• baclofen dystonia http://foggiachat.altervista.o...kwd=730710 natural antabuse tretinoin acne cream buy clomiphene citrate online
  • finasteride medscape medicamento ciprofloxacino para que sirve http://www.nanoqam.uqam.ca/ico...in-expired what is celecoxib 200 mg used for buy albuterol online
    achat cialis sur internet avis avis sur cialis http://innovezdanslesimplants....page=75559 forum avis levitra tadalafil le moins cher viagra montreal comprimidos kamagra oral jelly kamagra bestellen cialis ou viagra achat achat cialis angleterre trouve clic mas acheter tadalafil generique achat cialis suisse

    Archive for the ‘FDA’ Category

    2011: A Year to Remember (and Forget!)

    It wasn’t until I started compiling stories for this post that I realized just how much had taken place this year on issues of food, agriculture, and nutrition. While by no means a definitive list, I think it covers the most substantial events.

    So, if you’ve been spelunking in Antarctica for the past twelve months — or just want a short trip down memory lane — let’s review 2011, the year where:
    Continue Reading »

    Share

    The FDA Cracks Down on Food Labels, and I’m Left Cold

    51HAY3WT6BLThe nutrition blogosphere is abuzz with kudos, thumbs ups, and “You’re my Hero!” banners for the Food & Drug Administration now that they have gone after 18 companies (thank you, Marion Nestle, for that link) for front-of-package violations referring to nutrition claims.

    When I first found out of this development, I was eager to learn what companies had been busted.  After all, on a stroll through any supermarket aisle I usually find a handful of products that make exaggerated claims or make reference to healthful ingredients that, as revealed by the ingredient list, are found in miniscule amounts.

    Instead, the majority of the FDA’s list focuses on products that I consider mostly inoffensive.

    Here’s one example.  Spectrum’s Organics (pictured, right) is “busted” because their organic all-vegetable shortening has a banner on the front of the package advertising “0 grams of trans fat”, without also stating the product contains significant levels of total fat and saturated fat.

    So what?  Spectrum’s Organics is not advertising their product as “low fat”.  They are simply making a statement about trans fat.  What’s so misleading?

    The back of the container, meanwhile, accurately states that this shortening has less saturated fat than butter (one tablespoon of this shortening provides 6 grams of saturated fat, versus butter’s 7.3 grams per tablespoon.)

    According to the FDA, this claim does not meet a legal requirement.

    Spectrum’s Organics also correctly states that their all-vegetable shortening is “cholesterol-free”.  The FDA also has a problem with this from a legal standpoint, even though it is a true statement (no plant foods contain cholesterol).

    While I was certainly glad to see more misleading products — such as a green tea by Redco Foods that claims to help cure, prevent, or treat Alzheimer’s and cancer and POM Wonderful’s many hyped up  health claims for its pomegranate juices– called to the mat, I was mostly underwhelmed.

    Why doesn’t the FDA turn its attention to truly misleading health claims, like the “x grams of whole grains per serving” statements, which mean little and confuse lots?

    When Teddy Grahams that consist largely of white flour and offer a mere dusting of whole wheat flour advertise their “grams of whole grains per serving”, I think back to the amount of consumers I spoke with who thought that statement was in reference to grams of fiber per serving!

    At the very least, those statements should be accompanied by a “not a whole grain food” disclaimer!

    Share

    You Ask, I Answer: Organic vs. Genetically Modified

    soy millkI was at the store buying soy milk the other day.  I saw several brands that were organic, but [their ingredient lists] did not specify [the use of] non-genetically modified soybeans.

    Is that because organic soybeans are never genetically modified?

    In other words, does “organic” automatically mean NOT genetically modified?

    — Rebecca Baerth
    Chicago, IL

    Wonderful question!  Not surprisingly, the answer is a little convoluted.

    From a technical standpoint, the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 states that the term “organic” can not be used in reference to foods that are genetically modified.

