Editor's Plate: The Food Industry Responds to Fighting Back

June 14, 2012
Food Processing readers respond to our May cover story, The Food Industry Fights Back
When we published our February cover story The Food Industry Fights Back, we invited readers to comment on the subject on our web site. Following are some of the comments received, some about the overall issue and some about specific subjects covered within that story.
  • This is not a new problem; it has existed for as long as I have been in the industry (36 years). Let's face it: Scientists make for bad press; we're boring. Sensationalists like Michael Jacobson get the headlines because the media want controversy. I saw the 60 Minutes episode and my jaw dropped. It made Givaudan look bad and it made us look bad. I can only imagine how their senior management must have felt after all the editing. Bob Messenger of The Morning Cup has been saying for years that we need to stand up for ourselves and not take all of this bashing lying down. I did it years ago when interviewed by the CBC in Ottawa. I refused to allow the interviewer to push me into a corner and he didn't like it. We need more of us to get involved and take such a stand. I said this … back in the 1990s. No one paid heed and look where we are now. In the end, we are our own worst enemies. Granted, there are rotten apples, but this isn't unique to our industry. Did someone say Bernie Madoff? Let's see the parents of America take some responsibility for what they feed their children and stop blaming us for all of their ills.
  • If only people could cook their own food this wouldn't be an issue at all. I agree that it is both parties’ fault, the consumer who lacks self control and consumes too much, and the marketing and research done to ensure that the weak willed will be swayed to consume too much.
  • We are all to blame. The manufacturers who aren't transparent and the consumers who can't exercise control on what they consume
  • HFCS also contributes highly to employee safety and food safety. I have worked in or toured many mid-sized food manufacturers where they had plumbed in central HFCS systems but relied on bagged sugar. With bagged sugar, you have foreign material concerns (bag fragments, anything stuck to the bag, dumping ingredients through a screen or grate, etc.) lifting concerns (generally 50-lb bags), repetitive injury concerns, knife injury concerns (and the chance for steel fragments from broken knife tips, blade chips, etc.) and I've even seen gender discrimination lawsuits due to the higher paid blending-formulating jobs going to men because there was a lack of women with adequate upper body strength to move 15,000-20,000 lbs. of 50-lb. bags a day. HFCS is in a sealed system and delivered at the touch of a button, to the exact amount requested.
  • Cathy Kapica is dead wrong. Participating in the internet, social media, blogging, etc., will shed about as much light on issues surrounding food as it has on the current campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination. The end result is always pandering to the lowest common denominator with extremist positions shown as either/or alternatives. Rational dialogue doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of prevailing under those ground rules of public discourse. Real communication comes through technical societies and regulatory authorities where the results can be picked up by the news media. Any other direct communication with the public should be restricted to releases from company legal departments.
  • As long as the food is labeled correctly, it all comes down to good or bad choices on a personal level.
  • Worrying so much about flavorings and not even mentioning the food safety risks inherent in Monsanto's taking over of nature and the world's food supply shows incredible tunnel vision! The real food safety risks are in the GMOs that have invaded just about every major crop field in this country! How about showing some concern where it must eventually be shown?
  • HFCS vs. pure cane sugar: Even if both contribute equally to health ailments, there are two points always left out of these articles and arguments. HFCS is highy processed and does not exist in nature. HFCS also is the product of GMOs. That is the big one — GMOs. The Corn Refiners Assn. does not bring that one to the spotlight, nor do any other large corporations, food critics, etc. You would think the world’s largest seed company Monsanto would be in the news more often considering the size of the corp. No. When it comes to GMO in the U.S., this is the least transparent. Most consumers have no idea, and it is purposely kept that way. It's funny, most of the "good" science that alludes to "feeding the world," "better crop yields," "health benefits" etc., etc., is directly funded by all of the corporations, government bodies, investors and contributors that are making huge profits, monopolizing seeds and grains and patenting every raw material under the sun. This ultimately leads to controlling what we eat. Oh, and the decline of bees? Another debate that never considers the widespread use of GMOs (which contain DNA and proteins used to kill insects), insecticides and pesticides. So now we have a couple major agri companies basically owning a majority of ingredients we use (through patents). And they also produce the carcinogenic pesticides/herbicides that must be used on the GMO crops to make them effective. All of this is kept out of the public eye. "...control food and you control the people..." -Henry Kissinger, 1970s. I know I have gone on a rant here, but I think we need to look at these issues over sodium reduction. Before it's too late.

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