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January 16, 2017

How Much Milk Can You Squeeze Out of an Almond?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:31 am

Almond BreezeElsie the cow would probably turn over in her grave if she could see all the newfangled milks on the dairy shelf, like Milkwise, which we wrote about in 2015. And there are a lot of soy milks and almond milks.

Almond Breeze is one of the big brands. It looks and sounds wholesome and nutritious. But even checking the ingredients listing doesn’t give you a full picture of what you are really buying.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Almond Breeze

It may seem like a bit of circular reasoning, but “almondmilk” is the first ingredient in almond milk. But if you are just casually reviewing the list, it appears that almonds are the second ingredient in the order of predominance after water. But that is a bit of word trickery — almonds are not really second overall. After that is a form of sugar, which might give a clue to what you are really buying. And the nutrition label offers yet another clue by noting it only has one gram of protein.

The trouble is we really don’t know how much of the product is derived from almonds. I don’t know about you, but when I squeeze an almond, I can’t get any milk out of it. 🙂 So leave it to some industrious lawyers who found out the answer.

*MOUSE PRINT:

According to a lawsuit they have filed in 2015, Blue Diamond Almond Milk only contains two-percent almonds.

So the product is really just a bunch of water and sugar with a pinch of almonds. While the flavor may be pleasing to many, the nutritional value of the product seems questionable at best.

Fast forward to late 2016 and early 2017.

A settlement of this class action was announced last month that will cost Blue Diamond $9-million. And of course, the company denies any wrongdoing and stands by its advertising. Consumers who purchased Almond Breeze are entitled to $1 back per container, for up to 10 containers, depending on whether they have proof of purchase or not. The deadline for filing a claim is April 13, 2017.

Last November, 25 members of Congress wrote to the Food and Drug Administration calling on the agency to investigate and take action against any producers of “milk” products that are not derived from cows.

And just last week, Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin introduced a bill in Congress to fight back against nondairy products mislabeled as milk, yogurt or cheese.




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November 28, 2016

Chipotle Sued Over Misleading Calorie Count

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:06 am

The embattled Mexican grill chain, Chipotle, is in trouble again.

In the course of promoting its new chorizo burrito which is made from chicken and pork sausage, the company touted on menu boards that it only had 300 calories.

Chipotle chorizo

Three diet-conscious California consumers took the bait and ordered this low-cal treat, but felt surprisingly full after eating one. They soon discovered they had been hoodwinked because this Mexican dish was nowhere near only 300 calories.

Mouse Print* reviewed the nutrition tables on Chipotle’s website and calculated the actual calorie count of a chorizo burrito.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Chipotle calories

As you can see, the chorizo burrito as described on the menu board has 1055 calories — more than three times the claimed amount. Just the tortilla wrapper alone is 300 calories, as is the chorizo alone.

This is likely to be an expensive mistake for Chipotle as the company is now being sued in a class action in California.

Informally, the company replied to some complaining customers on Twitter saying that the “300 calories is for the chorizo.”

Company spokesperson Chris Arnold, however, provided Fortune with this statement:

As a matter of policy, we dont discuss details surrounding pending legal action. I will note, however, that a lawsuit is nothing more than allegations and is proof of nothing. Generally speaking, we always work hard to maintain transparency around what is in our food, including the nutritional content, which is provided on an ingredient-by-ingredient basis.




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September 19, 2016

Fake News Websites with Fake Celebrity Endorsements Begin Scamming Again

Filed under: Health,Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:32 am

They’re back! Websites that impersonate TV news stations, popular magazines, or entertainment sites that disappeared about five years ago after being sued by the FTC are making a comeback.

For example, some websites suggest that Joy Behar is leaving ABC’s “The View” to devote more time to a new skincare line of cosmetics.

Here is one of them that is dressed up to look like an entertainment news site:

Juvalux website

Use scrollbar above on right to view.

 
There are many celebrity and non-celebrity endorsements on the website as well, such as this one from Rosie O’Donnell.

Rosie and Joy

There is only one problem. Rosie knows nothing about it. From her blog:

*MOUSE PRINT:

Rosie's blog

And worse, Joy does not have a skincare line of products, as she explains in the video below. She also reassures the audience that she is not leaving the program.

*MOUSE PRINT:



The website with her purported line of cosmetics is completely fake. It is not an entertainment news site. And it’s only purpose is to sell Juvalux face cream.

