coconut oil (coconuts), I'm not familiar with a Canola plant, fruit, seed or nut. That's because there is no Canola plant to produce this oil from. Canola oil is made from genetically modified rapeseed. This oil was first introduced by our neighbors to the north, Canada, and the word Canola was made up in 1978 from "CANadian Oil, Low Acid". The fact is, Canola oil is an artificially created, genetically modified food whose seed is so far deviated from natural rapeseed that it has actually been patented. How's that for a science experiment?

Mainstream media, the U.S. and Canadian governments, the FDA, the USDA, the American Heart Association and more would have us believe that Canola oil is not only "heart healthy", but good for you. And don't forget Big Ag's influence with their heavy-handed marketing tactics. Canola oil is cheap to produce and they have spent a lot of money trying to convince you, me and the rest of the world to purchase it as your "healthy" oil choice. Since when has Big Ag been concerned abour our health?

The History...
In the mid-1980's, the oil industry in American was in a bind. Numerous government and medical agencies were promoting polyunsaturated oils as "heart healthy" alternatives to "artery-clogging" saturated fats. Polyunsaturated oils, Corn and Soybean, were under attack for causing numerous health problems including cancer. The oil industry couldn't continue advocating large amounts of ployunsaturated oils AND continue to promote them as healthy with the mounting evidence to the contrary. And they certainly couldn't return to using the traditional healthy saturated fats - butter, coconut oil, palm oil, tallow, lard - without admiting they were wrong and had made a mess of things.

According to “The Great Con-ola,” the solution was to embrace the use of monounsaturated oils, such as olive oil. Monounsaturated oils had been shown to have a “better” effect than polyunsaturated oils on cholesterol levels and other blood parameters. In addition, many heart-healthy advocates had popularized the notion that a Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, protected against heart disease and ensured a long and healthy life. Unfortunately, olives required special growing conditions that made it impossible for olive oil to be used widely and olive oil was costly, especially for mass-produced commercial products.

Traditional rapeseed oil was a monounsaturated oil that had been used extensively in many parts of the world. It contains almost 60 percent monounsaturated fatty acids compared to approximately 70 percent in olive oil. Unfortunately, rapeseed oil also comprised of erucic acid, a 22-carbon monounsaturated fatty acid that had been associated with Keshan’s disease, characterized by fibrotic lesions of the heart.

In the late 1970s, using a technique called seed splitting, Canadian plant breeders came up with a variety of rapeseed that produced a monounsaturated oil (low in 22-carbon erucic acid and high in 18-carbon oleic acid) very like olive oil. Originally, it was called LEAR (Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed). However, neither the name Rape nor LEAR were considered suitable for marketing purposes. The new name, Canola, was considered a hit.

In the 1980s, Canola oil began to be marketed in the United States. In order for that to happen, it had to be granted GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status by the FDA. GRAS status is typically awarded to foods and herbal products that have been traditionally used, for hundreds or even thousands of years, without known adverse effects. Canola oil was a new product without any track record. And it was developed from a product known to have toxic effects. So how did Canada obtain GRAS status for it's new product? No one knows for sure, but it has been rumored that the Canadian government spent $50 million U.S. to get it approved.

False Health Claims...
While it is true that Canola oil is high in monounsaturates, it is anything but “healthy.” We’ve been led to believe that high monounsaturated fat oils are good for us and they are in the case of virgin olive oil or other unprocessed nut or seed oils. However, one of the biggest problems with highly processed and refined vegetable oils such as corn, soybean and Canola is that the polyunsaturated component of the oil is highly unstable under heat, light and pressure. All of which heavily oxidize the polyunsaturates increasing free radicals in your body. The end result of all of this refining and processing are oils that are highly inflammatory in your body when you ingest them, potentially contributing to heart disease, weight gain and other degenerative diseases.

