Let Them Eat (genetically engineered) Cake

About the food industry, not in a nice way

Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

why you should never eat packaged or prepared “food”

Posted by jeanne on February 23, 2015

reblogged in its entirety because it’s so important

Inside the food industry: the surprising truth about what you eat

Think you eat only healthy, unprocessed foods? Think again. Joanna Blythman went undercover and discovered that even your fruit salad is not what it seems

While exhibitors at most food exhibitions are often keen for you to taste their products, few standholders here had anything instantly edible to offer. Those that did weren’t all that they seemed. Canapé-style cubes of white cheese dusted with herbs and spices sat under a bistro-style blackboard that nonchalantly read “Feta, with Glucono-Delta-Lactone” (a “cyclic ester of gluconic acid” that prolongs shelf life).

A pastry chef in gleaming whites rounded off his live demonstration by offering sample petits fours to the buyers who had gathered. His dainty heart- and diamond-shaped cakes were dead ringers for those neat layers of sponge, glossy fruit jelly, cream and chocolate you see in the windows of upmarket patisseries, but were made entirely without eggs, butter or cream, thanks to the substitution of potato protein isolate. This revolutionary ingredient provides the “volume, texture, stability and mouthfeel” we look for in cakes baked with traditional ingredients – and it just happens to be cheaper.

This is the goal of the wares on show, something the marketing messages make clear. The strapline for a product called Butter Buds®, described by its makers as “an enzyme-modified encapsulated butter flavour that has as much as 400 times the flavour intensity of butter”, sums it up in six words: “When technology meets nature, you save.”

Exhibitors’ stands were arranged like art installations. Gleaming glass shelves were back-lit to show off a rainbow of super-sized phials of liquids so bright with colouring, they might be neon. Plates of various powders, shaped into pyramids, were stacked on elegant Perspex stands bearing enigmatic labels – “texturised soy protein: minced ham colour,” read one.

Manufacturers who need their tomato sauce to be thick enough not to leak out of its plastic carton – and just a little bit glossy, so that it doesn’t look matt and old after several days in the fridge – were sold the advantages of Microlys®, a “cost-effective” speciality starch that gives “shiny, smooth surface and high viscosity”, or Pulpiz™, Tate & Lyle’s tomato “pulp extender”. Based on modified starch, it gives the same pulpy visual appeal as an all-tomato sauce, while using 25% less tomato paste.

The broad business portfolio of the companies exhibiting at Food Ingredients was disconcerting. Omya, based in Hamburg, described itself as “a leading global chemical distributor and producer of industrial minerals”, supplying markets in food, pet food, oleochemicals, cosmetics, detergents, cleaners, papers, adhesives, construction, plastics and industrial chemicals. At Frankfurt, Omya was selling granular onion powder, monosodium glutamate and phosphoric acid. For big companies such as this, food processing is just another revenue stream. They experience no cognitive dissonance in providing components not only for your meal, but also for your fly spray, scratch-resistant car coating, paint or glue. The conference was the domain of people whose natural environment is the laboratory and the factory, not the kitchen, the farm or the field; people who share the assumption that everything nature can do, man can do so much better, and more profitably.

Tired after hours of walking round the fair, and, uncharacteristically, not feeling hungry, I sought refuge at a stand displaying cut-up fruits and vegetables; it felt good to see something natural, something instantly recognisable as food. But why did the fruit have dates, several weeks past, beside them? A salesman for Agricoat told me that they had been dipped in one of its solutions, NatureSeal, which, because it contains citric acid along with other unnamed ingredients, adds 21 days to their shelf life. Treated in this way, carrots don’t develop that telltale white that makes them look old, cut apples don’t turn brown, pears don’t become translucent, melons don’t ooze and kiwis don’t collapse into a jellied mush; a dip in NatureSeal leaves salads “appearing fresh and natural”.

For the salesman, this preparation was a technical triumph, a boon to caterers who would otherwise waste unsold food. There was a further benefit: NatureSeal is classed as a processing aid, not an ingredient, so there’s no need to declare it on the label, no obligation to tell consumers that their “fresh” fruit salad is weeks old.

Somehow, I couldn’t share the salesman’s enthusiasm. Had I eaten “fresh” fruit salads treated in this way? Maybe I had bought a tub on a station platform or at a hotel buffet breakfast? It dawned on me that, while I never knowingly eat food with ingredients I don’t recognise, I had probably consumed many of the “wonder products” on show here. Over recent years, they have been introduced slowly and artfully into foods that many of us eat every day – in canteens, cafeterias, pubs, hotels, restaurants and takeaways.

You might find it all too easy to resist the lure of a turkey drummer, a ready meal, a “fruit” drink or a pappy loaf of standard white bread. You might check labels for E numbers and strange-sounding ingredients, boycotting the most obvious forms of processed food. And yet you will still find it hard to avoid the 6,000 food additives – flavourings, glazing agents, improvers, bleaching agents and more – that are routinely employed behind the scenes of contemporary food manufacture. That upmarket cured ham and salami, that “artisan” sourdough loaf, that “traditional” extra-mature cheddar, those luxurious Belgian chocolates, those speciality coffees and miraculous probiotic drinks, those apparently inoffensive bottles of cooking oil: many have had a more intimate relationship with food manufacturing than we appreciate.

When you try to dig deeper, you hit a wall of secrecy. For at least the past decade, the big manufacturing companies have kept a low profile, hiding behind the creed of commercial confidentiality, claiming they can’t reveal their recipes because of competition. Instead, they leave it to retailers to field any searching questions from journalists or consumers. In turn, retailers drown you in superfluous, mainly irrelevant material. The most persistent inquirers may be treated to an off-the-peg customer reply from corporate HQ, a bland, non-specific reassurance such as, “Every ingredient in this product conforms to quality assurance standards, EU regulations, additional protocols based on the tightest international requirements, and our own demanding specification standards.”

I spent years knocking on closed doors, and became frustrated by how little I knew about contemporary food production. What happens on the farm and out in the fields is passably well-policed and transparent. Abattoirs undergo regular inspections, including from the occasional undercover reporter from a vigilante animal welfare group, armed with a video camera. My growing preoccupation was instead just how little we really know about the food that sits on our supermarket shelves, in boxes, cartons and bottles – food that has had something done to it to make it more convenient and ready to eat.

Eventually, contacts within the industry provided me with a cover that allowed me to gain unprecedented access to manufacturing facilities, as well as to subscriber-only areas of company sites, private spaces where the chemical industry tells manufacturers how our food can be engineered. Even with 25 years of food chain investigations under my belt, it was an eye-opener.

Anything that comes in a box, tin, bag, carton or bottle has to bear a label listing its contents, and many of us have become experts at reading these labels. But many of the additives and ingredients that once jumped out as fake and unfathomable have quietly disappeared. Does this mean that their contents have improved? In some cases, yes, but there is an alternative explanation. Over the past few years, the food industry has embarked on an operation it dubs “clean label”, with the goal of removing the most glaring industrial ingredients and additives, replacing them with substitutes that sound altogether more benign. Some companies have reformulated their products in a genuine, wholehearted way, replacing ingredients with substitutes that are less problematic. Others, unconvinced that they can pass the cost on to retailers and consumers, have turned to a novel range of cheaper substances that allow them to present a scrubbed and rosy face to the public.

Imagine you are standing in the supermarket. Maybe you usually buy some cured meat for an antipasti. Picking up a salami, even the most guarded shopper might relax when they see rosemary extract on the ingredients list – but rosemary extracts are actually “clean-label” substitutes for the old guard of techie-sounding antioxidants (E300-21), such as butylhydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylhydroxytoluene (BHT). Food manufacturers use them to slow down the rate at which foods go rancid, so extending their shelf life.

Rosemary extracts don’t always have to carry an E number (E392), but the more poetic addition of “extract of rosemary” makes it sound like a lovingly made ingredient – especially if that salami is also labelled as natural or organic. And the extract does have something to do with the herb, usually in its dried form. The herb’s antioxidant chemicals are isolated in an extraction procedure that “deodorises” them, removing any rosemary taste and smell. Extraction is done by using either carbon dioxide or chemical solvents – hexane (derived from the fractional distillation of petroleum), ethanol and acetone. Neutral-tasting rosemary extract is then sold to manufacturers, usually in the form of a brownish powder. Its connection with the freshly cut, green and pungent herb we know and love is fairly remote.

Not sure what to have for dinner? How about a chicken noodle dish? If you noticed that it contained an amino acid such as L-cysteine E910, your enthusiasm might wane, especially if you happen to know that this additive can be derived from animal and human hair. But a range of new-wave yeast extracts is increasingly replacing E910. One supplier markets its wares as “a variety of pre-composed, ready-to-use products that provide the same intensity as our classical process flavours but are labelled as all-natural. Ingredients are available in chicken and beef flavour, with roasted or boiled varieties, as well as white meat and dark roast.” All can be labelled as “yeast extract” – a boon for manufacturers, because yeast extracts have a healthy image as a rich source of B vitamins. Less well known is the fact that yeast extract has a high concentration of the amino acid glutamate, from which monosodium glutamate – better known as MSG, one of the most shunned additives – is derived.

