Faculty Forum Online: Food Labeling Language, a Polyglot’s Primer

October 2, 2019 0 By William Morgan


>>Hi, I’m Whitney Espich, the CEO
of the MIT Alumni Association.
and I hope you enjoy this digital production
created for alumni and friends like you.
Grace: Hi.
Good afternoon, everyone.
My name is Grace Chua,
and welcome to the MIT Faculty
Forum.
It looks like we have over 100
of you online to watch this
webinar, and we are looking
forward to having Professor Tom
Montville, the speaker on the
topic of Food Labeling Language,
a Polyglot’s Primer.
As I mentioned, my name is Grace
Chua, a senior consultant who
helps — for good
in the world,
and I will be serving as your
moderator for today’s
presentation.
This presentation is being
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I am delighted to introduce
our
featured presenter for today,
Professor Thomas Montville, PhD
’79.
Professor Montville is the
distinguished professor emeritus
of Food Science at Rutgers
University.
He received his PhD from MIT,
his BS from Rutgers, and he was
a senior microbiologist at USDA
before joining Rutgers faculty.
Professor Montville has provided
numerous expert opinions for
complex litigations involving
natural claims.
He is a fellow of the American
Academy of Microbiology and a
fellow of the Institute of Food
Technologist.
His pioneering research on
naturally-occurring
antimicrobials was recognized by
the IFT’s Bernard L. Oser Award
for Food Ingredient Safety.
Professor Montville also
received the President’s
Lifetime Achievement Award from
the International Association
for Food Protection.
And with that, I now turn things
over to Professor Montville.
Professor Montville, please.
Dr. Montville: Good afternoon.
I am going to talk to you today
a little bit about natural food
and organic, and what is the
difference. Some of the labeling
claims on
food packages, a little bit
about dietary supplements, and
then finally a little bit about
expiration dates and what they
mean. Excuse me.
You have heard about me.
I would like to tell you a
little bit about what I do.
The first thing is exactly what
Food Science is.
It is not nutrition, please.
Food Science, I like to say, is
everything that happens from the
time food comes out of the
ground — before that, it is
agriculture.
And once it goes into the mouth,
it becomes nutrition.
Food Science is inherently — an
inherently multidisciplinary
field, where we have to know
about heat, and
microbiologists
have to know how to keep food
safe from foodborne pathogens.
My advisor told me never give a
talk without working in a little
bit of new research, so I would
just like to say a a few
words about the natural
antibacterial — antimicrobial
peptides, the same bacteria that
ferment milk to give us younger,
vegetables to give us
sauerkraut, cheeses, fermented
meats, and so on. Some of these
produced naturally
microbial peptides, foodborne
pathogens, like listeria.
One of the great things about
being in a multidisciplinary
department is I have access to
physical chemist and a
microbiologist to specializes —
who specializes.
This is the mechanism, these
ovals are the peptide.
They first bind
to the bilayer
and then form chords.
We illustrated by using the
structure, one which was done in
collaboration
at the university,
and we were interested in how
this worked, so we synthesize
the full molecule, the leader,
and we happy tool — have the
tool
and found that it was the
positively charged amino acids
that interacted with them.
We also found artificial cells
with a fluorescent marker
compound and treat it with a
detergent.
If we use bacterial’s, there was
a time and
concentration of the mechanism.
So natural and organic food,
why are they labeled natural and
organic food?
It is clear from the market
place that
consumers want
natural and organic food, and
the food industry, being market
-driven, makes whatever the
consumer once.
So you see — wants.
So you see a graph over a two-y
ear period.
You can see this is pretty
dismal, being less than 2%
growth, whereas natural and
organic food is 10% growth,
which have increased, two years
between 12% and 14%.
If you are in food
manufacturing, you have
conventional food, and you can
make it natural, that will be a
big boost of your sales and your
profitability.
Now there is a difference
between organic and natural
foods.
Organic foods are grown under
the organic food production act.
This was made by the USDA
economic research service to
prevent fraud, claiming food was
organic.
It was not based on science, but
again come on the process by
which the food is grown, it has
nothing to do with the product,
the quality, microbial safety,
or the nutrition, all of which
are the same as conventional
food.
This picture down here just
shows an organic farm
and why you have this field.
Organic farms can be as big as
industrial farms.