    However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

    1. When the Organic Foods Production Act was drafted, genetically modified crops were nowhere near as prevalent as they are now.  It is estimated that 91 percent of soybeans grown in the United States in 2007 were genetically modified.  In 1990, there were absolutely NO genetically modified soybeans grown in the United States.
    2. Testing for genetic modification — and labeling products as “non-GMO” — is completely voluntary

    Since testing is voluntary, there is a possibility that organic products — especially those using soybeans — are contaminated with non-GMO crops.

    Therefore, if avoiding genetically modified foods is important to you, the absolute best way to ensure that is by purchasing products that are labeled non-GMO.

    Hopefully, the Food & Drug Administration will take a cue from other countries and impose mandatory testing and labeling in regards to genetic modification.

    Share

    You Ask, I Answer: “Other Carbohydrate” on Food Label

    FiberAfter reading your post on Fiber One cereal, I noticed the food label lists “other carbohydrate”.

    What does that mean?

    — Dustin Apasda
    St. Petersburg, FL

    According to regulations set by the Food & Drug Administration, all food labels must disclose the amount of total carbohydrates in a food or beverage product (except bottled water), and specify amounts of fiber and sugar (naturally-occurring and added).

    Consider the values on the Fiber One Honey Clusters cereal food label:

    • Carbohydrates: 42 grams
    • Dietary fiber: 13 grams
    • Sugar: 6 grams

    In this case, you are looking at a product that contains 23 grams of starch (42 grams of total carbohydrates minus 13 grams of fiber and 6 grams of sugar).

    And, ta-da, 23 grams happens to be the value for “other carbohydrate”!  Mystery solved.

    Back in the low-carb craze of 2003, many food companies advertised “net carbs”, a value obtained by subtracting fiber grams from total carbohydrates to determine the amonut of carbohydrate would have an effect on blood sugar levels.

    What most people don’t know is that the Food & Drug Administration never approved that terminology, nor considered it a nutritionally-relevant concept.  Not surprisingly, once the low-carb 2.0 craze went bust, the “net carbs” stickers soon disappeared off supermarket shelves.

    In any case, “other carbohydrates” is nothing more than food companies doing some basic math for you and letting you know how much of their product is starch.

    In a few cases, too, “other carbohydrates” factors in sugar alcohols like xylitol and maltitol.

    For consumers, “other carbohydrates” doesn’t have much meaning.  It’s certainly not worth fretting about.  The most important carbohydrate-related values you should be looking at are fiber and sugar.

    Share

    You Ask, I Answer: Is PAM Really Fat-Free?

    grilling_canThe posting on PAM you put up made me think about something else.

    The front of the can says PAM is “for fat-free cooking.”

    But if the first ingredient is oil, how can they get away with saying it’s fat-free?

    — Larissa Mergold
    (Location withheld)

    Great question!  This is a simple matter of nutrition label manipulation, which the Food & Drug Administration appears to have no qualms with.

    If you look at the back of a PAM spray bottle, you will see that one serving is considered a spray lasting a laughable third of a second.

    That odd length of time (which you would need bionic powers to determine) is used in order to get the highly marketable “0 calorie” and “0 grams of fat” figures on the nutrition label.

    It is very likely that a one-third-of-a-second spray contains 0.2 or 0.3 grams of fat.  As with trans fats, this can legally be rounded down to 0 grams and therefore qualify for a “fat-free” statement on the can.

    Interestingly, when comparing their cooking spray to oils, the PAM website uses a more realistic serving of a 1-second spray, which contains 7 calories and “<1 gram of fat.”

    Notice the “<1 gram of fat”?  That probably means you are looking at 0.8 or 0.9 grams.

    On a food label, they would have to round to the nearest whole number (in this case, 1) but since they are using the information for their website, they can get away with that wording.

    Share

    In The News: Drugs for Breakfast?

    cheeriosThank you to reader Kristina Hartman for sending me a link to Consumerist.com’s coverage of the latest Food & Drug Administration/Cheerios debacle.

    In short, the FDA fired off a letter to General Mills (maker of Cheerios) notifying them that:

    “Based on claims made on your product’s label [regarding clinical proof that Cheerios lowers cholesterol], we have determined that your Cheerios® Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug because the product is intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease.”