What else is in your basket? Suppose you are eyeing up a pot of something temptingly called a “chocolate cream dessert”. You read the ingredients: whole milk, sugar (well, there had to be some), cream, cocoa powder and dark chocolate. It all sounds quite upmarket, but then your urge to buy falters as you notice three feel-bad ingredients.

The first is carrageenan (E407), a setting agent derived from seaweed that has been linked with ulcers and gastrointestinal cancer. It is now regarded in food industry circles as an “ideally not” (to be included) additive. The second of these worrying ingredients is a modified starch (E1422), or to give it its full chemical name, acetylated distarch adipate. It started off as a simple starch, but has been chemically altered to increase its water-holding capacity and tolerance for the extreme temperatures and physical pressures of industrial-scale processing. The third problematic ingredient is gelatine. This is anathema to observant Muslims, Jews and vegetarians, and even secular omnivores may be wondering what this by-product of pig skin is doing in their pudding.

Fortunately for the manufacturers of your chocolate cream dessert, there is a Plan B. They can remove all three offending items, and replace them with a more sophisticated type of “functional flour”, hydrothermally extracted from cereals, that will do the same job, but without the need for E numbers.

Another possibility for cleaning up this dessert would be to use a “co-texturiser”, something that would cost-effectively deliver the necessary thick and creamy indulgence factor. Texturisers, just like modified starches, are based on highly processed, altered starch designed to withstand high-pressure manufacturing – but because they are obligingly classified by food regulators as a “functional native starch”, they can be labelled simply as “starch”. Again, no E numbers. So, out come two additives and one ingredient that many people avoid, to be replaced by a single new-generation ingredient, one that is opaque in its formulation (proprietary secrets and all that) but which won’t trigger consumer alarm.

The history of food processing is littered with ingredients that were initially presented as safer and more desirable, yet subsequently outed as the opposite. Hydrogenated vegetable oils, or margarine, were actively promoted as healthier than the natural saturated fats in butter. High fructose corn syrup, once marketed as preferable to sugar, has now been identified as a key driver of the obesity epidemic in the US.

Is the clean-label campaign a heart-and-soul effort by manufacturers to respond to our desire for more wholesome food? Or just a self-interested substitution exercise? The lines are deliberately blurred: as one executive in a leading supply company put it, “Ingredients that give the impression that they originated in a grandmother’s kitchen and have not been processed too harshly are of great appeal to consumers.” Meanwhile, there is no evidence that manufacturers are using greater quantities of the real, natural ingredients consumers want. Clean labelling looks less like a thorough spring clean of factory food than a superficial tidy-up, with the most embarrassing mess stuffed in the cupboard behind a firmly shut door – where, hopefully, no one will notice.

From water-injected poultry and powdered coagulated egg, to ultra-adhesive batters and pre-mixed marinades, the raw materials in industrial food manufacturing are rarely straightforward. In fact, they commonly share quite complicated back stories of processing and intervention that their labels don’t reveal.

In the same way that you will never see a stray onion skin lying around a ready-meals factory, you’re extremely unlikely to see an eggshell, either. Eggs are supplied to food manufacturers in powders, with added sugar, for instance, or as albumen-only special “high gel” products for whipping. Liquid eggs will be pasteurised, yolk only, whites only, frozen or chilled, or with “extended shelf life” (one month) – whichever is easiest. They may be liquid, concentrated, dried, crystallised, frozen, quick frozen or coagulated. Manufacturers can also buy in handy pre-cooked, ready-shelled eggs for manufacturing products such as Scotch eggs and egg mayonnaise, or eggs pre-formed into 300g cylinders or tubes, so that each egg slice is identical and there are no rounded ends.

These hard-boiled, tubular eggs are snapped up by sandwich-making companies. Manufacturers can also take their pick from bespoke egg mixes, which are ready to use in everything from quiches and croissants to glossy golden pastry glazes and voluminous meringues. And there is always the cheaper option of using “egg replacers” made from fractionated whey proteins (from milk). No hurry to use them up: they have a shelf life of 18 months.

Food engineers can now create a “natural” mature cheese flavouring by blending young, immature cheese with enzymes (lipases or proteases) that intensify the cheese flavour until it reaches “maturity” – within 24 to 72 hours. This mature cheese flavouring is then heat-treated to halt enzymatic activity. Hey, presto: mature-tasting cheese in days rather than months. (Traditional cheddar is not considered truly mature until it has spent between nine and 24 months in the maturing room.)

A factory pantry looks nothing like yours. When the home cook decides to make a Bakewell tart, she or he puts together a lineup of familiar ingredients: raspberry jam, flour, butter, whole eggs, almonds, butter and sugar. The factory food technologist, on the other hand, approaches the tart from a totally different angle: what alternative ingredients can we use to create a Bakewell tart-style product, while replacing or reducing expensive ingredients – those costly nuts, butter and berries? How can we cut the amount of butter, yet boost that buttery flavour, while disguising the addition of cheaper fats? What sweeteners can we add to lower the tart’s blatant sugar content and justify a “reduced calorie” label? How many times can we reuse the pastry left over from each production run in subsequent ones? What antioxidants could we throw into the mix to prolong the tart’s shelf life? Which enzyme would keep the almond sponge layer moist for longer? Might we use a long-life raspberry purée and gel mixture instead of conventional jam? What about coating the almond sponge layer with an invisible edible film that would keep the almonds crunchy for weeks? Could we substitute some starch for a proportion of the flour to give a more voluminously risen result? And so on.

We all eat prepared foods made using state-of-the-art technology, mostly unwittingly, either because the ingredients don’t have to be listed on the label, or because weasel words such as “flour” and “protein”, peppered with liberal use of the adjective “natural”, disguise their production method. And we don’t know what this novel diet might be doing to us.

A disturbing 60% of the UK population is overweight; a quarter of us are obese. Are we leaping to an unjustified conclusion when we lay a significant part of the blame for obesity, chronic disease and the dramatic rise in reported food allergies at the door of processed food? There are several grounds for examining this connection.

Food manufacturers combine ingredients that do not occur in natural food, notably the trilogy of sugar, processed fat and salt, in their most quickly digested, highly refined, nutrient-depleted forms. The official line – that the chemicals involved pose no risk to human health when ingested in small quantities – is scarcely reassuring. Safe limits for consumption of these agents are based on statistical assumptions, often provided by companies who make the additives.

Manufactured foods often contain chemicals with known toxic properties – although, again, we are reassured that, at low levels, this is not a cause for concern. This comforting conclusion is the foundation of modern toxicology, and is drawn from the 16th-century Swiss physician, Paracelsus, whose theory “the dose makes the poison” (ie, a small amount of a poison does you no harm) is still the dogma of contemporary chemical testing. But when Paracelsus sat down to eat, his diet wasn’t composed of takeaways and supermarket reheats; he didn’t quench his thirst with canned soft drinks. Nor was he exposed to synthetic chemicals as we are now, in traffic fumes, in pesticides, in furnishings and much more. Real world levels of exposure to toxic chemicals are not what they were during the Renaissance. The processed food industry has an ignoble history of actively defending its use of controversial ingredients long after well-documented, subsequently validated, suspicions have been aired.

The precautionary principle doesn’t seem to figure prominently in the industry’s calculations, nor – such is their lobbying power – does it loom large in the deliberations of food regulators. If it did, then steering clear of manufactured products would be a lot easier.

The pace of food engineering innovation means that more complex creations with ever more opaque modes of production are streaming on to the market every day. Just last month, a dossier for a new line of dairy proteins dropped into my mailbox. Alongside a photo of a rustic-looking, golden pan loaf, the explanation read: “Many bakers are now turning to permeates, a rather new ingredient in the food ingredients market. Permeate is a co-product of the production of whey protein concentrate (WPC), whey protein isolate (WPI), ultrafiltered milk, milk protein concentrate (MPC), or milk protein isolate (MPI).”

Permeate, apparently, “contributes to the browning of baked goods” and produces bread that “retains its softness for a longer period of time and extends shelf life”. How clever. But I would prefer that my bread was browned solely from the application of heat. I’m prepared to accept that it will stale over time, rather than eat something that owes its existence to ingredients and technologies to which I am not privy, cannot interrogate and so can never truly understand. Am I about to hand over all control of bread, or anything else I eat, to the chemical industry’s food engineers? Not without a fight.

