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pcb, the USA and the FDA


chefpeon
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In the past, I have successfully ordered items from pcb Creation in France. The items I order most are chocolate transfer sheets and transfer sheets for biscuit (Joconde).

I order via the web, and even though the stuff comes all the way from France, I usually get it faster than if I ordered something via UPS Ground from the next town over..... :wacko:

I've always had a good experience with pcb.....they have good customer service.

So I'm all excited to order more chocolate and joconde sheets for the upcoming holiday season (fun new patterns....yay), so I place my order.

I got an email back from the export department that since they have to use special FDA USA approved colors for the sheets they send to the US, they cannot pick from their European stock and now I have to order each pattern at a minimum of 125 sheet packs!

I'm confused. I've had no problem ordering from the European stock before. Did something change?

Did the FDA all of a sudden determine that the food coloring used in Europe is dangerous to Americans? For crying out loud.

Does anybody know any info about this? Does anyone else order from pcb and encountered the same problem?

And I'm wondering.....if I had my order shipped to someone in Canada, could I possibly bypass having to order the minimum of 125 sheets?

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food ingredients in the US have to be classified as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) - it's probably that they've always been using whatever colorants they've used, and no one bothered to look to determine if it was GRAS in the US or someone found out and made an issue of it. the fda hasn't, as far as i'mi aware, changed anything with regards to GRAS colorants recently, but there have been lots of activities around requirements of the 2002 bioterrorism law that have been going into effect now for the last couple of years which requires suppliers to have a level of documentation that's much higher than they've historically needed - an outcome of that may have been a heightened awareness of other regulations, such as this pesky GRAS issue...

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the last time i ordered from them, i had some issues with the internet. it took about a month (this was june/july). but there wasn't anything mentioned about fda or customs. once i made enough noise via e-mail, the delivery magically showed up. this could be something new. i sympathize, especially with the current exchange rate. you might be better off buying their transfer sheets from qzina (but i know that the selection is limited)

sorry! :sad:

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While I've ordered from PCB direct before, and you're right, it is a lot faster than local, I've ordered their transfer sheets only through US importers. The US importers have the sub-list of FDA approved transfer sheets, and have always warned me (for a couple years now) that ordering anything not on the list risks getting held up by customs and, in their experience, has a number of times in the past.

So...maybe they don't always bother checking at the border, but it's not anything new. France simply allows some colouring ingredients which the US has not declared safe on the GRAS list yet.

Good luck.

Randall Raaflaub, chocolatier

rr chocolats

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Have you ever looked at American Chocolate Designs

Yes, I've seen that website.....they have some nice stuff, but I like the pcb designs better.

I know that if I can't get the transfer sheets from pcb anymore I can buy from a lot of different

vendors in the US.

The item I'm primarily concerned with is the transfer sheets for Joconde. The only other place I've seen that sells them is Albert Uster Imports, but there's only three really boring designs. pcb has really pretty joconde transfers and that's what I want the most.

If there's really no way I can get their joconde transfers anymore, then I'll have to invest in full size silpats and sheet pan size stencils so I can resort to the ol' cigarette paste method of getting a pattern on the cake. :sad:

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again, my sympathies. i really do love the pcb designs more than any i have seen. if it wasn't such a pain in the a$$ i'd be doing like kerry beal and making my own transfers in designs that i like. too bad they have a monopoly on that sort of thing. and too bad you don't do the volume that places like payard (in nyc) does...he just orders the stuff by the container load from what i understand.

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Hey......maybe I can get a "co-op" of people who want the sheets and we actually can order the minimum (125 sheets of each) and split it all up............. :wub:

Hey Kids.....I'm actually serious about this. If any of you are, PM me and we can get something going! :smile:

Edited by chefpeon (log)
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.... France simply allows some colouring ingredients which the US has not declared safe on the GRAS list yet.

...

Ummm... that sounds the wrong way round!

This is *not* my specialist subject, but...

There are a number of food additives (including colours) that are approved for use throughout the EU, and therefore on ingredient listings they are listed by their approval number (spoken of as their "E number").

There is a current fuss about the UK disapproving of some of these - specifically azo dye colours - but requiring action at a European level to change the approval.

http://news.independent.co.uk/health/article2934325.ece

Additives in sweets and soft drinks made by multinational companies have been found to cause hyperactivity in children, prompting renewed calls for a ban on E-numbers.

