No More Artisan Cheese for Americans

The FDA, Food Destruction Agency, has “clarified” their stance on cheese aged on wood. Short take, not allowed any longer in the US; and because of the lovely take over of all food granted them by the Corporate Board Members referred to as “Congress” under the Food Safety Modernization Act, no cheese imported to the US will be allowed to have been aged on wood either.

If you have thus far failed to see what is happening in this nation and across the world, I’ll sum it up for you. There will be no innovation and no creativity allowed. Our Heavenly Father’s creative attributes that He instills in us as we are created in His image is to be annihilated by rule, regulation, insurance premiums, or other “safety” measure.

This is an excellent article on the issue of cheese and the FDA. Don’t worry, whatever you desire to create/produce will be similarly regulated and destroyed…if it hasn’t already been regulated to death.

Game Changer: FDA Rules No Wooden Boards in Cheese Aging

A sense of disbelief and distress is quickly rippling through the U.S. artisan cheese community, as the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week announced it will not permit American cheesemakers to age cheese on wooden boards.

Recently, the FDA inspected several New York state cheesemakers and cited them for using wooden surfaces to age their cheeses. The New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets’ Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services, which (like most every state in the U.S., including Wisconsin), has allowed this practice, reached out to FDA for clarification on the issue. A response was provided by Monica Metz, Branch Chief of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s (CFSAN) Dairy and Egg Branch.

In the response, Metz stated that the use of wood for cheese ripening or aging is considered an unsanitary practice by FDA, and a violation of FDA’s current Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations. Here’s an excerpt:

“Microbial pathogens can be controlled if food facilities engage in good manufacturing practice. Proper cleaning and sanitation of equipment and facilities are absolutely necessary to ensure that pathogens do not find niches to reside and proliferate. Adequate cleaning and sanitation procedures are particularly important in facilities where persistent strains of pathogenic microorganisms like Listeria monocytogenes could be found. The use of wooden shelves, rough or otherwise, for cheese ripening does not conform to cGMP requirements, which require that “all plant equipment and utensils shall be so designed and of such material and workmanship as to be adequately cleanable, and shall be properly maintained.” 21 CFR 110.40(a). Wooden shelves or boards cannot be adequately cleaned and sanitized. The porous structure of wood enables it to absorb and retain bacteria, therefore bacteria generally colonize not only the surface but also the inside layers of wood. The shelves or boards used for aging make direct contact with finished products; hence they could be a potential source of pathogenic microorganisms in the finished products.”

The most interesting part of the FDA’s statement it that it does not consider this to be a new policy, but rather an enforcement of an existing policy. And worse yet, FDA has reiterated that it does not intend to change this policy.

In an email to industry professionals, Rob Ralyea, Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Food Science and the Pilot Plant Manager at Cornell University in New York, says: “According to the FDA this is merely proper enforcement of the policy that was already in place. While the FDA has had jurisdiction in all food plants, it deferred cheese inspections almost exclusively to the states. This has all obviously changed under FSMA.”

Ah, FSMA. For those of you not in the know, the Food Safety Modernization Act is the most sweeping reform of American food safety laws in generations. It was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011 and aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.

While most cheesemakers have, perhaps, begrudgingly accepted most of what has been coming down the FSMA pike, including the requirement of HACCP plans and increased federal regulations and inspections, no one expected this giant regulation behemoth to virtually put a stop to innovation in the American artisanal cheese movement.

Many of the most awarded and well-respected American artisan cheeses are currently aged on wooden boards. American Cheese Society triple Best in Show winner Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin is cured on wooden boards. Likewise for award-winners Cabot Clothbound in Vermont, current U.S. Champion cheese Marieke Feonegreek, and 2013 Best in Show Runner-Up Bleu Mont Bandaged Cheddar.

Wisconsin cheesemaker Chris Roelli says the FDA’s “clarified” stance on using wooden boards is a “potentially devastating development” for American cheesemakers. He and his family have spent the past eight years re-building Roelli Cheese into a next-generation American artisanal cheese factory. Just last year, he built what most would consider to be a state-of-the-art aging facility into the hillside behind his cheese plant. And Roelli, like hundreds of American artisanal cheesemaekrs, has developed his cheese recipes specifically to be aged on wooden boards.