What your food label really means

Added vitamins One-dimensional factory versions of natural vitamins found in whole foods: ascorbic acid (man-made vitamin C) is usually synthesised from the fermentation of GM corn, while artificial vitamin E is commonly derived from petrol.
Soluble fibre A healthier-sounding term for modified starch, which is widely used to reduce the quantity of more nutritious ingredients in processed foods, and keep down manufacturers’ costs.
‘Natural’ colourings The only difference between these and artificial ones is that they start with pigments that occur in nature. Otherwise, they are made using the same highly chemical industrial processes, including extraction using harsh solvents.
Artificial ‘diet” sweeteners Several large-scale studies have found a correlation between artificial sweetener consumption and weight gain. Accumulating evidence suggests that they may also increase our risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Enzymes Used to make bread stay soft longer; injected into low-value livestock before slaughter, to tenderise their meat; and used in fruit juice processing to create a cloudier, more natural appearance.
‘Packaged in a protective atmosphere’ Food that has been “gassed” in modified air to extend its shelf life. It delays what food manufacturers call “warmed over flavour”, an off-taste that occurs in factory food.
Beef/pork/poultry protein Collagen extracted from butchered carcasses, processed into a powder and added to low-grade meats. It adds bounce, increases the protein content on the nutrition label and, combined with water, is a substitute for meat.
Washed and ready-to-eat salads “Cleaned” by sloshing around in tap water dosed with chlorine, often with powdered or liquid fruit acids to inhibit bacterial growth. The same tank of treated water is often used for 8 hours at a time.
‘Pure’ vegetable oil Industrially refined, bleached, deodorised oils. Food processors often add chemicals to extend their “fry life”.
‘Natural’ flavourings Even the flavour industry concedes that “there isn’t much difference in the chemical compositions of natural and artificial flavourings”. They are made using the same physical, enzymatic, and microbiological processes.

This is an edited extract from Swallow This: Serving Up The Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets, by Joanna Blythman; published next week by 4th Estate, at £14.99. To buy a copy for £11.99, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846.

Posted in food industry, Research | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

more sweet poison

Posted by jeanne on February 12, 2012

and this one isn’t on the labels.  MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD is the only way to escape this.

Neotame the next aspartame? FDA doesn’t require labeling of latest chemical sweetener from Monsanto

Thursday, February 09, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) It could be lurking in the foods you eat every single day, including U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified organic foods, and you would never even know it. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared that one of Monsanto’s latest creations, a synthetic sweetener chemical known as neotame, does not have to be labeled in food products, including even in organic food products.

A modified version of aspartame with even more added toxicity, neotame received quiet and unassuming FDA approval back in 2002, even though no safety studies have ever been conducted on the chemical (http://www.neotame.com/pdf/neotame_fda_US.pdf). In fact, an investigation conducted by Feingold.org found only four studies relating to neotame in the MEDLINE database.

Two of these “studies” were not studies at all, and the other two were actually one duplicate study conducted by NutraSweet, the company that produces and sells neotame.

So just like with aspartame, the FDA has once again approved for use a dangerous sweetener chemical that metabolizes into formaldehyde when consumed. Except this time, the chemical contains added 3-dimethylbutyl, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed as one of the most hazardous known chemicals, and it does not have to be labeled on any of the products to which it is added.

“Neotame has similar structure to aspartame — except that, from it’s structure, appears to be even more toxic than aspartame,” writes HolisticMed.com on its page about neotame. “Like aspartame, some of the concerns include gradual neurotoxic and immunotoxic damage from the combination of the formaldehyde metabolite (which is toxic at extremely low doses) and the excitotoxic amino acid” (http://www.holisticmed.com/neotame/toxin.html).

The FDA, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) all consider neotame to be safe for use, despite the fact that WHO actually published a paper seeking to establish acceptable daily intake levels for neotame. If neotame is so safe that it does not even have to be labeled, according to the FDA, then why do acceptable daily intake levels have to be established? And what is the point of establishing them in the first place?

This dog and pony show of special interest regulatory corruption is a travesty that will have global negative health consequences. Like most other toxins added to foods, neotame will most likely cause chronic damage over a long period of time, which means mainstream health authorities will get away with never having to admit that neotame is a dangerous toxin.

Sources for this article include:



Posted in food industry, Research | 1 Comment »

hair of the dog

Posted by jeanne on October 28, 2011

i’ve long held that you should not be too pure because it makes you too vulnerable to passing whammies.  so i am domestically challenged, but it’s by choice.

oh 20 some odd years ago i went to an allergist because i had asthma and my doctor referred me.  i got a battery of tests – these big boards with pins sticking out of them that the tech mashed into my back, and then watched the welts come up.

the result – i was allergic to practically everything and needed a whole bunch of allergy shots, a whole regimen.

i ran screaming.

my understanding of my own system is that i am hypersensitive, especially to chemicals.  but i react easily, to pretty much anything.  i’ve got that kind of personality, too.  you should see me at a party.

so my answer to i’m allergic to everything was to decide i just had to be more tolerant.

so, allergic to feathers?  sleep on a feather pillow.  allergic to dog hair?  get a dog.  total immersion, that’s my answer.  it’s a personal thing.  kind of macho, actually, and since i got cancer i’ve kind of toned down the self-conquering attitude.

but moderation in all things.

being allergic to something is being intolerant to it.

and intolerance is bad, right?

so the idea that a little dose will inoculate you isn’t such a far-fetched one.

Can exposing little mites to dust stop allergy?

By Martin Halfpenny

Thursday October 27 2011

DOCTORS are to expose babies to dust mites in an attempt to halt the rising allergy epidemic.

Experts hope that exposing tots under one year old to the common allergen — often found in pillows, mattresses and on carpets — when their immune systems are developing will prevent them becoming allergic in the future.

A total of 120 babies aged five to nine months with a family history of allergy will take part in the project.

It is being conducted at the respiratory biomedical research unit at the University Hospital Southampton and the David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Centre on the Isle of Wight.

As many as one in four people in the UK are affected at some time in their lives, with children accounting for half of those affected.

Dust mites are the most prevalent trigger, inducing reactions in 85pc of asthmatic people.

Prof Graham Roberts, a specialist in allergies, said: “We hope that by giving babies an allergen when their immune systems are working out what is and isn’t harmful will teach their bodies to not become susceptible as they grow up.”

Professor Hasan Arshad, director of the research centre, said: “We need to act very early in life — before babies reach their first birthday — and this should reduce the development of asthma and other allergies.”


Posted in medical industry, Research | 1 Comment »

organic’s dirty underwear labels

Posted by jeanne on October 15, 2011

i’m reposting this from this guy’s website because it’s a real service to humanity to pull all this information and report it, and i want to look at it after it’s been pulled.

Who Owns Organic? The Organic Corporate Brand List v1.4

Feb 19, 2009 | By: John Serrao

Ever wonder who owns organic brands you see on the shelves in the grocery store? Better still – which of all these new organic brands belongs to whom?

Well, it turns out you have come to the right place. This chart lays out the parent companies of each major organic label you are likely to see in the supermarket and what food stuffs they are selling. We have broken the chart into two distinct groups – agribusiness and independent labels (extended methodology is available below the chart). We hope this helps you determine the true owners of your food.

