Thursday, May 31, 2012

Getting Cooked Egg Off the Bottom of a Pan

Here's a helpful tip (via video) to make cleaning up in the kitchen a little bit easier. (If you are receiving The Delicious Truth via email, click here to watch.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How to Turn Stuck Mustard Into a Vinaigrette

In yesterday's post I discussed LiquiGlide, a lubricant created to help the flow of the stubborn ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise that remain stuck to their containers.

Two readers, though, rightfully had concerns about the chemicals used in the product. Instead, one suggested simply adding a little water and shaking. Using the same principle, I demonstrate below how easy it is to make a quick vinaigrette using almost-finished Dijon mustard. (If you are receiving The Delicious Truth via email, click here to watch the video.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ketchup and Mustard Stuck in the Bottle? Help Is on the Way!

I'm sure some of us did a little awkward—and probably fruitless—shaking of a ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise bottle this past weekend. But help could be on the way.

A team of researchers at MIT has developed a lubricant, LiquiGlide, they call "a revolutionary super-slippery coating to liberate your ketchup!*" And the asterisk, which is usually a sign of danger: "*made from food materials so it’s safe and non-toxic."

Click here for more facts about LiquiGlide (from its website). And here are some videos demonstrating the powers of Mr. Super-Slippery Coating. (If you are receiving The Delicious Truth via email, click here and here to view demonstrations of ketchup and mustard, respectively.)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Holiday

The Delicious Truth will return tomorrow.

Friday, May 25, 2012

NYT: "Battle Brewing Over Labeling of GM Food"

Yesterday's post was a letter I received last week from Eden Foods about genetically engineered (GE) foods. Coincidentally, the front page (meaning, of the actual newspaper) of today's New York Times features a story—"Battle Brewing Over Labeling Of Genetically Modified Food"—that offers a summary of where we stand in the fight.

Here's the meat (grass-fed, hopefully) of the story, but click here to read the entire article:
"For more than a decade, almost all processed foods in the United States — cereals, snack foods, salad dressings — have contained ingredients from plants whose DNA was manipulated in a laboratory. Regulators and many scientists say these pose no danger. But as Americans ask more pointed questions about what they are eating, popular suspicions about the health and environmental effects of biotechnology are fueling a movement to require that food from genetically modified crops be labeled, if not eliminated.

"Labeling bills have been proposed in more than a dozen states over the last year, and an appeal to the Food and Drug Administration last fall to mandate labels nationally drew more than a million signatures. There is an iPhone app: ShopNoGMO.

"The most closely watched labeling effort is a proposed ballot initiative in California that cleared a crucial hurdle this month, setting the stage for a probable November vote that could influence not just food packaging but the future of American agriculture.

"Tens of millions of dollars are expected to be spent on the election showdown. It pits consumer groups and the organic food industry, both of which support mandatory labeling, against more conventional farmers, agricultural biotechnology companies like Monsanto and many of the nation’s best-known food brands like Kellogg’s and Kraft.

"The heightened stakes have added fuel to a long-simmering debate over the merits of genetically engineered crops, which many scientists and farmers believe could be useful in meeting the world’s rapidly expanding food needs.

"Supporters of labeling argue that consumers have a right to know when food has been modified with genes from another species, which they say is fundamentally different from the selective breeding process used in nearly all crops.

"Almost all the corn and soybeans grown in the United States now contain DNA derived from bacteria. The foreign gene makes the soybeans resistant to an herbicide used in weed control, and causes the corn to produce its own insecticide."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

An Impassioned Letter from Eden Foods About GE Foods

Sure, the presidential election in November will get most of the headlines, but another ballot battle is intensifying. If passed, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, which I wrote about earlier this month, could fundamentally change the way we eat in this country.

