Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's GRAS don't worry

Hey do you know what GRAS is?

The chemical concoction used to create that yummy buttery flavor in microwave popcorn is GRAS....

image Assoc. Press


Yeah, confidence is high!

The FDA defines GRAS as .........."A food substance that is not subject to premarket review and approval by FDA because it is generally recognized, by qualified experts, to be safe under the intended conditions of use."

A few years back there was a big bru ha ha regarding the substance "Diacetyl". Per the FDA Diacetyl is GRAS. I remember moms chatting in the checkout line and buying air poppers. Many popcorn makers changed their formulations and their labels to be "Diacetyl free". If you go to the company websites you'll see their proclamations about being diacetyl free.

Yippee we can all buy the easy microwave treat again!

Think again.......
Per Andrew Schneider in his article "Just when you thought it was safe to Make Popcorn" (Dec 09)

Two years ago, Orville Redenbacher soared from the graveyard and announced in weeks of TV ads that his popcorn was now free of diacetyl. That's the chemical in artificial butter flavoring that has been blamed for sickening hundreds of workers, killing a handful and destroying the lungs of at least three microwave popcorn addicts.
Almost every other popcorn maker followed suit. But now, government health investigators are reporting that the "new, safer, butter substitutes" used in popcorn and others foods are, in some cases, at least as toxic as what they replaced.

Per Schneider....

Even the top lawyer for the flavoring industry said his organization has told anyone who would listen that diacetyl substitutes are actually just another form of diacetyl.

So what is the Obama administration going to do about it? Nothing meaningful, at least for a year, it said this week, stunning unions, members of Congress, public health activists and physicians who have pleaded for government action to protect workers and consumers from the butter flavoring.

"We've been very clear to flavor manufacturers, food companies and regulators that these so-called substitutes are diacetyl," said John Hallagan, general counsel for the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association.

Hallagan said that his trade association discouraged using these materials and calling their products "diacetyl-free."

So, let me get this straight, the dude who's the lawyer for the Trade Assoc. for the Flavorings Industry is on record advising manufacturers to behave ethically regarding this very dangerous substance that our kids shovel down their throats.

In addition NIOSH and OSHA the government agencies responsible for protecting workers are on record stating these substances are unsafe for workers. Lawsuits have been filed and won for workers and eaters.....


The first consumer lawsuit over Popcorn Lung Disease—bronchiolitis obliterans—has been settled between FONA International Inc., formerly Flavors of North America Inc., and a Denver Colorado man who developed the disorder after consuming two bags of microwave popcorn daily for years, said EMaxHealth.

In March we wrote that a jury ruled in favor of a plaintiff in a Popcorn Workers Lung Lawsuit. In that case, the Associated Press (AP) wrote that a federal jury in Iowa ordered a flavorings manufacturer to pay the victim—who died the day prior due to complications from Popcorn Workers Lung—and his wife $7.5 million for causing his injuries.

As usual the wheels of bureauacracy are turning very slowly and our government is not responding with lightening speed to protect us.

Here's what ConAgra foods says in a press release dated Dec 07 ConAgra Foods Introduces Orville Redenbacher's(R) and ACT II(R) Microwave Popcorn with a New Great Tasting Butter Flavoring with No Added Diacetyl

Dietitian Carolyn O'Neil Discusses the Benefits of Popcorn for Holiday Celebrations and Anytime Snacking Occasions

OMAHA, Neb.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 17, 2007--ConAgra Foods today announced that it has reformulated its Orville Redenbacher's and ACT II microwave popcorn brands with a new butter flavoring that has no added diacetyl. These newly reformulated products are arriving on store shelves now.

"Microwave popcorn has been one of America's favorite snacks for years because it is delicious and convenient. Orville Redenbacher's and ACT II have all of the nutrition benefits of a whole grain, zero grams of trans fat per serving, and now no added diacetyl flavoring," said Stan Jacot, vice president of Marketing for ConAgra Foods' popcorn business. "Our flavor experts have reformulated all varieties of Orville Redenbacher's and ACT II microwave popcorn to address any consumer perceptions about diacetyl and to make our popcorn factories as safe as possible. We want to assure our consumers they can continue to enjoy their favorite popcorn with complete confidence."

Be sure to read the entire article here...............there's more

In response to continued worker complaints about diacetyl in flavoring, NIOSH conducted a health hazard evaluation at the General Mills bakery mix facility in Los Angeles. In a report made public last week, NIOSH said that investigators found concentrations of butter flavoring agent 2,3-pentanedione in liquid buttermilk flavoring and during production of a bakery mixes. A "safe" level of diacetyl has not been established, and even low levels of diacetyl are potentially hazardous, the report said. It concluded that "the toxicology of other flavoring ingredients, including diacetyl substitutes, can result in deeper lung penetration and perhaps greater toxicity.'"

Guess what guys times up, game over, THAT's IT! Boycott the darn stuff. Don't buy it!!!!

Beware of butter products that are just too yellow (it's in there too).

The response from the manufacturers and our government is too little too late as far as I'm concerned.

BOYCOTT = Decreased Profits = Corporate Response and change!!

It's the only way. Ladies and Gentlemen start your air poppers!

1 comment:

Chews Your Food! said...

In addition to GRAS, I've long been suspect of the paper bags themselves, but this is just the icing on the cake. Time to buy an air popper, for sure!

Please spread the word!