Saturday, August 16, 2008
Now, Europe taking a second look at chemical dyes, and pending legislation would have products with any of six artificial colors come with a health warning.
That said, "it's not over 'til the fat lobbiest sings", and the European Food Safety Authority opined that there is no evidence to change acceptable daily intakes (ADIs). Fortunately, the EFSA is the commission’s independent risk assessor, but the legislative body is under no obligation to follow its opinions.
Meanwhile the US-based Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned the FDA to ban artificial colorings linked to hyperactivity and behavior problems in children. While they also want warning labels on foods with artificial dyes, they would settled for an out and out ban.
They have a point, actually. The CSPI cites FDA statistics that the amount of food dye certified for use was 12 milligrams per capita per day in 1955. But as of 2007, 59 mg per capita per day, or nearly five times as much, was certified for use.
And where do you get these dyes? Predominantly from sugary cereals, candies, sodas, and snack foods pitched to children. Hence they want the artificial dyes to be removed from the food formula.
But again, exactly what is meant by the term “artificial color” depends on which side of the Atlantic you are standing.
Read the entire article here.
Friday, August 15, 2008
For example, elderberry ice cream has added color from anthocyanins that were isolated from elderberries. THAT makes sense. The added color is considered natural since the elderberry color would be expected in an elderberry ice cream.
Now it gets weird. If the ice cream were colored with anthocyanins isolated from purple sweet potato, the added color would be considered artificial, as the consumer would not expect color from purple sweet potato in a product called elderberry ice cream.
As if playing confusion pile-on, the EU and US define terms differently. In the EU artificial color is an acceptable reference to what is recognized in the US as "color additives subject to certification," "certified colors", "Food, Drugs & Cosmetics (FD&C) colors", or "synthetic colors".
Another example is sodium copper chlorophyllin, which is only approved in the USA for use in citrus-based dry beverage mixes, while in the EU it is allowed to color many more food and beverage applications. And lutein is allowed for use as a food and beverage color additive in the EU but not in the USA.
Finally, if you isolate naturally derived colors from different sources the approvals change, depending on whether you are a US or EU company.
According to a colorant industry spokesperson, “This potential for confusion and misinterpretation of a label by a consumer is limiting to the food manufacturer that uses naturally derived color additives and does not want to disclose the source of coloring.”
She said: “It is essential that we learn to appreciate the language of color additives and how this language can change depending on the region in which you are working.”
Alternatively, hey, I have an idea. Just eat normal food. Steer clear of eating something that requires legalese or is a blatant oxymoron (natural synthetic!).
Read the entire article here.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Back in 2005, Nestle promised to remove all artificial coloring from its products. They vowed to switch to only natural alternatives, but had a real issue finding a replacement for their Brilliant Blue (used in Smarties).
To deal with this situation, it actually canned the blue ones altogether and just sold white Smarties instead!! Weird. Who would have guessed? Later, in February of this year, they discovered a blue-green lake algae that t’would serve.
The issue for the food manufacturers is not that the natural sources for color is not out there – there are sources available. The problem is that natural colors, as you might imagine, contain other elements that might confuse the chemistry of the overall product.
Natural colorings commonly contain wonderful vitamins, minerals, co-factors, caffeine, etc. Each of these could cross react with the other emulsifiers, stabilizers, and chemical additives of the product. This just means that the introduction of new colors can bring substantial development work when the texture, flavor, or, yes, color goes south.
According to one representative of the natural coloring industry, “Especially when talking beverages, the chemical reactivity or the lipophilic nature of natural pigments needs some specific formulation based on emulsion, encapsulation, resistance to oxydation, fading and browning.”
Blah blah blah. The bottom line is that they are willing to ditch their old formulation, which is cheaper and easier, in order to meet consumer demand. Don’t shed a tear, though. They’ll figure themselves out, and we’ll be the healthier for it.
Read the entire article here:
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Just last month, this company, Nebraska Beef recalled over 5 million pounds of beef that the company released between May 16 and June 26. Why? A federal investigation determined that their processing practices led to an E. coli outbreak in several states. To make matters worse, on Friday the company decided to recall an additional 1.2 million pounds of beef that they produced on June 17, June 14 and July 8.
Already, their meat has been linked to illnesses in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illlinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia (as reported by the Associated Press).
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.
The CDC estimates that the E. bacterium sickens more than 70,000 people and kills more than 60 every year in the United States.