Extra virgin olive oil  (EVOO), cold pressed without the use of heat and chemicals, is good for you. Canola oil, typically extracted and refined using high heat, pressure and toxic petroleum solvents such as hexane, contains trans fats. It is all of the high heat and high pressure solvent processing that actually turns the healthy omega-3 content into trans fat. It also undergoes a process of caustic refining, degumming, bleaching and deodorization. According to Dr. Mary Enig, Nutritional Biochemist, “Although the Canadian government lists the trans fat content of Canola at a minimal 0.2 percent, research at the University of Florida in Gainesville, found trans fat levels as high as 4.6 percent in commercial liquid Canola oil.” And this is the garbage that they are marketing to you as a “heart-healthy” oil!

One More Thing...
If you do a Google search for organic pesticides, the number one hit is for recipes that use Canola oil. In fact, Mike Adams, The Healthy Ranger, has a video on Natural News.com that reveals that common cooking oils such as Canola and Soy are key ingredients in pesticide products because they work! The video shows how one pesticide product that kills insects is made with 96% canola oil and is so dangerous that the label reads, "Hazards to humans and domestic animals." Watch the video here - http://naturalnews.tv/v.asp?v=AEE77E1636E97778AB05E6F31D6B1C27.

And Last, but Not Least...
In 1996, Japanese scientists announced a study in which a special Canola oil diet had actually killed laboratory animals. Reacting to this unpublished, but verified and startling information, a duplicate study was conducted by Canadian scientists, using piglets and a Canola oil-based milk-replacer diet. In this second study, published in Nutrition Research 1997, the researchers verified that Canola oil depleted the piglets of vitamin E to a dangerously low level.

Any “food” that depletes vitamin E rapidly is extremely dangerous. Vitamin E is absolutely essential to human health. It is critically necessary in the body when processed fats are eaten because Vitamin E controls the lipid peroxidation that results in dangerous free-radical activity, which in turn causes lesions in your arteries and other problems. Canola oil has now been shown to be a very heavy abuser of Vitamin E, with the potential for rapidly depleting the body of this important vitamin.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Monsanto's Newest Unregulated, Unlabeled Frankenfood - Sweet Corn

It has finally happened - THE SKY IS FALLING (or it may as well be) - Monsato has produced it's first genetically modified frankenfood that will be sold directly to U.S. and Canadian consumers. That's right folks, Monsanto has bioteched a new sweet corn and it will be showing up on your grocery produce aisle before the end of the year (and you won't be able to tell the difference between it and conventionally produced corn). This sweet corn is the first Monsanto GMO product created that will be sold directly to consumers. Previously, Monsanto's GMO crops were only used in processing sugar and oils, as animal feed, made into fibers and in highly processed foods and ingredients.

These new seeds - which have been engineered to kill insects above and below ground, produce Bt toxin (a genetically modified form of a pesticide) and is "RoundUp Ready" - will be introduced to farmer's in the southeastern United States starting this fall. The franken-seeds will be distributed to the 250,000-acres currently serving the U.S. fresh corn market. Monsanto is also in talks with companies that would can or freeze the corn.

What does this mean to consumers? Well, until recently, Monsanto's Bt corn and cotton were mainly used for animal feed and in highly processed ingredients. However, even with this fairly limited exposure, Bt toxin has been found in the blood of pregnant women and fetuses. And Bt crops have proven deadly for grazing animals from livestock to monarch butterflies. No one knows what will happen to people who eat Monsanto's new Bt sweet corn.

And let us not forget that this GMO sweet corn is also "RoundUp Ready". What does that mean for the "new sweet corn crop"? It means it can tolerate unlimited amounts of Monsanto's herbicide, RoundUp.

What does that mean for us? Roundup has been shown to cause endocrine disruption, damage to DNA, reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity and cancer, as well as birth defects. A Monsanto spokesperson said that they did not expect much consumer outcry. Really...

Once again, our "friends" at the FDA are giving carte blanche to Big Ag. This sweet corn was never reviewed by government regulators for safety or environmental impact and, like everything else on the shelves of U.S. grocery and healthfood stores, it won't be labeled as GMO. It was bad enough when they fed it to livestock, now they want us to eat it too?! This is outrageous! Please join with me to take action against Big Ag. Click on the link to tell the President, Congress and the USDA to label GMO foods!