Agribusiness Organic/Health Labels

Organic Label Parent Company Food Stuffs
Organic Wild Hop Lager Anheuser-Busch Beer Lager Beer
Green & Black’s Cadbury Schweppes Plc. Chocolate Bars and Ice Cream
Chunky – Healthy Request Campbell’s Soups
Organic Select Soups (discontinued?) Campbell’s Soup
Pace (Picante) Organic Campbell’s Salsa
Prego Organic Campbell’s Pasta sauces
Swanson Broth (Certified Organic) Campbell’s Chicken, Beef and Vegetable Broths
V8 (Organic) Campbell’s Tomato Juices, Soups
Gold Peak Tea The Coca-Cola Company Tea, ‘Natural’
Odwalla Juices The Coca-Cola Company Fruit Juices, Fruit Bars
ConAgra Mills ConAgra Wheat and Flours
Healthy Choice, All Natural ConAgra Frozen Dinners, Soups, Pizzas, Sauces
Hunt’s Organic ConAgra Ketchup, Tomatoes, Sauce
Orville Redenbacher’s Natural (Organic) ConAgra Popcorn
PAM Organic ConAgra Olive OIl and Canola Oil Sprays
Silk (White Wave) Dean Foods (Dairy) Soy Milk
Horizon Organic (White Wave) Dean Foods (Dairy) Organic Dairy Products (Butter, Milk, etc.)
Cascadian Farm General Mills Cereals, Granola, Frozen Fuits and Vegetables
Muir Glen General Mills Tomato Products and Soups
Arrowhead Mills Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Whole and Organic Grains
Celestial Seasonings Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Tea Products
Rice Dream Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Non-dairy Beverages, Ice Cream Susbstitutes
Soy Dream Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Non-dairy Beverages, Ice Cream Susbstitutes
Oat Dream Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Non-dairy Beverages, Ice Cream Susbstitutes
Almond Dream Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Non-dairy Beverages, Ice Cream Susbstitutes
Hemp Dream Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Non-dairy Beverages, Ice Cream Susbstitutes
Garden of Eatin’ Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Corn Chips
Health Valley Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Bars, Cereal, Cookies, Crackers, Soups
Imagine Foods Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Soups, Broths
Terra Chips Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Chips and Snacks
Walnut Acres Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Sauces, Salsas, Juices
Yves Veggie Cuisine Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Synthetic Meat Products
Boulder Canyon Natural Foods The Inventure Group Potato Chips
RW Knudsen Family Juices JM Smuckers Fruit Juices
Santa Cruz Organic Juices JM Smuckers Juices, Spritzers, Peanut Butter, Sodas
Kashi Kelloggs Cereals, Crackers, Bars, Pizzas
MorningStar Farms Kelloggs Synthetic Meat Products
Back to Nature Foods Kraft (Altria/Philip Morris) Cereals, Granola, Cookies, Crackers
Boca Foods Kraft (Altria/Philip Morris) Synthetic Meat Products
Private Selection Organics Kroger Supermarkets Beverages, Dairy, Eggs, Produce, Meat and Snacks
Kettle Foods Lion Capital – UK) Potato Chips, Tortilla Chips, Nut Butters
O Organics (Safeway) Lucerne Foods Beverages, Dairy, Eggs, Produce, Meat and Snacks
Stone Mill Pale Ale MillerCoors (Michelob Brewing) Pale Ale Beer
Gerber Organic Nestle (Gerber) Baby Food, Juice, Cereal, Raviolis
Arrowhead (some fluoridated) Nestle Waters Water, 8oz – 5 Gallon Sized Bottles
Deer Park (some fluoridated) Nestle Waters Water, 8oz – 5 Gallon Sized Bottles
Ozarka (some fluoridated) Nestle Waters Water, 8oz – 5 Gallon Sized Bottles
Poland Spring (some fluoridated) Nestle Waters Water, 8oz – 5 Gallon Sized Bottles
Ethos Water PepsiCo Water
Flat Earth Snacks PepsiCoFrito Lay Veggie Snacks
Naked Juice PepsiCo Fruit Juices
Simple Harvest – Quaker Oats PepsiCo Oatmeal, Bars, Instant Oatmeal
Tropicana Organic Orange Juice (possibly discontinued) PepsiCo Orange Juice
Sara Lee Delightful Sara Lee Breads and Bakery Products
Earth Balance Smart Balance (formerly Boulder Specialty Brands, Inc.) Butter Spreads, Soy Spreads
Nature’s Farm (Organic Chicken) Tyson Chicken Chicken
Organic Ben & Jerry’s Unilever Ice Cream
Lipton PureLeaf Unilever Teas, ‘Natural’
Ragu Oragnic Unilever Pasta Sauce
Nature’s Pride Interstate Bakeries Breads
Brown Cow Dannon Yogurts
Honest Tea The Coca-Cola Company (40%) Teas
Baleine (La) Salt Les Salins du Midi Salt Products
Morton’s (Kosher) Salt Rohm & Hass Company Salts
Looza Pepsico Fruit Drinks
True North Snacks Pepsico (Frito Lay) Nuts and Nut Snacks
West Soy Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Soy and Rice Mlik
Smart Water (Glaceau) The Coca-Cola Company Water, Bottled
Vitamin Water (Glaceau) The Coca-Cola Company Water, Flavored
Propel Fitness Water Pepsico Water, Flavored
Sobe (Lifewater) Pepsico Water, Flavored, Tea
Aquafina Pepsico Water, bottled
Mother’s Natural Cereals Pepsico (Quaker Oats) Cereals, Rice Cakes
SunSpire Chocolate Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Chocolate Products
Jocalat Chocolate General Mills (Humm Foods) Cholocate Bars
Larabar General Mills (Humm Foods) Energy Bars
Nature Valley General Mills Energy Granola Bars
GoodEarth Teas Tata (Tetley) Teas Tea
Smart Products (SmartDogs, SmartBacon, SmartChili) ConAgra (LightLife) Meat Substitute Products
GimmeLean ConAgra (LightLife) Meat Substitute, Ground
Billington’s Sugar Associated British Foods, plc (UK) Sugar, Natural
Guiltless Gourmet The Manischewitz Company Chips, Dips, Cakes
Maranatha Foods Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Nut Butters, Peanut Butter
Near East Quaker Foods (PepsiCo) Middle Eastern Foods – Pastas, Pilafs, Falafel, Couscous
Tazo Tea Starbucks Teas
Stacy’s Snacks PepsiCo Chips – Pita + Bagel Chips
Imagine Foods Hain Celestial Group (HJ Heinz) Soups, Broths, Stocks
French Meadow Bakery Rich Product Corporation Bagels, Tortillas, Breads, Gluten-Free
Nantucket Nectars Cadbury Schweppes Juices, Nectars
Evian Dannon (Groupe Danone) Water, French Alps
Volvic Water Dannon (Groupe Danone) Water, Volcanic Origin
Fiji Water Roll International Water, Artesian
POM Products Roll International Juice, Energy Bars, Pills, Iced Coffee
Arizona Organics Ferolito, Vultaggio & Sons Sweet Tea
Pearl Soy Milk The Kikkoman Group Soymilk
POM Wonderful Roll International Pomegranate Juice, Pomegranate Products
Old Bay McCormick Seasoning, Fish
Wholesome Sweeteners Imperial Sugar Sweeteners, Agave, Honey, Sugar

