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Archive for December, 2010

Yesterday, the House agreed to the Senate amendments on the Food Safety Bill HR 2751 by a vote of 215 Yeas and 144 Nays. The FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act (formerly S.510 and HR 3082) has taken a dramatic number of twists and turns through our judicial system over the last 4 months.

There have been many questions surrounding small farms. Was a version of the Tester Amendment included? Are small farms a part of the bill or are they exempt? The final amendment defines a food establishments as:

“…  the term ‘‘retail food establishment…  (A) the sale of such food products or food directly to consumers by such establishment at a roadside stand or farmers’ market where such stand or market is located other than where the food was manufactured or processed; (B) the sale and distribution of such food through a community supported agriculture program…”

After reading the exception section (page 18), it does appear that “very small businesses,”  small farms, and small facilities with average sales of less than $500,000 (adjusted for inflation) are exempt from some of the requirements.

Click to see the actual full text amendment. At this point we wait to see if the president will sign the bill (all signs are indicating that he will). Want to know how your representative voted? See the full list of votes here.

Sources:

Library of Congress

GovTrack.us

This Ingredient Spotlight is a regular feature from Be Food Smart. Check back daily to see the ingredient of the day.

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In recent news, this popular food additive was found to be effective against the common cold and the H1N1 flu virus!

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Carrageenan

Names: Ammonium Carrageenan, Calcium Carrageenan, Potassium Carrageenan, Sodium Carrageenan, Chondrus Extract, Irish Moss

Uses: Stabilizer, Texturizer, Emulsifier

E Number: E407

Found In: ice cream, chocolate milk, sherbet, jam, jelly, cheese spread, dressings, crackers, pastries, custard, evaporated milk, whipped cream, infant formula, soy milk

Description: Derived from a red seaweed by heating and converting into a gel. Used to thicken and stabilize processed foods. Also used as an emulsifier in certain products. Roughly 80% of the world’s supply comes from the Philippines. In 2007, the joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) indicated that carrageenan should be restricted in infant formula due to the gastrointestinal effects on infants.

Allergy Information: May cause allergic reaction in sensitive individuals

Possible Health Effects: In  animal studies, results indicated that when carrageenan was subject to high temperatures…read more on Carrageenan.

Copyright July 2, 2010 Be Food Smart, Updated December 20, 2010

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Be Food Smart was created to educate and inform the public about what’s really in the foods we eat every day. The site has a huge database of food additives, chemicals, food colorings, sweeteners, and preservatives and allows one to search for over 400 ingredient names. Our unique ingredient reports contain simple and easy to understand descriptions, alternate names, possible health effects, and allergy information. The site is completely free and is a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, health care professionals, dietitians, and concerned consumers.

In the ongoing saga of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510), we learned this morning that the act is now included in yet different bill.  Twelve days ago we reported that S.510 was added to the Military Construction & Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (HR 3082).  The new bill? HR 2751, formerly known as the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act. According to the Senate website, HR 2751 is currently active and may receive floor action this week:

“Food safety, overhaul safety inspection process and authorize HHS Secretary to issue recalls
(Senate inserted amended text of S.510 into H.R.2751 on Dec. 19, then passed the House-numbered measure.)”

HR 2751 passed in the Senate with a unanimous, unrecorded vote last night and now moves back to the House for a final vote before it goes before the president.

Sources:

Senate.gov

This Ingredient Spotlight is a regular feature from Be Food Smart. Check back daily to see the ingredient of the day.

FD&C Red No. 40

The next time you are tempted to pop a candy cane in your mouth, think again. Red No.40 is the most commonly used artificial red food coloring used in the US today and is banned in many other countries.

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Alternate Names: Allura Red AC, FD&C Red. No. 40 Calcium Lake, FD&C Red. No. 40 Aluminum Lake

E Number: E129

Uses: Coloring

Found In: soft drinks, candy, children’s medications, cereal, beverages, snacks, gelatin desserts, baked goods, ice cream

Description: An azo dye produced from petroleum to create shades of red. Also see Food, Drug & Cosmetic Colors (FD&C). One of the newest colors to be permanently listed by the FDA. It is extremely prevalent in foods and is one of the most commonly used of all the food dyes. Due to several studies on children and hyperactivity, the European Union requires food containing this colorant to have a label which states: “may have an adverse effect on activity in children” (see In the News section on full ingredient report). This can be problematic for parents since this food dye is found in thousands of products marketed specifically to children. Red No. 40 is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Sweden and Switzerland. The safety of this colorant is highly controversial.

Possible Health Effects: Known to cause hyperactivity in children. Some animal studies indicate that chemicals used in the preparation of this colorant are carcinogenic and may cause cancer. Developmental… Read more on Red No. 40

Related Ingredient: Tartrazine

Copyright August 8, 2010 Be Food Smart

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Be Food Smart was created to educate and inform the public about what’s really in the foods we eat every day. The site has a huge database of food additives, chemicals, food colorings, sweeteners, and preservatives and allows one to search for over 400 ingredient names. Our unique ingredient reports contain simple and easy to understand descriptions, alternate names, possible health effects, and allergy information. The site is completely free and is a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, health care professionals, dietitians, and concerned consumers.

This Ingredient Spotlight is a regular feature from Be Food Smart. Check back daily to see the ingredient of the day.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

E Number: E320

Uses: Antioxidant, Preservative

Found In: lard, instant mashed potatoes, ice cream, baked goods, dry dessert mixes, shortening, cereal, potato flakes

Description: Petroleum-derived preservative which helps to prevent spoilage due to oxidation. The US National Institutes of Health states that BHA is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.” Banned in Japan.

Possible Health Effects: Evidence of causing cancer in experimental…Read more on BHA.

Related Ingredients: BHT, TBHQ

Copyright May 20, 2010 Be Food Smart

Be Food Smart was created to educate and inform the public about what’s really in the foods we eat every day. The site has a huge database of food additives, chemicals, food colorings, sweeteners, and preservatives and allows one to search for over 400 ingredient names. Our unique ingredient reports contain simple and easy to understand descriptions, alternate names, possible health effects, and allergy information. The site is completely free and is a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, health care professionals, dietitians, and concerned consumers.


Cookie Crisp

Most cereals are too sweet. Ok, so maybe I’m biased because I grew up on Spoon Size Shredded Wheat, Grape Nuts, and Corn Puffs, but it looks like I’m not alone. General Mills will be lowering the sugar content in the cereals marketed to children under 12. How much lower you ask? Well, they are going from 11 grams per serving to 10 grams. That isn’t a big change, but that’s exactly the point according to Jeff Harmening, president of General Mills’ Big G cereal division. He said in an interview, “Consumers have a very keen idea of what these cereals ought to taste like and if you change the taste dramatically or suddenly, they’ll walk away from the brand.”

By the end of the year all the cereals marketed to children will adhere to the 10 gram maximum.  It looks like they won’t stop at 10 grams either and will likely lower to 9 grams in the future before feeling ‘victorious’. The fight against obesity and diabetes needs all the help it can get.

Sources: Yahoo News

Image: theimpulsivebuy


UPDATE: 12/9/10 – The House passed its amendment to the Senate amendment. HR 3082 is back in the Senate for a vote.

Natural News is reporting that The Food Safety and Modernization Act has been “hidden” in an amendment to another bill,  HR 3082.  Upon researching HR 3082, it is deemed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010.  Not a bill that has much to do with food safety if you ask me!

In looking at the text of the amendment, Food Safety has been included (on page 185 – Division D – Food Safety).  Exactly what version of S.510 and if the Tester Amendment was included is not clear. The House will likely vote on HR 3082 and its amendment today or tomorrow.  The saga of this bill continues.

Click here to read the Amendment to HR 3082.

Sources:

Natural News

The US House of Representatives, Committee on Rules

Govtrack.us