    In order to keep that health claim on their box, General Mills must submit a new drug application on behalf of their oat-based cereal.

    I’m torn.

    On the one hand, I personally would love ALL health claims taken off product packaging.  It’s gotten to the point where ridiculous stunts like boasting about the health benefits of a sprinkle of Omega-3 dust on a cracker are common practice.

    However, why is the idea of food as medicine so foreign?  This separation between “nutrition” and “medicine” (so prevalent in Western society) has led many doctors to foolishly reject the idea that nutrition therapy is effective.

    Share

    You Ask, I Answer: Lollipops/Calorie Labeling

    I know lollipops are pure sugar, but how many calories are in the average lollipop?

    I guess [I’m mostly asking about] Blowpops and Tootsie Pops.

    — Angela Wilphit
    (Location withheld)

    Although lollipops only contain carbohydrates (they are free of fats and protein), they are not 100% sugar.

    Blow Pops, for instance, contain 13 grams of sugar, but 17 grams of carbohydrate (the remaining four grams come from cornstarch.)

    Let’s answer your actual question, though.

    Each gram of carbohydrate contains four calories, so some simple math (17 x 4) tells us that these lollipops provide 68 calories.

    Not bad at all, considering that in the time it takes most people to finish a lollipop, they could have very well eaten 300 calories’ worth of Skittles.

    Here is where it gets interesting.

    Since the Food & Drug Administration allows food companies to round calorie values, the Blow Pop nutrition facts label displays sixty calories per lollipop.

    Mind you, the rules specifically mandate that food items with calorie values of fifty or higher express that number “to the nearest 10 calorie increment.”

    So, in reality, that nutrition label should be listing SEVENTY calories per lollipop!

    Share

    You Ask, I Answer: Stoneground Wheat

    I have seen a few breads labeled as “100% stoneground wheat.”

    Does that have any nutritional implications?

    Is it similar to a whole wheat bread?

    — Mariana (last name withheld)
    (city withheld), NJ

    The literal way to produce stoneground flour is to grind it solely in stone mills (rather than conventional roller mills.)

    Most conventional breads sold at supermarkets (which I assume are the ones you are asking about), however, use the term as a healthy-sounding catchphrase in an attempt to confuse consumers who are looking for healthier breads.

    The main problem here is that the Food & Drug Administration has not drafted a legal definition of “stoneground.” It can basically mean whatever food companies want it to mean!

    This is very much akin to the lack of definition of the term “natural ingredients,” which permitted 7-Up to launch a “made with all natural ingredients” campaign a few years back.

    Most major bread companies can get away with labeling their breads as “stone ground” if the flour has gone through a stone mill just one time.

    This is all irelevant, though. White flour has the same nutritional profile regardless of the type of mill it is processed in.

    The most important thing to look for when purchasing bread is that the first ingredient is a WHOLE flour.

    Any word other than whole — such as “stoneground”, “unbleached”, or “enriched” — means the main ingredient is white flour with virtually no fiber.

    Share

    You Ask, I Answer: Stevia

    What’s your take on Stevia versus other no-calorie sweeteners (Splenda, etc)?

    I generally use Splenda, but started to use stevia since it is supposed to be more ‘natural’ and ‘unprocessed.”

    — Jean (last name withheld)
    New York, NY

    I would rank Stevia as the most controversial no-calorie sweetener.

    Although it is plant-derived (thereby less artificial than Splenda, aspartame, or saccharin) and has been used in some countries (like Japan) for almost two decades, the United States was never open to it, citing concerns over rather shoddy animal studies showing apparent mutagenic properties of some components of the sweetener.

    It was banned in 1991, and when that ban was lifted three years later, the Food & Drug Administration refused to grant it GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status as a food additive, thereby only making it legal if sold as a supplement. Confused yet?

    I — and many others — suspect this had more to do with political motives than actual health concerns.

    Consider the fact that patented (hint: profitable) artificial sweeteners faced fewer legal roadblocks.

    Adding to that, once two multi-national bigshot corporations like Coca Cola and Cargill jointly developed — and patented — a Stevia-based sweetener (Truvia), the FDA had no problem granting them a green light.