Independent Organic Labels

Organic Label Parent Company Food Stuffs
Bob’s Red Mill Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods Whole Grains, Gluten Free, Flours, Seeds
Clif Bar/Nectar Fruit Organic Clif Bar & Company Vegan Energy Bars (Men)
Luna Bar Clif Bar & Company Vegan Energy Bars (Women)
Petaluma Poultry (Rocky/Rosie the Chicken) Coleman Natural Meats Chicken Products (Sustainable)
Earthbound Farms Organic Earthbound Farms Fresh Produce, Cookies, Dried Fruit
Peace Cereal Golden Temple (of Oregon) Cereals
Yogi Tea Golden Temple (of Oregon) Tea
Coleman Natural Beef Meyer Natural Angus Beef Only Products
Laura’s Lean Beef Company Meyer Natural Angus Beef Products, Humanely Raised
EnviroKidz Nature’s Path Kids Cereals, Energy Bars, Waffles, Cookies
Optimum Nature’s Path Cereals, Bars, Waffles, Breads
Weil by Nature’s Path Nature’s Path Bars, Hot Cereal, Waffles, Breads, Mixes
Organic Prairie Organic Valley Coop (1300+ farms) Beef, Pork, Chicken, Turkey
Organic Valley Brand Organic Valley Coop (1300+ farms) Dairy, Eggs, Juice, Meat, Soy and Produce
Wolaver’s Beers Otter Creek Brewery Ale Beers, Stout Beers
Pamela’s Pamela’s Products Cookies and Baking Mixes
Giving Nature Giving Nature Foods Eggs, Milk
Echo Farms Puddings Echo Farms Puddings Pudding
Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs Pete and Gerry’s Eggs (New England)
Murray’s Chicken Murray Bresky Chicken, Fresh + Humane
Piney River Organics Black Eagle Farm Yogurt, Dairy
Black Eagle Farm Dr Ralph Glatt Meats (Beef, Chicken, Goat, Pork, Lamb) – Virginia
Seven Stars Farm Seven Stars Farm Yogurt
Hawthrorne Valley Farm Hawthorne Valley Farm Yogurt/Dairy
Golden Valley Natural Roger H. Ball Beef Jerky (Idaho)
Zija Plant Miracle (Direct Level Marketing) Fruit Drink
Cell-nique Cell-nique Green Drink
Artisan Salts (Colored) Artisan Salt Company Salts, fancy
Redmond Real Salt Redmond Trading Company Salts and Seasonings
Lakewood Juices Florida Family Trust Fruit Juices
Dr. Praeger’s Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods Frozen Foods, Jewish Foods
Country Choice Organic Country Choice Cookies, Oatmeal
Eden Foods (Edensoy) Meridian Foods (UK) Snacks, Whole Grains, Beverages, Canned Foods, Japanese Foods
Maldon Sea Salt Maldon and Essex Salt Makers Salt
Suzie’s ??? Whole Grain Snacks
Ian’s Natural Foods Ian’s Natural Foods Kids Snacks, Entrees, Breakfast
Doctor Kracker Kracker Enterprises LLC Crackers
Lakefront Brewery Lakefront Brewery LLC Beer – Organic ESP
Cal Organic Cal Organic Produce
Grimmway Farms Cal Organic Produce
San J San Jirushi Corporation of Japan Soy Sauce, Tamari, Marinades
Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Growers Cooperative Almonds, Nut Thins, Almond Milk
XOXOXO (Chocolove) Chocolate Chocolove Inc. Chocolate Bars
Terra Nostra Chocolate KFM Foods International Chocolate Bars
Vivani Chocolate (German) Vivani (Internatural Foods, LLC) Chocolate Bars
Endangered Species Chocolate Company Endangered Species Chocolate, LLC Chocolate Bar
Theo Chocolate Theo Chocolate Chocolate Bars
Edward & Sons Edward & Sons Trading Company Japanese Food (Miso, Panko, Brown Rice Crackers)
Let’s Do…Organic Edward & Sons Trading Company Candy – Gummi Bears, Licorice, Tapioca
Native Forest Edward & Sons Trading Company Fruits and Vegetables (Canned)
Nature Factor Edward & Sons Trading Company Coconut Products
Premier Japan Edward & Sons Trading Company Sauces, Asian
Road’s End Organics Edward & Sons Trading Company Pastas, Mixes, Sauces
The Wizard’s Saucery Edward & Sons Trading Company Sauces, Vegan (great label!)
Samuel Smith Organic Beer Merchant du Vin Corporation (England) Beer (Ales, Stouts, Fruit Beers)
Newman’s Own Organics Newman’s Own Cookies, Snacks, Teas, Oils, Coffee
Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water CG Roxane Water Company Water Products (Sierra Nevada Spring)
Vermont Mystic Pie Company Vermont Mystic Pie Company Pies
Sunergia Soyfoods Sunergia Soyfoods Soy Cheese, Tofu
Nasoya Foods Vitasoy Soy Products – Tofu, Sauces
Vitasoy Vitasoy Soy Milk
Azumaya Vitasoy Noodle Soup, Pasta, Wraps, Tofu
Lesser Evil Snacks Lesser Evil Brand Snack Company Snacks – Popcorn, Potato Sticks
New Morning Attune Foods Cereals
Erewhon Attune Foods Cereals
Oregon Chai Kerry Group, PLC Tea, Chai
Choice Organic Teas Granum, Inc. Tea
Alvita IdeaSphere Inc. Tea
BossaNova Suprefruit Juice Bossa Nova Company Juices with Acai Berry
Zoe’s Granola Zoe’s Foods Granola, Energy Bars, Cereals
thinkOrganic, thinkGreen think Brands Energy Bars
ECO Meal EcoMeal Inc. Dairy, Nuts, Grains, Beverages
popchips Popchips Company Potato Chips
Pannela Pannela Foods LLC Juices, Cane Sugar Based
I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter (Trader Joe’s SoyNut Butter) The SoyNut Butter Company Soy-based Peanut Butter Substitute
Funky Monkey Snacks Funky Monkey Snacks Fruit, Dried
Wedderspoon Honey (New Zealand) Wedderspoon Organic Inc. Honey, Manuka Variety
mix 1 Tri-Us LLC Beverages, Protein Drinks, Energy Bars
Melitta Coffee Melitta Coffee USA Coffee
Baronet Coffee Baronet Gourmet Coffee Inc. Coffee
Yummy Earth Lollipops YummyEarth Candy, Lollipops
Hearts & Minds Hearts & Minds LLC Peanut Butter, w/ Omega-3
Eddie’s Pasta InterNatural Foods Pasta
O.N.E. Natural Experience O.N.E. World Enterprises Beverages, Fruit
Manitoba Harvest Manitoba Harvest Hemp Products (Milk, Seed, Protein, Oil)
Living Harvest Hempmilk Living Harvest Foods, Inc. Hemp Milk and Hemp Oil
Texmati, Jasmati (Rice Select) RiceSelect Rice, Rice Blends
Madhava – Sweeteners Madhava Honey Sweeteners – Honey, Agave
FruitaBu FruitBu Fruit Snacks, Tea
Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods Right Foods Soups, Oatmeal
Cafe Altura Clean Foods, Inc. Coffee
Tasty Bite Indian Preferred Brands International Indian, Thai Foods
Scarpetta Sauces Sauces ‘n Love Tomato Sauce, Italian Fine Foods
Annie Chun’s Meals Noodle Bowls, Sushi, Sauces
FoxRiver Rice Fox River Rice, Inc. Rice Blends
Sensible Foods Sensible Foods LLC Dried Fruit
Rapunzel Family Owned Baking Products, Chocolate, Oils, Mixes
Koyo Organic None Japenese Foods – Udon Noodles, Sauces, Rice Cakes
Real Foods Company Real Foods Company Commercial Foods – Tzatziki, Sauces, Side Dishes
Harvest Bay Beverages Harvest Bar Company Beverages – Coconut, Acai Berry
Ener-G Foods Ener-G Foods, Inc. Grain Products – Breads, Cookies, Pastas, Flours, Cereals
Steaz Beverages Healthy Beverage Company Teas – Iced Teas, Energy Drinks
Old Wessex Ltd. Old Wessex Ltd. Hot Cereal, Oatmeal
Woodstock Farms Woodstock Farms Inc. Grains, Applesauce, Canned Goods, Condiments, Juices, Milk, Salads
Go Naturally Hillside Candy Hard Candies
BoraBora Bars Wellements Bars Energy Bars
Cafe Sanora Wellements Coffee
Green Mountain Gringo TW Garner Food Company Chips, Salsa
Vita Spelt Purity Foods Inc. Bread Products – Cereals, Flours, Granola, Pastas, Pretzels
Food Should Taste Good Sherbrooke Capital Chips – Exotic, Snacks
Miguel’s Organic Chips Middlebury Partners Chips, Salsa, Plantains
Rising Moon Rising Moon Organics Italian Foods – Pastas, Pizzas, Ravioli
Bionaturae Euro-USA Trading Co., Inc. Pastas, Olive Oil, Tomato Sauces, Fruit Spreads
Wildwood Pulmuone Wildwood Soy and Tofu Products
Whole Soy and Co Whole Soy and Co Soy Yogurt and Ice Cream
Natural by Nature Natural by Nature Dairy – Milk, Cream, Cheese, Yogurts
Applegate Farms Applegate Farms – (Dietz & Watson partnership) Meat – Cold Cuts, Frozen Beef, Hot Dogs, Bacon
Himalania Organic Himalania Goji Berries, Pink Salt
Alvarado St. Bakery Alvarado St. Bakery Breads, Sprouted Grain, Bagels, Tortillas
Annie’s Naturals Solera Capital Dressings, Marinades, Sauces, Condiments
Pacific Natural Foods Pacific Foods of Oregon, Inc. Soups, Teas, Soy, Pizzas, Mates
365 Organics Whole Foods Beverages, snacks, supplements
Barbara’s Bakery Barbara’s Bakery Inc (Sunfield Farms) Cereal, Snacks
ZenSoy ZenSoy Soy Pudding, Soy Milk
SweetLeaf Sweetener Wisdom Natural Brands (United American Industries, Inc) Stevia Products
Vitalicious Vitalicious, Inc. Snacks, low calorie
Healthy Handfuls Healthy Handfuls, Inc. Snacks
Attune Probiotic Bars Attune Foods Energy Bars
Melissa’s World Variety Produce, Inc Produce Baskets, exotic
Amy’s Foods Amy’s Kitchen, Inc. Frozen foods, Soups, Pizzas, Snacks
Lundberg Family Farms Lundberg Family Rice, Rice Products, Snacks
Tony Chacere’s Family Owned Seasoning, Sausage, Turduchens
The Republic of Tea The Republic of Tea Teas
Numi Tea Numi LLC Teas, Bottled Tea
Traditional Medicinals Traditional Medicinals Herbal Teas


Our distinction for calling a brand agribusiness is based on whether or not they are part of a corporate conglomerate whose main focus is not organics. Parent companies whose primary business is organics were placed in the independent category because often, they were the pioneers in using organic, healthy ingredients in the marketplace long before it was a popular choice.

Many of the brand labels you see listed in the ‘Agribusiness’ section (like Green & Black’s for example) were once organic pioneers in their respective fields – so this may cause you some confusion; thats exactly why this chart was made. Many (but not all) agribusiness interests count on you not being able to associate their organic labels with the parent company. We believe this is a dishonest practice. With the price premiums that are now attached with organics, buyers need to understand the marketplace more fully so they can make educated decisions.

Mind you, this is not a slight against agribusiness. We long for the day when Unilever and Kraft offer only organic products. Additionally, we are not suggesting that these agribusiness firms are no longer innovating – quite the contrary. Organics are one of the major agribuisness initiatives currently sweeping over the food marketplace and that is great for everyone. Still, a destinction needs to be made between market participants for whom organics is just another market segment versus companies that have fully embodied organic product lines from Day 1.

We have also chosen to include firms owned by venture capitalists and private investors as independent, even though most of these brands are likely being built to be sold to agribusiness interests at a later date for substantial profit.

Also note that this chart is designed for an American audience. International ones may follow if demand warrants.

If you have additional information to add to this chart, please contact Nutrition Wonderland at info@nutritionwonderland.com. Please include any necessary references.


Posted in food industry, Research | 2 Comments »

“yummy” is bad

Posted by jeanne on August 10, 2011

i’ve started getting persistent arthritis symptoms not caused by ‘age’ but by exposure to something in my diet.

Is this Flavor Enhancer Making You and Your Children Sick and Fat?

