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Entries in Ingredients (2)

Monday
Apr302012

FDA Regulation of Cosmetics Nears Despite Industry Objections

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The average woman applies 12 beauty products to her body daily. For men, it’s six daily.

Yet few consumers know the chemicals that go into those everyday cosmetics.

“Shame on me,” said Bette-Lee Hanson, who was getting her hair done at a salon. “I’m not terribly cognizant of what’s in the products but probably I should be. But I’m not.”

As the list of chemicals in everyday beauty products has grown, U.S. oversight has been nonexistent, according to Janet Nudelman, spokeswoman for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition that advocates for safer cosmetics and hygiene products.

“The headlines over the years have really told the story of the problem of unsafe cosmetics,” Nudelman said. “The problem is that there is no one minding the store. There is no federal regulation or law that says companies have to make safe products.”

Nudelman said, however, that Americans had woken up to the problem. This summer Congress is expected to pass a bill allowing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate cosmetics.

The measure would require the labeling of all ingredients and the prohibiting of chemicals linked to cancer or reproductive problems.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., who introduced the bill, said the measure would provide some protection to consumers.

“It would give the Food and Drug Administration -- for the first time -- the ability to recall products that have these dangerous products in them,” she told ABC News. “The $60 billion cosmetics industry is one of the least regulated that we have in the country. We don’t even know how many companies there are right now that are producing their products. We certainly don’t know what’s in them.”

Cosmetic agencies have spent $3.5 million lobbying against the measure, saying that it would curtail innovation and compromise trade secrets.

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, such chemicals as dioxane and formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, can be found in some shampoo. Lead can be found in lip products. Parabens, which have possible links to cancer, can be found in deodorant.

Some skin-lightening creams contain mercury, which has been linked to cancer. There’s also toluene, a headache-causing chemical, in nail polish; and some perfumes contain diethyl phthalate, which has been tied to allergies, hormone distress and dermatitis.

In February, a new study conducted by the FDA reportedly found that 400 lipsticks on the market tested positive for lead, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

The European Union has banned 1,200 of these types of chemicals but the U.S. has only banned 10.

“We’re exposed to toxic chemicals through a wide array of consumer products from the moment when [we] wake up in the morning to the moment when we go to bed at night,” Nudelman said. “The unsafe experience we’re being exposed to in cosmetics is really on the tip of the iceberg.”

She advised consumers to look for labels that had shorter lists of ingredients, and ingredients they could pronounce and recognize.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec162011

Orange Juice's 'Secret Ingredient' Worries Some Health-Minded Moms

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Natalya Murakhver, a New York food writer and mother of an 18-month year old daughter, loved her premium brand orange juice -- the "100 percent pure" and "not from concentrate" kind that comes in the colorful carton and tastes consistently delicious.

That is, until she said she learned from her first-time moms group that there's a "secret ingredient" in all premium orange juices that companies are not required to put on their labeling.

Now, after writing Whole Foods, she refuses to buy her favorite, "365" juice, amid uncertainty about its contents.

"One of the moms said she had read about [how the juice is made] and they held it in tanks for up to a year and it pretty much lost all of its flavor and had to be reinvigorated with these flavor packs, which are essentially chemicals," said Murakhver, 40, and co-author of They Eat What?: A Cultural Encyclopedia of Weird and Exotic Food from around the World.

For the last 30 years, the citrus industry has used flavor packs to process what the Food and Drug Administration identifies as "pasteurized" orange juice. That includes top brands such as Tropicana, Minute Maid, Simply Orange and Florida Natural, among others.

Murakhver said the addition of the flavor packs long after orange juice is stored actually makes those premium juices more like a concentrate, and consumers need to know that.

Experts estimate two-thirds of all Americans drink Florida orange juice for breakfast, and companies spend millions on their marketing campaigns touting its health benefits.

The "not from concentrate" brands appeared on store shelves sometime in the 1980s to differentiate them from frozen juice and other bottled concentrates. Despite its high price tag -- now up to $4 a carton -- sales of the premium brands have soared.

But those juices don't just jump from the grove to the breakfast table.

After oranges are picked, they are shipped off to be processed. They are squeezed and pasteurized and, if they are not bound for frozen concentrate, are kept in aseptic storage, which involves stripping the juice of oxygen in a process called "deaeration," and kept in million-gallon tanks for up to a year.

Before packaging and shipping, the juice is then jazzed up with an added flavor pack, gleaned from orange byproducts such as the peel and pulp, to compensate for the loss of taste and aroma during the heating process.

Different brands use different flavor packs to give their product its unique and always consistent taste. Minute Maid, for example, has a distinctive candy-sweet flavor.

Kristen Gunter, executive director of the Florida Citrus Processors Association, confirmed that juices are blended and stored and that flavor packs are added to pasteurized juice before shipping to stores.

Flavor packs are created from the volatile compounds that escape from the orange during the pasteurization step.

The pasteurization process not only makes the food safe, but stabilizes the juice, which in its fresh state separates. Adding the flavor packs ensures a consistent flavor.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grades the quality of the juice based on color, flavor and defects.

"To get grade A, we have to blend it," she said. "Because oranges and their growing seasons vary, both the Valencia -- 'king of the oranges' -- and its lesser cousin, the Hamlin, are combined in the process.

"A processor is faced with harvesting the crop and giving the consumer some sense of what [he or she] might be getting," she said. "You buy branded orange juice, you kind of want it to taste, generally, the same. That expectation is met by blending different varieties and, in order to blend, storage is involved."

The Food and Drug Administration does not require adding flavor packs to the labeling of pasteurized juice (which includes the from-concentrate as well as the not-from-concentrate versions), because, "it is the orange," said Gunter.

Non-pasteurized juice must be labeled as such, with warnings about potential pathogens. These regulations have been in place since 1963, she said.

Murakhver, said she has been buying "365" from Whole Foods "for years" and was under the impression that "all the ingredients were disclosed."

"It's arguable if it's bad for you or not. Still, it's a secret ingredient and no one seems to know about it," she said. "'Oranges' is all it says on the label -- a perfect product."

Concerned, Murakhver wrote to Whole Foods and got an email response, which she shared with ABC News.

Whole Foods spokesman Julie Campbell wrote that she was unable to disclose the name of the company that makes its orange juice, "as that information is proprietary."

"Flavor Packs are typically made by fractional distilling the oil from orange peel; essentially concentrating the components," she wrote. "Flavor packs are used by other brands to standardize their products. We accomplish the same thing by blending orange juice from different varieties and parts of the season together."

"I don't know what that means," said Murakhver.

"There hasn't been a day in the last three years that we've not had it in the fridge and at the top of the shopping list with the milk," she said. "We are going to get a juicer and eat fresh fruit every morning and try to get our sugar high from fresh fruit.

"I like vintage champagne, not vintage orange juice," said Murakhver.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio