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Tag: high fructose corn syrup

Headline Roundup 7.6.11

Here are a few recent headlines that caught my eye:

The True Cost of Bananas

Did you know that bananas are the most frequently purchased item at the grocery store and that major chains will not increase the price above $0.99/lb? I couldn’t believe it until I was at my local Lassen’s health food store and saw that even their organic, fair trade bananas were, you guessed it, $0.99/lb. This article is a fascinating look at the ugly underbelly of the banana industry. I kind of always knew bananas had a secret life, but did not know of the inner workings of the industry. Author Phyllis Robinson speaks from a place of passion and true knowledge (she spent her travels exploring the banana trade in South America). For anyone who “requires” a banana in their morning smoothie like I do, this long, but important article is a must read. Read the full story on Small Farmers Big Change
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Dina (left) & Robyn (right) in San Francisco

It was a bright, yet breezy day on the Embarcadero pier in San Francisco on Thursday. I was still buzzing from meeting food activist, Robyn O’Brien a few minutes earlier and knew I was in for a treat. The setting was the patio of The Plant Cafe, an organic restaurant which overlooks the sparkling water. It was an intimate group of food bloggers at a luncheon sponsored by Stonyfield. The mood was lively and inquisitive, and as we all took our seats, featured speaker Robyn O’Brien stood up to tell her story. To find out how she was transformed from an everyday American mom into “the Erin Brochovich of the food movement,” watch her story in this TEDx Austin video. My blog post today attempts to recapture to essence of Robyn’s message through a series of her quotes.
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In September we reported that, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) petitioned the FDA to allow the use of the term “corn sugar” as an alternative to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) on ingredient labels. Instead of waiting for a ruling from the FDA, the CRA went ahead with a new ad campaign which uses the term corn sugar. This act has angered people in the sugar industry and on April 29th, a group of sugar farmers and refiners filed a lawsuit against the members of the corn refining industry. According to Food Navigator, “The suit…claims the industry’s corn sugar branding campaign for high fructose corn syrup constitutes false advertising.”

Watch the 30 second commercials here:

Corn Sugar TV Commercial – Maze

Corn Sugar TV Commercial – Question Mark

The United States uses more high fructose corn syrup than any other country in the world, but negative publicity over the last few years has caused many food manufacturers to switch to cane or beet sugar. The CRA maintains that HFCS is nutritionally equivalent to sugar and the name change will assist with consumer clarity. Hmmm…consumer clarity. That’s exactly what we were thinking!

The suit was filed in a Los Angeles US district court by Western Sugar Cooperative, Michigan Sugar Company and C & H Sugar Company; defendants in the case are ADM, Cargill, Corn Products International, Penford Products, Roquette America, Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas, and the Corn Refiners Association.

Sources:
FoodNavigator.com
image: Emilian Robert Vicol via Flickr

On a recent trip, a friend brought out these individual servings of Mott’s Original Applesauce for all the kids. My daughter loves applesauce and eagerly waited for me to open it. We always purchase applesauce with no sugar added and I forgot that many brands contain added sweeteners. When I glanced at the label, I noticed that this particular brand had high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) listed as the second ingredient. This is a perfect example of an unnecessary additive.

I don’t know about you, but I find apples plenty sweet on their own. Instead of enjoying the natural sweetness of nature’s bounty, kids get used to artificially sweetened food and start to “need” their food to be ultra-sweetened. Luckily, my friend had also purchased Mott’s Granny Smith Applesauce for the moms and, surprise, it contained NO added sugar or HFCS. There are many brands of applesauce that only contain apples and vitamin C (prevents the applesauce from browning). They taste great and kids will be spared the added sugars and empty calories. You can also make your own applesauce; check out these recipes from Devine Health and The Salad Girl.

Exercise:

Look in your fridge and pantry and start reading labels. Search for foods containing added sweeteners (especially HFCS and chemical sweeteners). Next time you go shopping, try switching out your normal brand with a version that does not contain added sweeteners. There are thousands of foods with added sweeteners, but here are some common ones to start with: applesauce, fruit juice, jam/jelly, salad dressing, breakfast cereal, peanut butter, dried fruit, yogurt, syrup (only buy real maple syrup), canned fruit, and pasta sauce. While you’re looking to make the switch, consider a certified organic variety too! You’ll get the added benefit of no pesticides or genetically modified ingredients.

Note: Beware of “sugar-free” products. This means that the product does not contain cane or beet sugar, but instead, likely contains a chemical sweetener such as aspartame, acesulfame potassium or saccharin. Be Food Smart does NOT recommend consuming any of these artificial sweeteners.

This is the flowchart everyone needs to see.

Check out our new flowchart and in your comment, tell us what sweetener you ended up on. Click on the image below to see the full flowchart and to get the embed code to add it to your site.

Click above to see the full flowchart

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Santa Barbara News-Press Dec 7, 2010, Photo by Mike Eliason

Be Food Smart is featured in today’s Santa Barbara News-Press! If you are local in Santa Barbara, pick up your copy and check us out on the cover of the Life Section. Not local? Click on this link for a PDF of the story:

What’s on your plate? : Be Food Smart website supplies answers to consumers

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

By: Karna Hughes

Many thanks to Karna Hughes for interviewing us and writing an article on our new company. Also, thank you to Mike Eliason for the fun pictures and to Ananda Dalidd (aka Dad) for making it happen.

Picture from the Santa Barbara News-Press Article, Dec 7, 2010

Ingredient Report for High Fructose Corn Syrup, Photo by Mike Eliason

Today, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) issued a press release stating that they are petitioning the FDA for the option to use the term “Corn Sugar” as an alternative to High Fructose Corn Syrup. Their main goal? To eliminate consumer confusion.

“Consumers need to know what is in their foods and where their foods come from and we want to be clear with them. The term ‘corn sugar’ succinctly and accurately describes what this natural ingredient is and where it comes from – corn.” – Audrae Erickson, CRA President

Wow, where do I begin. First, could this new initiative have anything to do with the nasty consumer backlash the CRA has experienced against HFCS? I’m starting to see “No HFCS” on all sorts of products. Do you think the HFCS manufacturers are starting to feel a pinch to their bank accounts? Consumer groups and active shoppers have sent manufacturers a message: they don’t want HFCS in their foods. What does the CRA do? Hey, we got it, let’s just change the name!

Second point, “eliminate consumer confusion?” The only confusion consumers will have if this petition is approved is trying to remember to look for Corn Sugar and HFCS on ingredient labels. There is not a clearer example of a group trying to hide their product behind a new name in hopes people won’t notice.
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