Not many restaurants will be able to survive coronavirus, and this is a personal, social and national tragedy.
I'm worried about farmers markets too.
Researchers say that the cost of coronavirus to farm-to-consumer programs could go well into the billions. I believe it.
Now is the time to support your local farmers.
California has ruled farmers' markets essential to local economies.
Now is the time to do what you can to keep them open and viable, even with the need for social distancing. Use home delivery or curbside pick up if you have to.
Even more, join the Farmers Market Coalition campaign for congressional support.
Is farmers market produce safe to eat? Yes (with some caveats), as I discussed on Monday.
Reposted with permission from Food Politics.
- Coronavirus and the Terrifying Muzzling of Public Health Experts ... ›
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Plant-based meats are touted as the technological solution to the health and environmental problems caused by excessive meat-eating. Venture capital is flooding to what seems like a hot new market.
One objection to these products is that they are heavily processed and contain long lists of processing ingredients (my emphasis on the color ingredients).
The Beyond Burger: pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, water, yeast extract, maltodextrin, natural flavors, gum arabic, sunflower oil, salt, succinic acid, acetic acid, non-GMO modified food starch, cellulose from bamboo, methylcellulose, potato starch, beet juice extract (for color), ascorbic acid (to maintain color), annatto extract (for color), citrus fruit extract (to maintain quality), vegetable glycerin.
The Impossible Burger: water, textured wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein, natural flavors, 2% or less of: leghemoglobin (heme protein), yeast extract, salt, soy protein isolate, konjac gum, xanthan gum, thiamin (vitamin B1), zinc, niacin, vitamin B6, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12.
I was intrigued by this article from Food Navigator about the color problem. Plant-based meats are naturally an unappealing grey and need color to make them appear palatable. What to do?
According to botanical extract supplier, Naturex, whose portfolio includes colouring foods, plant-based meat analogues are "a booming sector" and, with colour one of the most important factors in determining a food's appeal, manufacturers are interested in natural ways to colour meat alternatives.
Category manager for natural colours at Naturex Nathalie Pauleau said that carmine, derived from cochineal insects, is the most frequently used colour for real meat applications but cannot be used in plant based products because it is not vegetarian.
Vegetable-based alternatives include beetroot or red radish concentrates that deliver good colouring results, and in Europe, both can be classified as colouring foods, she said.
But there are big problems with color stability under conditions of heat and high or low pH. If manufacturers want a browner color, carmelized sugar sometimes works.
As for the "bleeding" burger produced by Impossible Foods: this is
A plant-based burger made from the standard base ingredients of wheat, potato and soy protein. The addition of its IP-protected ingredient, leghemoglobin, however, means that the burger's label lists added flavours but no colours. Leghemoglobin is a heme molecule similar to myoglobin and haemoglobin that make blood and meat red but is found in the roots of nitrogen-fixing plants such as soy, meaning it is vegetarian-friendly. When added to the burger, it looks like blood.
And how do these taste? Not bad, by most reports.
But one of my personal food rules is never to eat anything artificial. These products are off my dietary radar.
When it comes to daily hygiene products, it's important to be comfortable with each ingredient in the bottle. Whether you have sensitive skin or if you're just tired of reading chemicals you can't pronounce, natural face washes can leave you with a clean and soft feel without the worries of unnecessary additives and irritants in the formula.
We've sorted through the best natural face cleansers on the market so you don't have to. In this article, we'll be discussing the benefits that organic face washes can give your skin as well as reviewing the top products in different categories.
Our Picks for the Top Natural Face Cleansers
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. Learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.
- Best Overall: Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash
- Best for Sensitive Skin: True Botanicals Renew Nourishing Cleanser
- Best Cleansing Oil: One Love Beauty Vitamin B Cleansing Oil
- Best for Acne-Prone Skin: OSEA Ocean Cleanser
- Best Plastic-Free Face Wash: Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Vegan Bar Soap
- Best Makeup Remover: Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm
- Best Budget Cleanser: Honest Beauty Gentle Gel Cleanser
Why Switch to Natural Face Wash?
