Category: Food

Beware of Tricks at Local Grocery Stores

Read the fine print: the chicken is artificially injected with a 15% saline solution, for which you are paying by the pound

Read the fine print: the chicken is artificially injected with a 15% saline solution, for which you are paying by the pound

Last summer I picked up two raw chickens on sale at City Market, put one in the freezer and the other on the smoker for dinner. When it was done and I cut into it, the chicken oozed a milky-looking liquid and had a weird, stringy texture that all dinner guests agreed made it just too unappealing to eat. With my main dish inedible, I ran back to City Market with the second chicken and told them something was very wrong with it. They gave me my money back and I bought a ready-made rotisserie chicken to substitute for dinner that night. To say we were disappointed was an understatement.

After that, I couldn’t help but wonder: what was wrong with my chicken that it came out so funky?

The answer is, it wasn’t really chicken. The fine print on the label said the chicken had been “enhanced” with a “15% solution of chicken broth.”

This is what ruined my dinner. I cooked a chicken that had been pumped full of liquid, when I thought I was buying just chicken. It was also on sale, which meant it had probably been sitting around a little longer than desired prior to purchase.

“Enhancing” chicken is a euphemism for injecting it with a mixture of water, phosphate, sodium and sometimes carrageenan, a chemical derived from seaweed that increases the chicken’s ability to hold the injected liquid in its tissues. Injecting it this way plumps up the chicken, making it look more appealing to consumers. You can see a video of a chicken-injecting machine at work here.

WCAF Says “Help Hungry Kids this Halloween”

Few kids suffer from a shortage of candy at Halloween, but lots of Mesa County kids suffer from food insecurity year 'round.

Few kids suffer from a shortage of candy at Halloween, but lots of Mesa County kids suffer from food insecurity year ’round.

How much money will you spend on Halloween candy this year? And how much good does that really do?

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers thinks some of that money can do a lot more good if applied to help alleviate hunger in our community.

Sadly, an astonishing number children in our own area suffer from food insecurity.

Mesa County’s poverty level is significantly higher than the state’s as a whole, making life difficult not just for local parents, but for their kids, too. Thirteen percent of Mesa County families live below the federal poverty level, compared to 8.9 percent for the rest of the state.  More than half of the students attending Mesa Valley School District 51 schools qualify for the free and reduced lunch program, and a fairly large number of kids who don’t qualify still go hungry because of poor parental behavior.

This Halloween, Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers, western Colorado’s secular community since 2007, urges people to think differently and consider taking the money you would normally spend on candy, and maybe even just a little more, and donating it to Kids Aid, the local nonprofit that provides backpacks full of non-perishable foods to kids who would otherwise go hungry over the weekends.

Kids Aid currently sends home a phenomenal 1,800 backpacks of food every week to students in all District 51 schools.  The need in our community is very real.

Few kids suffer from a shortage of candy at Halloween, and obesity and diabetes are growing problems for young children. At the same time, many local kids are suffering from a chronic shortage of real, nutritious food.

Four dollars worth of candy money will feed a child for one whole weekend. Sixteen dollars of candy money will feed a child for a month, $48 worth of candy money will feed a child for a quarter and $128 worth of candy money will feed a child for an entire school year.

Few kids need more candy at Halloween, but a lot of kids need more nutritious food.

WCAF urges people to be a “Kids Aid House,” put their candy money to higher use this year, and help turn Halloween in Mesa County into a helping holiday for hungry kids.

Send donations to

Kids Aid

P.O. Box 2569

Grand Junction, CO 81502

…or donate through Kids Aid’s website at KidsAidColorado.org

Unlike the G.J. Chamber, Bin 707 Walks the “Local” Talk

bin707logoBin 707 Foodbar in downtown Grand Junction is serious about supporting local food products and organic food producers. “We’re local first, Colorado second,” says Bin’s new website. “Locally purchased products keeps money in the local economy for longer, instead of investing it in large corporations.”