This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Produce PLU Codes - Thwarted Again

In grocery stores, all produce that is sold in bulk has a Price Look-up (PLU) code that consists of either a 4 or 5 digit number, printed on a sticker and attached to it. For example:
Organic - a 5-digit number always beginning with the number 9 (94001)
Conventional - a 4-digit number always beginning with the number 4 (4001)
GMO - a 5-digit number always beginning with the number 8 (84001)
Well, you might say, I've never seen any produce with a 5-digit number starting with the number 8.

In 1992 biotech companies were so sure that we wanted to eat their "science experiments" that they were all for adding a new code so that their "frankenfood" could be easily identified - certain that consumers would want to know which food was altered and rush right in and buy it. NOT! Those biotech geniuses soon learned that we didn't want their "frankenfood" and were purposely NOT buying it due to the new code listed on it. So, what did those biotech companies do, they removed the "8" from the labels. That's right "frankenfood", food created in a laboratory, GMO has NO restrictions, NO labeling requirements.

The only way that we "know" we are being protected from these gentically modified foods is to buy Certified Organic. However, as we are learning, even that may not protect us from GMOs as companies producing these products do not necessarily follow the strict guidelines that have been set to protect the consumer. And the FDA is virtually powerless to do anything about it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

J. M. Smucker is Turning Over in His Grave

I recently read an article on the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) website - Santa Cruz Organics Supports GMOs. Santa Cruz Organics (parent company J.M. Smucker's) was recently queried by OCA about their stance on GMOs (genetically modified organisms). The July 14, 2011 response from their customer relations department smacked of corporate double talk, did not answer the question and pulled out the FDA and USDA "cloak of protection" justification. Please see the original letter here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_23708.cfm

As a purchaser of organic foods, the MAIN reason being that I want to avoid GMOs at all cost, I was angered by their lackadaisical non-answer. I quickly pulled up the Santa Cruz Organics website and sent off a nice little note letting them know that I was very displeased with what I read in the CS letter and that I wanted further confirmation that they were not allowing GMO products to cross-contaminate the organic products. In order to be labeled "organic" there are very strict guidelines as to what and what cannot be included in a product. Any and all GMO is strictly forbidden, or at least that is what we have been led to believe.

On August 8, 2011, I received the following response:
Thank you for contacting Santa Cruz Organic®. Our products are manufactured using strict quality control procedures that meet or exceed all applicable government and industry standards.
Smucker Natural Foods, Inc. cares about the health and safety of our consumers. We have taken great care to provide products that are made with high quality and wholesome ingredients.
We have established a documentation program for all of our natural products and their respective ingredients, with the goal of utilizing only ingredients grown and produced without the use of biotechnology.
Smucker Natural Foods, Inc. has an extensive documentation program verifying that suppliers of our organic raw materials meet the requirements of the National Organic Program.
Our consumers can be assured that we are in full compliance with existing Federal regulations and policies with respect to food labeling and product safety. We will continue to monitor this situation and comply with any future regulations.
If you should have further questions or need additional information, please visit us at
www.scojuice.com or contact us at 888-569-6994, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Consumer Relations Representative

Once again, a non-answer! Nowhere does it state that they are doing anything to prevent the cross-contamination of products that was disclosed in the first CS response. Typically, they have chosen to use the corporate psycho-babble response about what their organization supposedly "does". We all know that shortcuts are taken, mistakes are made and the fact that they obviously process BOTH GMO and non-GMO products in the same facility tells me that they know that cross-contamination occurs and are obviously not going to do anything about it. Santa Cruz Organics has just been added to my "do not buy" list.

I feel certain that Jerome Monroe (J.M.) Smucker is rolling around in his grave at what his company has become. I wonder what the small town farmer from Orrville, Ohio would say today?