    Although I don’t use it myself, I don’t have a problem with someone sweetening their morning coffee with a teaspoon or two of Stevia.

    What I want to point out about all these zero-calorie sweeteners, though, is that people are misguided if they think using them in place of sugar in the occasional beverage is an efficient weight-loss and overall health strategy.

    No one becomes overweight or obese as a result of the tablespoon of sugar they add to their morning coffee every day (two packets of sugar only contribute 32 calories.)

    It is the sodas, cookies, candies, muffins, and chocolate bars that are loaded with empty calories (in the form of sugar) that are more problematic. Although sodas are available in zero-calorie varieties, such is not the case with baked goods and other sweets.

    And, so, we once again come back to the concept of general eating patterns — and total calories — being at the core of health and weight goals.

    Using a non-caloric sweetener in coffee does not offset consuming too many calories throughout the day.

    Share

    In The News: Color Me Scared

    Although the link between food dyes and hyperactivity in children has not made huge headlines in the United States, it is of paramount importance among British consumers (largely because the latest studies emerge from the United Kingdom).

    It appears, though, that food dyes may very well be “the next trans fats” on this side of the Atlantic.

    The Chicago Tribune reports that the Center for Science in the Public Interest “called on federal regulators to ban several colorings, claiming they’re linked to hyperactivity in children.”

    These concerns sure proved effective in the UK, where “[the] Mars [company] banished artificial colors from its well-known Starburst and Skittles candies… [and] Kraft did the same in early 2007 with its British version of Lunchables.”

    Whether this stems from a sense of social responsibility or simply a ploy to not keep profit margins steady will never be known, but this public outcry certainly did not fall on deaf ears.

    Over in the US of A, the CSPI is calling for the ban of six particular artificial colorings, among them Red 40 and Yellow 5, found in cereals, chips, and baked goods.

    Although the FDA doesn’t believe a link between food colorings and hyperactivity in children can be substantiated, they have banned certain ones in the past (i.e.: “Red Dye No. 3, which in high doses caused cancer in lab animals, in 1990”).

    I predict this will be the “hot” public health and nutrition issue in about two years.

    Over in Britain, meanwhile, they are taking no chances. “McDonald’s uses natural colorings for strawberry shakes and sundaes sold in the UK, while it uses artificial dyes for the same in the U.S.”

    Thoughts?

    Share

    In The News: Which (Antibiotic) Came First? The (One Fed To The) Chicken Or The (One Injected Into) The Egg?

    Ready for a real doozy from the world of chicken raising, antibiotic feeds, and USDA policies?

    Alright, buckle up!

    It was reported earlier this week that Judge Richard D. Bennett of the United States District Court in Baltimore ordered chicken giant Tyson to pull all advertisements from their “chickens raised without antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans” campaign by no later than May 18.

    Mind you, this campaign was originally billed as “chickens raised without antibiotics.” The United States Department of Agriculture happily gave it the green light.

    Until, that is, they went back and realized they had made a boo boo.

    Turns out Tyson includes antibiotic compounds known as ionophores in their chicken feed.

    Ionophores are commonly fed to chickens mainly as protection from a parasitic intestinal condition known as coccidiosis, as well as to help them gain weight.

    The USDA quickly drafted a letter to Tyson, notifying them that their “no antibiotics added” claim wasn’t entirely true. Consequently, they were asked to remove it from all packaging.

    Tyson rebutted by arguing that ionophores are classified by the Food & Drug Administration as antimicrobials, not antibiotics.

    Well, not quite. Although the FDA recognizes that ionophores have antimicrobial properties, they are technically antibiotics when used as part of chicken feeds.

    Tyson additionally claimed that ionophores are not a concern since they do not impact antibiotic resistance in humans, nor are they used in human drugs.

    After this back and forth, the claim was changed to “chickens raised without antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans.”

    If you’re wondering why the use for such convoluted language, it’s simple.

    Tyson, like many other chicken companies, injects chicken eggs with antibiotics approximately 2 days before they hatch.

    Ergo, by using the word “raised,” they only advertise what happens with the chicken after it is born.