Here's an email I received last week from Eden Foods, a great company and major supporter of the act. (Even if you don't donate to the cause, at least share this with friends; the more people that know what is going on, the better!)
"Ladies and Gentlemen,

"We have an unprecedented opportunity to score a major victory for fairness in our food system, and we need your help right now. On May 2nd, a massive grassroots corps delivered nearly a million signatures to 58 counties in California along with this message: We're restoring our fundamental right to know what's in our food.

"The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act
will be on the ballot in November. Once passed by voters, this initiative will require labeling of all genetically engineered foods and food ingredients, and ban the routine industry practice of labeling or making GMO-tainted foods as 'natural.'

"We are gathering together with food, farm, health, consumer and environmental groups across the U.S.A. to deliver this message:

"We have the right to know what's in the food we eat and feed our families – and this time, we're not going to take no for an answer!

"The right to know belongs to all of us. It's about our food, our health, and our environment. We are all in this together. With your help, we can take back control of our food supply. Please donate to the California Right to Know GMO Labeling Campaign today.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Price Look Up (PLU) Codes on Produce and What They Mean

Many fruits and vegetables found in supermarkets and other food stores have stickers attached with numbers. These numbers are the Price Look Up (PLU) codes, an aid so those working at checkout don't need to remember every item of available produce.

Four-digit numbers starting with a "3" or "4"—such as the mangoes in the photo above—represent conventional fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides. (Click on photo for detail.)

Five-digit numbers starting with a "9"—as seen on the mango below—mean the produce has been gro
wn organically. (The four-digit number simply is preceded with a "9.")

In addition, five-digit numbers starting with an "8" have been reserved for genetically engineered (GE) fruits and vegetables, but you will never see these stickers. First, only a handful of items
papayas from Hawaii, some yellow and green summer squash, and some corn on the cob—are grown this way. Second, retailers don't want people to know what is genetically engineered.

Know that over 90 percent of the corn and soy grown in the United States is genetically engineered, so assume that any non-organic packaged or processed food contains GE ingredients, since corn and soy are essential building blocks of these foodstuffs. (Read the ingredients on ketchup, energy bars and breakfast cereals and you'll see what I mean.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Kitchen Gadget You Actually May Use (If You Like Mangoes)

Click here to watch the video if you are receiving The Delicious Truth via email.

Monday, May 21, 2012

SHAME: The Existence of Fire Retardant Chemicals

The Chicago Tribune recently produced a damning investigative series that I first heard about this weekend from several sources. It appears that "Playing With Fire," which exposes the sham behind fire retardant chemicals used in furniture and other products, could have the potential to light a bonfire under the asses of those responsible for our safety.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof dedicated his column yesterday to the Tribune's exposé, which I've posted below. The more people aware of this, the better. Also, if you have a couple minutes (or days), click here to check out the Tribune's web page dedicated to the investigation. Trust me, you'll be pissed. Also, click here to read the Tribune's editorial about the series. And click here to send an email to your U.S. Senators asking them to support the Safe Chemicals Act, courtesy of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Kristof's column:
"If you want a case study of everything that is wrong with money politics, this is it.

"Chances are that if you’re sitting on a couch right now, it contains flame retardants. This will probably do no good if your house catches fire — although it may release toxic smoke. There is growing concern that the chemicals are hazardous, with evidence mounting of links to cancer, fetal impairment and reproductive problems.

"For years, I’ve written about this type of chemical, endocrine disruptors, but The Chicago Tribune has just published a devastating investigative series called 'Playing With Fire' that breaks vast new ground. It is superb journalism.

"It turns out that our furniture first became full of flame retardants because of the tobacco industry, according to internal cigarette company documents examined by The Tribune. A generation ago, tobacco companies were facing growing pressure to produce fire-safe cigarettes, because so many house fires started with smoldering cigarettes. So tobacco companies mounted a surreptitious campaign for flame retardant furniture, rather than safe cigarettes, as the best way to reduce house fires.

"The documents show that cigarette lobbyists secretly organized the National Association of State Fire Marshals and then guided its agenda so that it pushed for flame retardants in furniture. The fire marshals seem to have been well intentioned, but utterly manipulated.