“The very pillar that we built our niche business on is the ability to age our cheese on wood planks, an art that has been practiced in Europe for thousands of years,” Roelli says. Not allowing American cheesemakers to use this practice puts them “at a global disadvantage because the flavor produced by aging on wood can not be duplicated. This is a major game changer for the dairy industry in Wisconsin, and many other states.”

As if this weren’t all bad enough, the FDA has also “clarified” – I’m really beginning to dislike that word – that in accordance with FSMA, a cheesemaker importing cheese to the United States is subject to the same rules and inspection procedures as American cheesemakers.

Therefore, Cornell University’s Ralyea says, “It stands to reason that if an importer is using wood boards, the FDA would keep these cheeses from reaching our borders until the cheese maker is in compliance. The European Union authorizes and allows the use of wood boards. Further, the great majority of cheeses imported to this country are in fact aged on wooden boards and some are required to be aged on wood by their standard of identity (Comte, Beaufort and Reblochon, to name a few). Therefore, it will be interesting to see how these specific cheeses will be dealt with when it comes to importation into the United States.”

Ralyea continues: “While most everyone agrees that Listeria is a major concern to the dairy industry, it appears that some food safety agencies interpret the science to show that wood boards can be maintained in a sanitary fashion to allow for their use for cheese aging, while others (e.g., the US FDA) believe that a general ban of any wooden materials in food processing facilities is the better approach to assure food safety. At this point, it seems highly unlikely that any new research data or interpretations will change the FDA policies in place.”

In fact, many research papers do in fact conclude that wooden boards are safe. In 2013, the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research published a paper on the subject, concluding: “Considering the beneficial effects of wood boards on cheese ripening and rind formation, the use of wood boards does not seem to present any danger of contamination by pathogenic bacteria as long as a thorough cleaning procedure is followed.” You can read the whole report on pages 8-9 by clicking on this link.

Interesting side note: Health Canada does not currently have any regulations prohibiting aging and ripening cheese on wood, so apparently if we want to eat most American or European artisan cheeses, we’ll need to drive across the border to do so.

So what’s next? The American Cheese Society has mobilized its Regulatory & Academic Committee to learn more about this issue, and to ensure its members’ interests are represented. The ACS promises to keep us apprised of developments. In the meantime, if you are a cheesemaker, and your operation is inspected and cited for the use of wooden surfaces, please contact the ACS office (720-328-2788 or info@cheesesociety.org).

 

Corruption in Science? You’re Kidding!

As anyone who follows the approval of FDA and USDA “science” knows, we no longer have much at all in the way of actual science. Instead we have black balling of those who don’t tote the corporate line, and science based studies that have nothing to do with legitimate science and the scientific method we are supposed to learn in school.

The following interview by Democracy Now! has clearly exposed the issue. Check it out:

GRAS Being Challenged

Most of the time, I find Food Safety News to be off target and terrified of real food and personal choice in nourishment. The following article is an exception, but probably because it doesn’t actually have anything to do with Food Safety News and their fear mongering owner Bill Marler. At any rate, the article clearly demonstrates how corrupt FDA processes are, and hopefully the lawsuit will actually change an aspect of that corruption.

 

Lawsuit Brought Against FDA Regarding Food Additives

By Lydia Zuraw | February 21, 2014

After settling a dispute about final rule deadlines for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) earlier this week, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) has filed another lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – this time over food additives.

The suit seeks to vacate FDA’s 1997 proposed rule on substances generally recognized as safe (GRAS). The rule replaces the traditional petitioning process for a manufacturer seeking GRAS status for an additive with a “procedure whereby any person may notify FDA of a determination that a particular use of a substance is GRAS.”

CFS wants the agency to return to the traditional process by which manufacturers formally petition FDA to approve a new food additive as GRAS based on published studies.

FDA’s website acknowledges that the agency began accepting GRAS notices in 1998 even though the procedure was not yet final (and has yet to be finalized) and states that “the agency is evaluating whether each submitted notice provides a sufficient basis for a GRAS determination and whether information in the notice or otherwise available to FDA raises issues that lead the agency to question whether use of the substance is GRAS.”