Natural face wash isn't just beneficial to those with sensitive skin. Anyone can benefit from the fact that they don't contain toxic ingredients like sulfates and parabens that have been found in traditional skincare products. These synthetic materials are harsher on the skin and have been linked to triggering breakouts and irritations.
Even though additives such as artificial fragrances and color dyes make traditional face washes more palatable, they can create the possibility of worsening your skin over time and aren't necessary for a successful product. While some may think simple and natural skin care products don't work as well compared to harsher ones, natural face cleansers cut out possibly harmful ingredients and still maintain an effective formula that will keep your skin glowing and healthy.
7 Best Natural Face Washes
When choosing our top recommended natural face cleansers, we looked at factors including:
- Ingredients: Harsh sulfates, parabens and unnecessary fragrances aren't needed in your cleansing routine. Natural ingredients such as lemon and jasmine oil are just as effective without the possible irritation.
- Certifications: We've made sure the products listed below are honest in their missions and credible in their formulas, looking for certifications from the Environmental Working Group, MADE SAFE®, Credo and other certifying bodies.
- Sustainability: The skincare companies listed below use recyclable packaging, non-toxic ingredients and continue to explore eco-friendly options in order to better their products and customers.
- Customer reviews: We consider what verified customers have to say about the effectiveness of the skincare products and how they can help benefit you.
Best Overall: Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash
We named Ursa Major's Fantastic Face Wash as our best overall product because of its simple yet effective ingredients, great smell and sustainability. This natural face wash is perfect for cleansing normal, oily and combination skin types. Verified customers have even mentioned how well it works on their sensitive and acne-prone skin.
This cleanser's ingredients include lemon for exfoliation, aloe vera for hydration, sugar maple for brightening your skin and white tea for natural antioxidation. The gel foaming cleanser is also infused with cedar, spearmint and other essential oils to create a rustic aroma. And its AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) exfoliating factor allows for a non-drying yet clean and healthy look every time you wash your face.
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 1,000 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: Ursa Major is a B Corporation that's Leaping Bunny Certified cruelty-free and plastic-negative, which means it offsets more plastic than the company produces. The Fantastic Face Wash is vegan and made in the U.S.
Best for Sensitive Skin: True Botanicals Renew Nourishing Cleanser
This gentle cleanser is perfect for normal to dry sensitive skin. True Botanicals' cleanser formula includes white and green tea to wash away dirt and grime without stripping away protective outer layers of the skin, as well as organic ingredients such as soothing aloe vera and glycerin for everyday skin hydration.
Grapefruit and citrus additives provide a mildly acidic factor to thoroughly cleanse your pores without causing inflammation. The nourishing cleanser also contains lavender and jasmine flower oils that tighten and leave a luxurious natural scent on the skin.
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 25 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: Certified non-toxic by MADE SAFE and cruelty-free to Leaping Bunny standards, this sustainably-made product works best for dry, cracked and sensitive skin. Whether you're looking for an everyday cleanser or an anti-aging product to tighten fine lines and wrinkles, it is a solid choice.
Best Cleansing Oil: One Love Beauty Vitamin B Cleansing Oil
With the One Love Beauty Vitamin B Cleansing Oil, you can remove your makeup and cleanse your face in a single step. Designed with sensitive, dry skin in mind, the cleansing oil is non-stripping and is a perfect alternative to traditional makeup removers that can dry out your skin. The vitamin B effortlessly lifts away impurities and tones while fruit enzymes derived from papaya work to provide a light exfoliation.
The cleansing oil can be used alone or combined with other products in your daily routine. To use, pump the oil one to two times and massage in your hands until it becomes milky, then apply in a circular motion. If you want a deeper cleanse, apply the cleanser and then place a warm washcloth on top of the area for a few seconds. This will open up your pores and let the natural oils seep into your skin for a beautiful glow.
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 50 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: This organic face wash is Amazon's Choice for makeup cleansing oils, and it meets the Credo Clean Standard and PETA's Global Beauty Without Bunnies certification. Each ingredient is organically farmed and designed with dehydrated skin in mind but is concentrated enough to be applied to all skin types.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: OSEA Ocean Cleanser
This natural face cleanser creates an oceanic experience with ingredients like algae and seaweed. Seaweed has amazing natural minerals that smooth and soften the skin, while algae is famously known for its hydration and toning properties. Acne is commonly caused by excess oils and dirt build-up in pores. The OSEA Ocean Cleanser's pH-balanced formula is able to target these impurities and gently clarify your skin for a clean and clear complexion.