"An advocacy group called Citizens for Fire Safety later pushed for laws requiring fire retardants in furniture. It describes itself as “a coalition of fire professionals, educators, community activists, burn centers, doctors, fire departments and industry leaders.”

"But Citizens for Fire Safety has only three members, which also happen to be the three major companies that manufacture flame retardants: Albemarle Corporation, ICL Industrial Products and Chemtura Corporation.

"Citizens for Fire Safety paid a prominent Seattle physician, Dr. David Heimbach, who testified in some states in favor of flame retardants. Dr. Heimbach, the former president of the American Burn Association, told lawmakers stories of children who had burned to death on cushioning that lacked flame retardants.

"According to The Tribune, Dr. Heimbach made these stories up. Dr. Heimbach told me that the stories were real, with details changed to protect the survivors’ privacy. He said he testified for flame retardants because he believed in them, not because of money he received.

"The problem with flame retardants is that they migrate into dust that is ingested, particularly by children playing on the floor. R. Thomas Zoeller, a biologist at the University of Massachusetts, told me that while there have been many studies on animals, there is still uncertainty about the impact of flame retardants on humans. But he said that some retardants were very similar to banned PCBs, which have been linked to everything from lower I.Q. to diabetes, and that it was reasonable to expect certain flame retardants to have similar consequences.

“'Despite all that we have learned about PCBs, we are making the same mistakes with flame retardants,' he said.

"Linda Birnbaum, the top toxicologist at the National Institutes of Health, put it to me this way: 'If flame retardants really provided fire safety, there would be reason for them in certain circumstances, like on an airplane. But there’s growing evidence that they don’t provide safety and may increase harm.'

"Arlene Blum, a chemist at the University of California, Berkeley, told me, 'For pregnant women, they can alter brain development in the fetus.' Her research decades ago led to the removal of a flame retardant, chlorinated Tris, from children’s pajamas. But chlorinated Tris is still used in couches and nursing pillows (without any warning labels).

"The European Union has banned one common flame retardant, Deca BDE, and has generally been more willing to regulate endocrine disruptors than the United States. Why the difference?

“'The money is jingling,' notes Senator Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat of New Jersey. Lautenberg has introduced legislation, the Safe Chemicals Act, that would tighten controls — but it has gotten nowhere.

"It’s not easy for a democracy to regulate technical products like endocrine disruptors that may offer great benefits as well as complex risks, especially when the hazards remain uncertain. A generation ago, Big Tobacco played the system like a violin, and now Big Chem is doing the same thing.

"This campaign season, you’ll hear fervent denunciations of 'burdensome government regulation.' When you do, think of the other side of the story: your home is filled with toxic flame retardants that serve no higher purpose than enriching three companies. The lesson is that we need not only safer couches but also a political system less distorted by toxic money."

Friday, May 18, 2012

PAN's Latest Action Alert: "Hey, Congress, Save the Bees"

For those who haven’t heard, we have a major problem with the dying off of our honey bees and other pollinators.

I received this action alert yesterday from Pesticide Action Network (PAN), which calls for us to ask Congress to take action on which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is dragging its feet. If you have some time, read PAN's science-based report (Honey Bees and Pesticides: State of the Science) on the situation.
"Last week we released a report, Honey Bees and Pesticides: State of the Science. In it, we present 22 pages of studies documenting the role of pesticides in recent honey bee die-offs. The science is complex, but it is not unclear: if we want our bees to stop dying, we need to protect them from pesticides.

"Despite a year of damning new evidence, EPA is still stalling. We need, therefore, to press Congress into action.

"Bees need decisive action» Congress has the authority to exercise oversight over federal agencies like EPA. They can call a hearing, and they alone can fix a broken pesticide law that leaves EPA hamstrung and captive to industry players like Bayer. Help them understand what’s at stake.

"Honey bees pollinate one in every three bites of our food and, as an indicator species, they serve as sentinels we ignore at our own peril.