Anthony Gucciardi
August 9, 2011

 investigation 210x146 Is this Flavor Enhancer Making You and Your Children Sick and Fat?
Obesity has run rampant across the globe to such a degree that even infant obesity is now turning into an epidemic. The problem has become so drastic that babies are now given anti-obesity drugs in the womb, medicated with weight loss pharmaceuticals before they are even born. Even more horrendous than climbing childhood obesity rates are adult obesity rates, which continue to skyrocket across not only the United States but the entire world population. What could be the cause of such a global health crisis? While there certainly is not a single factor to blame, one major player may be the integration of monosodium glutamate (MSG) into the average diet of both children and adults.

MSG is a deceptive “flavor enhancer” that has an extremely sweet taste and is widely used by the restaurant industry to make otherwise bad and unhealthy food taste delicious. Chemically, MSG is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid. Considering that it is derived from a natural source, shouldn’t it be of no danger to the body? After all, it is derived from an amino acid, which are considered the building blocks of life. The truth is that MSG, just like aspartame, is a toxic substance that has been found to damage the body in a number of ways — despite being “naturally” extracted from a non-essential amino acid. The problem is that when a singular amino acid is extracted from a complex food, and increases the concentration to unnatural proportions, glutamic acid can have devastating health effects. (See: Foods highest in glutamic acid)

In fact, MSG has been found to directly damage not only your neurological tissue, but has been found to lead to endocrine disruption throughout your body associated with metabolic syndrome. The reason for this lies within the relationship between MSG and the cells in your body. Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon, has described MSG as an excitotoxin. What this means is that MSG is so potent that it “excites” your cells to the point of death or damage, leading to varying degrees of brain damage. The result is the triggering of learning disabilities and neurological issues. Even the FDA has spoken out about the link between neurological diseases and MSG:

Studies have shown that the body uses glutamate, an amino acid, as a nerve impulse transmitter in the brain and that there are glutamate-responsive tissues in other parts of the body, as well.

Abnormal function of glutamate receptors has been linked with certain neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s chorea. Injections of glutamate in laboratory animals have resulted in damage to nerve cells in the brain.

According to the FDA, MSG Symptom Complex can involve symptoms such as:

  • Numbness
  • Burning sensation
  • Tingling
  • Facial pressure or tightness
  • Chest pain or difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness

The Obesity Connection

Aside from damaging major parts of your biology, MSG consumption may also be making you fatter. The University of North Carolina as well as a number of other organizations have found that those who use MSG are more likely to be overweight or obese than those who do not yet have the same amount of physical activity and calorie intake. Researchers from UNC teamed up with Chinese scientists to examine 750 Chinese men and women, aged between 40 and 59, in three rural villages in north and south China. With 82% of participants using MSG in their food, researchers created 3 different groups of eaters based on the amount of MSG they use. The results were quite shocking.

The group who used the most MSG were 3 times more likely to be overweight than non-users. Again, all of the groups had the SAME amount of physical activity and calorie intake!

Later in 2011, the study would continue on to find even more astounding information. Led by Ka He, a nutrition expert at the University of North Carolina, the researchers followed 10,000 adults in China for about 5.5 years on average. The intake in Asian countries is considerably higher than the United States so the results will be amplified in China verses the U.S., though that is beginning to change. Americans are consuming more and more MSG in processed food products such as chips and canned soups even when it is not labeled. Still,  Americans’ typical daily intake of MSG is estimated to be only about 1/2 a gram, whereas estimates for Japan and Korea have much wider ranges, averaging as much as 10 grams per day.

Studying the intake of MSG in a wider range of participants and for a longer period of time, the results matched the previous study. Those who consumed the most MSG (a median of 5 grams a day) were about 30% more likely to become overweight by the end of the study than those who consumed the least amount of the flavoring (less than a half-gram a day), the researchers found. Participants still had the same physical activity and calorie intake. Furthermore, the risk rose to 33 percent when excluding those who were overweight at the beginning of the study.

The leader of the study, Ka He, summarized his thoughts on the findings:

Everybody eats it. This could spell trouble for many Americans, as aside from impacting your brain and nervous system, as I’ll discuss below, it may also be making you fat.

Regular consumption of MSG certainly will lead to a higher obesity risk, as it will lead to additional weight with each additional gram consumed per day. If the obesity risk is not enough, it also damages the cells in your body and may lead to neurological damage. There is simply no reason to choose MSG over a natural and safe alternative such as stevia.


GreenMedInfo – The Flavor Enhancer That Sickens

Posted in food industry, Research | 1 Comment »

i eat a lot of spices – is that bad?

Posted by jeanne on July 18, 2011

i eat a lot of spices.  i got it into my head that spices are good for you, and started doubling up whenever i made a pumpkin pie or a batch of oatmeal cookies.  and then i started making home made ice cream for diabetics, altered a recipe for ‘chocolate for grownups’ to suit, and tripled and fourpled the spices simply because they’re hard to taste when cold.

i filled an empty mrs. dash shaker (jumbo size) with a spice mixture that i made up out of tubs of ground spice.  it was the usual, cinammon, cloves and nutmeg, and at one point i had cookies with cardamom in them and loved it, so i added a good dose of that.  and then i found some powdered ginger one day, and stuck that in too.

the last time i made ice cream, i shook in half a cup of my ground spice mixture, along with a heaping tsp of chili powder and an ounce of pulverized coffee.  this is for a half gallon of ice cream.

and we love it.  we’ve been eating it for over a year, every night.  it’s type-2 diabetic for thin-variant type 2s, so eating it doesn’t raise anybody’s blood sugar.  it’s not very sweet at all, and whenever i forcefeed a guest with a tiny taste they make a face, so it can’t be very sweet at all.  it’s got lots of fat – a lot of milkfat and a bunch of coconut oil to help fatten up a thin type 2 diabetic with low cholesterol and no heart troubles.  i’ve posted the recipe elsewhere.

recently 100% of the people eating this ice cream have developed sore, painful joints in the morning.  in the last month or two.  analyzing our diets, i wonder if maybe i’m not dosing us with too many spices.  and that maybe the spices are causing arthritis symptoms.

so i am here to check it out.


In addition to diabetes, Cassia cinnamon is used for gas (flatulence), muscle and stomach spasms, preventing nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, infections, the common cold, and loss of appetite.

Some people use it for erectile dysfunction (ED), hernia, bed-wetting, joint conditions, menopausal symptoms, menstrual problems, and to cause abortions. Cassia cinnamon is also used for chest pain, kidney disorders, high blood pressure, cramps, cancer, and as a “blood purifier.”

It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken in large amounts, long-term. Taking large amounts of cassia cinnamon might cause side effects in some people. Cassia cinnamon can contain large amounts of a chemical called coumarin. In people who are sensitive, coumarin might cause or worsen liver disease.

When applied to the skin, cassia cinnamon can sometimes cause skin irritation and allergic skin reactions.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of cassia cinnamon during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetes: Cassia cinnamon can affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully, if you have diabetes and use cassia cinnamon in amounts larger than the amounts normally found in food.

Liver disease: Cassia cinnamon contains some chemicals that might harm the liver. If you have liver disease, don’t take cassia cinnamon in amounts larger than the amounts normally found in food.

Surgery: Cassia cinnamon might affect blood sugar and might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking cassia cinnamon at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
from webmd


Clove is used for upset stomach and as an expectorant. Expectorants make it easier to cough up phlegm. Clove oil is used for diarrhea, hernia, and bad breath. Clove and clove oil are used for intestinal gas, nausea, and vomiting.

Clove is applied directly to the gums (used topically) for toothache, for pain control during dental work, and for a complication of tooth extraction called “dry socket.” It is also applied to the skin as a counterirritant for pain and for mouth and throat inflammation. In combination with other ingredients, clove is also applied to the skin as part of a multi-ingredient product used to keep men from reaching orgasm too early (premature ejaculation).
from webmd

In general, the use of cloves is regarded as safe for food use; however, when taken in large doses in its undiluted oil form or in clove cigarettes, side effects may occur.  These include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Sore Throat
  • Seizure
  • Sedation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hematemesis
  • Kidney Failure
  • Liver damage
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Prolonged ejaculation
  • Seizure
  • Stomach irritation

Although the most common complaint of large doses of cloves is GI upset, those with kidney or liver disorders should avoid large doses of cloves.  Serious side effects are more commonly reported in young children.  There is insufficient evidence for cloves and its use in pregnancy or nursing.

Those with bleeding disorders and those taking medications that thin the blood, may be at risk for increased bleeding if ingesting cloves or clove oil.  There has been one reported case of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) in a patient using cloves by mouth. 

If clove oil is applied to the skin or inside the mouth, the patient can experience burning, loss of sensation, tissue damage and an increased risk of cavities and sore lips.  Burns and contact dermatitis (rash) is more common if using undiluted clove oil directly on the skin or mouth.

