Monday, February 8, 2016

Been 6 months, but here is "What's in Your Food" part 7 "Cheetos"

So was weird weekend. I ate cheese sauce with chorizo in it. But they were on white corn chips.All while watching SuperBowl. On Saturday a young maiden offered something to me that literally I have not let into my mouth for 40 years, Cheetos. I've always thought they were nasty, and never liked them. As I got older, I read the ingredients, and realized why.

Cheetos do have fantastic marketing, the tiger concept is just so innovative. The ads make those eating Cheetos to be just the coolest and hippest people in society. Too bad the Frito-Lay people won't spend that marketing money on making the things less disgusting. But then, Frito-Lay is owned outright by one of the Biggest manufacturers of toxic foods, Pepsico. Certainly not the BIGGEST food like product manufacturer, but the one with the highest concentration of toxic additives and ingredients. Most people don't believe that, most people don't think High Fructose Corn Syrup is a bad thing. I mean the manufacturers tell us it's fine and healthy. Most people see no problems with Aspartame, Ace-K, Sucralose and sugar alcohols. I mean the manufacturers tell us they are fine and healthy. Most people don't think MSG, high salt intake and artificial colors are bad things, I mean the manufacturers tell us they are perfectly safe. 

I'm not most people.

I believe that the numbers of 'not most people' are growing all the time. Unfortunately most people though are just unaware and truly believe that when the they are told something won't hurt them, they feel there is no reason to doubt the authenticity or motivation behind those claims. But then most people keep reelecting their congress people and senators time after time when they DAILY show themselves to hold the interests of large corporations above the needs of their constituents. 

Most people have no clue. Most people just don't care perhaps.

So anyway, I ranted long enough. Let's look at Cheetos.
Here we see the actual ingredient label from a Bag of Cheetos Flamin Hot flavor. Now this article isn't about whether or not Genetically Modified foods are inherently bad or not. I will be the first to admit that it could take years to determine if adding a gene to plant's DNA makeup would make the plant toxic. I don't know. Maybe, maybe not. Well let me amend that, there has been some research that showed that the Bt toxins Cry1AB and Cry9AC  do in fact cause cellular disruption of intestinal cells from humans in vitro. What I do know though is that pretty much ALL GM crops are drenched with horrifically toxic pesticides and herbicides. The residues of those are in pretty much ALL corn, wheat, soy, cotton and well, every crop grown that isn't certified organic. And even though the chemical companies tell us they are safe, the reality is very very different and we are learning just how long they last in the environment and hot devastating they are to humans, bees, and really the world itself. So, GMO corn, not a good thing.

The same thing applies to the oils used. GMO, pesticide residues. And granted the 17% total fat is not that bad as far as snack foods go. There are worse ones out there. Then there is the 'Hot Seasoning'. Scary but the seasoning has two types of sugar, regular sugar and maltodextrin. And two types of MSG, regular MSG and yeast extract. And salt. An ounce of these morsels of America's Chemical Feast contain 10% of your daily allotment of salt. AN OUNCE!!!!! There are four, yep, count 'em, FOUR different coal tar artificial coloring agents. These are known carcinogens. Then there are the Disodium twins, Inosinate and Guanalate. These aren't inherently bad, that we know of, (needs more testing to determine) but they are known in the industry as cheats. They are a lot like MSG in that they make mediocre things taste better. Then there is Sodium Diacetate. Which here this will shock some people, I don't have a problem with it. It gives foods a salty and vinegary flavor. And is a mild preservative. And really, not any discernible problems.

Now some people might look at this label and see that the ingredients do indeed contain two different sugars listed. And then look at the Nutrition Information and see that listed there the sugars are shown as being zero percent of the total. ZERO. What's up with that. How can the ingredients list added sugar but the nutrition info show none? The answer is simple, and legal as well. The FDA is the governmental group charged with monitoring the manufacturing and labeling of food and food like products. Of which Cheetos falls into the second category. The FDA directive for labeling nutritional information gives the manufacturer a 20% leeway up or down from actual tested percentages. That means they can put down zero when in reality sugars comprise up to 8% of the total weight of the product. It's not 20, it's a little more complex than that. But common sense tells us that if they add sugar, it has to comprise part of the end product. The sugar doesn't disappear in processing. I mention this because I want readers to realize that this is a very common practice with food and food like product manufacturers. They cheat. 

