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New Food Labels – what is the FDA thinking?


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We used to do that, for our family of four (now I tend to make our own ice cream). Whereas a pint split four ways is not an enormous amount of ice cream per person, it is certainly sufficient to appreciate the creaminess and good taste. It can't some as a surprize to anyone that eating a pint of ice cream in a go is unreasonable in amount of calories, sugars and fats for a single person.

I was thinking along the same lines. Our family of three had ice cream for dessert the same night I read Lisa Shock's original post. It was a pint of ice cream, but we had plenty remaining after. Maybe enough for a second night's dessert. Jeni's goat cheese and cherries.

But I got to thinking. I've eaten a pint before. And more of a quart than one person should. In those instances, however, it was always the big, national brands. I'd bet they monkey with texture and other things to make that possible. Eating a pint of jeni's ice cream is unthinkable to me.

My personal take on the label issue is that nearly everything that has a label should not be eaten! I make an exception for Jeni's ice cream.

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The two articles still do not address the issue of what a trans fat actually is in terms of the chemistry of such a molecule.  This is covered in the first link given in a Google search for "trans fat", the Wikipedia article, in which the Chemistry section at the very least is correct as far as I can see. (The AHA article is answer #2 and the Mayo Clinic article is answer #3 in the Google answer set. I think Wiki is a useful source of info and does not deserve the opprobrium heaped upon it by so many.)  It also indicates what was missed previously, the distinction between *partially* hydrogenated fats, where one has trans-fats occuring; and *fully* hydrogenated fats in which there are no unsaturated fats and therefore no trans (or cis) fats.  

 

The IUPAC designation of a trans double bond (with only H as the substituents, as is the case here) would be E- (for Entgegen) and of a cis double bond would be Z- (for Zusammen). 

E-Z_config.jpg

(A full discussion of the E/Z system would obviously be beyond the scope of this thread)

Edited by huiray (log)
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The two articles still do not address the issue of what a trans fat actually is in terms of the chemistry of such a molecule.  This is covered in the first link given in a Google search for "trans fat", the Wikipedia article, in which the Chemistry section at the very least is correct as far as I can see. (The AHA article is answer #2 and the Mayo Clinic article is answer #3 in the Google answer set. I think Wiki is a useful source of info and does not deserve the opprobrium heaped upon it by so many.)  It also indicates what was missed previously, the distinction between *partially* hydrogenated fats, where one has trans-fats occuring; and *fully* hydrogenated fats in which there are no unsaturated fats and therefore no trans (or cis) fats.  

 

The IUPAC designation of a trans double bond (with only H as the substituents, as is the case here) would be E- (for Entgegen) and of a cis double bond would be Z- (for Zusammen). 

attachicon.gifE-Z_config.jpg

(A full discussion of the E/Z system would obviously be beyond the scope of this thread)

Hello- Thank you so much.  I was interested in establishing that trans-fats are indeed the same as partially hydrogenated fats. And I think you have done that. Thanks again!

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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  • 5 weeks later...

This person:

Monica Metz
work phone: 240-402-2041
monica.metz@fda.hhs.gov
DHHS/FDA/CFSAN/OFVM/CFSAN/OFS/DPDFS/DEB

 

At the FDA has handed down a "ruling" that makes no sense whatsoever and shows just how IGNORANT she is of the antibacterial properties of wood.

 

This is the problem with allowing career bureaucrats who have INADEQUATE knowledge to rule on something that affects so many.

 

And it makes us the LAUGHINGSTOCK of the WORLD.

 

The complete article is HERE.

 

At 7:00 a.m. (PDT) I phoned - got a recording and left a message, expressing my opinion of this idiotic ruling. 

I also have written to the President via  WhiteHouse.gov

 

What is absolutely ASININE is that the FDA is allowing or even ENCOURAGING  Monsanto and others to POISON us with pesticide riddled vegetables and fruits  and yet is  actively HARMING an industry that is so important.

 

Note that they have NO control over how cheese manufacturers in other countries handle the cheeses and as long as they meet the minimum aging rules, ALL IMPORTS will be allowed. 

 

This makes Americans look like idiots for allowing someone so abysmally ignorant of the nature of a process to make a ruling that is basically juvenile and baseless. 

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Out-of-control control-freaks!!!!!!

This kind of nonsense is why I gave up farming.

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~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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The regulatory mindset is hard to deal with.

 

FDAs goal is complete safety of foods and drugs. Which sounds good until you realize that that is an impossibility and efforts to get there can have unanticipated bad consequences.

 

At least the Food part of FDA has enough wisdom to re-evaluate a bad decision before too much damage is done.

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andiesenji, although I certainly agree with you about this ruling, I'd be careful about ad hominem statements -- for example, calling Monica Metz a "career bureaucrat." According to her Linkedin profile, prior to working at the FDA she was Quality Control Manager at Leprino Foods -- which, of course, raises another area of speculation about her motivation, as Leprino is "the world's largest mozzarella cheese manufacturer," according to their website. (They're headquartered just down the road from me, In Allendale, MI.) Perhaps -- and I emphasize perhaps -- in addition to Big Oil, Big Pharma, etc., there's Big Cheese. (That's sort of a joke, but it's clear nonetheless that Big Food does exist -- Archer Daniels Midland, General Foods, etc.)

