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June 26, 2017

The Fine Print on Vitamin Labels is Wrong!

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:08 am

We often caution consumers not to believe the big print in advertising because the fine print may well contradict it. Now we have to say that you can’t always even rely on the fine print either to give you the straight poop.

Case in point: According to ConsumerLab.com, the fine print on the back of vitamin labels is currently wrong and is going to continue to be wrong for possibly the next four years!

*MOUSE PRINT:

vitamin label

Last July, the FDA changed the daily values (DV) recommended for 20 vitamins and minerals. The amount was raised for eight nutrients and lowered for a dozen others. The catch is that food and supplement makers were given until 2018 to change their labels. But in mid-June, the FDA quietly indicated it was going to extend the deadline. The industry had requested a reprieve until 2021.

This obviously leaves consumers in quandary as to whether they are getting enough or too much of the vitamins and minerals the government now says is the correct amount.

In the above example for Centrum Silver for example, the label says you’re getting two and half times the daily amount of vitamin D in every pill. But the daily amount of vitamin D has doubled from 400 IU (10 mcg) to 800 IU (20 mcg). So Centrum’s 1000 IU dose is really only 25% more than the new recommended amount rather than the two and half times that the label claims.

Here are the changes in daily values of vitamins and minerals according to the FDA.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Magnesium has increased from 400 mg to 420 mg

Manganese has increased from 2 mg to 2.3 mg

Phosphorus has increased from 1,000 mg to 1,250 mg

Potassium has increased from 3,500 mg to 4,700 mg

Calcium has increased from 1,000 mg to 1,300 mg

Vitamin C has increased from 60 mg to 90 mg

Vitamin K has increased from 80 mcg to 120 mcg

Vitamin D has increased from 400 IU (10 mcg) to 800 IU (20 mcg)

Chloride has decreased from 3,400 mg to 2,300 mg

Chromium has decreased from 120 mg to 35 mg

Copper has decreased from 2 mg to 0.9 mg

Molybdenum has decreased from 75 mcg to 45 mcg

Zinc has decreased from 15 mg to 11 mg

Thiamin has decreased from 1.5 mg to 1.2 mg

Riboflavin has decreased from 1.7 mg to 1.3 mg

Niacin has decreased from 20 mg to 16 mg

Vitamin B-6 has decreased from 2 mg to 1.7 mg

Vitamin B-12 has decreased from 6 mcg to 2.5 mcg

Biotin has decreased from 300 mcg to 30 mcg

Pantothenic acid has decreased from 10 mg to 5 mg

A DV for choline has been established the first time, at 550 mg




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June 19, 2017

Beefers: Where’s the Beef?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:22 am

Clara Peller, the famed octogenarian who squawked “Where’s the Beef?” when confronted with skimpy burgers in Wendy’s commercials of yesteryear, would possibly have suffered a heart attack on camera had she ever seen these beef patties.

They are I&J Beefers, the top-selling frozen hamburger in South Africa.

Beefers

They look like pretty normal frozen beef patties. But there is a secret lurking on the back.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Beefers ingredients

What? They are only 36% beef? Yep! And the rest of it is mostly water and soy flour.

South Africa’s labeling regulation requires food manufacturers that emphasize a key expensive ingredient in the name or description of a product to declare the percentage of that ingredient in bold type on the front of the pack. The company says they comply with the law. While the package above clearly did not, new packages do:

Beefers percentage

I&J, the manufacturer of Beefers, also sells frozen fried fish. We can only imagine what’s under the breading.




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April 24, 2017

Does Prevagen Really Work?

Filed under: Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:19 am

Everyone has seen the TV commercials for a pill made from a chemical originally found in jellyfish. But you may not remember the product’s name nor what it is supposed to do.

The product is Prevagen and it is supposed to improve your memory.

Here is one of their ads from 2014:

*MOUSE PRINT:

What the commercials don’t disclose is that the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General’s office recently sued the makers of Prevagen alleging they did not have reliable studies to back up their claims.

