Posts Tagged ‘Consumers’
By Catherine Guthrie, Experience Life July 2, 2011 Care2
Show me a chicken nugget and I will show you the world. The world, that is, of highly palatable foods engineered by the food industry to go down easily — in some cases, to quite literally “melt in the mouth” — while also stimulating us to crave more.
Commercial foods like chicken nuggets, French fries, chips, crackers, cookies and pastries are designed to be virtually irresistible. And, for a lot of reasons most of us don’t fully understand, they are.
There’s a “biological basis for why it’s so hard for millions of Americans to resist food,” former FDA commissioner David Kessler, MD, explained in a recent National Public Radio (NPR) interview. “We are all wired to focus on the most salient stimuli in our environment,” he says. “For some of us, it could be alcohol; it could be illegal drugs; it could be gambling, sex or tobacco. For many of us, though, one of the most salient stimuli in our environment is food. And how do you make food even more salient? Fat, sugar and salt.”
Of course, fat, sugar and salt have been around as kitchen staples for centuries, but it wasn’t until the past few decades that they became as abundant and cheap as they are now. And during the course of those same few decades, food manufacturers have been busily leveraging science and technology to enhance their products — manipulating food in ways that not only play on our innate fondness for sugar, salt and fat, but also dramatically boost their overall taste, texture, aroma and appearance.
Think about the flavor of beef infused into McDonald’s signature French fries, the creamy filling injected into a Twinkie or the fake crosshatched grill marks stamped onto a KFC grilled chicken breast, and you begin to get the idea. The stuff regularly served up at every chain restaurant, gas station and food court amounts to an edible — and irresistible — amusement park. And it’s all fueled by food science and technology we’d have a hard time imitating at home.
“It’s the multisensory combinations that provide the roller coaster in your mouth,” says Kessler, a professor at the University of California–San Francisco and author of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite (Rodale, 2009). And over the past 30 years, food manufacturers have been coming up with increasingly wild rides.
“When we were kids,” recalls Kessler, “it was enough to put sugar in water, add a little coloring and get a relatively simple sensory experience called Kool-Aid. Since then, food makers have upped the ante.” Today we’ve got Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Double Chocolate Strawberry Cake Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Doritos brand snacks come in more than a dozen different varieties (including “Late Night All Nighter Cheeseburger”), all of which promise to “deliver a powerful crunch that unlocks the bold and unique flavors you crave.”
If we’re going to stand any chance of resisting this new breed of consumables, we need to have a better understanding about what we’re up against. That starts with a brief lesson in food technology.
Written by laudyms
July 3, 2011 at 10:59 am
Organic Consumers Association, Dec 22, 2010
“If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.” - Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, quoted in the Kansas City Star, March 7, 1994
“Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.” – Phil Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications, quoted in the New York Times, October 25, 1998
After 16 years of non-stop biotech bullying and force-feeding Genetically Engineered or Modified (GE or GM) crops to farm animals and “Frankenfoods” to unwitting consumers, Monsanto has a big problem, or rather several big problems. A growing number of published scientific studies indicate that GE foods pose serious human health threats. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) recently stated that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM advises consumers to avoid GM foods. Before the FDA arbitrarily decided to allow Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into food products in 1994, FDA scientists had repeatedly warned that GM foods can set off serious, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long-term safety studies, but were ignored. http://www.responsibletechnology.org
Federal judges are finally starting to acknowledge what organic farmers and consumers have said all along: uncontrollable and unpredictable GMO crops such as alfalfa and sugar beets spread their mutant genes onto organic farms and into non-GMO varieties and plant relatives, and should be halted. http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_22173.cfm
An appeals court recently ruled that consumers have the right to know whether the dairy products they are purchasing are derived from cows injected with Monsanto’s (now Elanco’s) controversial recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), linked to serious animal health problems and increased cancer risk for humans.