"EPA is currently reviewing neonicotinoids, including clothianidin, in a process that is expected to last through 2018. With one-third of our bees dying off each year, this timeline is nowhere near fast enough.

"Dear Congress, do something!» We will continue to pressure EPA to take action on clothianidin, and expect the legal petition we filed earlier this month to initiate a public process in which we’ll engage PAN supporters. In the meanwhile, we need pressure on all fronts and we have to turn up the heat. Join us in telling Congress, 'We know enough. EPA is broken. It’s time for you to get in the ring.'”
Click here to let Congress know how you feel.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Can a Squirrel Become Addicted to Junk Food?

Michael Pollan, in his book, "Food Rules," exhorts us to eat food that our grandparents (or great-grandparents, depending on our age) would be able to recognize as food. No Gatorade! No roll-up fruit! No foodstuffs in squeezable tubes!

Alas, do you think Pollan had squirrels in New York City's Central Park in mind when he issued his maxim? I caught this guy licking a chocolate snack cake wrapper bone dry yesterday; I have a feeling his paternal grandmother would prefer he ate an acorn.

By the way, studies have shown the addictive nature of the fake sugars, salts and fats so prevalent in processed foodstuffs. I'd bet that the same response can occur in animals.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mark Bittman: "We Could Be Heroes"

Mark Bittman, writing in today's online edition of The New York Times ("We Could Be Heroes"), gives us something to think about in regard to our meat consumption:
"I could go on and on about the dangers of producing and consuming too much meat: heavy reliance on fossil fuels and phosphorous (both in short supply); consumption of staggering amounts of antibiotics, a threat to public health; and the link (though not as strong as sugar’s) to many of the lifestyle diseases that are wreaking havoc on our health.

"Here’s the thing: It’s seldom that such enormous problems have such simple solutions, but this is one that does. We can tackle climate change without inventing new cars or spending billions on mass transit or trillions on new forms of energy, though all of that is not only desirable but essential.

"In the meantime, we can begin eating less meat tomorrow. That’s something any of us can do, with no technological advances. If personal choice enacted on a large scale could literally save the world, maybe we have to talk about it that way. We could be heroes, like Bruce Willis in 'Armageddon,' only maybe the sacrifice is on a more modest and easier scale. (You already changed your light bulbs; how about eating a salad?)"
Personally, I am an omnivore and love grass-fed/pastured meat and dairy. But every meal does not have to include beef, chicken, pork or lamb.

Click here to read Bittman's entire piece.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How to Make Applesauce

There are many ways to make applesauce but, more or less, all of them follow a basic pattern. Here's one way, as described by a reader in a comment to a post I wrote last week about Mott's Applesauce.
"My mom made the BEST applesauce with the windfall apples in our yard. Probably Macintosh, but not 100% sure on that. She just chunked 'em up, added a little water, cooked slowly for a long time, tasted to see if sugar was even needed, then ran 'em through a food mill to distribute the pinkish apple skin throughout. I don't think she canned them, I think she probably froze it in her chest freezer."
Try to use organic apples if possible. If not, I would recommend peeling conventional (aka sprayed with pesticides) apples. Add some cinnamon if you like. Prefer your applesauce chunky? Don't run the cooked apples through a food mill. Want a smoother consistency but don't have a food mill? Mash with a fork or potato masher.

A pinch of unrefined sea salt helps bring out flavor. Use any type of apple you have, but be aware that some varieties are sweeter than others. It's not essential to cook for that long; you can mash them once they turn soft, which shouldn't take more than 15 minutes.

Make sure your flame isn't too high, otherwise the apples may burn on the bottom of the pot. (The water helps prevent this.) A lid isn't completely necessary but will slow moisture loss, therefore protecting against burning. If possible/you remember, stir occasionally.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Fire Machine: A Better Way to Eliminate Weeds

I visited the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture this weekend and was mesmerized by something other than the food, animals or gardens. Instead, a fire-breathing, weed-killing machine caught my fancy.

