Thursday, February 28, 2013

Across the Globe, Sugar Becomes Public Health Enemy #1

Public health enemy number one these days—across the globe—is sugar. The evidence keeps building that sugar—whether it be in soda, candy or white rice and flour—is the genesis of many of our health ills.

Trying to change people's ways, though, may prove difficult, thanks in part to the incessant marketing and lobbying of the junk food companies. Three health organizations in Australia (Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and the National Heart Foundation of Australia) released this television commercial trying to get their point across. (If you are receiving The Delicious Truth via email, click here to view.)

And in the United States, municipalities are fighting to enact soda taxes. The battle may become easier, though, with the release of a new study yesterday that severely implicates sugar. Mark Bittman, in today's online edition of The New York Times, discusses the study and sugar's ramifications. Here are the first four paragraphs of Bittman's piece ("It's the Sugar, Folks"); click here to read the entire article.
"Sugar is indeed toxic. It may not be the only problem with the Standard American Diet, but it’s fast becoming clear that it’s the major one.

"A study published in the Feb. 27 issue of the journal PLoS One links increased consumption of sugar with increased rates of diabetes by examining the data on sugar availability and the rate of diabetes in 175 countries over the past decade. And after accounting for many other factors, the researchers found that increased sugar in a population’s food supply was linked to higher diabetes rates independent of rates of obesity.
"In other words, according to this study, obesity doesn’t cause diabetes: sugar does.
"The study demonstrates this with the same level of confidence that linked cigarettes and lung cancer in the 1960s. As Rob Lustig, one of the study’s authors and a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said to me, 'You could not enact a real-world study that would be more conclusive than this one.'”

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How to Avoid Harmful Chemicals in Personal Care Products

I attended a talk earlier this week ("How to Read a Product Label") that focused on the ingredients (read: chemicals) present in our personal health care products. The discussion was sponsored by the Children's Environmental Health Center (CEHC) at Mount Sinai Medical Center. The speaker was Sarah Evans, PhD, a fellow in pediatric environmental health at CEHC.

Don't run for the hills just yet; it's not all bad. Mostly, but not all.

It's baffling to hear that, in the United States, there are no government requirements for the testing of chemicals that go into cosmetics and personal health care products and very few regulations for the labeling of these products, especially when, according to Evans, "even minute amounts of a chemical can have negative effects; think a grain of salt in an Olympic-size swimming pool."

These chemicals do get into our bodies (blood and urine samples prove this) and avoidance is paramount, especially for small children and pregnant women. Children and fetuses are uniquely vulnerable to exposure due to their immature metabolisms and processing systems. In addition, the predilection of hand-to-mouth exposure among babies and toddlers increases ingestion rates.

What's at stake? According to CEHC, the worldwide rates for childhood disease (asthma, autism, obesity, leukemia, brain cancer, etc.) are increasing at alarming rates. Is there a connection to environmental toxins? The CEHC thinks so:

"The physical environment in which American children live, learn and play in has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. Since World War II, more than 80,000 new synthetic chemicals have been developed and are used in millions of consumer products, ranging from foods and food packaging to clothing, building materials, cleaning products, cosmetics, toys, and baby bottles."
Evans offered several hints to limit exposure from personal care products. I'll share four:
  • Opt for fragrance-free products. "'Fragrance' probably means the presence of phtalates, an endocrine-disrupting chemical which has toxic ramifications," Evans said. (The endocrine system, very simplistically, is our bodies' internal communication mechanism; like with a radio, we don't want any static.)
  • Avoid triclosan, a chemical popular in antibacterial soaps. (Click here to read a post I wrote about the absolute superfluousness of antibacterial soaps; plain soap and water work great, without exposure to triclosan, another endocrine distruptor.)
  • Stay clear of products containing parabens, chemicals that act as preservatives. Parabens mimic estrogen, which plays a role in breast cancer. (More and more companies are making products that are paraben-free.)
  • Shun formaldehyde, which is found in nail polish, wrinkle-free shirts and other products. (Safer, formaldehyde-free nail polishes are available.)
Looking for better personal care products? Visit the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database, which is a great resource. Also, click here to see the personal care products I use, which could help you get started.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Found: A High-Quality Organic Ice Cream

Organic ice creams are hit-or-miss, but I finally found one that tastes really good and is mostly clean in regard to ingredients. Three Twins Ice Cream, based in northern California, is delicious and devoid of some of the emulsifiers that other organic ice creams employ.

