A year of revelations revisited: the best of Food Identity Theft from 2014

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December 30, 2014

Daily food ingredients that most people eat


Here at Food Identity Theft, we like to think of ourselves first and foremost as a news source. And just like the network news programs, we’d like to bid farewell to 2014 with a “year in review” of what we consider to be some of the most noteworthy stories we’ve covered (or broken) over the past year.

Oozing into detention

The first was one we reported last January – the fact that so-called “chicken ooze” had become a prison menu staple (which came to our attention when nearly 34,000 pounds of this “pink slime’ counterpart headed for a detention facility were recalled for bacterial contamination by Tyson Foods). This led us to ask why “anyone not doing time for a crime should want to voluntarily ingest the inferior and ‘institutional’ sort of junk food that’s routinely dished out to prisoners as part of their punishment.”

The following month, we tackled the common misidentification by the media of the widely used laboratory sweetener high fructose corn syrup with regular corn syrup, a much older product that, unlike HFCS, contains no fructose, and the misapprehension this tended to produce. We also noted how this had compounded the level of confusion created by the already misleading idea that HFCS is a form of “sugar.”

girlscout_cookiesDemerits for Girl Scout Cookies 

In March, we took on Girl Scout Cookies, highly popular commodities used to raise money for scouting activities that, unfortunately, all too often contain some very unhealthy ingredients – particularly artery-clogging partially hydrogenated oil that the Food and Drug Administration had proposed phasing out as a cause of thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.

That same month, we also revealed how the “phantom sweetener” Sweetmyx had become available to an unsuspecting public as a food and beverage additive, despite never having been approved by the FDA – and with unknown health effects.   And we did a “reality check” on the FDA’s newly proposed Nutrition Facts label.

An Old Bay-Seasoned Subterfugeoldbay1

April gave us one of our biggest “exclusives” yet – the expose of a dangerous deception involving the addition of the neurotoxic flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate to Herr’s Old Bay Seasoned Potato Chips, a product that many consumers might assume contained nothing more than the innocuous herbs and spices of Old Bay Seasoning.  We also revealed the shocking truth about the newly confirmed link between aluminum, which is an ingredient in various food products, and Alzheimer’s.

In May, we talked about how the neurotoxic synthetic sweetener aspartame was about to be disguised under a new product label and how the hype about HFCS offered on the website of the Corn Refiners Association somehow ended up as an “article” penned by a dietician in a supposedly reputable daily newspaper.  We wound up the month with a critical analysis by Citizens for Health Board Chair Jim Turner of the newly released movie, Fed Up, detailing both its merits and what it failed to tell us.

Label fables

June was a particularly eventful month at Food Identity Theft, which included a disclosure of a new study showing far higher levels of health-damaging fructose in HFCS-laced beverages than FDA regulations permitted (and the Corn refiners Association claimed).

We also talked about various other ways in which food labeling claims can be designed to deceive and came out with a “sequel” to our April “scoop” on Herr’s Old Bay-Seasoned Potato Chips, truviashowing how other Herr’s Old Bay Seasoned snack food items were also being laced with health-endangering monosodium glutamate.  In a subsequent blog, we discussed the implications of a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling cracking down on just such misleading label claims.

Finally, we revealed how Truvia, Cargill’s supposed “stevia-based” sweetener, and its actual main component had been found to shorten the lives of fruit flies and impede their motor skills.

We’ll be posting a review of the year’s second half worth of blogs on New Year’s Eve. Stay tuned.