Trusted Munching

By Dean L. Jones

Each day, we are increasingly dependent that the foods and beverages chosen to eat present no dangers to our health.  Whether the item is packaged or direct from the farm, the idea that we would eat something that would make us severely sick is something we rarely think about.  It is the fact that in trust we munch, as belief is the order of the day that food manufacturers deliver products that are fit to be eaten.

This is one reason why it was alarming to hear this week that Blue Bell Ice Cream voluntarily recalled all of its products (ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks) because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism that causes serious and sometimes fatal infections in those with fragile immune systems.  Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Basically, the more ingredients that goes into a product, the higher the chance that something can go wrong.  Particularly those things that contain chemicals like processed sugar, we are consequently subjected to a higher potential of ingestion trouble.  For the most part, there are a lot of foodstuff items that include processed sugars, disguised under names like corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, and more are included the usual suspects like soft/sports drinks, candy and baked goods.

Those grams of added sugar are really saying that each gram contains four empty calories, which can be stored as fat, and ultimately lead to a number of diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.  Due to the public pressure, it came as no surprise when the Kraft Company announced this week that starting in January 2016, it will remove artificial preservatives and synthetic colors from its popular Mac and Cheese recipe.  It will use spices like paprika, annatto and turmeric to replace the synthetic colors.  Still, the one thing that it is not removing from its ingredients is the 8.6 grams of processed sugars per serving.

The Hershey’s company has developed an enormous amount of trust from consumers over their long-term business activity selling many munching products.  A significant amount of advertising is going into its Hershey’s Spreads Chocolate product.  One of the glaring things that are not disclosed in their advertisements is the amount of processed sugars per serving (2 tablespoons).  Well, Hershey’s Spreads Chocolate is 19-grams of sugar per serving (just shy of 5 teaspoons of sugar); likewise Hershey’s Spreads Chocolate with Hazelnut is 20-grams (5 teaspoons); Hershey’s Spreads Chocolate with Almond is 21-grams (5+ teaspoons); and Reese’s Spreads with Peanut Butter Chocolate is 19-grams of processed sugar.

Accordingly, beware of the many munching taking place in your life.  Making it ever so important to live SugarAlert!
Dean Jones is an Ethics Advocate, Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), contributing his view on certain aspects of foodstuff.