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February 2008 Feingold Email Newsletter
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Dear Feingold Association Members & Friends,

Members of Parliament and outside experts have called for the removal of artificial coloring and nonessential preservatives in foods and beverages sold in Britain. They have also recommended that doctors be trained in nutrition, and that children and pregnant women, in particular, eat more oily fish, fish oils, or other sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids. See More . . .

Thanks to the generosity of our members and supportive companies, our Holiday Goodie Basket Fund Raiser was a success! Because companies donated varying amounts of treats, and some of them arrived late, we still have many of the items left. FAUS is offering them as a "pot luck" box.

For each donation of $25 we will ship a no-frills box (not basket) of candy via Priority Mail. The 8-1/2" x 11" x 6" boxes will be filled with Stage One and Stage Two candies. So there will be plenty for Easter baskets as well as general munching.

The offer is on a "first come, first served" basis, available only in the United States. To get yours, go here.

Yummy Earth asks for your help in naming the next organic lollipop flavor. See more about this contest here.

One would think that an expensive chocolate would use only the best ingredients - especially when they say so themselves. Don't, however, be taken in by price. One of our members wrote to the prestigious Godiva Chocolatiers to ask about their Easter Eggs. The company answered that among other ingredients, their Easter Egg chocolates contain vanillin - an extremely cheap artificial vanilla flavoring.

While real vanilla extract is made from the vanilla bean and is a mixture of several hundred different compounds in addition to vanillin, the artificial flavoring is methyl vanillin or ethyl vanillin. It is made from Guaiacol, which is an aromatic chemical made from wood creosote (present in smoke from burning wood), from petroleum, or from lignin-containing waste products of the paper pulp industry. Thus, the artificial flavoring has a much higher percentage of a single chemical compound, as well as unknown contaminants resulting from its source.

Whether the reactions seen by our members to the artificial vanillin is due to the concentration of a single chemical in the flavoring, to the contaminants, or to something else entirely, is unknown. Artificial vanillin has also been shown in research to suppress certain liver enzymes (Bamforth 1993), and according to Aoshima, 1997, it inhibits the GABA receptor response, suggesting that it could modulate the neural transmission in the brain.

The bottom line? When it comes to chocolate, don't confuse price with value.

The following new companies have recently been added to our Product Resources Page.

  • BOBOBABY - organic, kosher, baby meals
  • HUBBARD PEANUT COMPANY - peanuts - salted, unsalted, chocolate-covered, redskins, and hubbies
  • SIMPLE FOOD - several flavors of organic soy nut butter
  • WILDERNESS FAMILY NATURALS - a variety of oils, staple foods, organic mayonnaise, special treats

Not all products made by listed companies are acceptable on the Feingold Program, so while these are great resources for specialty items that may not be in your local supermarket, please use a current Foodlist & Shopping Guide when choosing products.

In the United States, fast food restaurants are within reach of children in almost all walks of life. However, in countries like Saudi Arabia, fast food restaurants are relatively new and available only to some. This has allowed for a study published in the journal Thorax in 2000 to conclude that "change in diet has been a determinant of the worldwide increases in asthma and allergies." {1}

This conclusion has been confirmed by another study in New Zealand published by the Wellington Asthma Research Group in the journal Allergy in 2005. They concluded, "Frequent consumption of hamburgers showed a dose-dependent association with asthma symptoms, and frequent takeaway consumption showed a similar association with BHR [bronchial hyper responsiveness]." {2}

The researchers considered that these meals may cause multiple deficiencies in various important minerals and vitamins, but did not appear to be aware of additives that these children were not otherwise exposed to. As all parents know, children don't typically eat hamburgers alone - their burgers may be loaded with condiments; and don't forget the French fries, the bun, and the (colored) drink. Before we malign the meat itself, it would pay to evaluate just how many additives such as BHT or TBHQ are included in the meal.

{1} Diet and childhood asthma in a society in transition: a study in urban and rural Saudi Arabia., Hijazi N, Abalkhail B, Seaton A., Thorax, 2000 Sep;55(9):775-9.

{2} Fast foods - are they a risk factor for asthma? Wickens K, et al., Allergy, 2005 Dec;60(12):1537-41.

The Gluten-Free Newsletter has a wealth of information and is a source of helpful products for those who must be gluten-free because they are on the GF/CF diet, or because of Celiac Disease -- common among people with ADHD, as discussed in our November 2007 eNewsletter.

See their website and order their catalog, or sign up for their free newsletter.

Double-check their listings against the Feingold Foodlist & Shopping Guide; when not possible, carefully read the ingredients that they provide, and feel free to submit those products that look promising to FAUS Product Information for our volunteers to research. Use the form (members' password required) or write directly to

There has been a bill before the legislature of Hawaii (HB 2680) attempting to ban the use of aspartame. Those opposing the bill, including Dr. Chiyome Leinaala Fukino, Director of Hawaii Department of Health, cited industry studies done by Ajinomoto, the world's largest manufacturer of aspartame, to "prove" that aspartame is safe. On February 25, the bill was deferred, ending its consideration for 2008. If you are interested, read more by Stephen Fox, the "person behind much of this effort."