Yup, Bin gets it.

When the time came to create a new website, Bin patronized Synergy Marketing Consultants at 2478 Patterson Road, a full-service digital marketing agency located right here in Grand Junction. Cat Mayer of Cat Mayer Studio, located at 3360 Star Court in Grand Junction, did the photography for the new site, and the photographs are gorgeous.

Bin’s seeking out of local talent and expertise contrasts starkly with the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, which claims to promote local business while frequently taking its own business out of town, and often clean out of the state.

Bin 707’s true devotion to local, and its creative, innovative culinary offerings have catapulted it to success — all without joining the chamber.

Now the highest-rated restaurant in town on TripAdvisor and the second highest-rated on Yelp, Bin has quickly become a well-loved local institution. It provides GJ residents with a top-level eatery for special occasions as well as everyday dining.

Thank you, Bin 707, not just for helping to bring our town’s culinary offerings into the 21st century, but for demonstrating you are truly devoted to the real meaning of “local.”

Colorado GMO Labeling Law Heading for Signature-Gathering Phase

GMORightToKnowColorado Ballot Initiative #48, the “Colorado Right to Know Act,” would require food manufacturers to include the words “Produced with Genetic Engineering” on the packaging of any products that contain genetically-modified organisms. If foods containing these organisms and are not properly labeled, they will be considered “misbranded.”

Federal law currently does not require foods containing genetically-modified ingredients to be labeled, so consumers unaware whether their food contains these organisms and unable to make an informed choice about consuming them.

The measure survived a Colorado Supreme Court challenge by biotech, pesticide and conventional grocery interests, which disputed the title, the “Colorado Right to Know Act,” as unfair, inaccurate, confusing and misleading.

Proponents of the measure will not start collecting signatures to get the measure on the November, 2014 ballot. If it passes, the law will go into effect on July 1, 2016, and would not apply to food or drink for animals, chewing gum, alcoholic beverages, restaurant or food freshly-prepared for consumption or medically-prescribed foods.

Supporters will need 86,105 valid signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

Help out, donate or keep up with the progress of the campaign for the Colorado Right to Know Act at RightToKnowColorado.org.

Pot Culture Comes to Grand Junction Despite City and County Bans

Discontent's giant jobbing Bong Guy greets tourists driving into Grand Junction off of I-70B. Art was a creation of their employee Kyle O'Connor.

Discontent’s giant skateboarding, stoned Bong Guy greets tourists driving into Grand Junction off of I-70B. Art was created by their employee Kyle O’Connor.

Try as they may, the Grand Junction City Council, Mesa County Commissioners and even Diane Cox haven’t been able to stop the pot culture from seeping into Grand Junction. It’s starting to show up everywhere these days, despite city and county-wide bans on retail marijuana commerce.

Roasted Espresso and Subs on 5th Street and Colorado Avenue, the coolest coffee bar in town, now offers to add cannabis seeds to any item for $1.50. Shelled cannabis seeds contain a high amount of protein and nutrients like iron, vitamin B and calcium. Reader’s Digest calls them “super seeds” and says they are a “great source of complete protein and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Cannabis seeds also contain phytosterols, plant-based compounds that help lower cholesterol levels.” The THC content of seeds is almost nonexistent.

Discontent at First Street and North Avenue — a high-visibility location at the west entrance to town — bills itself as a “lifestyle store for the counter-culture” and sells a wide selection of pipes, rolling papers, vaporizers, water pipes and other accessories. The quality of their selection of glass art bongs is so magnificent it’s hard to imagine actually using them to smoke. Discontent also carries skateboarding accessories, Van’s sneakers and clothing for the younger set, but they report their clientele has a wide age range. They had one customer who was 85 years old. (Discontent checks date of birth on customers’ IDs.) Discontent is now sporting a huge picture of a stoned, skateboarding bong-guy with bloodshot eyes on its front window.