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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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here in Thailand, all the idiots are engaged in the struggle for political power. right now they've signed up for the coup of the month club and are winning hearts and minds through arranging pop concerts and dancing soldiers (not making this up).

 

there's an upside to all this: the idiots are so busy they don't have time to regulate food.

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The FDA is just FINE with allowing increasing levels of PESTICIDES and other toxic substances in OUR FOOD SUPPLY.

 

They are STILL studying the "possibility" that glyphosate "may" be entering the food supply even though UNBIASED scientific studies have show it has been found in milk, breast milk, in tissues surrounding estrogen dependent breast cancers and in INFANT FORMULA and foods.

 

Apparently there is a lot of LOBBYING money being parceled out at the FDA to slow down the investigations into these toxins getting into the food supply.

 

And Alex, this woman may have been in the food industry but that does not mean she is knowledgeable.

 

Like the guy from the "beef council" I met at a seminar ten or twelve years ago, who ASSURED me that there were no longer ANY parasites in commercial beef, when my boss, an orthopedic surgeon who had consulted on a patient who had difficulty walking and was found to have a parasitic worm (beef tapeworm) in his brain - not from pork (he was Jewish) but from beef - and as he had been a vegetarian for decades, could date the "infestation" to after 1999 when he began eating beef.  (There are several more cases in current medical literature.)

 

So in many cases the people who work in these MAJOR industries, not those artisans who produce small batches, really do not know the subject.

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Andiesenji, you have expressed my sentiments exactly.
 

...calling Monica Metz a "career bureaucrat." According to her Linkedin profile, prior to working at the FDA she was Quality Control Manager at Leprino Foods -- which, of course, raises another area of speculation about her motivation, as Leprino is "the world's largest mozzarella cheese manufacturer," according to their website...

 

If Monica Metz got her training and standards from Big Cheese, no wonder factory cheese is her standard. Age on plastic, tastes like plastic, what's your problem?

 

The FDA has been busy since the passage of a food safety law in 2011, first prohibiting importation of raw milk cheeses under 60 days of age (goodbye to the best-tasting Brie, goodbye to Reblochon totally).  Then it effectively prohibited the importation of French Mimolette, a famous cheese eaten for centuries, because the cheese had too many cheese mites. The FDA's number for permissible cheese mites is so low, a cheese importer told me, that there is no way to meet that standard. Hello, what is wrong with this picture?

 

Maybe the FDA poobahs shd get their heads out of the labs and take a look at the real world. These cheeses have been eaten for centuries, by millions of people. Doesn't this empirical data count for anything? When was the last time you heard of anyone getting ill from aged parmesan? Ever?

 

Today's NY Times mentions that the U.S. rep from Vermont is already planning an amendment to counter this ridiculous FDA decision. I've emailed my U.S. rep and Senators to stop the FDA's action and to support corrective legislation, and I'm asking my foodie friends to do the same.

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At the FDA has handed down a "ruling" that makes no sense whatsoever and shows just how IGNORANT she is of the antibacterial properties of wood.

Are there any recent, peer reviewed, papers unequivocally demonstrating those alleged properties?

There's a lot of hearsay, but I have seldom seen any proof of that ... I'd certainly be happy with that proof, wooden cutting boards are a lot nicer on my knifes. I just looked on pubmed and google.scholar -- there's nothing (pro or contra) that convinces me.

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How's this: http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/docliver/Research/cuttingboard.htm ?

 

Are there any recent, peer reviewed, papers unequivocally demonstrating those alleged properties?

There's a lot of hearsay, but I have seldom seen any proof of that ... I'd certainly be happy with that proof, wooden cutting boards are a lot nicer on my knifes. I just looked on pubmed and google.scholar -- there's nothing (pro or contra) that convinces me.

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Are there any recent, peer reviewed, papers unequivocally demonstrating those alleged properties?

 

I'm not sure there's a smoking gun when it comes to scientific research. The studies continue for years, until some consensus emerges. That consensus can be challenged by the next study.

 

I did a search for "wooden cutting boards" and "plastic cutting boards" on pubmed and google.scholar. Interesting, one researcher (Cliver) has done both studies that find wooden cutting boards safer than plastic because of wood's porosity.

 

The other studies were testing cleaners on wood or plastic, and found no significant differences in wood or plastic, although 2 studies noted that wood is harder to clean. With a little more elbow grease, bacterial counts on wood were as low as plastic. 

 

Only abstracts to read on pubmed and google.scholar. You have to pay to read more. However, what the scientific papers do NOT say--and our FDA poobahs should take note--the research does NOT say that plastic is better than wood. That, of course, is what the FDA is pushing.