    Largely due to pressure from Tyson’s competitors (which claim Tyson is misleading consumers), this updated claim is now being axed.

    This specific case doesn’t so much revolve around the “rights” and “wrongs” of including ionophores in chickenfeed, but the idea of misleading advertising and technicalities.

    It is worth pointing out that as a result of increasing consumer need for antibiotic-free food, chicken farmers are considering viable alternatives, including vaccination against a variety of illnesses.

    What do you think? Was Tyson misleading? Do you specifically seek out antibiotic-free poultry?

    Share

    Argentina: No Gluten? No Problem!

    I took this photo last December at popular Buenos Aires supermarket chain Disco.

    In case the resolution isn’t clear enough, the sign up top reads “Productos Celíacos” (“Products for Celiacs”).

    Like many other conventional supermarkets in the city, they delineate approximately half an aisle exclusively to gluten-free products, enabling consumers living with celiac disease to have a much easier shopping experience.

    In Argentina, the province of Buenos Aires analyzes products and stamps a gluten-free seal on them if they fall below 1 parts per million of gliadin (a protein in gluten).

    Following this inspection, the Argentine Celiac Association reviews laboratory results from the Ministry of Health and must give its approval before a product can officially be sold as “gluten free.”

    It’s not just supermarkets that provide gluten information.

    Persicco, a renowned gelateria with various branches in Buenos Aires, places a gluten-free icon next to the flavors that are celiac-friendly.

    Although the United States offers thousands of gluten-free products to the approximately three million people diagnosed with celiac disease (as of 2007, the market was valued at $700 million!), these are mostly available exclusively online or specific health food stores.

    I have not, at least in New York City, seen standard supermarkets devote as much as one shelf to gluten-free products.

    Part of the problem, I think, is the lack of regulation. Although you may see “gluten free” advertised on many products, no official standards for this claim have been set.

    Last January, the Food and Drug Administration attempted to tackle this problem.

    Currently, there is no Federal regulation that defines the term “gluten-free” used in the labeling of foods.

    Based upon comments FDA received during its public meeting on “gluten-free” food labeling held in August 2005 and other information available to the Agency, there is no universal understanding among U.S. food manufacturers or consumers about the meaning of a food labeled as “gluten-free.”

    You can view the PDF file of the full (and by full I mean “very long”) gluten-free labeling proposal here.

    The 90-day comment period concluded last April, but I haven’t heard anything since.

    I do believe, though, that the original plan was to have something sorted out no later than December of this year.

    I’m interested in hearing from readers who are gluten intolerant.

    Do you find it difficult to know what products to buy and stay away from due to a lack of federal standards?

    Share

    In The News: PharmaWater

    No, it’s not an actual product yet, but don’t be surprised if a beverage company decides to make the most of a not-so-hot situation.

    By now I’m sure everyone has read about the levels of pharmaceuticals discovered in the tap water of 24 large metropolitan US cities.

    Although these levels are minute, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that several glasses of tap water a day for thirty, forty, even fifty years are very likely going to impact a person’s health.

    The true surprise in that news tidbit for me was that “the federal government doesn’t require any testing and hasn’t set safety limits for drugs in water.

    Well, then.

    If you think you can get around this dilemma by relying solely on bottled water, I’m afraid you’re wrong.

    Guess what? The Food & Drug Administration has not set limitations on pharmaceutical levels in bottled water.

    Remember, most bottled water originates from tap water.

    Although these companies are quick to point out their patented quadruple filtering technologies, I have to wonder just how good they do at capturing antibiotic residue, particularly if these levels don’t appear to be of huge concern to the bottled water industry

    For now, the vice president of the International Bottled Water Association claims everything is “being monitored”, but I don’t spot any urgency on their end to establish standards.

    Has this revelation changed your thoughts about drinking water, either from the tap or a plastic bottle?

    Share

    In The News: Frankenmilk

    Scandal is a-brewin’ in Ohio and Utah.

    Ohio has decided to go against the Food & Drug Administration policy on synthetic hormone label claims and mandate that dairy products sold in that state cannot mention being synthetic-hormone free.