I've only tasted two flavors—vanilla bean speck and sea salted caramel—of the 13 the company makes (the store I found it in only carries four), but both pass muster. The vanilla's ingredients are simple enough: organic milk, organic cream, organic fair trade evaporated cane juice, organic egg yolks, organic non fat milk, organic fair trade vanilla extract and organic vanilla beans. The salted caramel is just as basic (a good thing): organic milk, organic cream, organic evaporated cane juice, caramel (organic sugar, organic cream, organic non fat milk, organic tapioca syrup, organic caramelized sugar, sea salt), organic egg yolks, organic non fat milk and organic vanilla extract.

The base for all flavors (milk, cream, sugar and egg yolks) is uniform and is a standard starting point for real ice cream. The other flavors' add-ins are as basic. For example, the strawberry has organic strawberries and organic balsamic vinegar while the chocolate peanut butter contains organic cocoa powder and organic peanut butter. Why can't all products follow this formula?

Three Twins Ice Cream, according to the company's website, can be found in "approximately 1,000 specialty and conventional grocers, corner markets and restaurants spanning some 35 states." To find where the brand is available, click here.

(The Delicious Truth pays for all discussed products in stores and receives nothing in return for product reviews.)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cooking 101: How to Roast Broccoli

If I am cooking a small amount of broccoli, I'll usually sauté it in a pan using coconut oil, butter, olive oil or a rendered animal fat.

But if I need a lot more (to serve at a dinner party or to make for the week, for example), I'll cut the broccoli into small spears and roast them in the oven for a very short time. The process is simple.

First, wash the broccoli and shake it dry. Cut it into small spears (about the size of a finger), including some of the stem (you paid for it!). Put the broccoli into a bowl, add some olive oil, unrefined sea salt and fresh ground pepper and mix so the broccoli is evenly coated. Put the broccoli onto a baking sheet, keeping the broccoli in a single layer.

Put the baking sheet into a preheat 350 degree oven and cook the broccoli until it just begins to soften and turn a brighter green. The broccoli I cooked over the weekend took about eight minutes to get to this stage, but exact time will depend on the size of the broccoli spears and the true temperature of your oven. Do not worry if the broccoli seems a little al dente when you remove it from the oven; the broccoli, like most food, will continue to cook. (Click here to read more about the principle of carryover cooking.)

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and set it on a cooling rack, which will help the broccoli cool quicker. Also, give a stir every couple minutes, which will help any trapped heat escape from between the broccoli and the baking sheet.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Michael Moss in The New York Times: "(Salt + Fat 2 / Satisfying Crunch) x Pleasing Mouth Feel = A Food Designed to Addict"

The articles and links offered in The Delicious Truth are, of course, optional. However, today I am issuing the first mandatory reading assignment in this blog's history. The piece to be read is "(Salt + Fat 2 / Satisfying Crunch) x Pleasing Mouth Feel = A Food Designed to Addict," the cover story in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine.

It's written by Michael Moss, an investigative reporter for the paper who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for several articles he wrote about the meat industry, and adapted from his book, "Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us," which is to be released next Tuesday.

The article (aka online as "The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food") covers a lot of ground, but it clearly exposes the lengths that the junk food companies will go to earn a buck. Here's one anecdote, focusing on Jeffrey Dunn, who, a decade ago, was running Coca-Cola's business in North and South America.