 

ETA: cdh's link above was the study done by Cliver at U Wisconsin and it's now posted on the UC Davis Food Safety Lab website. An interview with Cliver (updated 2010) below. Apparently his research has been replicated.

http://www.rodalenews.com/cutting-boards-and-bacteria?page=0,0

Edited by djyee100 (log)
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This from FDA a moment ago...

http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/default.htm

 

Clarification on Using Wood Shelving in Artisanal Cheesemaking

June 11, 2014

Recently, you may have heard some concerns suggesting the FDA has taken steps to end the long-standing practice in the cheesemaking industry of using wooden boards to age cheese. To be clear, we have not and are not prohibiting or banning the long-standing practice of using wood shelving in artisanal cheese. Nor does the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) require any such action. Reports to the contrary are not accurate. 

The agency’s regulations do not specifically address the use of shelving made of wood in cheesemaking, nor is there any FSMA requirement in effect that addresses this issue. Moreover, the FDA has not taken any enforcement action based solely on the use of wooden shelves. 

At issue is a January 2014 communication from the agency’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services, which was sent in response to questions from New York State.  

The FDA recognizes that this communication has prompted concerns in the artisanal cheesemaking community. The communication was not intended as an official policy statement, but was provided as background information on the use of wooden shelving for aging cheeses and as an analysis of related scientific publications. Further, we recognize that the language used in this communication may have appeared more definitive than it should have, in light of the agency’s actual practices on this issue.  

The FDA has taken enforcement action in some situations where we have found the presence of Listeria monocytogenes at facilities that used such shelving. Since 2010, FDA inspections have found Listeria monocytogenes in more than 20 percent of inspections of artisanal cheesemakers. However, the FDA does not have data that directly associates these instances of contamination with the use of wood shelving. 

In the interest of public health, the FDA’s current regulations state that utensils and other surfaces that contact food must be “adequately cleanable” and “properly maintained.” Historically, the FDA has expressed concern about whether wood meets this requirement and these concerns have been noted in its inspectional findings. However, the FDA will engage with the artisanal cheesemaking community, state officials and others to learn more about current practices and discuss the safety of aging certain types of cheeses on wooden shelving, as well as to invite stakeholders to share any data or evidence they have gathered related to safety and the use of wood surfaces. We welcome this open dialogue.

Additional Information:

Code of Federal Regulations:  21CFR110.40 Equipment and Utensils

Edited by gfweb (log)
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Is UC DAVIS scientific enough for ya?  Study.

 

This of course is "hearsay evidence"  article.

 

And this extensive and detailed PDF article;   Here

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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At the FDA has handed down a "ruling" that makes no sense whatsoever and shows just how IGNORANT she is of the antibacterial properties of wood.

Are there any recent, peer reviewed, papers unequivocally demonstrating those alleged properties?

dh's link above was the study done by Cliver at U Wisconsin and it's now posted on the UC Davis Food Safety Lab website. An interview with Cliver (updated 2010) below. Apparently his research has been replicated.

Is UC DAVIS scientific enough for ya?

Cliver and his papers do not make any claim for any antibacterial properties of wood.

This of course is "hearsay evidence"

That's the same study by Cliver

And this extensive and detailed PDF article;

Now that's an example of a badly written, badly performed scientific study. Considering AASR impact factor I am far from the only one not taking this journal serious.

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Years ago, when I was still doing some catering, I did my own "experiment" on how MOLDS affect  wood and plastic cutting boards.

After an event where I volunteered my time, using my own equipment, I put my cutting boards (one wood, one plastic) into two of the jumbo storage plastic bags.

I loaded them in my station wagon, with everything else, and as I had the rear seats folded down to make the deck flat, I stood them up in the space behind the front seats.

I unloaded everything else - it was late at night and I was very tired and I forgot all about the cutting boards.  I did not go anywhere for the next couple of days, it was summer and very hot so the cutting boards were in optimum conditions for growing stuff.

 

When I finally noticed them, the wooden board had a few small patches of grayish mold, I treated it with a bleach solution, followed up with vinegar, scraped it well with a bench knife and then scrubbed with baking soda and set it out to dry in the sun.  It was fine.

 

The plastic board was solid black on both sides, actually looked both furry and slimy at the same time and I did not even open the bag, put it straight into the trash. 

 

I don't know what had "cultured" itself on the surface of the plastic but I was taking no chances.  After that I avoided using plastic cutting boards, except for the disposable ones - use once and discard.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Cliver and his papers do not make any claim for any antibacterial properties of wood.

 

I'm not sure what claim Cliver was supposed to make. He began his experiments on one subject (disinfectants) only to discover something unexpected and new.

 

Although the bacteria that have disappeared from the wood surfaces are found alive inside the wood for some time after application, they evidently do not multiply, and they gradually die. They can be detected only by splitting or gouging the wood or by forcing water completely through from one surface to the other. If a sharp knife is used to cut into the work surfaces after used plastic or wood has been contaminated with bacteria and cleaned manually, more bacteria are recovered from a used plastic surface than from a used wood surface.  http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/docliver/Research/cuttingboard.htm

 

 

 

Cliver found that wooden boards had anti-bacterial properties in the sense that they inhibited the growth of bacteria. Other researchers have replicated this phenomenon, but nobody knows why it happens.

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