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August 2008 Feingold Email Newsletter
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Dear Feingold Association Members & Friends,
- What McDonald's answered
- What the FDA says
- One Victory for the Kids
- Trouble with Hains
- News in Science
- Feingold T-shirts & more!
[ ] WHAT MCDONALD'S ANSWERED
Hundreds of you have been writing to Julia Braun, our contact at McDonald's, over the past few weeks, asking this leader of fast food restaurant chains to consider removing the artificial colorings and preservatives from their menu in the United States, as they have already done in England. They had actually claimed to be interested in customer opinion. Hundreds of you sent me copies of the emails you sent her with your stories and your reasons for wishing that McDonald's would take the lead in removing these additives. It would take a hard-hearted person not to be personally moved by your stories.
We were disappointed, however, in the stock answer which Ms. Braun has begun sending out. See it here.
I will be replying to McDonald's, and will post the reply on the page linked above.
It is interesting that Ms. Braun refers to the FDA as the authority.
At the bottom of the page she refers us to in her reply, the FDA says:Okay -- PUT THIS PHONE NUMBER ON YOUR REFRIGERATOR -- AND REPORT THE LAST REACTION(S) YOUR FAMILY HAD. We're all too smart to do it again, but we ALL had a "last" one. And if your kid gets booby-trapped by unexpected additives in the future, you can report that too. Every time.FDA monitors reports of problems related to color additives.
Report adverse reactions to color additives to your nearest FDA district office at
Or, report problems to CFSAN's Adverse Event Reporting System (CAERS)
by phone at 301-436-2405 or email at CAERS@cfsan.fda.gov
[ ] WHAT THE FDA SAYS
The current official FDA page on colorings states the following in its third paragraph under the heading Historical Perpectives:
By 1900, many foods, drugs, and cosmetics available in the U.S. were artificially colored. However, not all of the coloring agents were harmless and some were being used to hide inferior or defective foods.
A careful assessment of the chemicals used for coloring foods at the time found many blatantly poisonous materials such as lead, arsenic, and mercury being added. In many cases, the toxicities of the starting materials for synthesizing coloring agents were well known and could be toxins, irritants, sensitizers, or carcinogens.
It is now more than 100 years later. Let's take this one sentence at a time.
"...and some were being used to hide inferior or defective foods."
Coloring is STILL used to hide inferior or defective foods. In case you haven't thought about it before, take a look at ... oh ... let's say Kellogg's Blueberry Pop Tarts, advertised as a healthy breakfast. Look at the ingredients on the back. Notice that powdered blueberries (yum?) are listed as "2% or less" of the ingredients. Oh, yes, there is more fruit; there are also (under 2% each) powdered apples and powdered grapes, probably because apples and grapes are cheaper than blueberries. The nice blue color and yummy texture you think are mashed blueberries is actually gelatin, four different listings of sugar, oil, starch, artificial blueberry flavoring, and enough Red #40, Blue #1, and Blue #2 to make a nice blueberry color.
Now you know blueberries are blue. And they taste like blueberries. So why do they need to be colored and flavored? Because they don't put enough real blueberries in the product and they need to make you think that they did. If you don't call that "hiding inferior or defective foods," then what is it?
Back to 1900:
" A careful assessment ... found many blatantly poisonous materials such as lead, arsenic, and mercury"
Makes you think that today the FDA would never allow such things in your food, right? Wrong. The synthetic food dyes today actually do contain all three of these "blatantly poisonous materials" but although they were "blatantly poisonous" in 1900, they are apparently "safe" in 2008.
You can see amounts of these contaminants allowed in each color ... and note that the D&C colors (used for drugs and cosmetics) often allow twice the level of lead.
According to studies, the amounts of benzidine (a carcinogenic chemical also found in food coloring) actually found in commercial samples of Tartrazine is sometimes up to 200 times the allowed amount. No published studies seem to look at the amount of lead, mercury and arsenic actually present in the "certified" colorings. And according to the FDA itself, they get paid for every pound certified (not, apparently, for every pound tested) ... in their nice buildings built by the food industry. Get the picture?
Last, in 1900, the FDA says:
"... toxicities of the starting materials for synthesizing coloring agents were well known and could be toxins, irritants, sensitizers, or carcinogens."
Today they are mostly made from petroleum. Need I say more?
Moving forward in their own history, the FDA says that the Color Additive Amendments of 1960 were written because "many children became ill" after eating Halloween candy containing 1-2% FD&C Orange #1." They put the additives on an "interim" status and spent the next 40 years slowly deciding to list half of them permanently.
