BREAKING NEWS: Major Beer Brand Removes Caramel Coloring!

I have some AH-MAZE-ING news to share with you all today! As you may already know, my book The Food Babe Way is coming out in only 2 weeks. As a pre-order bonus in December, I sent out an advance copy of the chapter that I wrote about alcohol and all of the sickening ingredients that are permitted in beer, wine, and hard liquor – completely unlabeled. One of these ingredients is Caramel Coloring Class IV, a completely unnecessary ingredient that is linked to cancer in animal studies. I also mentioned this chemical in my 2013 investigation into beer, and in my 2014 petition to Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors asking them to publish all of their ingredients for the world to see (which has now gotten over 61K signatures). 

Newcastle__Brown_Ale

This all began because there was Newcastle in my fridge…

The biggest reason that I decided to investigate the beer companies a couple years ago was that my husband likes to drink beer on occasion, and Newcastle was his favorite – although we had no clue what the ingredients were. This was the only thing in my fridge that I didn’t know what was in it and I thought this should change. After contacting Newcastle for the first time in 2013, they wouldn’t tell me all the ingredients, but I had this to say about them:

“Carcinogenic Caramel Coloring

Newcastle, a UK brand, confessed to using what I would consider one of the most controversial food additives. Toasted barley is usually what gives beer its golden or deep brown color, however in this case, Newcastle beer is also colored artificially with caramel color. This caramel coloring is manufactured by heating ammonia and sulfites under high pressure, which creating carcinogenic compounds. If beer companies were required by law to list the ingredients, Newcastle would likely have to have a cancer warning label under California law because it is a carcinogen proven to cause liver tumors, lung tumors, and thyroid tumors in rats and mice”.

This initial blog post went absolutely viral, with millions of page views. This breaking information that Newcastle uses caramel coloring spread like wildfire, and was getting a lot of attention. 

All of this time, I have had ongoing communications with some beer companies, and they are updating me on any progress they are making. Soon after my beer investigation, the company that produces Newcastle (Heineken), reached out to me personally to confirm that they don’t use any genetically modified (GMO) ingredients in Heineken and Amstel Light. They also corresponded with me more recently during my beer petition to confirm that the ingredients in Heineken were listed on the bottles in some foreign countries (not in the U.S) and recognized the Food Babe Army’s work regarding Panera Bread:

“…By the way, saw the Panera headlines today in USA Today. You are driving an impressive agenda. Congrats on the many recent accomplishments (including, by the way, Dr. Oz, which I saw on TV last week or the week prior). Very exciting stuff and a testament to all of your hard work….”

The industry is listening to what we want and are making changes – whether they admit it’s because of us or not. 

This all led up to this email that I recently received from my contact over at Heineken and couldn’t wait to share it with you!

“Happy New Year. I hope you’re well.

We traded e-mails last year. I heard you’re shortly publishing a new book. Congratulations! That is a big accomplishment.

I know you’ve been interested in Newcastle Brown Ale, as your husband’s former favorite beer. I wanted to make sure you knew that we have removed caramel coloring from Newcastle completely. (We are instead using roasted malt.) This change is working its way through our international supply chain now, which takes a bit of time. (Newcastle is brewed in the UK.) The change will be completed and effective in the marketplace in three to six months.

Might it be possible to reflect these facts in future publications including any potential information you’ve included in your book?

Many thanks and wishing you a happy & healthy new year,

Stacey”

Go, Food Babe Army, Go!

Thanks to all of you for spreading the word and sharing this information about what’s hiding in beer, as it’s really making a difference. This is proof that we are getting attention, the industry is taking notice, and changing as a result. We have been on the front lines campaigning that these beer companies disclose all ingredients and remove harmful additives like Caramel Coloring Class IV. No one else is doing this, and this is just the beginning.

I find it interesting that a different corporate spokesperson from Heineken USA told the USA Today on 1/26/2015 that they didn’t make the change because of me specifically – but rather all of us! Every voice matters. Sharing posts works! Usually companies don’t like to give credit where credit is due. 

The Food Babe Way isn’t even out yet and it’s already making changes!

In The Food Babe Way chapter about alcohol, I catalogue several beers and what they contain. As Heineken is removing caramel coloring from Newcastle, I will be making an update in the next printing of my book to include this wonderful new information.