Primary school children tested by Southampton University were more restless when they drank a mixture of six colourings and one preservative.

Last night the Food Standards Agency, which funded the three-year follow-up to an earlier study, rejected calls for a ban on the additives. Instead, the regulator advised parents to avoid the ingredients if their children showed signs of hyperactivity.

The study strengthens a link between additives and behavioural difficulties first mooted in the 1970s, but establishes for the first time that they cause hyperactivity among normal infants. In the study, published in the Lancet today, 153 three-year-olds and 144 eight-year-olds in Southampton were randomly given daily fruit juice drinks, some containing additives and some containing a placebo.

The chemicals used were two combinations of the colourings sunset yellow (E110),tartrazine (E102), carmoisine (E122) ponceau 4R (E124), allura red (E129), quinoline yellow (E104), and the preservative sodium benzoate (E211). (Soft drinks containing the preservative E211 include Pepsi Max, Fanta, Sprite and Dr Pepper, while the other E-numbers are to be found in many sweets and cakes.)

....

I wonder whether this might have brought about a greater awareness/fussiness about differences between European and US approvals?

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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.... France simply allows some colouring ingredients which the US has not declared safe on the GRAS list yet.

...

Ummm... that sounds the wrong way round!

This is *not* my specialist subject, but...

There are a number of food additives (including colours) that are approved for use throughout the EU, and therefore on ingredient listings they are listed by their approval number (spoken of as their "E number").

There is a current fuss about the UK disapproving of some of these - specifically azo dye colours - but requiring action at a European level to change the approval.

http://news.independent.co.uk/health/article2934325.ece

Additives in sweets and soft drinks made by multinational companies have been found to cause hyperactivity in children, prompting renewed calls for a ban on E-numbers.

Primary school children tested by Southampton University were more restless when they drank a mixture of six colourings and one preservative.

Last night the Food Standards Agency, which funded the three-year follow-up to an earlier study, rejected calls for a ban on the additives. Instead, the regulator advised parents to avoid the ingredients if their children showed signs of hyperactivity.

The study strengthens a link between additives and behavioural difficulties first mooted in the 1970s, but establishes for the first time that they cause hyperactivity among normal infants. the study, published in the Lancet today, 153 three-year-olds and 144 eight-year-olds in Southampton were randomly given daily fruit juice drinks, some containing additives and some containing a placebo.

The chemicals used were two combinations of the colourings sunset yellow (E110),tartrazine (E102), carmoisine (E122) ponceau 4R (E124), allura red (E129), quinoline yellow (E104), and the preservative sodium benzoate (E211). (Soft drinks containing the preservative E211 include Pepsi Max, Fanta, Sprite and Dr Pepper, while the other E-numbers are to be found in many sweets and cakes.)

....

I wonder whether this might have brought about a greater awareness/fussiness about differences between European and US approvals?

You totally got my attention.

Wow how cool. Fwiw I had my kid, Chef-boy, aka hyper-boy, on a food additive free diet back in the day and he totally benefited from it. Made us all nutser. 'Cause it ain't easy. I mean they put preservative on packaging, man. I mean I guess you get less weevils in your food but makes Jonny jumpy too. :wacko: I made pizza sauce from beets. It was pretty good. His birthday cake was a huge 14 or 16 inch pate choux race track like a giant donut. The chain effect in each little life and family and classroom and school goes from ripple effect to multiple tsunamis crashing back & forth.

But so interesting that A.) they foist this stuff on infants (what the h are they think ing??!! and B.) That it is now being scientifically noted that it affects non-hyper people is the king's ransom.

After WWII there seemed to be such a lot of kids being afflicted with this most odious of behaviour problems in it's lesser state to this most heart rending of behavior problems in it's greater degree. Since the introduction of rampant food color and food additives etc into our mass produced food culture.

I hope that with all of our 'causes' we get the ball rolling to address this clear cause and effect remedy. It worked for us. I'd be a part of collecting door to door or doing a midnight walk-a-thon, or a "Bakes For Humanity" to get this one out in the open.

I mean previously if I medicated my kid with antibiotics he ingested beaucoups of triggering agents. I mean he had to have the meds so... Nowadays I'd be hopeful they have additive free meds at least.

But the food thing is HUGE. Who was that actress that got everybody scared of apples a few years ago? Where's she when yah need her? It's not apples it's Apple Jacks!