In lieu of using dangerous pesticides to kill weeds growing between cobblestones, the center employs a machine that spews propane-generated flames to keep the weeds at bay and the soil, water and air safe.

Why no pesticides at Stone Barns? This from Beyond Pesticides:
"Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 are linked with cancer or carcinogencity, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 15 with neurotoxicity, and 11 with disruption of the endocrine (hormonal) system. Of those same 30 lawn pesticides, 17 are detected in groundwater, 23 have the ability to leach into drinking water sources, 24 are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms vital to our ecosystem, 11 are toxic to bees, and 16 are toxic to birds."
Wouldn't it be nice if these machines became the norm and not a novelty item? Wouldn't it be nice if we didn't spray our public (and private) spaces with dangerous chemicals that cause a bevy of problems for humans and animals, and spoil the food and water we eat and drink?

Haven't made the move away from spraying your lawn with harmful pesticides yet? There are options. Click here to visit, "a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting natural lawn care and grounds maintenance."

Here's the fire-breathing machine in action (click here to watch if you are receiving The Delicious Truth via email):

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jack LaLanne: How to Be a Champion

Here's a short pep talk about desire from Jack LaLanne. (If you are receiving The Delicious Truth via email, click here to watch.):

Thursday, May 10, 2012

More to Connecticut GE Bill Story than Originally Thought

Me confused.

I was going to write about the evisceration of a proposed bill in the Connecticut General Assembly, HB 5117, An Act Concerning Genetically-Engineered Foods, which would have required the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods.

Unfortunately, I think the first reports that I read about Governor Dan Malloy and state lawyers removing the meat of the bill before it could be voted on were erroneous. I talked with a spokesperson in Malloy's office this morning and she said that the governor does not have the ability to alter bills. She had no idea where the story originated and said the bill simply never came up for a vote and died when the legislative session ended yesterday.

The spokesperson did say that Malloy had concerns with the bill, but could not provide additional information. The next legislative session begins in January; HB 5117 could be put forth again at that time.

I'll do more investigating and hopefully have more information soon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

California GE Foods Labeling One Step Closer to Reality

The fight in the United States to have genetically engineered (GE) foods labeled here (over 40 countries, including 15 European Union nations, Japan, Australia, Brazil, China, Japan and Russia require labeling) finds itself in a critical stage, with gains and setbacks occurring in the past week.

Today, the good news from California. Tomorrow I'll discuss the unfortunate turn of events in Connecticut.

The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act is one step closer to becoming reality as it seems certain the act will appear as a ballot initiative on the state's ballot this November. Last Wednesday the California Right to Know campaign filed 971,126 signatures with the state, almost double the 555,236 needed to get the act on the ballot. The signatures were collected in a 10-week span and highlight the public's demand that GE foods be labeled as such.

Attempting to have similar laws passed by governmental agencies or legislative bodies has failed miserably (check back tomorrow for the travesty that occurred in Connecticut), so having the public decide through a direct vote may be the best chance of success.

According to the campaign's website, "The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act is simple: The initiative would require food sold in retail outlets such as grocery stores (not including restaurants) to be labeled if it is produced with genetic engineering. In addition to this disclosure, genetically engineered foods are prohibited from being advertised as 'natural.'"

Of course, processed food companies and pesticide/seed companies such as Monsanto will pour tens of millions of dollars into the state in an attempt to defeat the initiative. With California's economy one of the world's largest, the labeling of GE foods could change the way all Americans eat. Click here to read a post I wrote about this in March.

Click here to read last week's press release from the campaign.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Less than Sterling Answers from Mott's Applesauce

I called Mott's yesterday (actually the Dr Pepper Snapple Group) with questions regarding the ingredients of Mott's various applesauces, which I discussed yesterday.

The tone of the call was pleasant, but I felt like the person I spoke with wasn't the most interested in my questions. Maybe it was the detailed nature of my questions, but something just felt off.