The gel face wash works best for normal, combination and acne-prone skin, but it also is known to work well as a shaving product, allowing for a close and silky shave without the fuss of razor bumps or irritation. Be sure to wash your face with this cleanser in the morning as well as at night and follow with a moisturizer for the best results.
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 35 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: OSEA is Climate Neutral Certified, vegan, Leaping Bunny Certified cruelty-free and uses recycled glass packaging. The company is devoted to producing clean and efficient products powered by the sea.
Best Plastic-Free Face Wash: Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Vegan Bar Soap
Keep your skin healthy and naturally revitalized with this sustainable and simple product. The Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Vegan Bar Soap is made of just three ingredients: olive oil, sea salt and water. The olive oil soap is blended, crafted and cold-pressed in Greece using traditional methods. The best-selling natural soap bar is composed of 86% olive oil and is loaded with nourishing antioxidants which leave the skin feeling soft, revived and well-hydrated.
You can purchase the fragrance-free face bars individually or in a set of either three, six or 12. This organic soap has been used by customers as a face wash, body wash or even a natural shampoo for the most sensitive skin.
Customer Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars with over 3,300 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: Vegan, cruelty-free, Non-GMO Project certified and completely plastic-free, not only does this natural face wash come at a more affordable price and lower environmental footprint, but bar soap also is known to last much longer than liquid soaps.
Best Makeup Remover: Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm
This cleansing balm works to remove makeup and keep your complexion glowing without irritating or over-drying your skin. The Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm is formulated with only natural ingredients, like sunflower seed and ginger root oils, to properly remove even the toughest of makeup and leave a silky smooth look.
Apply the balm by taking a small scoop and massaging it in circular motions on the skin. Focus on areas with heavier makeup, such as the eyes, before rinsing with a damp washcloth. Once the makeup is melted away, papaya-derived fruit enzymes naturally exfoliate while moringa extract helps cleanse the skin. The organic facial cleanser will pull away all of the impurities and prepare your complexion for a new day.
Customer Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars with over 3,500 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: Not only are Farmacy products naturally free of sulfates and parabens, but they're also devoted to a sustainable future. The company is Leaping Bunny Certified cruelty-free, uses recycled materials and soy-based inks, and is committed to being waste-free by 2022.
Best Budget Cleanser: Honest Beauty Gentle Gel Cleanser
The Honest Beauty Gentle Gel Cleanser uses a dermatologist-tested, gentle formula that removes makeup and leaves your skin feeling soft and refreshed. This gel foaming cleanser works to remove excess oil and sweat in the mornings and makeup impurities during your nightly routine.
Chamomile and calendula extract act as powerful antioxidants, creating a calming effect on the skin when you use this product. Radish root extract cleans clogged pores while yucca root, an ingredient high in vitamin C, brightens your complexion. This cleanser is free of synthetic fragrances and can be used on all skin types, including sensitive skin.
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 2,700 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: Honest Beauty's cleanser is EWG Verified, PETA-certified cruelty-free and uses packaging made from recycled materials as well as tree-free paper.
Frequently Asked Questions: Natural Face Wash
How should I clean my face naturally?
When looking for natural skincare, it's best to avoid ingredients such as sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances and dyes. If you wear makeup, it's important to include a makeup remover such as Farmacy's Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm as the first step of your routine if your face wash isn't designed to break down cosmetics.
After using a natural face cleanser, make sure to always rinse with warm water and a non-abrasive cloth (we like reusable cotton rounds) unless directed otherwise by a product's label or a dermatologist. Following with a natural moisturizer like coconut oil and a reef-safe sunscreen will complete your routine.
Which is the best natural face wash?
There are many high-quality natural face washes on the market, but we recommend the Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash because of its premium natural ingredients and its effectiveness for all skin types. When it comes to skincare, every person's skin reacts differently, so stick to an ingredient list you can trust and try different natural products until you find whatever works best for you.