"In his capacity, Dunn was making frequent trips to Brazil, where the company had recently begun a push to increase consumption of Coke among the many Brazilians living in favelas. The company’s strategy was to repackage Coke into smaller, more affordable 6.7-ounce bottles, just 20 cents each. Coke was not alone in seeing Brazil as a potential boon; Nestlé began deploying battalions of women to travel poor neighborhoods, hawking American-style processed foods door to door. But Coke was Dunn’s concern, and on one trip, as he walked through one of the impoverished areas, he had an epiphany. 'A voice in my head says, ‘These people need a lot of things, but they don’t need a Coke.’ I almost threw up.'
"Dunn returned to Atlanta, determined to make some changes. He didn’t want to abandon the soda business, but he did want to try to steer the company into a more healthful mode, and one of the things he pushed for was to stop marketing Coke in public schools. The independent companies that bottled Coke viewed his plans as reactionary. A director of one bottler wrote a letter to Coke’s chief executive and board asking for Dunn’s head. 'He said what I had done was the worst thing he had seen in 50 years in the business,' Dunn said. 'Just to placate these crazy leftist school districts who were trying to keep people from having their Coke. He said I was an embarrassment to the company, and I should be fired.' In February 2004, he was.

"Dunn told me that talking about Coke’s business today was by no means easy and, because he continues to work in the food business, not without risk. 'You really don’t want them mad at you,' he said. 'And I don’t mean that, like, I’m going to end up at the bottom of the bay. But they don’t have a sense of humor when it comes to this stuff. They’re a very, very aggressive company.'” 
Click here to read the entire article. It's long, but it's worth the time. And you've got the whole weekend to read it. Quiz on Monday.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Answers About Deep-Frying and Peanut Oil

A reader left a comment on yesterday's post (which discussed how animal fats deemed killers by our society are actually nutritional powerhouses):
"I've been reading your blog for a while, and more and more I've been buying into the nutrient dense food paradigm. I was wondering, perhaps you would never deep-fry a sweet potato; but if you did, which oil would you use? I think I've heard that peanut oil is a high-heat oil, but how bad is it for you to eat?"
I don't do much deep-frying, but it has nothing to do with health and trying to avoid oil and/or fat. Mostly, I don't want to deal with the mess and disposal of the cooking oil.

However, when I do deep-fry—maybe once a year, and usually French fries or calamari—I'll employ very high-quality (organic, plus mechanically, not solvent, extracted) peanut or canola oil. These oils are relatively tasteless but have high smoke points, which is needed when deep-frying. 

Better—as Rodale News suggests—are lard and duck fat, but, to be honest, I haven't been as vigilant as I should be about getting them because I deep-fry so infrequently. Actually, that's probably a good reason to buy lard or duck fat!

As I've discussed before, try to avoid the popular commercial brands of vegetable oils, which have been treated with solvents and come from genetically-engineered and/or pesticide-laden plants. In that light, Planters and Crisco peanut oil, I would argue, are very, very bad for you. Spectrum organic peanut oil would be a better choice.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Give Me Animal Fat (and Lots of It) or Give Me Death! (Literally)

When I tell people that I eat an exorbitant amount of animal fat and only consume whole fat milk, yogurt and cheese, they look at me like I am crazy and ask, "But how are you are so skinny?" (Personally, I prefer the term "fit," but I'll even take "thin" over "skinny" any day of the week.)

My answer is usually something to the tune of "because fat from grass-fed and pastured meat and dairy doesn't make us fat and is full of nutrients that keep me . . . fit."

Unfortunately, my impassioned pleas usually don't stick; decades of incessant calls for low-fat everything (coming from everyone and their mother) have so engrained this thinking into the mindset of everyone and their mother.

Very slowly, though, word is spreading that the correlation between fat and fat is very misplaced. And when yesterday's daily email ("6 Healthy Fats You Should Be Eating") from Rodale News touched on this topic, I smiled broadly. But most people would think that these healthy fats include avocado, nuts and wild salmon. Instead, Rodale centers on the traditional nutritional powerhouses of butter, lard and duck fat, saturated animal fats that are considered verboten by the majority of the world's doctors, nutritionists, dieticians, trainers, talk show hosts, air traffic controllers, plumbers, politicians and poets.

Says Rodale:

"For years, you’ve heard that fat is bad. It causes heart disease. It makes you fat. Too much will give you a stroke! But your brain is 60 percent fat. Fat helps you feel fuller and eat less over time, and it’s crucial to building cells and protecting your organs. In fact, nutrition science is beginning to turn on its head the idea that all fat is bad for you, with high-profile nutritionists like Walter Willett, Dr.P.H., professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and a professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School, working to debunk the idea that low-fat diets are healthier. Many of the recommendations that we all follow regarding fat, he’s found, are based on rather weak science that has been repeatedly questioned over the decades. Even saturated fat, research is finding, increases HDL (good) cholesterol, which helps remove plaque from your artery walls and decreases your risk of heart disease.

"But it’s all about quality. There are some fats that you should avoid, namely manmade trans fats and omega-6-heavy polyunsaturated fatty acids that are abundant in vegetable oils, like corn and soy, abundant in the modern Western diet and guilty of increasing your risk of heart disease.

"So don’t ban fat. Ban bad fats. These six healthy fats provide you with nutrients you need, though they’ve been wrongly demonized over the years. As a general rule, whatever kinds of fat you buy, purchase certified-organic plant oils and pastured or grass-fed animal fats to minimize your exposure to pesticide and antibiotic residues.
Specifically, here is the recap of butter's nutritional prowess:
"Yes, butter contains a high amount of saturated fat. About 50 percent of the fat contained in this maligned staple is saturated. But, says cardiologist Drew Ramsey, M.D., coauthor of The Happiness Diet (Rodale, 2010), 'the good thing about saturated fats is that they’re less reactive,' meaning they don’t oxidize when subjected to high heats the way many vegetable oils do. Oxidation of fats can lead to a buildup of LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and contribute to heart disease. In addition, butter is rich in vitamin A and helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins in other foods. Just don’t go crazy; stick with a few teaspoons of butter when you sauté your vegetables. 'A little goes a long way,' says Dr. Ramsey."
And the one for lard:
"The prime example of fats we all thought were bad for us, lard (rendered pork fat) may have been wrongly demonized for years. The main fat in lard—oleic acid—is a monounsaturated fat linked to decreased risk of depression, says Dr. Ramsey. Those same monounsaturated fats, which make up 45 percent of the fat in lard, are responsible for lowering LDL levels while leaving HDL ('good') cholesterol levels alone. Lard’s saturated fat content is just 35 percent, with polyunsaturated fats making up the balance. It also tolerates high cooking temperatures and is a great substitute for vegetable shortenings, which contain unhealthy trans fats, in baking. 'I only have three oils in my kitchen: olive oil, butter, and lard,' says Dr. Ramsey."
Low-fat anything? Pafooey! Click here to read the whole report.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cooking 101: How to Make Beef and Bean Chili

Beef and bean chili is another staple of my cold-weather cooking. It's relatively straightforward and the below recipe will yield roughly eight meals (and maybe more when combined with a starch and vegetable). Feel free to use larger quantities but try to keep the ratio between ground beef and tomatoes consistent.

Here's how to make it:

Heat fat (i.e. butter, coconut oil, olive oil) in a large sauté pan and cook one pound of ground beef (preferably grass-fed; break it into smaller pieces as you cook it) until about 75 percent done. Remove the meat to a bowl, leaving some of the fat/juices in the pan. Cut one onion (small chop) and one pepper (red, yellow or orange; bite-size pieces) and cook in fat until soft. 

Add ground cumin, ground chipotle pepper (or paprika, cayenne, etc.), salt and pepper and stir. Add meat back to pan and stir. Add (roughly) 25 ounces of pureed or strained tomatoes (I use a 24-ounce jar of Bionaturae strained tomatoes) and stir. Bring to a boil, return to simmer. Let simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally so tomatoes don't stick/burn. 

Turn off the heat and add a (roughly) 15-ounce can of beans (kidney or black beans are traditional, but any will do) and stir. Taste and reseason. You will most likely need a lot more salt and spices. 