But CFS claims that “FDA no longer conducts its own detailed analysis to evaluate the data” and “no longer affirms whether or not a substance’s use is GRAS at all.”

A 2010 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the subject passed similar judgment by stating, “Currently, companies may determine a substance is GRAS without FDA’s approval or knowledge.”

CFS is particularly concerned that this notification process has allowed for potentially hazardous additives to enter the food supply. Three examples named in the lawsuit are a potential human carcinogen called Volatile Oil of Mustard, an indigestible compound called Olestra that can cause adverse reactions, and a fungus-based meat substitute mycoprotein (also know as Quorn) that can cause dangerous allergic reactions.

“It has been 15 years since FDA handed authority to determine GRAS status over to the corporations it is meant to regulate,” said Andrew Kimbrell, CFS executive director. “FDA has an obligation to provide the regulatory scrutiny the public deserves.”

© Food Safety News

GMO Labeling Continues Losing Streak

The most telling thing in this article is the amount of money spent by out of state interests in the “NO” camp of GMO labeling. It’s one of those ridiculous things that, to me, illustrates just how corrupt and non-representative our political process has become. We are so free, we can’t even know for certain what is in our food. And what’s more, we can’t buy it from each other without the oversight of those who want to tell us that “Round Up Ready” corn, etc is not significantly different enough from regular old corn to warrant either testing or labeling. However, it is significantly different enough to allow a life form to be patented. They are out to take care of you alright. Like taking care of a sick chicken.

At any rate, here’s an article on the issue:

The initiative would have required labels on foods containing genetically engineered ingredients

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Washington state voters on Tuesday rejected an initiative that would have required foods containing genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled.

The vote was 54.8% opposed to labeling and 45.2% in favor of it.

Had it passed, Initiative 522 would have made the state the first in the nation to require such labeling.

The initiative was the most expensive in state history, though it was largely fought by out-of-state interests.

The No on 522 campaign set a record for fundraising, bringing in $22 million in donations according to The Seattle Times. Just $550 came from Washington residents, according to the newspaper. The top five contributors were the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences and Bayer CropScience.

The largest donor to the pro-labeling campaign were California-based Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and the Center for Food Safety in Washington, D.C. However the initiative garnered almost 30% of its funding from individuals in Washington state, the Times reported.

Food industry ads claimed that the initiative would raise food prices. Labels would mislead consumers into thinking that products that contain genetically engineered ingredients are “somehow different, unsafe or unhealthy,” said Brian Kennedy of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a food industry group based in Washington, D.C.

The Yes on 522 campaigns emphasized consumers right to know what’s in their food.

The Washington initiative was part of an ongoing national fight by those opposed to genetically engineered crops to push for labeling. A similar,bruising $37 million battle in California in 2012 went against labeling advocates. The final vote was 51.4% opposed and 48.6% in favor.

“Sooner or later, one of these is going to pass. It’s only a matter of time. At some point the industry is going to get tired of pouring this kind of money into these campaigns,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University.

She said she doesn’t believe there’s anything dangerous about genetically engineered foods but is concerned about corporate control of the food supply.

Genetically engineered crops have a gene from another plant inserted into them to give them some ability they didn’t have before.

There are two common genetic modifications. One is for herbicide tolerance: Plants are given a gene that protects them from harm when a farmer sprays them with herbicides to kill weeds. The other is a gene from a soil bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis that allows plants to produce their own insecticide.

A huge proportion of commodity crops grown by U.S. farmers are genetically engineered: 97% of the nation’s sugar beets, 93% of the soybeans, 90% of the cotton and 90% of the feed corn for animals, according to the 2013 figures from the Department of Agriculture.

About 60% of the papaya grown in the United States, all in Hawaii, has been genetically engineered to allow it to withstand the ringspot virus, which virtually wiped out papaya production in the islands in the 1980s, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications.

Very small amounts of genetically engineered zucchini, yellow squash and sweet corn are also sold in the United States.

The Food and Drug Administration does not require foods containing genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled because it considers them “functionally equivalent” to conventionally grown crops.