Tourists coming in off I-70 stop in at Discontent to ask directions to the Colorado National Monument, but the store manager reports the most frequent question from tourists is “Where are the recreational pot shops?” Unfortunately, Discontent must direct them out of town to Rifle, Ridgway or Carbondale, where retail recreational marijuana stores are permitted, to spend their cash. Discontent has been so successful in its current location that they are planning to open a second store in Glenwood Springs, one of the places that has also allowed retail MJ sales. Locals can only watch helplessly as cash-laden pot tourists drive straight through town without stopping and head to points beyond to spend their money.

Seven Year Old Fights GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies

Seven year old Alicia Serratos is trying to get Girl Scouts to take GMO ingredients out of their cookies

YOU GO GIRL! Seven year old Alicia Serratos is trying to get Girl Scouts to take the GMO ingredients out of their cookies

Seven year old Alicia Serratos of Orange County, California has been a Girl Scout for almost three years, so when Girl Scout cookie season rolled around, Alicia got excited about the prospect of selling cookies to help raise money for her troop. But then Alicia and her mom read the ingredients on the cookie box and she found she didn’t recognize a lot of them and couldn’t pronounce some of them, either. Since she was six, Alicia has spent time learning about genetically-modified organisms and their dangers, like infertility and tumors. She knew that over 60 countries have either banned GMOs or forced companies to list GMO ingredients on their labels. Alicia recognized some of the ingredients in Girl Scout cookies as GMOs. She got alarmed that she was being asked to sell cookies made with GMOs, and so she wrote to the Girl Scouts and asked them to take GMO ingredient out of their cookies. Alicia also made a YouTube video asking Girl Scouts to remove GMO ingredients from their cookies, and started a petition on Change.org asking Girl Scouts to stop putting GMO ingredients in their cookies. She made YouTube videos showing how to make healthier, non-GMO versions of Thin Mints and Melty Mints, to prove it can be done. Alicia also created her own cookbook, called “Recipes to Grow,” with over 40 recipes for food kids love, all made from organic and non-GMO ingredients. Alicia will be selling her cookbook instead of Girl Scout cookies this year. She plans to donate proceeds from the book to help schools establish organic gardens on their grounds. So far, over 18,800 people have signed Alicia’s petition, and she’s trying to get 25,000 signatures. For its part, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. is resisting efforts to get GMOs out of their cookies and towing the GMO-biotech line. In a response to the growing uproar about GMOs in their cookies, Girls Scouts says, in part:

“It is important to note that there is worldwide scientific support for the safety of currently commercialized ingredients derived from genetically modified agricultural crops. The World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the American Medical Association all share this assessment. In addition, in the future, GMOs may offer a way to help feed an ever-increasing world population.”

A Freethinker Halloween

With the rates of obesity and diabetes skyrocketing nationally and the number of kids going hungry in Mesa County at an all time high, it was difficult to think of spending money on candy this Halloween. Last year 54 trick or treaters came to our door, so the candy expenditure on Halloween these days is not insignificant.

Last Halloween I did a test to gauge kids’ interest in candy. I held out two identical bowls to all of our trick or treaters. One had some pretty decent candy in it (chocolate bars and such), and the other was filled with small party favors, like toy cars, sticky frogs, cheap necklaces, etc. (The cost of the party favors was about equal to the cost of the candy, by the way.) The kids preferred the toys to the candy by a ratio of about 3:1. That told me candy wasn’t such a big deal to kids after all.

Something Really Good in Grand Junction!

RaiseNGlazeLogo

You are getting hungry….