Now, the law for organics is
pretty straightforward.
The first is that there cannot
be any genetically modified
organisms.
This is taken very strictly with
regards to TSI, fruit from the
forbidden tree.
Under the current regulation,
any compound or ingredient from
the plant or animal that has
been genetically modified is
genetically modified and cannot
be used for organic.
There is a discussion taken
place now, where foods that are
not proof light —
there is a
discussion taking place now,
where foods that are not
terrified, such as vodka, can
still be — purified,
such as
vodka, can still be certified
organic, even though they use
genetically modified organisms
for best-of-five systems — for
pesticide systems.
The next is no irradiation.
Irradiation was proven safe in
the 1950’s, a real safe,
effective solution to some real
microbe real problems, —
microbial problems.
Meat products.
Consumers have rejected it,
because they are afraid of
reaction radiation, radioactive
meat, and so on.
Radiation is also being
discussed for pasteurization.
The third is no synthetic feeds,
hormones, pesticides, or other
substances, unless they are on
the list.
I will show you the list in a
moment. No plastic pellets.
No antibiotics.
Members are concerned about the
antibiotic resistance growth.
This is going over to
conventional animal husbandry.
They can get a premium for foods
grown without antibiotics.
You will see on packages now, NA
E — no antibiotics ever.
Finally, no chemical
fertilizers.
There are some microbial hazards
and animal welfare, a legitimate
reason to eat organic, and
here you can see a bunch of free
range chickens.
The allowed list contains many
ingredients and compounds you
might be surprised that.
The first is it allows synthetic
pesticides like strychnine.
Secondly, it allows chemicals
such as
hypochlorite or hydrogen
peroxide and so want.
It also allows some antibiotics,
like streptomycin and
tetracycline to control fire
blight IN apples
, so there are
some antibiotics and organic
foods.
And if the foods qualify under
these regulations, they can be
stamped with the USDA organic
seal.
The USDA organic seal can be
used if a product is more than
95% organic.
Here you can see the USDA seal
found at the bottom here, and
with it the non-GMO verified
symbol.
If a food contains more than 70%
organic, it can be labeled as “
made with organic,” but it does
not have the USDA stamp. In
order to be certified as
organic, the farmer has to use
organic practices and use these
practices before they can
certify for organic, so there is
a transitional period, where the
farmer is using organic methods
to charge a premium for organic
foods. This is
transitional food peer
you can see other labeling, they
may be over labeled, sustainable
farmlands, fair trade, and so
on.
There are a variety, then, of
symbols you can find on your
food.
As I mentioned, the USDA organic
covers all of
the foods that
meet the USDA requirements.
There’s a non-GM oh products —
non-GMO products, so foods are
produced without non-genetically
modified organisms.
There is one being sued
by the
FDA, because only this organic
symbol is allowed on organic
food.
Down here we have a labeling
claim, “made with all-natural,”
“no artificial preservatives,”
and that segues us into natural
food.
Natural is certainly a marketing
claim.
You can see “all-natural,”
all-natural snapple and all
sorts of other foods, salad
dressing.
They can charge a premium by
being labeled “natural.”
There is no legal definition for
“natural” when used in food
ingredients, so this has a big
field for litigation.
The FDA has considered the term
“natural” to mean nothing
artificial or synthetic in the
area of flavor, and you can see
this is a little bit of a
circular argument.
It is natural if it is not
artificial.
It is pretty clear what is
artificial is not.
What is normally expected to be
in your food is something that
is not litigated, because who
knows what consumers expect to
find in their food?
This definition, nothing
artificial or synthetic, has
been considered
“the best thinking of the” FDA.
FDA is currently requesting
comments on use of the term
“natural” on food labeling.
They are asking for comments on
— should natural even be
regulated?
If it is regulated and defined,
should it be narrowly defined or
broadly defined as just having
synthetic and so on?
My guess is that the FDA will
come up with a definition, and
it will be limited to nothing
synthetic, because synthetic is
an arguable. — is inarguable.
A number of consumer soups have
challenged different food
ingredients.
High fructose corn syrup is a
frequent target because it is
invented, made in a factory, and
does not occur in nature, which
is all true.
High fructose courts or was
invented in the 1970’s with the
advent of thermostable
amylase
and thermostable glucose.
Like all other foods, it is made
in a factory, and like
mentioned, it does not occur in
nature.