Which is the best face wash without chemicals?
Natural skincare can be just as effective as traditional beauty products but without the risk of damaging your skin long-term. Face washes such as Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Vegan Bar Soap contain only plant-based oils and sea salt to clarify your skin without the worry of harsh chemicals.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its revised school meal rules, in words that would make George Orwell proud:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture today [Nov. 29] provided local food service professionals the flexibility they need to serve wholesome, nutritious, and tasty meals in schools across the nation. The new School Meal Flexibility Rule ... reflects USDA's commitment, made in a May proclamation to work with program operators, school nutrition professionals, industry, and other stakeholders to develop forward-thinking strategies to ensure school nutrition standards are both healthful and practical ... This action reflects a key initiative of USDA's Regulatory Reform Agenda, developed in response to the President's Executive Order to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens.
Try and get your head around this. The revised rules make school meals less nutritious. They allow schools to:
- Serve flavored rather than plain low-fat milk (higher in sugar).
- Be exempt from serving whole grain-rich products.
- Have until the end of the 2020-2021 school year to reduce the salt in school meals.
This rule will be in effect for school year 2018-2019. USDA is accepting public comments for longer term use here.
I will never understand why adults would lobby to make school meals less healthful, but here is the School Nutrition Association praising the changes. The association cites survey data indicating that 65 percent of school districts are having trouble with whole grains and 92 percent with sodium requirements.
I love Margo Wootan's quote (she is director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest):
The proposal is a hammer in search of a nail ... Virtually 100 percent of schools are already complying with the final nutrition standards, including the first phase of sodium reduction.
- USDA's press release
- CSPI's press statement
- American Heart Association's press release
A reporter asked:
I was wondering if you could share your thoughts with me about the new study finding phthalates in boxed Mac & Cheese. Should consumers be afraid of just Mac & Cheese, considering phthalates are ubiquitous and found in almost every food we consume? What are your recommendations?
Here's what I said:
The moral of this story is to eat a healthy diet and you don't have to worry about things like phthalates. What is a healthy diet? It's one in which most of the calories come from relatively unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and grains, and heavily processed foods—like boxed Mac & Cheese—are kept to a minimum. The phthalate-in-Mac-and-Cheese problem is a processing issue. Phthalates leach in during processing. You love Mac and Cheese? Great. Make your own.
Toxic Industrial Chemicals Found in 10 Types of Macaroni and Cheese Powders https://t.co/KorVSZ6kiA @Earthjustice @ewg @NonGMOProject @NRDC— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1499965784.0
What's going on here?
For starters, I love Mac & Cheese, although not so much for the kind in boxes.
In case you don't know much about this dish, check out the Hartman group's useful historical infographic.
As for phthalates:
- These are plasticizers in packaging with effects as endocrine disrupters.
- They have been associated with male infertility.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is concerned about their toxicity and widespread environmental exposure.
- Researchers are worried about phthalates in fast food because of all the packaging and handling.
So why am I not more upset about them? They are easy to avoid. Just don't eat foods in boxes.
David Katz has an excellent piece that puts phthalates in a wider dietary context:
This whole topic represents risk distortion, and it's something we tend to do all the time. We all know, or certainly should, that a dietary pattern of wholesome, whole foods, mostly plants, is monumentally good for us. Such a diet not only minimizes bad chemicals in the food we eat, it—more importantly—minimizes bad food in the food we eat!
What to do?
How about convincing journalists that food biotechnology is the solution to the world's food problems and that any criticism of it is a critique of science in the same category as climate-change denial (as I told Thacker).
The journalist Paul Thacker explains that strategy in an article in Tuesday's Progressive:
In recent months, media outlets have reported on a disturbing trend of corporate-sponsored journalism. The British Medical Journal exposed a multiyear campaign by Coca-Cola to influence reporters covering obesity by secretly funding journalism conferences at the University of Colorado. The watchdog group Health News Review reported that two journalism professors at the University of Kansas asked more than 1,100 health-care reporters about their views on opioids in a survey that was funded, in part, by the Center for Practical Bioethics, a group the U.S. Senate Finance Committee investigated for its ties to opioid manufacturers ... Hints of the biotech industry's media tactics have leaked from court cases filed against Monsanto alleging glyphosate causes cancer. Several filings reference internal Monsanto documents that describe the company's social media strategy called "Let Nothing Go"—a program in which individuals who appear to have no connection to the industry rapidly respond to negative social media posts regarding Monsanto, GMOs, and agrichemicals.