Although I’m thrilled with this news, I still hope that Heineken will completely come around and agree to label all of their ingredients. Ingredients should be publicly available for anyone that wants to know exactly what they’re drinking – even if it’s alcohol. 

Continue Reading →

Food Babe Scam: My Response To The Attacks On Me and Our Movement

Updated 1/25/2015: On January 22nd, 2015 a group of science students from the IFT Student Association wrote me a letter. Here is my response. 

Updated 1/16/2015: As is traditional in print journalism, I am going to start a Corrections/Editor’s Note feature on my web site. I want to be sure that if there are any mistakes, we admit and correct them immediately. I hope other web sites will follow and consider the same. Almost 4 years ago, before I had much of a following when my blog was a hobby, I made a mistake about oxygen inside airplanes. I took that post down as a result, but in the future if there is a mistake I will admit and correct it immediately with an editor’s note within the post.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. – Mahatma Gandhi

We are close to winning.

Over the last three years, the coalition we have built, the Food Babe Army, has had an incredible amount of success and been featured in major newspapers, magazines, on radio stations, and TV shows across the globe. Together, since we as customers control the income for corporate agribusinesses, they are starting to pay attention.

  1. We’ve highlighted ingredients that are banned in other countries due to health concerns, and forced companies like Kraft, Subway, and Starbucks to show Americans the same respect they show other countries by committing to remove these ingredients in the US. We also inspired one of the largest fast food companies, Chick-fil-A, to commit to stop using antibiotics in the production of their chicken, and to remove controversial chemicals and other artificial ingredients.
  2. We’ve demanded transparency. We convince some multi-billion dollar corporations from Chipotle to Anheuser-Busch, (and MillerCoors and Starbucks who are dragging their feet) to finally release their ingredients for the first time in history. Scientists may all not agree about how dangerous these ingredients are, but we have the right to know what’s in our food and why it’s there. Because of our efforts these companies can no longer hide behind antiquated regulations that keep Americans in the dark.
  3. We’ve educated the public about the food system which in turn inspired more companies to change their ingredients for the better like Chipotle, General Mills, WhiteWave (Silk & Horizon) and Panera Bread. And people now are getting the information they deserve to make educated decisions about what they eat. As human beings, we do not have the option to not eat food, so at the very minimum we should have the right to know what is in our food and the right to choose whether we ingest chemical additives or adulterated food. 

And while enticing big companies to change is important, I’m even more excited to learn that smart organic companies are now on the general public’s radar and the organic food movement is continuing to grow. They do the right thing and they deserve our business.

But we still have work to do–and, as our consumer coalition gains power, fueled by the influence of social media, resistance is starting to dig in against change.

With this much game-changing activism and success in a short period of time, it comes as no surprise that some powerful corporate executives and some “independent” voices they help to finance, disagree with our work. An intelligent debate is welcomed, but not all the discussion has been civil.

There’s a group of aggressive scientists, biased doctors, skeptics, agribusiness publicists, lobbyists (and their anonymous webpages and social media sites), along with in some cases, well intended but misinformed people (influenced by propaganda) attacking our work, other consumer advocacy groups, my partners, my friends and me, personally.

Did you think the powerful chemical companies and food giants of the world were going to let us waltz right into their world and turn it upside down?

No – they won’t and, as I expected, the people who wish to keep the status quo are attacking me personally while simultaneously trying to discredit the entire Good Food Movement

Messenger Quote

Continue Reading →

100% All Natural Products Can Be Chock Full Of GMOs

As a consumer, it’s shocking to find out 100% all natural products can be chock full of GMOs.

I used to eat a lot of Lean Cuisine frozen meals back in the day. I was right out of college and wanted quick, easy and calorie controlled dinners I could have after work, which would take zero effort after my long days as a management consultant. All my girlfriends were doing it, we’d share with each other which new flavors were the best and talk about how low the calorie count was. I’d pop that sucker right into the microwave, in it’s plastic wrapping and bowl and have (what I thought at the time) a decent ready to eat meal that was healthy and “lean”.

Oh boy those were the days! This was a time period in my life where I was easily fooled by deceptive marketing I saw in persuasive, too-good-to-be-true messaging in commercials and on packages. I knew basically nothing about real food, GMOs, or chemically processed ingredients and I was sick.