Sucrose is made of glucose and
fructose.
Starch is just a polymer of
glucose. Corn syrup means
the amylase is
to break down chorus or printer
glucose — is to break down
amylase into glucose.
And high fructose corn syrup is
about 55% fructose and 45%
glucose by virtue of summer
enrichment of the fructose.
When we say hi fructose, it is
not enormously high levels and
not much different than what you
would find in a compound.
Nonetheless, food manufacturers
are selling, taking advantage of
the marketplace with this, with
no high fructose corn syrup.
You can see on some labels, high
fructose corn Serpas just
replaced with corn syrup, or in
very clever labels, and replace
with any hydrated sugarcane
juice.
Another compound that has been
criticized as being synthetic is
citric acid.
Citric acid in fact is made
microbe really — microbiall
y, using the citric acid cycle
or the acid cycle.
In this cycle, the first
compound made is citric acid,
and there is a mutation to
prevent the mutation into
citrate, and citrate can eke out
of the cell and have
extracellular — 90% of citric
acid currently sold in the
United States is made from
— microbeially.
We produce citric acid in our
body cleared judges seem to
understand it is natural if in
fact we use the same path we and
our body.
There’s other litigation,
Hornell Brewing Company, a
repeat client of mine, they have
been sued for using a sorbent
acid.
It is made by fermentation of
sorbitol.
It has been consumed with over
the years, gelatin, which is
just made by the hydrolysis of
collagen. Or xanthan gum
, which is made as
an exercise of her —
extracellular.
So the take-home lesson on
organic is that being the gold
standard, all organic is natural
and non-GMO, but not all-natural
is organic, and non-GMO does not
have to be organic or natural.
We will move on to health claims
for food.
There are several categories of
health claims.
Most wildly
— widely understood
are the nutritional labels that
go on the side panel, that go on
by the Nutritional Labeling and
Education Act.
This has gone on for a long
time.
It has been updated to this
label as of 2016, will be
required to be on food in 2020.
You will see both of these
labels.
A big change, emphasis on
serving size, and this is on
calories — in process o —
emphasis on calories, due to
the widely cited
mantra that a
calorie is a calories.
When it comes to physiology, not
all calories are the same.
A calorie adjusted from 100
grams of whole wheat bread is
different than 100 calories
ingested by high fructose corn
syrup.
The efficacy of calories is even
affected by gut microbe bile.
There are
classical experienced
on Wednesday, material —
when fecal material was taken
from twins, one who was obese,
and the one who was thin.
You can see the fecal extracts
from the fat twin and the one
that received the extracts from
the thin twin became thin.
Another thing different in these
labels are the idea of
carbohydrates.
We know that fibers produce
certain health benefits, and
that total sugars are generally
considered bad. Consumption of
sugar — I’m
sorry, in the 1800s, it was less
than 120 pounds a year.
It has increased exponentially
so that now in the last 30
years, it has increased to 130
pounds of sugar per person, per
year, so added sugar
is
something that consumers look at
very closely. The
national
Nutritional Labeling and
Education Act allows for
allowable claims, so it is a
significant scientific view, in
other words, the consensus that
this function does take place as
a result of the structure. The N
LEA.
The manufacturers have to prove
that the food is safe.
This may seem obvious, the
manufacturers have to prove food
is safe, but you will see with
supplements, there are in fact
other ways around.
There are allowable health
claims, and all of these have to
be preapproved by the FDA.
The allowable claims — there’s
a sound scientific consensus
that things like low saturated
fats and cholesterol reduce risk
of heart disease, low fiber
reduce the risk of cancer and
heart disease.
The issue with cancer is
many
benign compounds are embedded
into carcinogens.
Sugar alcohols are not
fermented.
It might reduce the risk of —
The labels are pretty clear.
They do contain the words “may”
or “might” have this specific
benefit.
You cannot cheat and claim a
reduced risk of one thing by
including ingredients that
increase the risk of something
else, so that when you have a
food that has an allowable
health claim, it cannot be high
in fats, so sure it if that’s —
saturated fats, sodium, and so
on. There are qualified health
claims, and qualified health
claims or a little bit
different, because they do not
require a scientific consensus.
There has to be a body of
evidence, but a limited body of
evidence that suggests that
cancer risk is reduced by the
presence of antioxidant vitamin.