In particular, the commercials assert that it is a chemical found in jellyfish that is the magic ingredient to make your brain work better. The FTC and NY-AG say that the company’s own studies show that this chemical never actually reaches the brain! (See the court filings.)

And the FTC has gotten complaints about the product. Here are some of them.

The company, Quincy Bioscience, released a statement vehemently denying the allegations. In part it says:

“Prevagen is safe. Neither the FTC nor the New York Attorney General has alleged that Prevagen can cause or has caused harm to anyone. And hundreds of thousands people tell us it works and improves their lives.

Quincy has amassed a large body of evidence that Prevagen improves memory and supports healthy brain function.”

So who and what is a consumer to believe?




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March 20, 2017

The Secret Behind Shrinking Corned Beef

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:12 am

Clara Peller, the feisty senior who famously questioned the lack of meat in Wendy’s competitors’ burgers, could well reprise her memorable line, “where’s the beef,” when it comes to corned beef.

Cooks across the country surely noticed last week that the plump corned beef brisket they boiled for St. Patrick’s Day emerged from the pot only a fraction of its original size. Most people probably chalked it up to the high fat content of corned beef. But that is only part of the reason.

Had all of us paid more attention to the package the corned beef came in, we would know the primary reason for the shrinkage.

*MOUSE PRINT:

corned beef

corned beef

What? Thirty-five percent watery brine? You bet. And we are not talking about water with a 35% concentration of salt and chemicals that the brisket took a bath in. The solution is actually injected into the meat to plump it up big time. According to meat packers that MrConsumer consulted, while the solution is in deed needed to “corn” the beef, manufacturers that inject their briskets with more than 20% solution are doing so for economic reasons.

A three pound piece of beef brisket plumped up with 35% solution magically becomes about a four pound brisket. That’s how stores can sell raw corned beef in Cryovac packages for only $1.69 a pound around St. Patrick’s Day. And this is all perfectly legal as long as the percentage of solution is stated on the package if over 20%.

One corned beef manufacturer candidly put it this way, “We’re basically selling water.”




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February 13, 2017

When the Chips are Down in Fat, Are the Calories Too?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:40 am

Diet-conscious consumers are probably attracted to low-fat products. And in the case of potato chips, they probably feel a bit less guilty indulging in that treat if it contains less fat.

Enter Cape Cod 40% Reduced Fat potato chips:

Cape Cod potato chips

Now don’t assume that the reduced fat chips on the right have 40% less fat than the Cape Cod regular chips on the left.

*MOUSE PRINT:

fat reduction claim

The reduced fat chips contain 40% less fat than the market leader, Lay’s potato chips. Lay’s has 10 grams of fat per ounce, Cape Cod 40% Reduced has six grams – 40% less as advertised, and regular Cape Cod has eight grams. This means that Cape Cod Reduced Fat chips contain 25% less fat than their own regular chips — still a substantial savings.

Dieters, however, are not only concerned about fat but calories as well. Would you care to venture a guess as to how many fewer calories Cape Cod 40% Reduced Fat chips has compared to their regular chips?

*MOUSE PRINT:

Cape Cod chips nutrition label

What? The lower fat chips have exactly the same number of calories — 140 — as their regular full-fat chips? Yep, that’s what the nutrition (alternative?) facts label says.

How can that be? The portion size is exactly the same – 28 grams — as is the number of chips per portion, but there is 25% less fat in one product.

So we posed that very question to the PR folks at Snyder’s-Lance, the makers of Cape Cod chips. And we also wanted to know whether they felt they had an obligation to dispel the likely consumer misimpression that their 40% fat reduced chips were lower in calories than their own regular variety. In reply, after three attempts to obtain answers, all the company (through their PR firm) would say relevant to our questions was this:

With regards to the calories in each item, we adhere to the strict FDA regulations that dictate how companies must calculate and report nutritional information.

Clearly something just doesn’t add up here. The company should be able to explain to customers how it is possible that their substantially reduced in fat product offers no caloric savings if in fact the label is correct.




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