Disclaimer: No offense to any parent with a kid on meds--you have to make your own decision and I understand. <<< That said to state the following:

TEACHERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!!!! No no no no no! Not actresses!! TEACHERS!!!

Glory to God the pressure put an a parent of a hyperactive child to give that kid the magic zombie pills is Huge Huger and Hugest.

Teachers could so get this rolling in a heartbeat.

They get A's in 'applying pressure.'

So I hope this does not seem too far off topic of Annie getting her stuff from France. I guess if I got my way it'd make it even harder for her to get them and calmer in the classroom. It's about the additives that all our Big Brothers are conflicted over. But I did get a bit afield-ish. But...shoot me.

But honestly this stuff so permeates the entire food industry the whole damn thing would have to be retro-fitted out the whazoo from every sea to shining sea and to the moon and out in space even.

How about warnings to pregnant women though at a minimum.

We could start there.

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In the past, I have successfully ordered items from pcb Creation in France. The items I order most are chocolate transfer sheets and transfer sheets for biscuit (Joconde).

Did the FDA all of a sudden determine that the food coloring used in Europe is dangerous to Americans? For crying out loud.

Does anybody know any info about this? Does anyone else order from pcb and encountered the same problem?

I used to order PCB transfer sheets from another vendor in California and had no problems in the past. Recently, I noticed that they no longer carry the transfer sheets with gold in them. Most of the other colors seem to be ok but if a multicolored transfer sheet has any hint of gold in it is very difficult to get.

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I used to order PCB transfer sheets from another vendor in California and had no problems in the past. Recently, I noticed that they no longer carry the transfer sheets with gold in them. Most of the other colors seem to be ok but if a multicolored transfer sheet has any hint of gold in it is very difficult to get.

The advantage that large importers and vendors have over small-timers like myself is that they can afford to order the 125 sheet minimum that PCB requires to print their designs in FDA approved color formulations. There's no way I can afford that. I don't even have a vendor locally that carries transfer sheets, period. Being in a tiny podunk town is a real drag sometimes.

Regarding the issue about yet another ingredient that has been found to cause hyperactivity in children, I could give a rat's ass, actually. I'm more worried about the children in third world countries that don't even have clean drinking water. :wink:

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... Regarding the issue about yet another ingredient that has been found to cause hyperactivity in children, I could give a rat's ass, actually. ...

Ah well, you see I didn't realise that the questions in your first post must have been purely rhetorical ! :smile:

...

I got an email back from the export department that since they have to use special FDA USA approved colors for the sheets they send to the US, they cannot pick from their European stock and now I have to order each pattern at a minimum of 125 sheet packs!

I'm confused. I've had no problem ordering from the European stock before. Did something change?

Did the FDA all of a sudden determine that the food coloring used in Europe is dangerous to Americans? For crying out loud.

Does anybody know any info about this? ...

I think that its probable that the FDA's attention may have recently been drawn to the use of colours approved in the EU and not approved in the USA.

Simple as that.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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It wasn't all of a sudden, they've always kept close tabs on it. Food color has always been a constantly evolving borderline-ish ingredient. Kinda scarry if we delve into it. Kinda like why am I using this, why am I eating this. It's on the don't ask don't tell short list. Generally recognised as safe, for the most part type of thing.

Especially in light of the loaded leaded colors flying around the globe these days in lots of stuff not to mention toys. Toys of which are often placed on cakes for decor and trim. It's not the rat's ass it's what's being expelled from said ass that's significant. This sh*t, coloring, can be dangerous. The fact that it is so closely monitored verifies the potential. But we use it in small enough quantities that...so far so good...kinda sorta...

"Would you like a bite of dessert?" :biggrin:

(As in like the dessert might 'bite' you back play on words.)

Hey I use it in my profession what a paradoxilicious conundricake.

'How many candles would you like on that? Red ones? Let me check for you...'

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just my 2 cents. I was aware of this problem over a year ago when a local DGF dist. showed me a catalog and noted that a better part of the items listed were simply not available, bummer. They do have colorants on the other side of the pond which can not be allowed here, of note those nifty areasol cannisters of color - big taboo-here in the states. Anyone getting PCB -IE Koerner may and I say this carefully, may be doing a rope a dope. That is importing thru Canada, then in overnight packaging shipping to New Orleans direct. This is just based on heresay and gossip, but there is really no other way to do it. The FDA is there for a reason, maybe some of that lovely stuff is not so good for you after all.

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