Some say ignorance is bliss, considering all the alarming information there is to know about food these days and products to watch out for. But let me ask you, do you call living with chronic illnesses (asthma, allergies, endometriosis, and eczema) and being on several prescription drugs in your 20’s, bliss?

No, no one would.

That’s why when I saw the recent commercial for the new Lean Cuisine meals called “honestly good” with the words “100% all natural” slapped on the package, I had to investigate. These meals promise all whole foods with whole grains, but when you look at the ingredient list, they have ingredients from the top 4 genetically engineered crops (corn, canola, soy and sugar beets). How can they call this product natural? Are they truly sourcing natural ingredients that aren’t developed in a laboratory? Well, I wanted to find out, so I called the headquarters.

Watch the video below to find out what happens. You’ll be shocked at the information and website the customer service agent directs me to learn about GMOs.

Please note: I received permission to record this call from the Lean Cuisine Headquarters. I have the video on file if anyone requests.

Continue Reading →

The Shocking Ingredients In Beer

I have to confess, I’m not a beer drinker, but there’s someone in my household that loves it, so I had to figure out the truth. Is beer really healthy? Why are the ingredients not listed on the label? Which brands can we trust? Which brands are trying to slowly poison us with cheap and harmful ingredients? All of these questions were going through my head at once at lightning speed. So a year ago, I started to research what was really in beer and after questioning several beer companies, reading books about food science, and talking to experts, the information I discovered was downright shocking.

I see it all the time. Someone who eats organic, makes the right choices at the grocery store, is fit and lives an extraordinarily healthy lifestyle but then drinks beer like it is going out of style.

Caring about what you eat doesn’t necessarily translate into caring about what you drink and this is a HUGE MISTAKE.

Before we get into what exactly is in beer that you should be worried about, let’s talk about how body reacts to alcohol in general.

Alcohol is metabolized by the body differently than all other calories you consume. Alcohol is one of the only substances that you consume that can permeate your digestive system and go straight into your bloodstream. It bypasses normal digestion and is absorbed into the body intact, where it goes straight into the liver.

Your liver is your main fat-burning organ. If you are trying to lose weight or even maintain your ideal weight, drinking alcohol is one of your worst enemies. The liver is going to metabolize alcohol first vs. the fat you want to get rid of – making weight loss even harder. Additionally, one of the primary functions of the liver is to remove environmental toxins from your body – if it is overtaxed with alcohol, the normal removal of these toxins becomes extremely diminished and can result in rapid aging, loss of libido, and other diseases.

The one thing that has gotten me before and I’m sure many of you – is the health marketing claims on alcohol products making drinking them seem like a good idea and an added “benefit” to your health. The low alcohol content of beer makes it appear as an innocuous beverage and something people throw back without even thinking about it. Who hasn’t seen those studies that say a beer a day is great for you (I want to ask who ever stops at just one beer?)?

 

So, inherently, alcohol by itself is not a healthy person’s best friend – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Beer, especially American beer, is made with all sorts of ingredients beyond the basic hops, malt and yeast. There are numerous other ingredients used to clarify, stabilize, preserve, enhance the color and flavor of beer.

When you drink beer, there is almost a 100% chance that you don’t know what you are drinking (unless you quizzed the beer companies like I did). The ingredients in beer are not required by law to be listed anywhere on the label and manufacturers have no legal obligation to disclose the ingredients. For regular beer, calorie levels and percent alcohol are optional and for light beer calories are mandatory but alcohol levels are optional.

Michele Simon, a public health lawyer, author of Appetite for Profit, and president of Eat Drink Politics told me the reason that beer companies don’t disclose ingredients is simple: they don’t have to.

“Ingredient labeling on food products and non-alcoholic beverages is required by the Food and Drug Administration. But a whole other federal agency regulates beer, and not very well. The Department of Treasury – the same folks who collect your taxes – oversees alcoholic beverages. That probably explains why we know more about what’s in a can of Coke than a can of Bud. You can also thank the alcohol industry, which has lobbied for years against efforts to require ingredient labeling.”

I figured if the beer companies aren’t required to tell us the exact list of ingredients, I needed to investigate this for myself and asked them the pointed questions until I got the truth.

Slide1

image001

Continue Reading →