Something to think about.


Monday, February 1, 2016

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in food biz of late

I can't think of any more important industry in the world today, than the food industry. And it's true, everyone else will disagree with that statement, the defense guys will say that weapons manufacturing for our defense are the most important. The religion industry with their 250 billion dollar income will tell us that theirs is most important as they are saving our souls as payment for all that lucre. The banking and Wall Street people will tell us that the artificial creation and inflation of money is the most important industry. And, well, you get the picture, everyone thinks what they do is more important than anyone else. And they proclaim it with vehemence and then rush over to their favorite steakhouse and celebrate their perceived victory of idealism. And they don't even think about the food there. Hey, it's always there, they can rely on it. And it will always be wholesome, safe and mighty tasty. 

Well, some of us think about food. A lot. Even the food industry giants think about food, although at times they don't appear to really give a rat's ass about the quality and long term effects of the toxins they add to our food supply. I mean there are just so so so many chemicals, and so many of them are Class II carcinogens or worse. But, then again, they do seem to be changing their direction and focus of late. Now I don't know this for certain, but I believe that public opinion has had some effect on the direction with which the food industry is taking. Organic food manufacturers, organic produce, safer green home cleaning and home health care products, and stores that cater specifically to these newer categories are growing at unprecedented rates that the food industry hasn't seen since the 50's and the introduction of TV dinners and the birth of convenience foods. Which, realistically, was pretty much frightening at how processed foods overtook the available food supply in America. And how accepted it was into the lifestyle of the vast vast majority of the consumers. And now, public opinion is such that some, only some, consumers are actually starting to read the labels on all that processed food and are getting scared at what some of those chemicals might actually be and what the long term effects are. So the big giant food manufacturers have begun to take notice of the growth in real food. And they buy up the little organic companies. That's the American way.

But then they have started to work on some of the old tried and true products we grew up with and in attempt to look good and tap into that Green Revolution money (which quite frankly going organic generally means consumers with higher income and more disposable income) the big guys are reformulating food products to have fewer chemicals, use of natural dyes and some even to be organic.

Jelly Belly Jelly Beans - Yep, USDA Certified Organic ingredients for the new line 10 assorted flavors and 5 sour flavors to start. This one scares me. Gelatin comes from boiling bones and waste scrap from cows. Were the cows certified organic or is it just plain old crappy toxic gelatin. Their website doesn't say. (Jelly Beans)

Hunt's Tomato - This one is pretty cool actually, Hunt's has introduced three new organic tomato products. And then they pack them into BPA free cans. Wow, someone is paying attention. (Hunt's New) 

If you think about it, there are some restaurant chains out there that are doing a pretty disgusting job acquiring food like substances and then presenting them to consumers as real food. The Gilded Boobs for one, although they are working hard to win back all their lost market share by adding table service, less disgusting menu items and the great two for two concept. (still have the TBHQ on their fries though, known carcinogen) But there are a lot of chains, and they make a lot of money. So there are some smart people out there and they found a niche industry. Technomic Inc. is one such niche. They are a corporation that does nothing more than find out what consumers think about businesses. And then they sell that info to businesses. Pretty cool hunh?
They also make cool lists and tell us what trends are occurring in industries. And this one is about the trends in Restaurant Choices of Consumers.  Nice to see that Chipotle is at the top, and I think that scares the bejeezus out of a whole lot of the other guys. (Technomic list)  

Snickers new Crispers -  This really isn't a good thing, but I had to add it here. Snickers is using that research I wrote about a while ago about how texture affects differing groups of individuals, and so they wanted to create a new candy bar that has fewer calories and will cater to those wanting a crisper texture crisper mouthfeel and crisper candy bar experience. Pretty simple to do really, you just replace a portion of the crap with puffed rice. Crispy puffed rice. There again, devoid of any nutritive value but with the firm belief that lower calories, and higher mouthfeel texture it will be a hit with savvy consumers. Probably not, but like pretty much all candy, it will sell. (Snickers) 

Sheesh, probably enough for now, I have to go make salsa for my own business. There just seems to be a lot of info in the news lately about food, this just was the most hilarious I could glean in an hour this morning.