Regarding the inclusion of high fructose corn syrup in Mott's Original Applesauce, no reason could be given for calling Original "original" when it's not possible that the original Original contained high fructose corn syrup. In addition, the year of the move to high fructose corn syrup "is not in the database."

As for the possibility of replacing the petroleum-based artificial colors found in the flavored varieties (mango peach, mixed berry, etc.) with natural colorants, the response I received was, "I'm sure they are looking into it." My question as to why artificial colors are needed when the flavored varieties have seemingly colored fruit purees as ingredients was never addressed.

The Consumer Relations representative did say she would submit my unanswered questions to I'm not sure who. It usually takes about three weeks to receive answers and I gave her my email address and phone number.

I'm sure if I was a portfolio manager at a hedge fund with a 12 percent stake in the company (ticker symbol DPS) there would be a different phone number I could call to get immediate answers.

And if, by chance, someone working for Dr Pepper Snapple Group is reading this (companies track online commentary; someone at General Mills read my post last week about Yoplait Trix Yogurt) send me an email ( Speak to you soon.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Confusion at the Market & Questions for Mott's Applesauce

The importance of reading ingredient lists was highlighted this weekend when a good friend (and loyal Delicious Truth reader!) was buying applesauce.

He became completely flummoxed—"It was like a science experiment"—when trying to figure out the difference between Mott's Original Applesauce and Mott's Natural Applesauce. The packaging was pretty much the same, but the natural was slightly more expensive (about $0.20 for the 6-count individual packs). Upon further inspection, my friend realized Original contained high fructose corn syrup (which was the second ingredient after apples), while Natural had no added sugar.

"I don't understand why they even make the original," he said.

Consumer Relations wasn't open over the weekend, but when I call later today, I'll ask a handful of questions:
  • "Why does Mott's add sweetener to applesauce, a product that, by its very nature, is sweet?"
  • "Why does Mott's use high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener that has come under much attack, and not cane sugar?"
  • "Why do you call Mott's Original Applesauce "original" considering that when Mott's started making applesauce in 1930, high fructose corn syrup was still more than 25 years away from being introduced and 50 years away from being widely used as a sweetener?"
  • "Why does Mott's add artificial colors to its flavored apple sauces (mango peach, mixed berry, etc.) when they already contain fruit purees that are presumably full of color?"
  • "Bearing in mind that other companies are dropping artificial colors from their products (i.e. Pepperidge Farm Colored Goldfish, Yoplait Trix Yogurt), is Mott's considering replacing the artificial colors?"
  • "I couldn't find ingredient lists for your products anywhere on the Mott's website. Are they there somewhere? If not, why? As a consumer, I want to know what is in my food."
My friend will be calling with his own set of questions and comments today. As I've mentioned before, this is how change occurs. The Mott's Consumer Relations phone number is 800-426-4891 for those interested.

I'll report back tomorrow with the answers I receive. Also, later this week, how to make homemade applesauce.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Some Easy Food Changes to Make This Weekend

Going food shopping this weekend? Taking a cue from Nicholas Kristof's column ("How Chemicals Affect Us") that I discussed yesterday, let's empty the shelves of organic ketchup, organic mustard, organic soy sauce and organic bananas.

These are items that don't cost that much more than their pesticide-laden and/or genetically-engineered non-organic step cousins and, in the case of the first three items, will last a long time in your refrigerator.

One change each week is a great goal; how about four changes this weekend?

Anyone have any other easy changes they want to share?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Nicholas Kristof: "How Chemicals Affect Us"

A few people know a lot about the chemicals in our food, water, personal health care products, household cleaning supplies, food packaging, etc. Some people know a little. A lot of people know nothing.

And that is why Nicholas Kristof, the great New York Times columnist, is doing such a service when he writes pieces such as "How Chemicals Affect Us" that discuss issues that Big Food, Big Chemical and Big Drug want to keep silent. The more people who are even just a smidgen aware that—to give just one example—our shampoos are full of chemicals that are affecting our health, the better.