One of the best-kept secrets in Grand Junction, Colorado right now is a new doughnut shop that opened up just off Patterson Road by Mesa Mall called Raise ‘n’ Glaze. Now, now… don’t yawn. This is not your run-of-the-mill doughnut shop. Unlike most doughnut shops, Raise ‘n’ Glaze’s bakers are possessed of an unusual creative impulse, and on weekends they go hog-wild and come up with mind-blowing creations, like lavender-pistachio doughnuts, key-lime pie doughnuts topped with merengue that they actually finish with a blowtorch, and banana-rum doughnuts drizzled with warm chocolate. But the best-kept secret at Raise ‘n’ Glaze is a little item they call a “Glasszant,” a hybrid of a croissant and a doughnut. The dough is flaky and tender like a croissant, and it’s kind of sweet-salty and buttery all at once, and to be honest, their Glasszant is basically the doughnut form of crack cocaine. After you eat one, the only thing you will be able to think of is how long until you can have another one. The Glasszant is Raise ‘n’ Glaze’s version of a Cronut™, a speciality pastry that took New York City by storm this spring. Created by famed New York pastry chef Dominique Ansel, Cronuts™(yes, the name is trademarked) got such glowing reviews on social media after they debuted last May that “Cromania” quickly swept the city.  Ansel makes one flavor Cronut each month, like Rose Vanilla, Lemon-Maple, Blackberry or Fig-Mascarpone. He started out making 200 Cronuts each day, and they sold out within minutes, so Ansel quickly upped production to 300/day, and now all of those sell out every day, too. People line up outside his bakery starting as early as 4:00 a.m. to get Cronuts. The crowd become so unwieldy that Ansel’s  bakery had to make rules like prohibiting cutting in line or saving spots for other people. Ansel charges patrons $5.00 apiece for his Cronuts before tax, and limits patrons to two of them. Even people who call and pre-order them can only get 6 per person. After Cromania hit New York City, Cronut knockoffs started appearing all over the country. Because the name is trademarked, bakers have to give their versions unique names like CroughDough, a Brioughnut, a Crullant, a Crowe-Gnut, Dough-Not.  Now we have them right here in Grand Junction, at Raise ‘n’ Glaze, sold as Glasszants.

In The UK, Street Parties to Celebrate Thatcher’s Death

After the April 8 announcement that former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had died, thousands of UK citizens poured out to spontaneous street parties to celebrate her death. A crowd of about 3,000 people gathered in the rain in Trafalgar Square to a celebrate Thatcher’s demise. Partiers chanted “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie! Dead! Dead! Dead!” Some swigged from big  plastic bottles of milk to commemorate Thatcher’s abolishing a program that provided free milk to school children. Her decision to end the milk subsidy earned her the nickname “Thatcher the Milk Snatcher.” Trafalgar Square revelers drank, blew bubbles, sang and danced in a conga line in celebration of Thatcher’s demise. People in Brixton, South London, also turned out to a street party where participants carried signs saying “Rejoice!” and popped champaign bottles. A website, IsThatcherDeadYet.co.uk, now has a huge word “YES” on it and has gotten 235,396 “likes” on FaceBook. In addition to spontaneous street parties, a campaign is underway in the UK to get as many people as possible to download the song “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead” from the movie “The Wizard of Oz” to make it the week’s the top-selling track and push it to number one on the UK music charts. The effort seems to be working. By Friday, April 12, Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead had hit number one in the UK ITunes store and rose to number three on the official UK charts. All this put BBC radio is a tough spot, since the radio station usually broadcasts a Top 40 countdown program on Sunday afternoons, in which it plays every song from number 40 on down in its entirety.

Kroger-Owned City Market’s Fake “Your Health Matters” Ad Campaign

Can you count the number of lies in this sign?

Can you count the number of lies in this sign?