If you are using diced or whole peeled tomatoes, you'll need to cook the tomatoes longer to achieve a thick consistency. (That being said, some people like their chili on the looser side.)

Also, if you are serving this to company, it's nice (but not essential) to take the extra time to prepare bowls of toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped scallions, chopped avocado, etc.

Like with most stews, braises and soups, the flavor of this chili will improve as it sits in the refrigerator. It'll stay good for almost a week.

Monday, February 18, 2013

If I Were President of the United States . . .

If I were President of the United States, improving education would be a huge concern. But I also wouldn't be afraid to don a brown shirt and ban a book or two. The first to go? "Planes" by Byron Barton.

True, the book seems innocuous enough ("This is a jet plane with people inside") and I'm sure Mr. Barton is a wonderful person, but what kind of message are we sending to our kids when pages 9 and 10 backhandedly extol the use of pesticides?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Help Pesticide Action Netork Rid Us of Chlorpyrifos

Ingredients = pesticides, money, lack of strong government oversight and incessant lobbying.

Result = Our kids' health and intelligence suffer.

Here's the latest action alert from Pesticide Action Network, which should help us realize that all strawberries and apples aren't the same. 

"[The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)] is taking another look at chlorpyrifos, and it’s about time. This insecticide is so widely used that it shows up in most of our bodies — whether or not we live near fields where it’s sprayed. And it's especially harmful to children’s developing brains. 
"EPA's review shows that when chlorpyrifos drifts from fields where it’s applied, it poses real risks to 'bystanders.' But the findings overlook strong science showing that this pesticide can be very, very damaging to children — even at extremely low levels.

"Click here to tell the EPA it's time to protect kids!  The science linking chlorpyrifos to children’s health harms is irrefutable. As EPA reviews the effects of this pesticide, it must fully consider the damage to children’s health — and then take swift action to protect our kids. 

"Scientists have known for years that chlorpyrifos is especially harmful to kids. Back in 2001, it was banned from home use because exposure puts children’s developing nervous systems at risk. 

"And the evidence keeps rolling in. In utero exposure has been linked to changes in brain architecture that can last a lifetime. And prenatal and early childhood exposures can reduce IQ levels by 7 points or more. The list goes on. These effects — for which the science is strong and just keeps getting stronger — are not even considered in EPA’s current review.

"Click here to tell the EPA that enough is enough!  The 2001 ban on chlorpyrifos for at-home use protects children from some exposures. But continued use on apples, strawberries, broccoli and many other crops guarantees that kids are still exposed, either in their daily diet or — in the case of rural children — by breathing pesticide drift at home or at school. Enough is enough."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

For $23 Billion, Test Your Ketchup and Tomato Knowledge

Here are three trivia questions, based on today's news, aimed at various segments of The Delicious Truth reading population. The first five people to leave the correct answers in the comments section below will receive a reusable Cook with Class shopping bag. (Only a handful are left; we started with 1500 five years ago.)

For business/finance/economics/accounting types: It was announced this morning that Heinz is being bought for roughly $23 billion by Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffett's company) and 3G Capital Management. How many pounds of organic heirloom tomatoes can be bought at New York City farmers' markets for that amount, figuring last summer's average price of $5 per pound?

For home ec and health types: Of the following three varieties of Heinz ketchup, which is the best option? The second best option? (Sure, personal finances may play a part in your decision, but the price per ounce difference among the three is minimal, especially when factoring in how long a bottle of ketchup lasts a typical American family.)

1. Heinz® Ketchup

2. Simply Heinz™ Ketchup


3. Heinz® Organic Ketchup

Why buy organic ketchup? As I have written before:
"Organic tomato products contain three times more of the antioxidant lycopene than conventional tomato products and are devoid of the harmful pesticides used on the majority of non-organic tomatoes."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Method Transforms Ocean Plastic into Usable Bottles

I've never bought any household cleaning products from Method, but that may change soon if I decide to support what I think is a really cool idea.

Method has recently started selling a 2-in-1 dish and hand soap that is packaged in a bottle made from ocean plastic. Remember this video I posted a couple years ago? (If you are receiving The Delicious Truth via email, click here to watch.) 