New Study Shows “Leukemogenic” Properties of the Bt toxin

This is a redux on yet another study proving the inherent danger of the genetically modified food supply. With all of the proof behind the dangers of consumption of these aberrations, the only thing I can recommend is that every one grow everything they can and we must plant in defiance of the destruction of decency and integrity in our food. Please, do NOT feed your children this stuff!!! Here is the article:

A new study, yet to receive any media attention, reveals the “leukemogenic” properties of the Bt toxin biopesticides engineered into the vast majority of GMO food crops already within the US food supply.

Last September, the causal link between cancer and genetically modified food was confirmed in a French study, the first independent long-term animal feeding study not commissioned by the biotech corporations themselves. The disturbing details can be found here: New Study Finds GM Corn and Roundup Causes Cancer In Rats

Now, a new study published in the Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases indicates that the biopesticides engineered into GM crops known as Bacillus Thuringensis (Bt) or Cry-toxins, may also contribute to blood abnormalities from anemia to hematological malignancies (blood cancers) such as leukemia.[i]

A group of scientists from the Department of Genetics and Morphology, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Brasilia, Brasilia/DF, Brazil set out to test the purported human and environmental biosafety of GM crops, looking particularly at the role that the Bt toxin found within virtually all GM food crops plays on non-target or non-insect animal species.

The research was spurred by the Brazilian Collegiate Board of Directors of the National Sanitary Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), who advocated in 2005 for evaluations of toxicity and pathogenicity of microbiological control agents such as Bt toxins, given that little is known about their toxicological potential in non-target organisms, including humans.

While Bacillus Thurigensis spore-crystals have been used since the late 1960’s in agriculture as a foliar insecticide, it was only after the advent of recombinant DNA biotechnology that these toxin-producing genes (known as delta endotoxins) were first inserted into the plants themselves and released into commercial production in the mid-90’s, making their presence in the US food supply and the bodies of exposed populations ubiquitous.

What the new study revealed is that various binary combinations and doses of Bt toxins are capable of targeting mammalian cells, particularly the erythroid (red blood cell) lineage, resulting in red blood cell changes indicative of significant damage, such as anemia. In addition, the study found that Bt toxins suppressed bone marrow proliferation creating abnormal lymphocyte patterns consistent with some types of leukemia.

The researchers also found that one of the prevailing myths about the selective toxicity of Bt to insects, the target species, no longer holds true:

It has been reported that Cry toxins exert their toxicity when activated at alkaline pH of the digestive tract of susceptible larvae, and, because the physiology of the mammalian digestive system does not allow their activation, and no known specific receptors in mammalian  intestinal cells have been reported, the toxicity these MCAs to mammals  would negligible [8,22,23]. However, our study demonstrated that Bt spore-crystals genetically modified to express individually Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2A induced hematotoxicity, particularly to the erythroid lineage. This finding corroborates literature that demonstrated that alkali-solubilized  Bt spore-crystals caused in vitro hemolysis in cell lines of rat, mouse, sheep, horse, and human erythrocytes and suggested that the plasma membrane of susceptible cells (erythrocytes, in this case) may be the primary target for these toxins [33]

The study also found:

1) That Cry toxins are capable of exerting their adverse effects when suspended in distilled water, not requiring alkalinization via insect physiology to become activated as formerly believed.

2) That a dose of Cry1Ab as low as 27 mg/kg, their lowest tested dose, was capable of inducing hypochromic anemia in mice – the very toxin has been detected in blood of non-pregnant women, pregnant women and their fetuses in Canada, supposedly exposed through diet.

3) Whereas past reports have found that Bt toxins are generally nontoxic and do not bioaccumulate in fatty tissue or persist in the environment, the new study demonstrated that all Cry toxins tested had a more pronounced effect from 72 hours of exposure onwards, indicating the opposite is true.

4) That high-dose Cry toxin doses caused blood changes indicative of bone marrow damage (damage to “hematopoietic stem cell or bone marrow stroma”).

The authors noted their results “demonstrate leukemogenic activity for other spore-crystals not yet reported in the literature.”

They concluded:

[R]esults showed that the Bt spore-crystals genetically modified to express individually Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2A can cause some hematological risks to vertebrates,increasing their toxic effects with long-term exposure. Taking into account the increased risk of human and animal exposures to significant levels of these toxins, especially through diet, our results suggest that further studies are required to clarify the mechanism involved in the hematotoxicity found in mice, and to establish the toxicological risks to non-target organisms, especially mammals, before concluding that these microbiological control agents are safe for mammals.