There is a chance the clove oil taken orally may lower blood sugar levels based on an infant case.  Therefore, those with diabetes or hypoglycemia or those taking drugs or supplements that affect blood sugar are cautioned against the use of clove oil and blood glucose levels may need to be monitored and medication adjustments made as needed.
from altmed


Nutmeg and mace are used for diarrhea, nausea, stomach spasms and pain, and intestinal gas. They are also used for treating cancer, kidney disease, and trouble sleeping (insomnia); increasing menstrual flow; causing a miscarriage; as a hallucinogen; and as a general tonic.

Nutmeg and mace are applied to the skin to kill pain, especially pain caused by achy joints (rheumatism), mouth sores, and toothache.

In foods, nutmeg and mace are used as spices and flavorings.

Nutmeg and mace are UNSAFE in doses larger than amounts found in foods. Side effects such as thirst, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, feelings of pressure in the chest or stomach, dry mouth, stomach pain, and many other problems might occur in some people. More serious side effects might include hallucinations, seizures, and death.
from webmd


Cardamom is used for digestion problems including heartburn, intestinal spasms, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), intestinal gas, constipation, liver and gallbladder complaints, and loss of appetite. It is also used for common cold, cough, bronchitis, sore mouth and throat, and tendency toward infection. Some people use cardamom as a stimulant and for urinary problems.

The cardamom seed can trigger gallstone colic (spasmodic pain).
from webmd


Ginger is commonly used to treat various types of “stomach problems,” including motion sickness, morning sickness, colic, upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, nausea caused by cancer treatment, nausea and vomiting after surgery, as well as loss of appetite.

Other uses include treating upper respiratory tract infections, cough, and bronchitis.

Fresh ginger is used for treating acute bacterial dysentery, baldness, malaria, poisonous snake bites, rheumatism, migraineheadache, and toothaches.

Dried ginger is used for chest pain, low back pain, and stomach pain.

Some people pour the fresh juice on their skin to treat burns. The oil made from ginger is sometimes applied to the skin to relieve pain.

Some people can have mild side effects including heartburn, diarrhea, and general stomach discomfort. When ginger is applied to the skin, it may cause irritation.

Bleeding disorders: Taking ginger might increase your risk of bleeding. Avoid using it.

Diabetes: Ginger might lower your blood sugar. As a result, your diabetes medications might need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.

Heart conditions: High doses of ginger might worsen some heart conditions. Don’t use ginger if you have a heart condition.
from webmd

in general, these spices are good for you, and help regulate or lower blood sugar, and most of them are blood thinners.  they’re good for digestion, pain, and seem to be some sort of sex aid, possibly topical (i saw one ingredient list containing toad venom).

so that’s not what’s making my hands and feet sore in the morning.  maybe it’s old age.

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another few facts about msg

Posted by jeanne on June 16, 2011

i’ve said it for years, and now looks like there’s indication that eats the brain. like a zombie.

MSG: The Flavor Enhancer That Sickens In Two Ways

Post date: Thursday, June 16, 2011 – 14:36

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) contributes to illness in two distinct ways: 1) It makes food that is bad for us taste really, really, really good.  2) It is a toxic chemical that directly damages neurological tissue, as well as induces generalized endocrine disruption throughout the body associated with metabolic syndrome.
So, What is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)?
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a commonly used “flavor enhancer,” and so powerful that arguably you could spray it on roadkill and it would taste good. This omnipresent ingredient in modern mass market food takes advantage of our biologically hard-wired taste receptors, and makes it very hard to stop eating the foods “seasoned” with this ingredient. In fact, it is doubtful that without the MSG trick many of these mass market processed foods would be palatable enough to maintain their status as economically viable commodities.

Common “Tricky” MSG Synonyms
Technically MSG is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid. Glutamic rich foods include wheat, dairy, corn, soy, seafood, etc. (Foods Highest In Glutamic Acid). The “YUMMY!” sensation that occurs immediately after ingesting a MSG (or various synonyms, e.g. hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed yeast) laced morsel the Japanese call umami (meaning: savoriness) and is considered one of five basic tastes.  The problem is that when one isolates out of a complex food a singular amino acid, and increase the concentration to unnatural proportions (and without the hundreds of checks and balances Nature provides in the context of a whole food), glutamic acid can have devastating health effects.

MSG Synonyms:
Glutamic Acid
Hydrolyzed protein
Autolyzed protein
Textured protein
Yeast extract
Autolyzed yeast extract
Protein isolate
Soy sauce
Modified food starch
Modified corn starch
Calcium caseinate
Sodlium caseinate
Natural flavor
Monopotassium glutamate
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Hydrolyzed plant protein
Textured protein
Yeast food
Yeast nutrient
Torula yeast
SOURCE: Indigo Earth
Monosodium Glutamate Causes Excitotoxicity
One of the primary adverse effects associated with excess glutamic acid is excitotoxicity, a form of neurotoxicity where neurons are stimulates to the point of cell death. Repeated excitotoxic events can result in neuronal lesions and loss of cognitive function. While there are a number of natural substances that mitigate this type of excitotoxicity, the best choice is to reduce the consumption of glutamic acid (as well as its “twin” excitotoxic non-essential amino acid aspartic acid) rich foods if there is a pre-existing neurological condition such as migraines, epilepsy or multiple sclerosis, to name but a few.
John Symes has written an excellent document on the benefits of the Glutamic and Aspartic Acid Reduced Diet (GARD Diet) here.

More Than Just An Excitotoxic Agent
Recently Dr. Mercola featured the connection between MSG and obesity.  While excessive food cravings caused by MSG’s taste-enhancing effects figure into this relationship, research from the US National Library of Medicine indexed on our site shows that MSG may directly cause hypothalamic lesions that result in elevated insulin, insulin resistance and leptin resistance (leptin suppresses appetite).
It is becoming clear that MSG can no longer be considered simply a “flavor enhancer” but an intrinsically harmful chemical with endocrine disruptive properties . Research we have collected shows that MSG actively contributes to metabolic syndrome, obesity, fatty liver, dysregulated blood lipids, as well as a wide range of neurological problems.

Posted in food industry, Research | Leave a Comment »

chemicals to avoid if you can

Posted by jeanne on June 14, 2011

15-Toxic-Trespassers from women’s voices for the earth


Products It Lurks In Potential Health Problems Avoiding It
No More Toxic Tub
Products that create suds, like shampoo, liquid soap, bubble bath, hair relaxers – cancer
– birth defects
Read labels to avoid chemicals that may signal the presence of 1,4-dioxane, like sodium laureth sulfate, PEG, “ceteareth”, and “oleth”.
Household Hazards
Glass cleaners, all-purpose spray cleaners – reduced fertility
– low birth weight
Make your own non-toxic cleaners with WVE’s recipes, or buy from the few companies that disclose all ingredients on the label and look to avoid it.
Alkyl phenol ethoxylates (APEs)
Household Hazards
Laundry detergents, stain removers, and all-purpose cleaners – reproductive harm Make your own non-toxic cleaners with WVE’s recipes, or buy from the few companies that disclose all ingredients on the label and look to avoid it.
Ammonium quaternary compounds
Disinfectant Overkill
Some disinfectant sprays, toilet cleaners, alcohol-free hand sanitizers – occupational asthma
– decreased fertility and birth defects
Reduce your use of disinfectant products; download WVE’s Reduce Your Use of Disinfectants fact sheet for ideas.
Bisphenol-A (BPA)
No Silver Lining
Plastics like baby bottles, sippy cups, water bottles, and children’s toys; can linings – breast cancer
– early puberty
– hormone disruption
Opt for fresh or frozen foods instead of canned, look for plastics labeled “BPA-free” and never microwave plastic.
Glossed Over
The Blowup on Blowouts
Some nail products, shampoos, body washes, chemical hair straighteners – cancer
– skin and respiratory irritation
Look for nail polishes and hardeners labeled “three-free” or “formaldehyde-free” and avoid chemical hair straighteners.
Toxic Products Marketed to Black Women
Skin lighteners – cancer
– immune system damage
– reproductive and developmental harm
Avoid skin lighteners with hydroquinone listed on the label.
A Poison Kiss
Pretty Scary
Some lipsticks and other cosmetics, sunscreens, whitening toothpastes, children’s face paint – reproductive and developmental harm
– nerve, joint, and muscle disorders
– heart, bone, and kidney problems
Contact the company and ask if lead is a contaminant in the product.
Monoethanolamine (MEA)
Household Hazards
Some laundry detergents, all-purpose cleaners and floor cleaners – occupational asthma Make your own cleaners with WVE’s recipes or buy from the few companies that disclose all ingredients on the label and look to avoid it.
PBDEs (Flame retardants)
Flame Retardants in Baby Products
Polyurethane foam padding in furniture, children’s products – reproductive and developmental harm
– thyroid hormone disruption
Avoid products containing polyurethane foam which indicate “TB117 compliant” on the label.
Look for products stuffed with cotton, polyester or wool instead of foam.
Glossed Over
What’s That Smell?
Not So Sexy
Fragrances in cleaning products, personal care products, cosmetics & nail polish – reduced fertility
– increased risk of breast cancer
– genital malformations in baby boys
– increased allergic symptoms and asthma in children
Avoid products with synthetic fragrance; look for fragrance with essential oils or products labeled “fragrance-free.” Look for nail polishes labeled “three-free” or “phthalate-free.”
Sodium laureth sulfate
No More Toxic Tub
Soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, and products that create suds – products containing these chemicals may contain 1,4-dioxane (see above) Read labels to avoid products containing sodium laureth sulfate.
Synthetic musks: galaxolide and tonalide
What’s That Smell?
Fragrances, such as in cleaning products and personal care products – hormone disruption
– breakdown of the body’s defenses against other toxic exposures
– increased risk of breast cancer
Avoid products with synthetic fragrance; look for fragrance with essential oils or products labeled “fragrance-free.”
Glossed Over
Nail salon products – headache, dizziness, fatigue
– eyes, nose & throat irritation
– reproductive and developmental harm
Look for nail polishes labeled “three-free” or “toluene-free.”
Disinfectant Overkill
Antibacterial hand & dish soaps, some disinfectant products, tartar-control toothpastes, fragrance – hormone disruption
– potential increased risk of breast cancer
Avoid antibacterial hand soap, and read labels to avoid products containing triclosan as an active ingredient