Recently City Market grocery stores, a chain owned by Kroger Company, started running billboards in Grand Junction, Colorado that say “Your health matters to us.” The ads boast that City Markets have dietitians, pharmacies, “natural and organic” foods, “health centers” and “NuVal,” a scoring program that ranks the nutritional value of some foods they sell on a scale of 1 to 100.  I called a local City Market store to find out how to get in touch with one of their dietitians but was told they didn’t really have any. “It’s misleading,” said Pansy Hubbard, a Grand Junction City Market service counter employee, about the billboard campaign. She said there aren’t any registered dietitians at any of the Grand Junction stores.  People with a computer and an Internet connection can find their way to Kroger’s website, where, if you dig a little you can find links to email addresses of dietitians, but the inference that City Markets have dietitians available at their stores is patently false, at least in our area. But the stores’ claim about dietitians isn’t even the most misleading part of the ad.  The biggest thing that negates City Market’s claim that “Your health matters to us” is that all their stores knowingly continue to sell a product that is well-known to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans every year: cigarettes. Cigarettes are a known addictive and deadly product, and City Market makes lots of money off them despite what they do to peoples’ health.  This makes it very clear that money is what matters to City Market and the Kroger Company, not their customers’ health.

Some other store chains besides Kroger/City Market can now make a more honest case that they care about their customers’ health. Target stores, for example, stopped selling cigarettes chain-wide in 1996, and are still very much in business. Other stores that truly promote healthy lifestyles have quit selling cigarettes and said publicly that selling tobacco products is not conducive to their pro-health mission.

They are absolutely right.

Ultra-Processed Food, Drink Driving Global Epidemic of Non-Communicable Disease

obesity-evolutionIn 2011, the United Nations convened a high-level meeting to address the  global burden of non-communicable diseases. Participants concluded that unhealthy commodities, specifically tobacco, alcohol and ultra-processed food and drink, are the major drivers behind the growing global epidemic of non-communicable diseases. Ultra-processed foods are those made from substances extracted from whole foods and the cheapest parts of remnants of animal foods. The contain little or no whole foods. Examples of ultra-processed foods include fats and oils, flour and starches, variants of sugar and products made from meat scraps and ground meat remnants, like hamburgers, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, frozen pizza, cereal bars, biscuits, carbonated and other sugary drinks and many snack products. What’s more, sugar is now being included as a major hidden ingredient in foods that people generally do not think contain much sugar. For example, he New York Times reported February 20 that a single serving of Yoplait yogurt now has twice much sugar per serving as General Mill’s marshmallow cereal Lucky Charms, but people still think of yogurt as a healthy snack. Just half a cup of Prego Traditional spaghetti sauce now contains the equivalent of more than two teaspoons of sugar — more than the sugar contained in two Oreo cookies. The group found that transnational corporations are the major drivers of non-communicable disease epidemics like obesity, that the alcohol and ultra-processed food and drink industries are now using similar strategies to the tobacco industry to undermine public health policies and programs aimed at limiting their spread and use. The panel concluded that these industries should not be given a role in creating international policy to address non-communicable diseases, and called for public regulation and market intervention to prevent the harm caused by these products and industries. The top five food companies contributing to the epidemic in the U.S. are 1) Kraft Foods, 2) PepsiCo, 3) Nestle’, 4) Mars and 5) Kellogg.  One major rule people can follow to avoid becoming obese? According to Michael Pollan, one of the best-known names in food-related issues, don’t eat any foods you’ve ever seen advertised on TV.

Main source: The Lancet, Profits and pandemics: prevention of harmful effects of tobacco alcohol and ultra-processed food and drink industries, published online February 12, 2013