Did you get that? Their conclusion is that it is premature to consider GM toxins to be safe in mammals. Billions have already been exposed to Bt toxins, in combination with glyphosate-based herbicide formulations such as Roundup, and yet, most biotech research scientists and industry regulators still claim they are unequivocally safe.  This has much to do with the well-known relationship that biotech corporations like Monsanto have with so-called ‘check book’ science firms who are basically paid to obfuscate adverse health outcomes of their products, such as the GMO-Cancer link. [see: Monsanto-Funded Science Denies Emerging Roundup Cancer Link]

Consider also that the question of combined toxicity of Cry toxins and glyphosate-based residues within plants have not been sufficiently explored, and that glyphosate exposure has already been linked to non-Hodgkins lymphoma and hairy cell leukemia in the biomedical literature.[ii]

The reality is that we no longer have time to wait around for additional research to accumulate on the adverse health effects of GMOs, especially considering the biotech industry has far more capital to infuse into their own faux research on the topic.

Some, in fact, argue that we should not be waiting around for the corrupt legislative process to compel manufacturers to label GMOs, rather, we should be fighting to BAN THEM NOW, advocating for the precautionary principle before its too late.

In the meantime, you can join the growing movement to March Against Monsanto, occurring world wide on May 25th, as a way of expressing your desire for real change, as well as vote with your forks, the only immediately effective tool we have against biological and environmental gene-ocide articulated by the dominant GMO-based food system.

(from GeenMedInfo)

The Need for Real Food for Real People

Here is a great article talking about one of my major areas of interest….Real Food! I believe real people should be eating real food, grown by other real people without corporate interfaces that create extensive distance between the consumer and the food and the grower of food. Seriously, it is a matter of national security to be able to feed ourselves, and because of the control of direct trade, we have lost that connection with the very thing that sustains us….the Creation, which we are supposed to manage as entrusted to us by the Creator.

Letter from Langdon: Land of Milk and Honey

Industrial agriculture erases the identity of our food, filtering its origins as cleanly as removing bee pollen from honey. Just mix, blend, inject it with a brand – and it’s ready for a shelf near you.

Who made your food?  In these changing times that’s becoming an important question. Maybe it’s something we should all ask more often as industrial food becomes rule over exception.

But what makes food industrial? With so many working families and no one staying home to cook every day, don’t we need fast food?

When we buy those things at the local burger store or chain supermarket, we get mostly what we expect. The public is well versed in what’s in industrial food–things like additives, drugs, antibiotics, hormones, preservatives.

We hear about that stuff all the time. Trading the good life for shelf life is the price we pay for fast-lane life in the land of milk and honey, America.

But industrially produced food is cropping up where we’d least expect it. Food Safety News points out that in America these days, not even honey is all it’s cracked up to be. Importers and wholesales of what is thought of as one of the most wholesome food products on earth are squeezing the life out of honey. Processors say it’s because U.S. consumers want a crystal clear product. But critics point out that ultra filtration of honey  (and dilution with non-honey ingredients) lets importers blend cheaper and more profitable products from around the world.

No one is the wiser because filtration erases genetic and biological fingerprints that could reveal country of origin. If it’s true consumers prefer their honey that way, then for big food, that’s a very convenient truth.

At first glance filtering might seem like a good idea, a way to remove contaminants. The trouble with that thinking is that the “contaminants” in many cases are good things. Plant pollen helps make people immune to allergic reactions, (think hay fever). Pollen and DNA in honey both reveal where the product came from. While removing genetic information of when and where honey was created, filtration does nothing to change the presence of bad things in food like antibiotics and dangerous chemicals.

Industrialization of honey amounts to making an inherently good product, requiring little in the way of processing, less beneficial. It may even make it easier for Big Food to create a product more dangerous to the consuming public.

(Please read the full article!)

Fetus Kidney Flavor Enhancer…

I heard about this several months ago for the first time. Personally, I rarely drink any soda at all, but this is enough to put anyone off their Pepsi. The other thing is that we are being told that food is a controlled substance for our own good, and that raw milk is inherently dangerous, but consuming aborted baby cells is ok?…From Mercola at this link:

By Dr. Mercola

For several years anti-abortion advocates have been warning that a new technology for enhancing flavors such as sweetness and saltiness uses aborted fetal cells in the process.

