By Becca Harber
A number of organic food companies, in most cases regional businesses originally, have been bought up by some of the world's biggest agribusiness corporations. These purchases tend to take place very quietly so that consumers won't know that these companies — and their products — are no longer what they were. Many such products can be found on GreenStar's shelves. The Hain Celestial Group, in a joint venture with Cargill, owns no less than Earth's Best, Spectrum Organics (oils), Garden of Eatin', Arrowhead Mills, Health Valley, Imagine Foods and non-dairy Dream brands, Celestial Seasonings, Westbrae, Westsoy, Little Bear, Walnut Acres — and that list isn't exhaustive. Smucker's owns Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organics, and After the Fall juices; Cadbury, Green & Black's; and Nestle, Tribe Mediterranean Foods and Poland Spring, which many communities are fighting, trying to stop them from taking their local water, usually for free. French conglomerate Danone owns both Stonyfield and Brown Cow. Note, too, that non-foods companies that once created pure products have also traded hands. Clorox now owns Burt's Bees, while Colgate-Palmolive owns Tom's of Maine and Procter & Gamble bought New Chapter supplements.
Because the priority for these mega-corporations is their bottom line, minimizing expenses in order to maximize profits, their products' quality, sooner or later, almost always becomes poorer. For example, in 2007 Danone had to recall large quantities of its yogurt after it was found to contain unsafe levels of dioxins. Kashi cereals actually found themselves in a lawsuit because of the large amounts of GMOs and pesticides discovered in their products, according to the Cornucopia Institute's report. Kashi's Heart to Heart Blueberry cereal was found to contain grains coated in residues of many pesticides. Other products were oftentimes found to contain 100 percent GMOs.
By Jennifer Ruffing
Bisphenol A, commonly referred to as BPA, is a clear, odorless, organic compound derived from petrochemicals that is used to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It is widely used in food containers in its polycarbonate form and used as an epoxy liner in canned foods and beverages. If you have consumed canned foods or beverages (with a few notable exceptions), you've been exposed to BPA.
In my opinion, BPA in canned foods is the most pernicious source of this plasticizer, as heating the cans during the canning process causes the chemical to leach out in greater quantity than if it had not been exposed to heat. As reported by CBS News1, a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association found that "people who consumed one serving of canned soup a day for five days had a more than 1,000 percent increase in urinary BPA over people who consumed fresh soup for five days." Granted, the study used one brand of soup, Progresso, and had a cohort of 75 volunteers. Still, it's probably fair to extrapolate the data and assume that any canned food with BPA in the liner that has been exposed to heat during the canning process will deliver a whacking great dose of the chemical.
`We all know that food can nourish us in more ways than one. Those that feed our emotional well-being we call comfort foods. Sometimes they call up positive memories of childhood (think macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes), and other times they soothe via indulgence (chocolate, anyone?).
More often than not, comfort foods are home-cooked foods (not gourmet) and, well, they're not always wholesome. But that doesn't mean they can't be made more nutritious while still satisfying. Upgrading begins with choosing or adding healthful, quality ingredients.
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New in Grocery
|It is Your Dastony|
Raw nut butters are nutritious and delicious, and we have a great variety. Also new — Organic Valley chocolate milk!
Have you ventured into the luscious and delicious world of raw nut butters yet? We've brought in some of the most incredible, creamy, and scrumptious goods out there. Dastony (Stone Ground Goodness!) offers raw cashew butter, raw sprouted sunflower-seed butter, raw sprouted pumpkin-seed butter, raw sprouted almond butter, raw hemp-seed butter, and raw tahini. The pumpkin-seed butter, a bright and vibrant green, adds wonderful color to your plate as well! Dastony's sister company, Rawtella, has the most amazing raw chocolate spread flavored with hazelnuts. Made to mimic Nutella, this raw, organic version contains neither fillers nor corn syrup. Then there's the full line of raw bars from Gnosis Chocolates that just came in, sweetened with organic coconut sugar or stevia. And, if raw isn't your thing but chocolate is, move on over to the refrigerated case, where we're now stocking Organic Valley's chocolate milk! Deep milk chocolate with creamy goodness, right in the dairy section!