J500 Media and the Environment

The Tragedy of Twinkies by matthewtb
January 30, 2009, 9:58 am
Filed under: Food + Health | Tags: , ,

   If Twinkies were not bad enough for us when we were kids, just imagine how potentially dangerous they could be with unregulated ingredients from China.  The country has seen unprecedented economic growth in the last two decades and it is no surprise that they have problems with quality control.  This is not a isolated incident in China and it seems to be a reoccurring trend.  The tainted pet food scare of 2007, opened the eyes of pet owners to where these ingredients were coming from.  The melamine baby formula contamination killed at least six babies in China last year.  Little has been done to change public opinion about the dangers involved in purchasing inexpensive ingredients from questionable manufacturers.  It would appear that China is increasing its authority over its food production.  They are handing out stiff penalties to those who violate these standards.   Earlier this month China sentenced two men to death, who were involved in the melamine baby formula contamination.

   The most disheartening part about the Chinese manufacturing of ingredients, is the amount of companies that simply don’t list their products as food additives.  Citric acid can be used as a flavoring in foods and drinks as well as a cleaning agent.  So what is keeping unsuspecting American food companies from purchasing the less expensive citric acid, that doesn’t have to pass food regulations?

   I would like to conclude by conjuring up some memories from my childhood.  I fondly remember watching commercials for Breyers brand ice-cream.  A young boy sat at the kitchen table trying to read the ingredients off the back of a competitors ice-cream box.   “Ahh-moan-eeeeeee-uuuumm  by…buh…buh..by,”  the child would stutter as he attempted to pronounce ingredients like ammonium bicarbonate.  The young boy would then start reading the ingredients of the Breyers box.  “Milk, cream, sugar, vanilla,” the boy would easily pronounce.  

   The Breyers label is now owned by Unilever, a company that has changed the ingredients in its ice-cream.  The new Breyers includes cost saving ingredients like tara gum, guar gum, mono and diglycerides to name a few.  Lets see how that little quirt does at pronouncing some of these new ingredients.

By: Matt Bristow

Thanks to YouTube for the video. Thanks to oodora.com for the photo.


4 Comments so far
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Not only do we need to know more about the food we are digesting, we need to know more about the human body. And until we know more about the relationship between certain food and our body, nothing will change. I know there is evidence/research out there, but it’s all still mostly a mystery.

I do believe that certain food products cause cancer, but simply saying that “Corn dextrin, a common thickener, is also the glue on postage stamps and envelopes” doesn’t accomplish anything. And when good-intentioned people like Ettlinger say there is no cause for concern, how is that going to change the public’s attitude?

It IS evident that what some of our food consists of is unhealthy. And there is a BIG problem with the U.S. and China not identifying the sources of our food products. That has got to be resolved.

Until then, I guess we have to think for ourselves.

Comment by justinh79

I agree, that we need to conduct further research on the food we are consuming. Only the culmination of years of eating these ingedients will provoke cancer. Since the ingredients are consumed in small amounts over a long period of time, it is hard to determine how the cancer formed.

Comment by matthewtb

China is a complicated actor in these situations. It appears to us that they are taking a hard stand against violations of product content, but in reality violations are overlooked in order to keep production… well, productive. Only when a situation can’t be swept under the rug and/or actions threaten economic development do we hear about punishments. Regulation is improving in China…slowly.

Comment by christinaw09

Let me just say, I’m quite enjoying the mental image of that boy trying pronounce those ingredients on a Breyers box. It’s a common saying, if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. But it’s hard to get away from.

Comment by amandat09

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