His article describes the fierce industry pushback against anyone who raises questions about food biotechnology.
I know about that pushback firsthand. That's why this site no longer accepts comments.
We need open discussion about issues related to food biotechnology. This article is a good place to begin.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not doing enough to prevent weed resistance to the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) says a new report from the EPA's Inspector General's Office, which draws in part on a report from the agbiotech company, Pioneer: Weed Management in the Era of Glyphosate Resistance.
The EPA Inspector General's Office report explains that glyphosate (Roundup) is used on crops modified to tolerate this herbicide, which kills surrounding weeds but leaves the GMO crop intact.
If you use enough of it long enough, weeds develop resistance.
U.S. farmers are planting more herbicide-resistant GMO corn and soybeans (this figure is from the Pioneer report):
Here's how much glyphosate U.S. farmers are using:
- 2002: 110 million pounds
- 2012: 283.5 million pounds
Weeds resistant to herbicides were first reported in 1968. Weed resistance is now increasing rapidly (this figure is from the Inspector General's Office report):
Weeds resistant to glyphosate are spreading rapidly throughout the U.S. (this figure is in both reports):
What should government do to stop this? A quick lesson on GMO regulation:
- U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates these crops.
- EPA regulates herbicides used on these crops
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates their safety.
The EPA Inspector General said EPA is not doing enough to mitigate herbicide resistance:
- It is not communicating with farmers or other stakeholders about managing resistance.
- It is not collecting data on herbicide resistance through its adverse incident reporting database.
- It is not dealing with the need to develop alternatives.
- It is not tracking progress in addressing weed resistance.
- It needs to do better.
What should be done? Pioneer says:
A truly integrated strategy should incorporate non-chemical control tactics as well. Mechanical weed control and crop rotation are examples of two such tactics available to growers, but the feasibility of their implementation will vary depending on the characteristics of a cropping system.
Non-chemical control tactics? Sounds like sustainable agriculture, no?
Weed resistance is a big reason not to use glyphosate.
Another is its suspected carcinogenicity, but I will save that for another time.
The GMO trolls—people who post deliberately hostile comments—have defeated me.
Remove My Clip From GMO Propaganda Film https://t.co/22U2elvnlm @TrueFoodNow @Cornucopia_Inst— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1498079105.0
I realize that this sort of thing is a deliberate, if shameful, strategy of the agbiotech industry: "Let Nothing Go."
As described in a document filed in a lawsuit by U.S. Right to Know:
"Monsanto even started the aptly-named 'Let Nothing Go' program to leave nothing, not even Facebook comments, unanswered; through a series of third parties, it employs individuals who appear to have no connection to the industry, who in turn post positive comments on news articles and Facebook posts, defending Monsanto, its chemicals, and GMOs."
This is not about thoughtful discussion of the scientific, social and political issues raised by GMOs. This is about personal attacks to discredit anyone who raises questions about those issues, as I did.
Trolling is not appropriate on this site. Hence: no more comments.
I will continue to write about GMOs as new developments occur.
In the meantime, I commend the first chapter of Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety to your attention. It does much to explain why opinions of GMOs are so polarized and why the science of GMOs has become so politicized.
I have asked repeatedly to have my short interview clip removed from this film. The director refuses. He believes his film is fair and balanced. I do not.
I am often interviewed (see media) and hardly ever quoted incorrectly or out of context. This film is one of those rare exceptions.
In my 10-second clip, I say that I am unaware of convincing evidence that eating GM foods is unsafe—this is what I said, but it is hugely out of context.
Safety is the industry's talking point. In the view of the GMO industry and this film, if GMOs are safe, they ought to be fully acceptable and nothing else is relevant.