Well, Method is actually doing something a lot more useful than just posting a video about the problem. Click here to learn about Method's ocean plastic project and new gray bottles or just watch this video, titled "From Beach to Bottle." (If you are receiving The Delicious Truth via email, click here to watch.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Organic Beer from Jody Scheckter's Laverstoke Park Farm

Here's one of the top ten things you wouldn't expect to see on a beer bottle:

"Good Soil = Good Grass = Good Animals = Good Meat & Milk = Great People!"

But it was the number one reason why I bought a four-pack (!) of Laverstoke Park Farm Organic Real Ale. Yes, it was expensive, but it was delicious, made with thought and, for me, worth every penny. 

More from the bottle's label, courtesy of Jody Scheckter, owner of Laverstoke Park Farm (and, by the way, the 1979 Formula One World Champion):

"I started the farm to produce the best tasting food without compromise for my family and myself. To achieve this we follow nature very strictly and have two principles we follow –slow growing plants and animals generally taste better; and biodiversity is key to a natural environment. We hope you can taste the difference in our beer."
Laverstoke Park Farm is a true polycultural enterprise; unfortunately it's about 65 miles outside of London, so beer will probably be the only one of its products I'll be able to enjoy for a while.

Here's Scheckter discussing his farm and views on food; we need more people like Scheckter in the world. (If you are receiving The Delicious Truth via email, click here to view.)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Substitute Root Vegetables for Potatoes to Make a Mash

Just a reminder that you can substitute pretty much any root vegetable for potatoes to make mashed potatoes fill-in-the-blank.

Last night I made a mashed combo of celeriac and rutabaga, but I easily could have used parsnips, turnips and carrots as well.

I cut the celeriac and rutabaga into cubes and steamed them in one of those fan-like steamer contraptions that fit into a saucepan. When the vegetables were soft, I put them into a bowl, added a little of the cooking liquid, a big chunk of Kerrygold butter, plus unrefined sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

I mashed with a fork and, being that I like the consistency chunky, stopped after only a
minute or two. (Even if you like the texture creamier, try not to mix too much; you could end up with too dense of a final product.) 

I used this mixture as a base for leftover vegetarian chickpea stew that I wrote about on Friday.

Friday, February 8, 2013

How to Make a Vegetarian Chickpea Stew

Here are instructions for how to make a hearty (and possibly spicy) vegetarian chickpea stew. Serve it over quinoa, brown rice or mashed potatoes; it makes for a great winter weekend (snowstorm optional) lunch or dinner.

Heat fat (i.e. coconut oil, butter, olive oil) in a large sauté pan and, when hot, add some minced onion and minced ginger. Stir occasionally so they don't burn; when they start to soften (about 4 or 5 minutes), add minced garlic and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes. Add ground cinnamon and (your choice) ground coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, etc., plus salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Add strained tomatoes and stir. (I use about 20 ounces because I use about 16 ounces of chickpeas. Use more or less, but try to keep the ratio about the same so your stew isn't too thin or too thick. Strained or pureed tomatoes work the best; diced tomatoes will need more cooking time in order to thicken.)

Add cubes of vegetables (onions, peppers, carrots, zucchini, eggplant) to this sauce and cook for about 25 minutes over medium heat. Make sure to stir occasionally so the tomato sauce doesn't burn; the vegetables will soften and the sauce will thicken.

Add cooked chickpeas and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and reseason accordingly. A little fresh lemon juice helps bring out flavor. If the stew is too spicy or you want a little sweetness, add a little honey.

Like most stews, soups and braises, this dish's flavor will improve as it sits in the refrigerator.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Organic Consumers Association Says: "Boycott Dagoba!"