    Utah, meanwhile, is looking into similar restrictions.

    Both of these policies concern rBGH — recombinant bovine growth hormone, also known as rBST, or recombinant bovine somatotropin — an artificial form of naturally-occuring bovine growth hormone.

    This synthetic compound is injected into dairy cows to significantly increase milk production.

    It’s equivalent to an alien race coming down to Earth, enslaving humans, and injecting men with an ultra powerful dose of synthetic testosterone in order for them to lift heavier weights and work harder.

    It is a purely business and money-motivated decision. The more milk you have, the more you can sell, and the more money that goes into your pocket.

    The Food & Drug Administration approved rBGH (it was declared “safe for use”) in 1993.

    Agrobusiness giant Monsanto immediately began producing and selling it by the bucketloads.

    Controversy has always surrounded rBGH, mainly because several medical trials have linked it to a higher risk of developing certain tumors and cancers.

    Monsanto and rBGH gained notoriety in the mid 90’s after a Tampa Fox affiliate pulled a story on the possible health dangers of rBGH consumption after much pressure from Monsanto.

    And it’s not just humans who can be negatively affected.

    Cows receiving rBGH injections often get sick (cows treated with rBGH have significantly higher risks of developing udder infections than those not treated with the drug).

    In turn, they are fed antibiotics — another undesirable component in milk.

    It is not surprising, then, that rBGH is banned from all dairy products in Europe and Canada.

    It frustrates me that consumers in some states are being forbidden the right to know what is in some of the foods they buy.

    I never agreed with the use of rBGH but thought that if it is included in any product, we should be made aware of its presence.

    What’s most interesting about this whole story is that the FDA is in a unique position. They permit the use of rBGH in milk, but only if there is full disclosure.

    Honesty policy or good old ass covering?

    Share

    In The News: Frankenmilk

    Scandal is a-brewin’ in Ohio and Utah.

    Ohio has decided to go against the Food & Drug Administration policy on synthetic hormone label claims and mandate that dairy products sold in that state cannot mention being synthetic-hormone free.

    Utah, meanwhile, is looking into similar restrictions.

    Both of these policies concern rBGH — recombinant bovine growth hormone, also known as rBST, or recombinant bovine somatotropin — an artificial form of naturally-occuring bovine growth hormone.

    This synthetic compound is injected into dairy cows to significantly increase milk production.

    It’s equivalent to an alien race coming down to Earth, enslaving humans, and injecting men with an ultra powerful dose of synthetic testosterone in order for them to lift heavier weights and work harder.

    It is a purely business and money-motivated decision. The more milk you have, the more you can sell, and the more money that goes into your pocket.

    The Food & Drug Administration approved rBGH (it was declared “safe for use”) in 1993.

    Agrobusiness giant Monsanto immediately began producing and selling it by the bucketloads.

    Controversy has always surrounded rBGH, mainly because several medical trials have linked it to a higher risk of developing certain tumors and cancers.

    Monsanto and rBGH gained notoriety in the mid 90’s after a Tampa Fox affiliate pulled a story on the possible health dangers of rBGH consumption after much pressure from Monsanto.

    And it’s not just humans who can be negatively affected.

    Cows receiving rBGH injections often get sick (cows treated with rBGH have significantly higher risks of developing udder infections than those not treated with the drug).

    In turn, they are fed antibiotics — another undesirable component in milk.

    It is not surprising, then, that rBGH is banned from all dairy products in Europe and Canada.

    It frustrates me that consumers in some states are being forbidden the right to know what is in some of the foods they buy.

    I never agreed with the use of rBGH but thought that if it is included in any product, we should be made aware of its presence.

    What’s most interesting about this whole story is that the FDA is in a unique position. They permit the use of rBGH in milk, but only if there is full disclosure.

    Honesty policy or good old ass covering?

    Share
    • Search By Topic

    • Connect to Small Bites

    • Subscribe to Small Bites

    • Archives

      • 2017 (1)
      • 2013 (1)
      • 2012 (28)
      • 2011 (90)
      • 2010 (299)
      • 2009 (581)
      • 2008 (639)
      • 2007 (355)