Subway Finds Size Really Does Matter

Subway's trademark "Footlong™" subs are coming up short all over

Subway’s trademark “Footlong™” subs are coming up short all over

Subway stores are in big PR trouble. It all started when earlier this month an Australian man posted a photo on Subway Australia’s Facebook page of a Footlong™ sandwich he had just bought, and asked why it was only 11 inches long. Soon, other Subway sandwich buyers started making similar posts and uploading images of their too-short “footlong” sandwiches. Then two men from New Jersey filed a lawsuit against Subway accusing the stores of selling trademark Footlong™ sandwiches that were really just 11 inches. Stephen DeNettis, the lawyer who represents the plaintiffs, said he measured sandwiches from 17 different Subway stores and they all came up short. He says Subway should either make sure its Footlong™ sandwiches are really a foot long, or stop advertising them as such. For its part, Subway issued a statement apologizing for it’s short sandwiches, saying “With regards to the size of the bread and calling it a footlong, ‘SUBWAY FOOTLONG’ is a registered trademark as a descriptive name for the sub sold in Subway Restaurants and not intended to be a measurement of length.” For good measure, Subway added that the length of each bread cannot be assured every time because the “proofing” process may vary. Buzzfeed called that answer “amazingly stupid.” One commenter on Buzzfeed wrote, “So…when I pay them with my TWENTY DOLLAR BILL™, and it turns out to be nothing more than an envelope of grass shavings, there will be no hard feelings, right?” Another wrote, “After closer measurement, I’m returning those inch worms I bought at a yard sale.” Who knows? Maybe Subway is shorting people as part of their  sponsorship of NBC’s reality show “The Biggest Loser.”  After all, shorter Footlong™ sandwiches will help people lose more weight and shorting patrons like this makes Subway customers the Biggest Losers.

FDA- Approved “Buttery” Food Flavoring Makes People Sick

diacetylA chemical flavoring used to create that delicious, buttery flavor in microwave popcorn, when heated, can cause a life-threatening, irreversible obstructive lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterates. The chemical, called diacetyl, was first found make popcorn manufacturing workers sick in 1985, after two workers employed in a factory where the flavoring was used developed a rare lung disease. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), tested the air in the employees’ workplace, found a high concentration of diacetyl, and confirmed a link between workers’ exposure to the chemical and their reduced lung function. Since then, hundreds of workers have reported becoming sick after working around the chemical. According to NIOSH, diacetyl is used extensively in the flavoring and food manufacturing industries. Diacetyl doesn’t just affect factory workers, either. Wayne Watson of Denver, Colorado, ate two bags of microwave popcorn every day for ten years and developed the lung disease now known as “popcorn lung.” In September, 2012, he was awarded $7.2 million in a lawsuit against Gilster-Mary Lee Corporation, which made the popcorn, and the Kroger and Dillon Companies, the grocery store chains that sold it. In his suit, Watson pointed out that neither the manufacturer nor the grocery stores warned customers that diacetyl — also recently linked to Alzheimer’s disease — was dangerous. In December, 2012, Sensient, a flavoring company in Indianapolis, Indiana, agreed to pay a fine for violating Indiana OSHA workplace standards for use of diacetyl. The company also agreed to reduce its use of the chemical. In 2004, a jury awarded another couple, Eric and Cassandra Peoples of Joplin, Missouri, a total of $20 million for health injuries they incurred due to workplace exposure to the chemical. So far, food manufacturers have paid out over $100 million in damages to workers who were exposed to the chemical and got sick. Despite this, FDA still lists the chemical as safe on its website. 

Resource: U.S. Centers for Disease Control 2011 Review and Recommendation for Standard for Use of Diacetyl  (pdf)

Twitter Facilitated Some of the Biggest PR Disasters of 2012

Burger King employee photo that caused one of the biggest PR disasters of 2012.

