For decades, the food industry has been able to use ingredients that are “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) without approval from the FDA. When first used in the ’50s, this was intended to apply to ingredients, like vegetable oils and vinegars, where an additive’s safety is common knowledge, but in 1997, a backlogged FDA allowed food companies to merely submit their GRAS findings instead of the supporting data, creating a loophole the food industry has exploited to include a vast number of chemical ingredients that manufacturers claim are safe but which don’t go through a rigorous approval process. Feeling pressure from the public to pull back the veil on the GRAS process and its ingredients, the food industry announced a transparency initiative yesterday that may be a step in the right direction, but highlights just how little the FDA seems to care about the “F” part of its name. [More]
I don’t know about you, but I love a hearty meal made of trehalose, torula yeast and maltodextrin, so please excuse the drool covering this post. What’s that, you don’t know what those things and a slew of other ingredients listed in Taco Bell’s beef are? No one does, so Taco Bell has taken it upon itself to explain in detail with a newly launched explanation page. [More]
Embodying yet again that just because a company says words over and over, that doesn’t guarantee they actually mean anything, Papa John’s slogan of “Better pizza. Better ingredients” is lacking in a pretty significant way. Because when it comes down to figuring out what those so-called “better” ingredients are, it’s pretty darn tough to nail’em down. [More]
If you’re cooking and missing an ingredient, you don’t necessarily need to run off to the store to get it. You might have enough stuff laying around to concoct a suitable replacement, saving you the hassle of having to stop or scrap your meal. [More]
While there are plenty of farmers’ markets or bulk spice shops you can go to buy fresh goods with zero packaging, some entrepreneurs in Austin, TX, are aiming to open what they say is the first 100% packaging-free grocery store in the country. [More]
After the Center for Science in the Public Interest complained last month that “all natural” doesn’t include things like alkalized cocoa and hydrogenated oil, Ben & Jerry’s announced yesterday that it will stop using the phrase on its ice cream cartons. [More]
“Tobacco products today are really the only human-consumed product that we don’t know what’s in them,” the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products said to the Associated Press. To address that, the agency has told tobacco companies to provide a list of the ingredients in their cigarette brands by June 2010. The FDA says it won’t publicize a lot of the data in order to protect trade secrets, but that by June 2011 it will publish a list of “harmful and potentially harmful” ingredients, at which point tobacco companies will have to start listing the amounts of each one on their products. [More]
Chain restaurants are trying to lure in recession-weary diners with deep discounts, but franchisers worry that if you suddenly start paying half-price for sandwiches, you won’t be willing to pay full price when the economy recovers. We’re all accustomed to chain restaurant sandwiches costing $8 and up, but how much do those sandwiches really cost restaurants to make?
Bryan, a longtime Naked Juice customer, noticed that that Strawberry Kiwi Kick brand he always bought had a different colored cap. He writes, “Alas, the ‘Kick’ is no more. Gone are the supplements, including plain ol’ Vitamin C. Strawberry Kiwi Kick is just fruit juice.” When he contacted them to complain, they responded that their “devotees” preferred it that way, and they sent him a coupon and a temporary tattoo. Because if there’s anything that says “we take your input seriously,” it’s a temporary tattoo. (Or maybe they’re trying to tell him what they expect of real devotees.)
Reader Sarah got a laugh from her egg nog this morning. The package says the ingredients are all natural, just “exactly” like when “Grandfather started our dairy business in 1898.”
Reader Michael noticed these weird, soup-bashing ads in some Detroit-area newspapers yesterday. It seems that Progresso and Campbell’s have launched some negative campaign ads — smearing each other for using MSG in their soup. Is the world ready for a canned soup war? If it is, should we be depressed about it?
Since we wrote about Hershey’s reformulating some of their products into “mockolate” that can’t legally be called “milk chocolate,” the story has been getting some play in the media, prompting Hershey to respond to the controversy. So, why did they reformulate their candy? Because you like fake chocolate better!
It’s apparently a whole lot of fun to try to get a straight answer out of Tropicana as to what “natural flavors” are in their 100% juice.
We’ll admit that it would look a little sad to advertise a single lonely almond on the wrapper of the .6 oz Almond Joy. But printing “Coconut & Almonds” on the front, including an illustration of two almonds next to the text, and then referencing “almonds” in the ingredients list, looks a little misleading when you open the package and see one lonely nut lump on your candy. (Thanks to James!)
KFC's "Vegetarian Sandwich" Isn't, Stop Kidding Yourself That Fast Food Restaurants Have Vegetarian Options
A reader sent us the contents of a Better Business Bureau complaint filed against Taco Bell. It describes how a customer tried repeatedly to find out what grade beef Taco Bell uses in its food, and how nobody at the company was able or willing to provide an answer. Not surprisingly, the BBB complaint also went unanswered. Let’s just hope they’re not sourcing their beef from forklift cattle, which is like downer cattle but has odd prong-shaped bruises on the side.