The biotech company using this novel process, Senomyx, has signed contracts with Pepsi, Ajinomoto Co. (the maker of aspartame and meat glue), Nestlé and other food and beverage companies2 over the past several years.3

The primary goal for many of these processed food companies is to make foods and beverages tasty while reducing sugar and salt content.

While Senomyx refuses to disclose the details of the process, its patent applications indicate that part of the secret indeed involves the use of human kidney cells, known as HEK293, originating from an aborted baby.

It’s worth noting that no kidney cells, or part thereof, are actually IN the finished product.4 Rather they’re part of the process used to discern new flavors, which will be discussed below.

That said, to many, this is still “over the line.” Two years ago, anti-abortion groups launched boycott campaigns against Pepsi Co., urging them to reconsider using flavorings derived from a process involving the use of aborted embryonic kidney cells.

Whatever your personal convictions might be on the issue of using biological material from an aborted fetus, the issue of whether or not biotech-constructed flavor enhancers are safe or not remains…

Biotech Cooks Up New Flavors

Senomyx5 is a high tech research and development business that is “dedicated to finding new flavors to reduce sugars and reduce salt.” These include new flavors such as Savory Flavors and Cooling Flavors, as well as flavor modulators such as Bitter Blockers and enhancers of Sweet and Salt tastes.6

Senomyx is also engaged in a new effort to discover and develop high-potency sweeteners to replace high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and natural herb sweeteners like Stevia, which some people object to due to its aftertaste.

To accomplish this, Senomyx has developed patented “flavor enhancing” compounds using “proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems.” It’s a taste testing system that provides scientists with biochemical responses and electronic readouts when a flavor ingredient interacts with their patented receptor, letting researchers know whether or not they’ve “hit the mark” in terms of flavor. As described by Senomyx:7

“Flavors are substances that impart tastes or aromas… Individuals experience the sensation of taste when flavors in food and beverage products interact with taste receptors in the mouth. A taste receptor functions either by physically binding to a flavor ingredient in a process analogous to the way a key fits into a lock or by acting as a channel to allow ions to flow directly into a taste cell.

As a result of these interactions, signals are sent to the brain where a specific taste sensation is registered. There are currently five recognized primary senses of taste: umami, which is the savory taste of glutamate, sweet, salt, bitter and sour.

Senomyx has discovered or in-licensed many of the key receptors that mediate taste in humans. We created proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems that provide a biochemical or electronic readout when a flavor ingredient interacts with the receptor.”

According to an article in The New Yorker8 published in May 2011, Pepsi’s New York plant has a robot fitted with human taste buds to reliably “predict” what humans might like. To create this robotic taste tester, Pepsi Co. scientists injected the genetic sequences of the four known taste receptors into cultured cells, and then hardwired the cells to the robot’s computer. The robot (which has replaced human taste testers for the initial taste trials) can sample some 40,000 flavor assays per day.

What are These Genetically Engineered ‘Flavor Enhancers,’ and are They Safe?

According to a CBS News report from June 2011, 70 out of 77 Senomyx patents910 filed at that time referred to the use of HEK 293.11 These are human embryonic kidney cells originally harvested from a healthy, electively aborted fetus sometime in the 1970’s. The “HEK” identifies the cells as kidney cells, and the “293” denotes that the cells came from the 293rd experiment.

These cells have been cloned for decades, as they offer a reliable way to produce new proteins using genetic engineering. Senomyx has engineered HEK293 cells to function like human taste receptor cells,12 presumably such as those used in Pepsi Co’s taste-testing robot. This was done by isolating taste receptors found in certain cells, and adding them to the HEK cells.