GMO Film Narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Blatant Case of Monsanto Corporate Propaganda https://t.co/gVKGPEV5lc @truefoodnow @GMOTruth— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1497996023.0
I disagree. I think there are plenty of issues about GMOs in addition to safety that deserve thoughtful consideration: monoculture; the effects of industrial agriculture on the environment and climate change; the possible carcinogenicity of glyphosate (Roundup); this herbicide's well documented induction of weed resistance; and the how aggressively this industry protects its self-interest and attacks critics, as this film demonstrates.
Food Evolution focuses exclusively on the safety of GMOs; it dismisses environmental issues out of hand. It extols the benefits of the virus-resistant Hawaiian papaya and African banana but says next to nothing about corn and soybean monoculture and the resulting weed resistance, and it denies the increase in use of toxic herbicides now needed to deal with resistant weeds. It says nothing about how this industry spends fortunes on lobbying and in fighting labeling transparency.
Instead, this film hammers hard on three out-of-context points:
- GMOs are safe
- Anyone who thinks otherwise is anti-science, ignorant, and stupid.
- Organic foods are bad and proponents of organic foods are deceitful.
Its biases are apparent throughout but the bias against organics is particularly striking.
For example, in arguing that proponents of organic agriculture are paid by the organic industry, the film refers to an article on the front page of the New York Times. But most of that article was about how the GMO industry recruits and pays academic researchers to front for it. The film fails to mention that.
The obvious question: Who paid for this film?
The official answer: The Institute for Food Technologists (IFT).
IFT is a professional association for food scientists and technologists involved in the processed food industry. I have been a member of it for years; its journal, Food Technology, is useful for keeping up with what the food industry is doing.
I had no idea that IFT sponsored films, let alone one that must have been very expensive to produce (on location in Hawaii and Uganda, among other places).
I can't help but think Monsanto or the Biotechnology Innovation Organization must have given IFT a grant for this purpose, but IFT takes complete responsibility for commissioning the film (if you have any information about this, please let me know).
Food Evolution is opening Friday in New York. I view it as a slick piece of GMO industry propaganda.
If you want a thoughtful discussion of the real issues raised by food biotechnology, you will need to look elsewhere.
Full disclosure: half of my book Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety deals with GMO issues. These have not changed much since the book appeared in 2003 and in a revised edition in 2010. The GMO industry's defenses and attacks are much the same, just louder and more expensively produced.
Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned pet owners not to feed specific lot numbers of Evanger's canned Hunk of Beef or Against the Grain Grain Free Pulled Beef with Gravy canned dog food because they might contain enough pentobarbital to sicken or kill their animals.
The FDA began investigating Evanger's Dog & Cat Food Company Inc. when it learned about five dogs in a single household that suffered acute neurological symptoms shortly after eating the product. One dog was euthanized after secondary complications and three others recovered after receiving veterinary care. One of the dogs treated remains on seizure medication and the fifth dog that ate the least amount of food recovered with time.
The stomach contents of the deceased dog and an open can of the product were tested by an FDA Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network lab and unopened cans of the product from the pet owner and retailer that sold the products (from the same production lot), were tested by FDA's lab. All of the samples tested positive for pentobarbital.
7 Natural Ingredients You Should Add to Your Dog's Diet https://t.co/Nr6YSOD3nB @nytimeshealth @africarenewal— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1473975914.0
Pentobarbital is a drug used for euthanizing animals. Years ago, the remains of euthanized animals (sometimes pets) went to rendering plants and the resulting mess ended up in pet foods.
But when Mal Nesheim and I were researching our pet food book, Feed Your Pet Right, which came out in 2010, we searched for but could not find evidence that any pet food company was still doing that.
Everyone we asked, from veterinarians, to pet food makers, to government regulators told us that rendered, euthanized animals were no longer in pet foods, not least because the ingredients would have to be disclosed on the labels and no manufacturer wanted to do that.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said it checked and the canned foods really do contain beef.
Since when are cattle treated with pentobarbital?
If they aren't, how did the drug get into the pet food?
Evanger's advertises its ingredients as "human grade." Oops.