Business Insider has published a list of the biggest PR disasters of 2012. There are some doozies, and social media figured into many of them. An Ohio Burger King employee took a photo of an employee standing with both feet in tubs of lettuce (shoes on) and then posted it on the local newspaper’s Facebook page with a caption that said, “This is the lettuce you eat at Burger King.” KitchenAid was forced to quickly delete a tweet made from their account about Obama’s grandmother that someone sent out during one of the presidential debates. It said “Obamas gma [grandmother] even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president’.” American Apparel exploited Hurricane Sandy by running a “SandySale” in which they offered 20% off all merchandise. Gap did, too, but then apologized for it. (American Apparel did not.) Just hours after the horrific theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, in which a crazed gunman murdered 12 innocent people, The National Rifle Association’s magazine, American Rifleman, tweeted “Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?” A Taco Bell employee tweeted a photo of himself urinating on a plate of nachos and asked his Twitter account followers what he should pee on next. Dan Cathy, the Chief Operating Officer of Chick-Fil-A came out against gay marriage, causing a national uproar and protests at Chick-Fil-A restaurants from coast to coast. McDonalds started a PR campaign in which they asked people to tweet stories about McDonald’s food to #McDStories. No doubt they hoped to get positive stories they could use in future advertising campaigns, but instead they got an avalanche of tweets from people who found gross foreign objects in their food or got hospital-grade food poisoning from their McDonalds’ meal. McDonalds pulled the #McDStories campaign after an hour.

Source: Business Insider, December 3, 2012

 

Have People Had Enough of Food Chemicals and Additives?

Food additives that sound more like chemicals from a lab are turning people off.

People who cringe at the weird-sounding chemical additives in food, like sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate, guar gum or disodium EDTA, are starting to create and share home-made versions of their favorite processed foods that are free of artificial chemicals and additives. On Pinterest, a social media website that facilitates sharing of recipes, a growing number of people are concocting and sharing chemical-free versions of their favorite highly-processed foods. One member shared a recipe for home-made “Condensed Cream of Something Soup,” offered as a chemical-free thickener to use in casseroles instead of expensive and additive-filled  canned Campbell’s “Cream of” soups. Another person posted a recipe for home-made Oreos that has gotten raves. Still another person shared a way to make her favorite childhood processed food, Pop Tarts, at home using recognizable ingredients. Someone who claimed to be “disgusted” by processed, bottled Bleu cheese dressing posted a simple recipe for home-made Bleu Cheese dressing. Still someone else shared an easy recipe for do-it-yourself red enchilada sauce, saying “you’ll never go back to the canned, store-bought stuff again.” A substantial portion of our modern food supply is manufactured in factories using chemicals and additives, some of which, according for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, are poorly tested and may not be worth the risk of ingesting them.

Monsanto, Big Food Battle California GMO Disclosure Measure

Big food, candy and chemical companies are pouring tens of millions of dollars into fighting California’s Proposition 37,  which would require foods be labeled as to whether they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Genetically-modified foods have their DNA artificially altered in a laboratory, for example Monsanto genetically engineered a type of sweet corn to make it also contain an insecticide. GMOs have been linked to allergies, organ toxicity and other ailments. The problem is, consumers are in the dark about whether the foods they buy contain GMOs because food producers have not been required to identify foods that contain them.  Monsanto has paid over $4.3 million to fight Proposition 37,  followed by DuPont, ($4 million), Pepsi ($2.1 million), Bayer ($2 million), Dow ($2 million), Coca Cola ($1.69 million), Nestle ($1.46 million) and ConAgra Foods ($1.1 million). Other companies working to defeat the disclosure law include familiar household companies that dominate the grocery stores, like Campbell’s Soup, General Mills, Bumble Bee (tuna), Hershey’s, Heinz, Kellogg, Kraft, Land O’Lakes (butter), McCormick (spices), Nestle (cocoa), Tree Top (apple juice), Smuckers (jam), and Welch’s (grape juice). The big food and chemical companies have hired former tobacco industry operatives to apply big Tobacco’s playbook to fight the initiative. Hiring out professional PR flacks to oppose the measure also distances the companies from the unpopular effort and helps shield their valuable brands from backlash. The “No” campaign is using the tobacco industry tactic of  hiding behind a front group made to appear as though it is made up of small businesses, family farmers and the like, to give the public the impression that the anti-37 effort is a “grassroots” campaign by real people. Far from it. The “Yes on 37” campaign points out that many of the wealthy companies secretly bankrolling the fight against Prop. 37 are the same ones that for years assured Americans that cigarettes were safe, and DDT and Agent Orange were harmless.