When you read this issue's story on whole grains, by Contributing Editor Keith Seiz, you'll discover the Center for Science in the Public Interest's (CSPI) latest pursuit. In December 2007, CSPI (aka the food police) notified Sara Lee that it intended to sue the company over claims it has made concerning the whole grain value of its Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Made with Whole Grain White bread.
“This ‘whole grain' bread is mostly refined white flour, the kind of flour that health authorities recommend Americans eat less of,” said Michael Jacobson, executive director, CSPI. “Sara Lee is attempting to put a whole grain halo on a bread that is not whole wheat. I call that a whole grain whitewash.”
Do you ever listen to this guy blather on and think…“get a job?” As Seiz mentions in his article, “The use of blended formulations of enriched white flour and whole wheat flour was immediately grasped by consumers and bakers alike. Sara Lee recently upped the whole grain content of the product with a 64/36 blend of enriched white and whole grain flour, giving the product 25 percent more whole grain and staying true to the transitional nature of the product.”
I feel confident that Sara Lee will ably defend itself against CSPI without much difficulty.
Jacobson also is after the food industry and its use of salt. Many of us consume far more sodium than we should and do need to heed the health community's warnings about sodium's affect on hypertension. Still, can't the food industry deal with this issue, without removing salt from the GRAS list?
Here's another priceless quote from Jacobson, as reported in USA Today on Feb. 11, 2008: “Salt is the single most harmful element in the food supply, even worse than saturated fat, or food additives and pesticides.” How long has salt been a part of our diet?
It will be interesting to watch how this issue on salt's regulatory status plays out. Before the FDA acts one way or another, I hope those responsible for issuing a ruling remember that consumers value taste above all else. To date, salt substitutes haven't quite proven themselves equal in flavor enhancement to salt itself.
Many a baker should be accustomed to the antics of the food police. After all, CSPI has already victimized donuts, Danish, cheesecakes, cookies, croissants and scones, among others.
Beware, the food police are coming.