How do we know it’s fake? Here is their legal disclaimer — one of the most outrageous we have ever seen — which says in part:

*MOUSE PRINT:

This website is not a source of facts or real information. All the content featured on our website is artificial and falls under the umbrella of fiction. …

EntertainmentToday.Co is a fabricated web publication, which uses real names in a fictitious way. All news articles contained within EntertainmentToday.Co are fictional and should be presumed as fake news. Any mention of celebrities and public figures are used to pepper our stories, grab your attention and sensationalize our content. They are entirely inaccurate and should not be believed as fact.

And it goes on and on.

Sites like this are reminiscent of the fake sites that were designed to look like a TV station’s website reporting exciting news about Dr. Oz endorsing acai berry supplements for weight loss. The FTC went after nearly a dozen of these sites in 2011 asking a judge to shut them down.

While the endorsements on the face cream site are fake, sales of Juvalux cream on it are real. They offer a “free sample” for which you only pay $4.95 for shipping. However, buried in the “terms and conditions” is this:

*MOUSE PRINT:

If you do not cancel within 14 Days of your intial [sic] trial purchase, we will charge the same card you provided the full product cost of $89.95 and enroll you in our auto ship program, which will ship you a fresh monthly supply of the product, and charge your card $94.90[emphasis added] (including S&H) every 30 days.

You have been warned.

Incidentally, it is not just wrinkle cream being promoted this way, but sites pretending to be CNN, TMZ, and Vogue, for example, are pitching weight loss pills too.




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June 6, 2016

Breyers’ Ad Omits a Key Ingredient

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:22 am

A recent TV commercial from Breyers has some adorable kids discussing the company’s “Natural Vanilla” ice cream and its simple ingredients.

After emphasizing the vanilla beans in their Natural Vanilla ice cream, one little girl, as if reading from the label, declares “Breyers has fresh cream, sugar, and milk.”

We’ll have to give this girl an “F” in reading. Look at the product’s actual ingredients statement.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Tara gum

The first ingredient is milk and not cream, but they make it sound like cream is first and the predominant ingredient. Doing so could help sell more ice cream. And mysteriously, our little pitchwoman omitted “tara gum” in her recital.

Now turn back the clock about 20 years, when Breyers made fun of competing brands by asking kids to read their ingredients with unpronounceable additives:



This kid can read all the ingredients on the Breyers package and did so in the order of predominance.

So should have today’s kids.




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• • •

May 30, 2016

Kind Nutrition Bars — A “Healthy” Choice?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:58 am

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to Kind, LLC, a maker of supposedly “healthy” nutrition snack bars and similar foods.

The agency singled out four of their nutrition bars as making problematic claims not in compliance with FDA regulations: Kind Fruit & Nut Almond & Apricot, Kind Fruit & Nut Almond & Coconut, Kind Plus Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein, and Kind Plus Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants.

KIND box

Take the above dark chocolate peanut butter bar, for example. They say this bar is “misbranded” because the product labels bear nutrient content claims, but the products do not meet the requirements to make such claims. Specifically, the label makes the claim “Healthy and tasty, convenient and wholesome” in connection with statements such as: “good source of fiber,” “no trans fats,” and “7g protein.”

And their website says:

KIND Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein is a healthy & satisfying blend of peanuts and dark chocolate. Each bar contains 7 grams of protein, which promotes satiety and strengthens bones, muscles and skin.

*MOUSE PRINT:

The problem according to the FDA is that you can only use the term “healthy” as an implied nutrient content claim on the label or in the labeling of a food provided that the food, among other things, is “low saturated fat” [i.e., the food has a saturated fat content of 1 g or less per Reference Amount Customarily Consumed (RACC) and no more than 15 percent of the calories are from saturated fat]. But according to their nutrition label, the product fails this test, with three and half times the saturated fat and four times the calories allowed from saturated fat.

KIND

The product also cannot be called “anti-oxidant rich” because it does not contain at least 20% of the daily requirement of nutrients recognized for their anti-oxidant qualities. It only contains 15% of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin E and 0% of vitamin C and vitamin A.

In addition, there are technical problems with their “no trans fat” and “good source of fiber claims.”

Virtually all of these violations are not obvious to purchasers who probably see this product as some sort of health or nutrition bar. And one has to wonder whether if this is all about the marketing of candy bars cloaked with seeming health benefits.

Fast forward to May 2016: The FDA seems to have had a change of heart and has told Kind that it can return the word “healthy” to its bars. In the meantime, the agency says it is going to re-evaluate its two-decade-old regulations governing the word “healthy” and may come out with new rules. That is sure kind of the FDA.




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