Do you think General Mills would have removed the petroleum-based artificial colors from Yoplait Trix Yogurt if people like Jane Hersey of the Feingold Association weren't working tirelessly to raise awareness about the synthetic colors' dangers?

Knowledge is power and Kristof and many others are helping us gain the power to transform our individual lives and society as a whole.

Today's assignment? Click here to read "How Chemicals Affect Us" by Kristof in today's Times. And then tell two friends about it. I'm serious.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Yoplait Trix Yogurt Drops Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavors and High Fructose Corn Syrup

While the big food companies seemingly will do anything to protect their bottom lines, know that changes for the better are possible, especially when consumers' voices are loud enough.

The latest example—which absolutely caught me by surprise—is the replacement of petroleum-based artificial colors (FD&C Red #40, FD&C Blue #1, etc.) with natural colors (vegetable juice, fruit juice, beta carotene) and the outright removal of high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors in Yoplait Trix Yogurt.

I've argued previously that Yoplait Trix Yogurt should be displayed in the candy aisle and not the dairy case. While I still feel the same way, the changes in the ingredients do represent a major shift for General Mills, the product's owner in the United States. The innocent kids being fed this stuff will still be getting an exorbitant amount of sugar, but at least they won't be subject to the side effects of the artificial colorants.

(Click here and here to read parents' experiences with the old version of Yoplait Trix Yogurt.)

Why the changes, which began in January 2012?

According to the consumer services spokeswoman I talked with, "feedback from our consumers" led to the changes. "They wanted children's yogurt to be more healthy," she added.

(For this product, I would use the phrase "less unhealthy" instead of "more healthy," but that's my opinion.)

See? If we make our voices heard, change can happen! Pepperidge Farm moved away from artificial colors in its colored goldfish in 2010 for virtually the same reason.

By the way, real yogurt is simply milk with live cultures added; the sugars, thickeners, preservatives and colors added to commercial yogurts detract from the nutritional benefits of the true product.

Want a safer alternative to feed your kids (or yourself)? Buy plain yogurt (organic, if possible) and jazz it up with honey or maple syrup, dried fruit, nuts and cinnamon. Once your palate adjusts to the new flavors, you won't miss the synthetic yogurts for a second. Trust me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Reuters Report: Big Food's Widespread Political Influence

On the heels of yesterday's post about the harmful nature of (completely unnecessary) Type 2 diabetes in children, here's additional evidence that the multibillion dollar food companies care much more about making even more money than about our health. Last week's special report ("How Washington Went Soft on Childhood Obesity") from Reuters (video and print) shows what we are fighting. But don't give up; make the better decisions for you and your family!

First, the video report (click here to watch if you are receiving The Delicious Truth via email):

And here's the start of the written report. (Click here to read the entire article.)
"In the political arena, one side is winning the war on child obesity.

"The side with the fattest wallets.

"After aggressive lobbying, Congress declared pizza a vegetable to protect it from a nutritional overhaul of the school lunch program this year. The White House kept silent last year as Congress killed a plan by four federal agencies to reduce sugar, salt and fat in food marketed to children.

"And during the past two years, each of the 24 states and five cities that considered 'soda taxes' to discourage consumption of sugary drinks has seen the efforts dropped or defeated.

"At every level of government, the food and beverage industries won fight after fight during the last decade. They have never lost a significant political battle in the United States despite mounting scientific evidence of the role of unhealthy food and children's marketing in obesity.

"Lobbying records analyzed by Reuters reveal that the industries more than doubled their spending in Washington during the past three years. In the process, they largely dominated policymaking -- pledging voluntary action while defeating government proposals aimed at changing the nation's diet, dozens of interviews show.

"In contrast, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, widely regarded as the lead lobbying force for healthier food, spent about $70,000 lobbying last year -- roughly what those opposing the stricter guidelines spent every 13 hours, the Reuters analysis showed.