Changes in FDA

“We are a nation built on the strength of individual initiative. But there are certain things that we can’t do on our own. There are certain things only a government can do.”

Like taking care of food safety, for example. The quote an excerpt of Obama’s speech last Friday, in which he established tougher food safety measures and appointed officially the new commissioners for US FDA. I think it’s good news to have two physicians known for their public health concerns to run the agency.

Let’s see what comes from that.

The new FDA commissioner is Margaret Hamburg, former New York Health Commissioner and a bioterrorism expert.


Hamburg’s deputy is Joshua Sharfstein, Baltimore Health Commissioner, who in 2007 campaigned to ban adverts of cough medicines for young children. 


PS: Am I the only who insists on mistakenly writing Margaret’s name as Hamburger, probably influenced by the fact that she is now running a Food and Drug agency?hamburger

PPS: The Department of Agriculture also closed a legal loophole that allowed cattle too sick to stand, known as “downed cows,” to be used as a source of food. That’s the moment you stop and think: “Wait, so it means sick cows are currently part of the food supply?”

Yes, they are. Everyday we learn something new and fascinating about this amazing country.



No more than five

It’s good to see that I’m not the only nuts looking for the products with the fewest ingredients in the shelves.

Haagen Dasz has launched a series of ice creams with five ingredients only.


Skim milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, coffee - it can't go wrong

Skim milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, coffee - it can't go wrong

I want one of these

Empowering consumers to read the labels of products! Supposedly in a supermarket in Geneva. (CraziestGadgets.com)

How paranoid?

This is a story from Washington Post saying that all the food scares can’t change Americans eating habits. What struck me was the affirmation that industrialized food were seen as “safer” by consumers. Is this true?

The article also mentions a very interesting point: that the food chain has become so complex that some people just get overwhelmed by it and accept that they have no control about what they eat whatsoever.

I admit that sometimes I fear becoming a complete paranoid, but I have to try to have SOME control, haven’t I?

Crisis Food

Interview with Kraft CEO (Kraft produces lots of those processed foods like Oreo, pizza, and so on…). She is talking about the company plans for recession:

Q: What particular products are doing well?

A: We’re certainly seeing (strength in) products that provide obvious value: powdered beverages like Kool-Aid and Crystal Light, for example, in comparison to ready-to-drink alternatives. We’re finding that people are eating grilled cheese a lot more.

We’re seeing products like DiGiorno pizza, in contrast to pizzeria pizza or restaurant pizza, are performing quite well. Even products like Oscar Mayer meats are having a resurgence. People are eating hot dogs more for dinner.

There was a time, right after I arrived in London, when my husband and I were still a bit overwhelmed by the prices of everything. Looking for the cheapest dinner possible, we bought a £1 pizza.

When we got home, we found out it was a pizza covered in an “analogue to cheese.” I have no idea what is that, but I suppose it must have something to do with soy and something derived from oil. It’s Petroleum food, as we call all weird looking food. 

(if you are curious to know what happened to the analogue to pizza: after we stopped laughing, we ate it all and apparently, neither of us suffered any serious consequences. So far)


Update: I think this is the longest list of ingredients I’ve ever seen! I’ve been looking for the longest list ever, and I believe this one is a serious candidate.

Everyday I learn something new. I found this story, about a company that created  product that can replace the WPC (whey protein concentrate) that by its turn replaces 30% of milk powder in ice cream.


So, it means that one third of the milk is not milk, but WPC? Interesting, I didn’t know that. WPC, I found out, is a by-product of the milk processing. When people make cheese, whey protein is what is not cheese.

It’s widely used by bodybulders and, apparently, by us. The problem, for producers, is that the ice cream tastes bad if you use more than 30% of WPC instead of milk. So, they invented this other thing that, I guess, will be able to replace more of the milk, making ice cream even cheaper. (I couldn’t be bothered to find out what this other thing is. I promise I will some other day).


“Additive/Preservative Free” is the number one claim in new beverages launched in Europe for the last two years, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), which tracks all new product launches. It is now more popular than “Low Calories”, “No Sugar” or “Vitamin Fortified.”

In 2007, Mintel tracked 925 new beverages that made this claim, and 920 in 2008.

See the trends in other claims here:

· Low/No/Reduced Sugar – 847 launches in 2008, 853 in 2007, 549 in 2006 and 427 in 2005

· Vitamin/Mineral Fortified – 376 launches in 2008, 575 in 2007, 513 in 2006 and 416 in 2005

· Low/No/Reduced Calorie – 300 launches in 2008, 292 in 2007, 247 in 2006 and 210 in 2005

· All Natural – 263 launches in 2008, 313 in 2007, 144 in 2006 and 93 in 2005

Read the whole story here

Radioactive-looking over-colorful juice? No, thank you.

Radioactive-looking over-colorful juice? No, thank you.