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our bellies are smarter than our heads

Posted by jeanne on April 30, 2011

Mind-Gut Connection: Why Intestinal Bacteria May Have Important Effects on Your Brain

Anybody who’s ever “listened to their gut” when making important decisions might be satisfied to learn of the biochemical evidence for the mind/belly connection.
April 29, 2011

Photo Credit: Randomidea

Most children seem determined to eat dirt. It may be a coincidence, but what those little mud pie makers appear to intuit is now being supported by a growing body of scientific evidence that early exposure to diverse microorganisms results in healthier immune systems. Now there’s reason to think that intestinal bacteria have important effects on brain development as well.

A study published in the March issue of Neurogastroenterology & Motility examined germ-free mice — i.e. mice deprived of contact with bacteria at a formative age. The researchers observed changes in brain activity based on varying microbe levels. They also found germ-free mice more likely to engage in risky behavior — measured as time spent in areas where they could be seen — than mice with normal levels of intestinal flora.

The study concludes that this constitutes evidence of bacteria in the loop between belly and brain, and influencing behavioral development.

A separate study, published last November in Archives of General Psychiatry, surveyed the scientific literature for evidence of a connection between gut microbes and depression, and suggested that certain bacteria might be considered as treatment for depression.

Discoveries such as these support the decades-old “Hygiene Hypothesis,” which postulates that hyper-sterile environments, widespread use of antimicrobial soaps, and general paranoia about bacteria are responsible for many so-called “diseases of civilization,” like asthma, allergies, and other autoimmune disorders. The recently discovered importance of bacteria in brain function helps deepen understanding of our relationship with these ancient organisms.

Anybody who’s ever “listened to their gut” when making important decisions might be satisfied to learn of this biochemical evidence for the mind/belly connection. The mechanism by which mouse-belly microbes might influence mice brains isn’t known. There is speculation that the vagus nerve is a likely conduit.

The vagus nerve connects the brain to several parts of the digestive system. It’s what tells your brain how hungry you are, based on what it senses in your belly. The vagus nerve has also been shown to carry signals initiated by bacteria. Staphylococcus can attack the vagus nerve and induce vomiting. Salmonella infections have been shown to affect brain activity, a connection lost when the vagus nerve is severed.

However mouse gut bacteria exert their influence on the brain, the fact that they do so, on top of all of the other cooperative relationships we’ve been discovering with bacteria, is amazing. And it makes me wonder who’s really in charge. Are we simply hosting these creatures, or driving them around as well? When kids eat dirt, is it because the bacteria are telling them to?

Although we have a clear size advantage on the bacteria we harbor, they dramatically outnumbered us. And on the genetic level, bacteria bring far more to the table. Of the 3 million different genes identifiable in our bodies, only 30,000 are human genes. We share those additional millions of bacterial genes with thousands of different species.

The species lines in bacteria can be fuzzier than with mammals. I’m a lot less likely to exchange DNA with my dog than are two bacterium with each other. The genetic mixing is greatly assisted by bacteriophages: viruses that infect bacteria. Some of the most numerous and widely distributed creatures in the biosphere, bacteriophages are viruses that attack bacteria. They usually insert some of their own genetic information into the host, while helping themselves to what looks good in the host’s genetic fridge. Then they move on to the next bacteria and do it again, spreading genes as they go. When we speak of bacterial populations it’s a given that there is an associated bacteriophage population greasing the wheels of whatever’s going on.

A recent study found large amount of bacteriophage DNA in kimchi, suggesting a significant role of bacteriophages in the fermentation process. Kimchi is just one of many bacteria-rich (and presumably phage-rich) foods, like yogurt and sauerkraut, that many people consider to be superfoods. There are countless kinds of fermented foods in many diets, both old and new.

The Paleo diet — short for Paleolithic — is a modern diet that’s based on the foods humans would have had access to during our evolutionary formative years. According to the Paleo diet, modern-day foods like sugar, grains, and processed carbohydrates shift the balance toward undesirable flora, while animal- and vegetable-based dishes, including fermented foods and vinegar, encourage good bacteria. It’s no wonder, according to the Paleo worldview, that foods that have been with us since the beginning are the ones that keep our bodies in proper balance-with the help of our old friends bacteria.

The “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” (GAPS) diet (it’s also the name of the related book) is built on the premise of a link between mental and intestinal health. The diet mixes probiotic supplements with a regimen of foods designed to tilt the playing field so the good bacteria take over.

Probiotic supplements are essentially “good bacteria” by the millions, in pill form. Doctors often recommend them after a round of antibiotics, which can kill the good bacteria in your body along with the bad.

Much of what we’re learning in labs is validating ancient wisdom, like the importance of fermented foods. And along these bacterial lines, science is also finding an important function for an organ it once dismissed as a useless evolutionary relic: the appendix. Now they’re realizing that the appendix probably has immunological functions related to the fact that it acts as a reservoir of spare bacteria in case your gut flora gets killed off or flushed out, say, in a nasty bout of diarrhea.

We’re still at the beginning of the bacterial learning curve. A research team recently determined that humans can be classified into three categories depending on the type of bacteria in their guts. Such bacterial affiliation is found in all humans, and is unrelated to race or to the gut-bacteria type of one’s parents. At this point we have no idea what this means, or where it will lead.

But we can be sure that as we continue learning about our relationship with bacteria, kids will continue eating nature’s probiotic wherever they can find it. And the more we learn, the smarter they seem.

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meat glue

Posted by jeanne on April 10, 2011

what more need i say?  gluing meat together so scrap looks like prime.  it’s basically msg on steroids, it’s got to be bad for you, and of course, it’s not regulated and we consumers know nothing about it.

let’s have a look.

transglutaminase.  from the wikipedia entry:

It can be used as a binding agent to improve the texture of protein-rich foods such as surimi or ham.

Transglutaminase is also used in molecular gastronomy to meld new textures with existing tastes.

Transglutaminase can be used in these applications:

  • Improving texture of emulsified meat products, such as sausages and hot dogs.
  • Binding different meat parts into a larger ones (“portion control”), such as in restructured steaks
  • Improving the texture of low-grade meat such as so-called “PSE meat” (pale, soft, and exudative meat, whose characteristics are attributed to stress and a rapid postmortem pH decline)
  • Making milk and yogurt creamier
  • Making noodles firmer

there are problems with meat made up of chunks, oxidation and food poisoning being two of them.  transglutamase has also been implicated in huntington’s and parkinson’s diseases, as well as celiac disease.

here’s an interesting uninformed speculation.  given the polymerizing action of translutamase –

Transglutaminases form extensively cross-linked, generally insoluble protein polymers. These biological polymers are indispensable for the organism to create barriers and stable structures. Examples are blood clots (coagulation factor XIII), as well as skin and hair.

– maybe this would be another reason why you’d want to cook the hell out of it before you ate it.

it’s made by ajinomoto, under the tradename activa rm, and costs about a hundred dollars for about a kilo of white powder.  ajinomoto makes msg.

last year the eu first approved, and then banned its use on safety grounds.  but because its a good way of using cheaper meat and getting more for it, it’s evidently used all the time.  it’s considered safe by the fda – gras – and it’s one of the stars of the new cuisine.

here’s a video lecture on meat glue in the industry.

here’s a news report on meat glue.

think mcnuggets, but they don’t have to label it.  think fake crabmeat.  noticed a creamier yogurt lately?  maybe that’s what’s doing it.  blood clotting agent.

being transglutaminase, does it contain msg?  is it the same thing?  does it have the same neurotransmitter effect that msg has?  i can’t tell.  but i’ll keep my eye out and let you know.  in the meantime, it may be that it’s best to avoid most boneless meat roasts, as well as all that other crap we know is bad.

Posted in food industry, Research | 2 Comments »