Look again at the dates. The kids got sick (how?) in 1950. The FDA took ten (10) years to decide to think about it. And then they took the next forty (40) years to decide what to do about each coloring. They are not finished, either, since the type of color chemicals called "lakes" are still only provisionally listed and their decision is still pending. But they are in your food ... you can see them listed. What have they been doing for 40 years? Wandering in the Sinai?
And one more thing. They are not testing them for behavioral effect; they have spent 40 years trying to decide whether they cause cancer ... knowing, of course, that some of their ingredients are clearly known as carcinogens.
See 74 studies on the food dyes (including a few on flavorings).
[ ] ONE VICTORY FOR THE KIDS
One of the most significant product and toy safety laws in two decades is now awaiting President Bush's signature. It was brought about by the Consumer's Union and by thousands of consumers like you tirelessly making phone calls and writing emails.
See the Article.
Well, we got the lead out of the toys; maybe next we can get it out of the food?
[ ] TROUBLE WITH HAINS
Feingold members know that it is not enough for a product to SAY it is *all natural* even if the ingredient list looks good. Many unacceptable additives can be hidden in packaging, in dough conditioners, oils, vitamins and other *secondary* ingredients. In order to make it into the Feingold Foodlist books, the company must fill out Feingold Product Information Questionnaires.
It has come to our attention that Hain Celestial has acquired Nspired Foods - makers of Sundrops and Cloud Nine chocolate.
Hains claims to be one of the biggest all natural companies out there, yet they refuse to fill out Feingold forms, thus making their products unavailable to Feingold families.
Recently, they have been aggressively acquiring many companies that have always cooperated with the Feingold PIC (Product Information Committee). We believe that they are reformulating the products, which will have to be removed from our Foodlists. We don't know what they are hiding.
... and now they are MESSING WITH OUR CHOCOLATE!!
We are asking that all of our members do what they can to show this big company that their customers should come first!
We will be sending a separate email with the contact information - so gird your loins and prepare for battle.
Results of your efforts
[ ] NEWS IN SCIENCE
- NUTRITIONAL THERAPIES FOR MENTAL DISORDERSIn January, 2008, Drs. Shaheen and Karen Vieira of the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation in Los Angeles published an interesting article in Nutrition Journal.
According to them, some of the more common mental disorders - depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, and OCD - vary in their occurrence from only 4% in China to 26% in the U.S. Studies show that certain vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids are often low in the general population in America and other developed countries; and they are even lower in patients suffering from mental disorders. Studies have also shown that daily supplements of these nutrients often effectively reduce patients' symptoms.
Supplements that contain amino acids also reduce symptoms, because they are converted to neurotransmitters.
The authors say, "Based on emerging scientific evidence, this form of nutritional supplement treatment may be appropriate for controlling major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), addiction, and autism."
Since many patients on the usual psychiatric medications suffer from side effects and refuse to take them, the authors suggest that psychiatrists should educate themselves about nutritional treatments. While admitting that more research is needed to determine optimal doses, the authors claim that psychiatrists can now "recommend doses of dietary supplements based on previous and current efficacious studies and then adjust the doses based on the results obtained."
See the entire article (requires password).
- A RANDOMISED CONTROLLED TRIAL INTO THE EFFECTS OF FOOD ON ADHDIn March, 2008, Pelsser et al published a study in the Netherlands, in which they randomly assigned children with ADHD to an elimination diet trial and a "waiting" group. A child was considered improved if he or she had a 50% (or more) decrease in symptoms. According to parents, 73% of the diet group improved while 0% of the waiting group improved. According to teachers, 70% of the diet group improved, and 0% of the waiting group improved. Not only did ADHD symptoms improve significantly, but so did symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). The authors conclude that "A strictly supervised elimination diet may be a valuable instrument in testing young children with ADHD on whether dietary factors may contribute to the manifestation of the disorder and may have a beneficial effect on the children's behaviour."
See the entire study (requires password).
Unfortunately, there is no Feingold Association in the Netherlands, but we offer as much help as possible to people outside the United States and Canada at www.feingold.org/pg-out.html as well as at the Feingold Caveman Diet. Neither of these approaches provide a Foodlist, a Handbook, or help in finding acceptable foods in fast food restaurants, so they are not recommended for people living in the United States or Canada who have all the benefits of the full Feingold Program available to them. See more about the Program materials at and take a peek inside the Foodlist.
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