Here's an example of a "traitor boycott," a tactic being employed by the Organic Consumers Association and which I alluded to in yesterday's post. It calls for a boycott of Dagoba chocolate (despite being organic), because of the actions of Hershey's, Dagoba's parent company.
Sweet Revenge: Boycott Dagoba and Hershey’s!
"TAKE ACTION: Tell Hershey’s: No Dagoba chocolate until you support GMO labeling!
"Dagoba chocolate may be organic, but its parent company, Hershey’s, is a loser by any standard. Hershey’s spent more than a half million dollars to defeat Prop 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling law. No wonder. The Hershey’s kisses and chocolate bars sold here in the U.S. are loaded with cheap genetically modified beet sugar and genetically engineered soy lecithin. And where does the giant chocolate maker get its cacao? From regions where child labor and workers’ rights abuses run rampant.

"Hershey’s cuts corners by using cheap GMO ingredients and exploiting little kids in impoverished countries so its CEO, John Bilbrey, can personally pocket millions - $10.6 million in 2011. But guess what? In the UK, where consumers have the right to know what’s in their food because they’ve insisted on mandatory GMO labeling laws, Hershey’s products are GMO-free. The company once said: 'We took this decision based on our belief that customers in the UK do not currently wish to see GM ingredients in these products.'

"What about Hershey’s customers here in the U.S.? Let them eat GMOs!
"TAKE ACTION: Tell Hershey’s: No Dagoba chocolate until you support GMO labeling!"

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ben & Jerry's (Influenced?) Position on GE Ingredients

On the heels of Prop 37's loss in California in last November's election, the Organic Consumers Association called on supporters to boycott the "natural" and perceived healthy food companies that are owned by the multinational junk food companies that bankrolled the campaign to defeat Prop 37, which called for the labeling of food containing genetically engineered ingredients (the lifeblood of packaged and processed foodstuffs). It seems to have done some good.

As Stephanie Strom wrote in The New York Times last week:

"Brands like Honest Tea, which is owned by Coca-Cola, have written to the association, which estimates 75 percent of grocery products contain a genetically modified ingredient, to protest its 'Traitors Boycott,' which urges consumers not to buy products made by units of companies that fought Proposition 37. Consumers have peppered the companies’ Web sites, Facebook pages and Twitter streams with angry remarks. 
"Ben & Jerry’s, the ice cream company, announced recently that it would remove all genetically modified ingredients from its products by the end of this year. Consumers had expressed outrage over the money its parent, Unilever, contributed to defeat the California measure."
Here is Ben & Jerry's GMO position:
"As the campaign to label food products made with GMO ingredients moves across the states, including Vermont, Ben & Jerry’s is proud to stand with the growing consumer movement for transparency and the right to know what’s in our food supply by supporting mandatory GMO labeling legislation.
"Here’s our status: currently, in the United States and Canada, 80% of Ben & Jerry’s ingredients by volume are sourced non-GMO and 26 of our flavors are fully sourced with non-GMO ingredients (see list below). We commit to sourcing non-GMO ingredients for all our products everywhere by year-end 2013. In fact all our products made in Europe are already non-GMO.

"We will track our progress as we complete this conversion, with public updates on this site. Beginning now, and throughout 2013, we will transition packaging so that all Ben & Jerry’s products will be labeled with respect to GMO by 2014.

"We have a long history of siding with consumers and their right to know what’s in their food. We fought long and hard for labeling of rBGH, which was the first genetically engineered technology used in the US food system. We thank and encourage all those who are continuing this fight in support of transparency and the consumer’s right to know.

"You can take action now at Just Label It!

"The following is our list of flavors fully sourced with non-GMO ingredients:

Cherry Garcia
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Chocolate Fudge Brownie
Chocolate Nougat Crunch
Chocolate Therapy
Chunky Monkey
Half Baked
Milk & Cookies
Mint Chocolate Cookie
Mud Pie
Peanut Butter Cup
Pistachio Pistachio
Red Velvet Cake
Voluntiramisu (only in Target stores)
Blueberry Vanilla Graham Greek Frozen Yogurt
Raspberry Fudge Chunk Greek Frozen Yogurt
Strawberry Shortcake Greek Frozen Yogurt

Butter Pecan
Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz
Mint Chocolate Chunk
Sweet Cream and Cookies
Vanilla Greek Frozen Yogurt"