HEK cells are also widely used within pharmaceutical and cell biology research for the same or similar reasons. It is however the first time HEK cells have been used in the food industry, which carries a certain “ick” factor for many. There’s also the issue of just not knowing how these new flavors are created. As stated in another CBS news report:13

So what exactly is this magic ingredient that will be appearing in a new version of Pepsi, and how is it made? Unfortunately, those questions are hard to answer. Senomyx… refers to them only as ‘enhancers’ or ‘ingredients’… The products work by triggering receptors on the tongue and tricking your taste buds into sensing sweetness — or saltiness or coolness, in the case of the company’s other programs

So are Senomyx’s covert ingredients safe? That, too, is anyone’s guess… many of its enhancers have ‘been granted’GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status, but all that means is that the company did its own assessment and then concluded everything was fine. We don’t know whether Senomyx did any testing since the company isn’t required to submit anything to the FDA.14

There’s no reason to think that Senomyx’s products will cause harm, but until or unless Pepsi decides to share details about how exactly it’s achieving a 60 percent reduction in sugar while keeping the taste the same, customers will be drinking their ‘scientifically advantaged’ sodas completely in the dark.”

The lack of labeling requirements is particularly troublesome and will probably become an issue in the future. Since these compounds (whatever they are) are used in such minute quantities, they don’t have to be listed on the label. They’ll simply fall under the generic category of artificial and/or natural flavors. What this means is that the product will appear to be much “healthier” than it might otherwise be, were a flavor enhancer not used.

According to a 2010 CBS report,15 Senomyx’s flavor enhancers were already being sold outside the US at that time. For example, Nestle was by 2010 using an MSG flavor enhancer in its Maggi brand soups, sauces, condiments and instant noodles, and Ajinomoto was also using a similar ingredient in products for the Chinese market. This means less of the artificial sweetener is needed to create the same sweet taste as before, but while one could argue that this is a good thing, I suspect we will ultimately learn that this flavor enhancement method has multiple unforeseen adverse consequences — metabolically, and biologically.

Consequences of Food Alteration are More the Rule than the Exception…

There are many reasons why you’re better off choosing natural whole foods in lieu of processed alternatives, but one of the primary ones is that junk foods contain additives that increase your toxic load, which in turn may increase your tendency to develop cancer. As of yet, there is NO medical research to back up the assertion that manipulating your taste buds in the way Senomyx’ products do is safe and healthy in the long term. As an example, I would point to the evidence now available showing that one of the reasons why artificial sweeteners do not work as advertised is because the taste of sweet itself is tied into your metabolic functioning in a way that we still do not fully understand… As a result, artificially sweetened products, oftentimes boasting zero calories, actually result in greater weight gain than sweetened products when used “in the real world.”

It’s easy to forget that the processed, pre-packaged foods and fast food restaurants of today are actually a radical change in terms of the history of food production. Much of what we eat today bears very little resemblance of real food. Many products are loaded with non-nutritive fillers — purposely designed to just “take up space” to make you think you’re getting more than you really are — along with any number of additives. Many additives have been shown to have harmful effects on mood, behavior, metabolic functioning and biochemistry.

Now, with the introduction of untested engineered flavor enhancers, you’re left wondering whether processed foods with “cleaner” labels really are safer and healthier or not… Remember, because Senomyx’ flavor enhancers are used in such low concentrations they are not required to undergo the FDA’s usual safety approval process for food additives.

The disease trends we’re now seeing are only going to get worse as much of the processed foods consumed today are not even food-based. Who knows what kind of genetic mutations and malfunctions we’re creating for ourselves and future generations when a MAJORITY of our diet consists of highly processed and artificial foods that contain substances never before consumed by humans in all of history.

How to Enhance Your Food’s Flavor, Naturally

When choosing what to eat, I highly recommend you focus your meals on real food, and remember “food” equals “live nutrients.” Nutrients, in turn, feed your cells, optimize your health and sustain life. To help you along, I’ve created a free optimized nutrition plan, which takes you step-by-step from the beginner’s through the advanced level.

When you eat real foods as opposed to “food products” like the ones being “enhanced” by Senomyx’ technology, you don’t need artificial, lab-created flavors or flavor enhancers, because real foods taste delicious. The fact that processed foods taste good is the culmination of a profitable science of artificial flavors, enhancers and additives, without which most processed food would taste and look like shredded cardboard.

Real food naturally has vibrant colors, rich textures, and is authentically flavorful. For times when you want to add even more oomph to your meals, nature has provided herbs and spices, which are not only incredibly tasty but also will make your real food even healthier.

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