Susan Thixton, who runs the blog, TruthAboutPetFood, snagged a screenshot of Evanger's website before they "edited" out the part about how their products are "made with completely human grade" ingredients. Here's her explanation:
The FDA must agree. It said:
In its recent press release announcing a limited product recall, Evanger's Dog & Cat Food Company, Inc. stated that the beef for its Hunk of Beef product came from a "USDA approved" supplier. However, the FDA reviewed a bill of lading from Evanger's supplier of "Inedible Hand Deboned Beef—For Pet Food Use Only. Not Fit For Human Consumption" and determined that the supplier's facility does not have a grant of inspection from the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. The meat products from this supplier do not bear the USDA inspection mark and would not be considered human grade.
For more information:
- Food Safety News' excellent coverage of the recall
- Food Safety News on the pentobarbital adulterant
Fatty fish have long-chain omega-3 fatty acids which are good for health.
Why You Need Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Your Diet - EcoWatch https://t.co/3VYd0amodm @livestrong @nytimeswell— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1468445424.0
But some have methylmercury, which is toxic to the developing fetus.
And all have PCBs or other organic compounds that are unlikely to promote health.
The advice? Eat 2 to 3 servings of lower-mercury fish per week for a total of 8-12 ounces.
That's fine, but which fish are low in methylmercury?
Read This if You Love Eating Fish But Worry Your Getting Too Much Mercury Exposure https://t.co/Pb6OOJ9oti @FishWiseOrg @seafoodfuture— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1458346524.0
For this, the agencies have created an reference chart that sorts 62 types of fish into three categories:
"Best Choices" (eat two to three servings a week)
"Good Choices" (eat one serving a week)
"Fish to Avoid"
Here's where things get tricky.
- Choices to avoid include, among others, Bigeye Tuna and Tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico.
- Good choices include Albacore and Yellowfin Tuna and Tilefish from the Atlantic Ocean.
Good luck telling the difference.
As I've written before (and also see this post and this one about fish politics), if you want to avoid methylmercury during pregnancy, it's best to avoid tuna. Consumer Reports advises pregnant women not to eat tuna at all.
Center for Science in the Public Interest said:
The best advice for pregnant or nursing women and parents of small children is to choose fish that are low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and sardines. They should avoid albacore tuna altogether and consume tuna labeled as "light tuna" very sparingly—no more than two ounces per week for women and one ounce per week for kids.
And are PCBs a non-issue? Could fish politics have anything to do with this?
Here are the documents:
Berkeley's soda tax passed in a landslide in November 2014.Berkeley vs. Big Soda
They surveyed people in low-income communities before and after the tax went into effect. The result: an overall 21 percent decline in reported soda consumption in low-income Berkeley neighborhoods versus a 4 percent increase in equivalent neighborhoods in Oakland and San Francisco.
The Los Angeles Times breaks out these figures:
In Oakland and San Francisco, which have not yet passed a tax, sales of regular sodas went up by 10 percent.
Other findings, as reported by Healthy Food America:
- During one of the hottest summers on record, Berkeley residents reported drinking 63 percent more bottled water, while comparison cities saw increases of just 19 percent.
- Only 2 percent of those surveyed reported crossing city lines to avoid the tax.
- The biggest drops came in consumption of soda (26 percent) and sports drinks (36 percent).
Agricultural economist Parke Wilde at Tufts views this study as empirical evidence for the benefits of taxes. He writes on his U.S. Food Policy blog that it's time for his ag econ colleagues to take the benefits of taxes seriously:
There is a long tradition in my profession of doubting the potential impact of such taxes … Oklahoma State University economist Jayson Lusk, who also is president of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA), has blogged several times about soda taxes, agreeing with most of the Tamar Haspel column in the Washington Post and concluding stridently: "I'm sorry, but if my choice is between nothing and a policy that is paternalistic, regressive, will create economic distortions and deadweight loss, and is unlikely to have any significant effects on public health, I choose nothing" (emphasis added).
Wilde points out that Lusk has now modified those comments in a blog post.
All that said, I'm more than willing to accept the finding that the Berkeley city soda tax caused soda consumption to fall. The much more difficult question is: are Berkeley residents better off?
Yes, they are.
This Is What a Soda Commercial Would Look Like If They Were Telling the Truth https://t.co/NfPqtsMP1M @markhymanmd https://t.co/bXkhIp2JfF— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1454608302.0
The Berkeley study is good news and a cheery start to the week. Have a good one.