Monsanto’s Roundup, the agro-toxic companion herbicide for millions of acres of GM soybeans, corn, cotton, alfalfa, canola, and sugar beets, is losing market share. Its overuse has spawned a new generation of superweeds that can only be killed with super-toxic herbicides such as 2,4, D and paraquat. Moreover, patented “Roundup Ready” crops require massive amounts of climate destabilizing nitrate fertilizer. Compounding Monsanto’s damage to the environment and climate, rampant Roundup use is literally killing the soil, destroying essential soil microorganisms, degrading the living soil’s ability to capture and sequester CO2, and spreading deadly plant diseases. http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_21039.cfm
In just one year, Monsanto has moved from being Forbes’ “Company of the Year” to the Worst Stock of the Year. The Biotech Bully of St. Louis has become one of the most hated corporations on Earth. http://www.organicconsumers.org/monlink.cfm
Monsanto and their agro-toxic allies are now turning to Obama’s pro-biotech USDA for assistance. They want the organic community to stop suing them and boycotting their products. They want food activists and the OCA to mute our criticisms and stop tarnishing the image of their brands, their seeds, and companies. They want us to resign ourselves to the fact that one-third of U.S. croplands, and one-tenth of global cultivated acreage, are already contaminated with GMOs. That’s why Monsanto recently hired the notorious mercenary firm, Blackwater, to spy on us. That’s why Monsanto has teamed up with the Gates Foundation to bribe government officials and scientists and spread GMOs throughout Africa and the developing world. That’s why the biotech bullies and the Farm Bureau have joined hands with the Obama Administration to preach their new doctrine of “coexistence.”
The authors’ real achievement is in revealing how chemical giants stay a step ahead of regulators, said Krista Foss in the Toronto Globe and Mail.
Book review ThisWeek
–Jan 21, 2010
Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie (Counterpoint, 328 pages, $25)
The co-authors of this eye-opening Canadian best-seller took a surprisingly simple approach to documenting the dangers of everyday pollutants, said Lisa Bonos in The Washington Post. Holing up in a Toronto condo for three days, Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie microwaved their meals in plastic containers, ate a lot of tuna, used scented shampoo when they showered, and washed their hands with antibacterial products. Meanwhile, they inhaled the fumes from the carpet’s fresh coat of Stainmaster—and played a lot of Guitar Hero. What they hoped to measure was how readily the body absorbs seven potentially hazardous common chemicals, including mercury, triclosan, and phthalates. “The results,” even for these two veteran environmental advocates, were “staggering.”
2020Science Andrew Maynard February 12, 2010
24 questions and answers on nanotechnology safety
Well I guess I set myself up good and proper – I should have realized that in asking people for their questions on nanotechnology safety last week, they would actually want answers!
read more here
and the next article
Dangers come in small particles
Hundreds of nanotechnology applications are already in commercial production despite a huge health and safety question mark. Hazards looks at how an industry the safety authorities admit they know precious little about has been allowed to grow, unregulated, into the biggest thing since the microchip.
read more here
See also: Risks of Nano-technology
Written by laudyms
February 16, 2010 at 3:37 pm
SEATTLE, Feb 9, 2010 (IPS) – Reckless greed on Wall Street is a dog-bites-man story. Still, the renewed feeding frenzy of the alpha dogs of finance in the embers of the bonfire of their own vanities has inspired amazement and disgust across the political spectrum.
Despite the damage it yet may cause, though, the spectacle does seem to be helping to disarm some of the banksters’ ideological weaponry. In the debate over why the financial system collapsed and how to rebuild it, economic assumptions that have enjoyed hegemony for the past 30 years are being questioned, and a swelling chorus is supporting a return to stronger regulation.
Written by laudyms
February 15, 2010 at 11:26 am
For a couple of years, the Institute for Responsible Technology has predicted that the US would soon experience a tipping point of consumer rejection against genetically modified foods; a change we’re all helping to bring about. Now a December article in Supermarket News supports both our prediction and the role the Institute is playing.
“The coming year promises to bring about a greater, more pervasive awarenes” of the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food supply, wrote Group Editor Robert Vosburgh, in a trade publication that conventional food executives and retailers use as a primary source of news and trends in the industry. Vosburgh describes how previous food “culprits” like fat and carbs “can even define the decade in which they were topical,” and suggests that GMOs may finally burst through into the public awareness and join their ranks.
Written by laudyms
January 10, 2010 at 11:38 am
After receiving over 6,000 letters from Change.org members calling for the publication of a confidential report listing goods produced by child labor around the world, the Department of Labor responded by publicly releasing the list this week.
This list was mandated by anti-trafficking legislation back in 2005, but the Bush administration dragged their feet for years. Now, thanks to your voices and the hard work of our friends at Polaris Project and other NGOs such as the International Labor Rights Forum, it’s finally available.
This list is a huge boon for consumers who want to choose slave-free products, and for organizations working to pressure companies and countries to end the use of child labor.
You can thank the Department of Labor for taking this important step toward ending child labor by leaving a comment at the bottom of the post here.