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"pay no attention to [the ingredients] behind the curtain..." - tell me tell me tell me you'll miss miss miss me
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Thu, Feb. 2nd, 2006 03:38 pm
"pay no attention to [the ingredients] behind the curtain..."

do you know why exactly pigment from the crushed bodies of female cochineal beetles are used to color a zillion products that we consume? i knew that it was in a great many things, but i didn't know WHY until i read this article today. the reason that we use cochineal extract (aka carmine or carminic acid) to color products ranging from cranberry juice to lipstick seriously blows my mind. feel like finding out for yourself? read a sippable color spectrum. hint: it's the same reason that crystal pepsi failed.

i seriously loathe that the FDA isn't required to list exactly what ingredients go into packaged food. it sucks for people with faiths who do not allow the consumption of certain things, vegetarians and vegans, those with food allergies, and anyone who would simply like to know exactly what they are eating/drinking/putting on their face or under their armpits. this article, even though it is titled why mcdonald's french fries taste so good?, contains so much more than just that. it explains the difference between natural and artificial flavors. here are a couple of excerpts:

NATURAL FLAVORS:
"According to the FDA, [natural flavors] must be derived entirely from natural sources -- from herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, beef, chicken, yeast, bark, roots, and so forth. Consumers prefer to see natural flavors on a label, out of a belief that they are more healthful. Distinctions between artificial and natural flavors can be arbitrary and somewhat absurd, based more on how the flavor has been made than on what it actually contains."

ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS:
"A natural flavor is not necessarily more healthful or purer than an artificial one. When almond flavor -- benzaldehyde -- is derived from natural sources, such as peach and apricot pits, it contains traces of hydrogen cyanide, a deadly poison. Benzaldehyde derived by mixing oil of clove and amyl acetate does not contain any cyanide."

"In the early part of the twentieth century Germany took the technological lead in flavor production, owing to its powerful chemical industry. Legend has it that a German scientist discovered methyl anthranilate, one of the first artificial flavors, by accident while mixing chemicals in his laboratory. Suddenly the lab was filled with the sweet smell of grapes. Methyl anthranilate later became the chief flavor compound in grape Kool-Aid."

this stuff always freaks me out and then i settle down and try to rationalize that i have to choose my battles, but seriously, it just feels like thorough ingredient lists would be something consumers would really want. seriously, how many of you didn't know what cochineal extract/carmine were? hands, please.

i am constantly at war with myself; frugality vs. humanity. this is why i try as often as possible to support small business, have stopped buying and wearing leather, and read the ingredients label before purchasing something. it makes it hard when the majority of products keep the truth hidden under "artificial" and "natural" ingredients.

Current Mood: ticked
Current Music: falsetto girl talking not singing

9CommentReplyShare

smashingmirrors
smashingmirrors
I Love Hearing People Say
Thu, Feb. 2nd, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC)

I know, it is really gross the amount of chemicals that are in everything. To think it all goes in your body!


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cassettecounty
cassettecounty
blah blah blah
Thu, Feb. 2nd, 2006 09:50 pm (UTC)

Don't even get me started on how bogus most "fat free," "sugar free" and low carb" claims are, too. I swear, a class on reading labels should be mandatory at somewhere along the education chain.


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drzachary
drzachary
zacharias d smytkowski
Thu, Feb. 2nd, 2006 10:12 pm (UTC)

I have a somewhat different take on the McDonald's fries thing. The problem began, in earnest, when they buckled to pressure about saturated fats in their fries (from the beef fat used in the oil blend.)

Beef fat is something which human bodies can process in a fairly natural way. Once the tallow was deemed too scary for American consumption, then they started adding the 'natural flavors.' If we hadn't been so scared of fats, we'd be eating much more ACTUALLY natural fries today.

My favorite things to fry 'frites' in: goose fat or fat that surrounds a veal calf's kidney. (And I've never had fries that taste better than mine!) Organic, naturally-grown potatoes also make a huge difference.

Let's eat more fats, more cream, more butter, and stop putting the synthetics into our bodies. To do this requires not just an end to reliance on artificial substitutes, but an end of the fear of fats.


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tonydanza
tonydanza
I have something to say. I lift up my hands.
Thu, Feb. 2nd, 2006 10:46 pm (UTC)

When oh when are you going to go vegan, my friend? All the chemicals, etc that chickens and turkeys are fed get stored in their tissue, so when you eat the meat, stocks of chemicals go right into you. Buying/wearing leather doesn't cause nearly as much damage as buying/consuming poultry.


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tonydanza
tonydanza
I have something to say. I lift up my hands.
Thu, Feb. 2nd, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC)

poultry dead birds.


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littlecollision
stephanie
Thu, Feb. 2nd, 2006 11:27 pm (UTC)

I've known about the cochineal/carmine = beetles thing since I was maybe 15 or so, when a vegetarian friend shoved the PETA A-Z Animal Ingredients book at me, and I haven't eaten anything in it since (even when I ate meat!).
I totally hate not being able to safely buy anything that includes "natural flavours" just because I know there's probably beef/chicken/dairy/&c. in it., because it's in, like, EVERYTHING and is often the only ingredient that isn't definitely vegan.


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littlecollision
stephanie
Thu, Feb. 2nd, 2006 11:27 pm (UTC)
typo

(anything in it = anything it's in)


ReplyThread Parent
skirtigo
skirtigo
skirtigo
Sat, Feb. 4th, 2006 12:20 am (UTC)

no, i just dont agree.
my FAVORITE WINE is white riesling, and i am convinced that the main reason that it is CLEAR and i think that is SO COOL and also IMPOSSIBLE because how can clear TASTE??? it has such a sharp taste, yet it's clear like there's nothing! magic, pure and simple.
i recommend a nice german white riesling. it has NO after taste. after you swallow it - GONE. NOTHING. there is nothing there.
amazing.


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glitterbum
glitterbum
Courtney
Tue, Feb. 7th, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC)

Actually, starting last month there are supposed to be clear allergen labels on packaged food.
http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/alrgact.html
I did a scan of some bakery goods the other night, and everything seemed to have allergen labels except for the Weight Watchers products. Also, everything seemed to have warnings about soy and nuts, so I couldn't eat anything with my tummy. But overall I think it's a good idea.


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