Politico adds up the "piles of cash" being spent on the soda tax votes in San Francisco, Oakland and Alameda and analyzes the soda industry's framing of the tax as a "grocery tax."
Wednesday I explained why "butter is back" is not useful dietary advice, even when studies show that eating butter has little or no effect on disease risk (the total diet and calories are what matter). Now I can say the same thing about low-carbohydrate diets.
The debate about whether fat or carbohydrates is responsible for obesity has passionate advocates on both sides, although those for carbohydrates predominate in the press these days.
The main scientific model behind the low-carb approach is the "carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis," which journalist Gary Taubes, Harvard professor David Ludwig and others have extensively promoted. It suggests that a diet heavy in carbohydrates (especially refined grains and sugars) leads to weight gain because of a specific mechanism: Carbs drive up insulin in the body, causing the body to hold on to fat and suppress calorie burn.
According to this hypothesis, to lose weight you reduce the amount of carb calories you eat and replace them with fat calories. This is supposed to drive down insulin levels, boost calorie burn and help fat melt away … instead of just cutting calories, you're supposed to change the kinds of calories in your diet to lose weight.
To his great credit, Gary Taubes was willing to put this hypothesis to the test. He organized the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI) to fund studies that he must have hoped would demonstrate the benefits of low-carb diets.
To its great credit, NuSI recruited highly experienced and respected obesity investigators to design and conduct the studies.
The first of these studies has just been published. It fully discloses the role of NuSI.
Supported by the Nutrition Sciences Initiative … Nutrition Sciences Initiative (NuSI) convened the research team, helped formulate the hypothesis and provided partial funding. NuSI and its scientific advisors were given the opportunity to comment on the study design and the manuscript, but the investigators retained full editorial control.
In this case, because I am familiar with the work of some of the investigators, I'm inclined to take these statements at face value.
Here's what they did. They put 17 overweight or obese men in a metabolic ward and fed them a very low carbohydrate diet, so low that it would induce fat breakdown and ketosis. The calories were supposed to be sufficient to maintain weight, but were not. The men lost weight from water excretion and breakdown of body protein as well as of fat, as is typical of what happens during partial starvation. Energy expenditure did not increase to the level anticipated from the carbohydrate-insulin model.
The abstract concluded:
The isocaloric KD [ketogenic, very low carbohydrate diet] was not accompanied by increased body fat loss but was associated with relatively small increases in EE [energy expenditure] that were near the limits of detection [translation: barely detectable] with the use of state-of-the-art technology.
The discussion concluded:
Therefore, our data do not support the carbohydrate–insulin model predictions of physiologically relevant increases in EE or greater body fat loss in response to an isocaloric KD. However, it is possible that dietary carbohydrate restriction might result in decreased ad libitum energy intake—a prediction of the carbohydrate-insulin model that was not tested in the current study but deserves further investigation.
In other words, restricting carbohydrate does not increase body fat loss or energy expenditure but might help you eat fewer calories.
This result confirms some of the results of a previous study from the first NuSI author. That one, funded by NIH, concluded:
Whereas carbohydrate restriction led to sustained increases in fat oxidation and loss of 53 ± 6 g/day of body fat, fat oxidation was unchanged by fat restriction, leading to 89 ± 6 g/day of fat loss and was significantly greater than carbohydrate restriction (p = 0.002).
Taken together, these studies show that both low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets cause weight loss when calories are restricted, but low-fat diets cause greater losses in body fat content than do low-carbohydrate diets.
In my book with Malden Nesheim, Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics, we review a 1964 study that put obese patients in a metabolic ward and fed them low-calorie diets of widely varied composition. They lost weight at the same rate on diets ranging from 3 percent to 60 percent carbohydrate and from 13 percent to 83 percent fat. They titled the study Calories Do Count. The NuSI studies confirm the benefits of reducing calories from any source to lose weight.
- With regard to weight loss, calories count and the relative proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrate do not matter much (although low-carb diets may help with eating less).
- With regard to health, the food sources of calories matter very much indeed and nearly everyone would be better off eating less sugar—at the very least because sugars provide calories, but no nutrients.