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Tag: infant formula

Arsenic. When I hear that word I immediately think of a TV mystery where someone’s lover is poisoned to death via the toxin. Today, arsenic is not the star in some made-for-tv drama but rather a news-maker for a completely different reason. Arsenic is in our food and you could be eating it every day. Have you read the recent reports of elevated arsenic levels in apple juice? Just weeks later, and now, it’s showing up in many organic food products.

Environmental chemist, Brian P. Jackson, and his team at Dartmouth, discovered that organic foods containing the popular alternative sweetener, brown rice syrup, tested high for arsenic. Among the foods tested were infant formula, cereal bars, energy bars, and energy “shots.”
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We are excited to announce that Gerri French has joined Be Food Smart as a Special Advisor. In her new role, Gerri is helping Be Food Smart grow and expand. She is assisting with marketing, national outreach, and building high-quality informative content for the site. This amazing woman has been a fixture in the Santa Barbara, California community for years and we are thrilled to have her on our team.

Gerri French, M.S., R.D., CDE

Gerri has been a clinical nutritionist, educator and cooking instructor for the past 30 years. In addition to her new role with Be Food Smart, she currently serves as:

  • Nutritionist and diabetes educator at the Santa Barbara Sansum Clinic
  • Nutrition instructor for the Culinary Arts Program at Santa Barbara City College
  • Adult Education Instructor for Santa Barbara City College, Adult Education program.
  • Founder of Santa Barbara Food & Farm Adventures, a local group that meets at farms, markets, restaurants and wineries to learn more about local foods.

Gerri is the former Food & Nutrition Editor for Diabetes Health magazine and continues to work with diabetic patients as a Certified Diabetes Educator.  When she describes her specialty, she says, “I specialize in translating the latest scientific findings into practical information. I love helping people purchase and prepare local and organic foods, or as I call it, Earth Friendly Cuisine.” Gerri earned both her Masters of Science & Bachelor’s of Science at California Polytechnic Institute in San Luis Obispo.

Be Food Smart Co-Founder, Dina Clapinski, recently sat down with Gerri to learn a little more about her. Here are a few questions from the interview (remainder of interview will be posted on the blog tomorrow).
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Many of our readers have been asking what brand of organic dairy they should be buying. In 2006, the Cornucopia Institute put out a Dairy Scorecard report on US dairy producers. While some things may be a bit different now since it’s a few years old, the report is still a great reference for consumers looking for a more objective and well-rounded look at organic dairy.

The report looks at a wide variety of factors including antibiotic use, hormone use, organic certification process, and acreage of pasture available. Dairy products covered: fluid milk, butter, ice cream, yogurt, kefir, cheese, milk-based infant formula, and cream.

To see the scorecard, click here: Cornucopia Institute Dairy Scorecard

To read the full PDF report which includes interesting background information, history of the organic dairy, and a segment on the largest organic dairy producer, Horizon, click here: Maintaining the Integrity of Organic Milk, Showcasing Ethical Family Farm Producers, Exposing the Corporate Takeover – Factory Farm Production

Note that virtually all private label store brands in the report, receive a 1 or 0 (least desirable) rating since they refused to participate in the survey. This includes: Trader Joes, Costco Kirkland, and Safeway “O” brands.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that dairy from these brands are at the bottom of the pack, but since no information was provided to the Cornucopia Institute, there are no objective measures to compare. I’m a firm believer that if you have nothing to hide and are proud of your farm and business practices, you’d be a bit more happy to share.

Sources:
Cornucopia Institute
Image: Caroline Henri | Dreamstime.com

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.