You will see antioxidants
are widely touted on food
labels because of the oxidation
period, so anything that
produces an antioxidant would be
considered antiaging.
Full of gas it has recently been
added as an enrichment of bread
to prevent 2 defects —
neural tube defects.
Labeling claims come I
personally think, have gotten
out of hands.
Here we have a whole
international panel on the side
of the package, but on the front
of the package, we have eight
different version of claims,
including the qualified health
claim down here, that it may
reduce the risk of heart
disease.
There are other nutritional
claims made on — you have to
excuse me, because I need notes
to make sure I get this record
here we are, Ken’s light salad
dressing.
It claims in order to have a
label that says reduced calorie,
it has to have 25% fewer
calories than calories of a
reference food, but it is not
qualified as to the number of
calories.
Low calories have to have less
than 50% of the calories of a
reference food.
And no calorie has to be
qualified as less than five
calories per serving.
Sugars, much simpler, produced,
— red
uced, again, Wi-Fi percent
less, free is what it says, no
sugars at all. Fats
are little complicated,
produced means less than 25%.
Lite means less than 50%.
Low is equal to less than three
grams of fat per serving.
And free is less than half a
gram of fat per serving.
That covers foods.
I would like to move on to
supplements, and I see
supplements as being the wild
wild West of the food industry.
Food ingredients are covered by
the NLEA.
Supplements are regulated by the
dietary supplement health and
education act. Under theD
DSHEA, there is no
need for significant
scientific agreement.
It should be noted, however, the
supplement cannot be advertised
as preventing, mitigating, or
curing something because those
definitions are a drug.
They do not have to prove the
ticket to market, so they can
take virtually anything, put it
in the marketplace until the
government proves that is
unsafe, and then they remove it
from the marketplace.
The legal definition of a
dietary supplement is pretty
straightforward, it is a
supplement not used as a
conventional food, so something
like Ensure, which is a
nutritional beverage, for young,
active people
and also older
people, is a food, not a
supplement.
Herbs and botanicals, there’s a
big area of fraud in the use of
herbal supplements in that they
can only be verified as
authentic by examination by an
expert.
So 70%, and some studies, 70% of
herbs on the market have
contained foreign matter or in
fact not any herbs at all.
Now, the DSHE A amends the
Delaney Clause.
The amendment is really
important, because in the food
drug cosmetic act, it contains
the clause which prohibit any
ingredient that causes any
cancer in any amount from being
adultery in it.
When I tell people I might good
scientist, they say oh, you are
one of those guys who puts the
ingredients that cause cancer in
two foods; no, it is illegal to
do that, according to the
Delaney act.
Under the DSHEA, a substance is
adulterated if it creates
significant or unreasonable risk
of supposed to any amount, any
animal, any amount, and instead
of that, it is when used with
directions, so in the case of
ephedra, the company was
able to keep it on the market by
claiming they were not used
according to directions.
The FDA eventually went out from
that.
Finally, we have some issues of
expiration dates, which are all
over the place.
They range from just the date
, and the consumer does not know
whether this is the date of
manufacture, the date best if
used by, or so on, it is just a
date.
We have used by, and the use by
is generally due to some food
safety issue, so you want to use
or freeze by, and that means
exactly what it says.
Check the use or freeze by days
on your
refrigerator maternal to
ensure your safety in your
refrigerator.
We also have a best if used by.
This is the most clear
designation of food that is
edible.
It is still perhaps even good,
but not at peak quality or peak
nutritional quality if it is
consumed after the Best Buy day.
— date.
There’s ambiguous labeling
recommended for use by.
This is confusing for the
consumer, because it does not
differentiate between best if
they used by.
The FDA is working on a
consolidation where they will
only allow the claim of use by
or best if used by.
Finally, we have milks, that
have a sell by date.
The sell by date should give you
seven days of safe storage in
your refrigerator before it is
opened. Once it is open, it is
susceptible to contaminants from
the refrigerator or the
consumer, and all bets are off.
That is it for food labeling.
There are
some sarcastic
cartoons us to where the future
of food labeling may go.
Be horizontal position, which
you think might be funny, but it
is only on
there because someone
had it vertically as a
— so we
cannot be too careful about what
we say or what we do care
hopefully we will not have to
have excessive disclaimers on
our food.
The mantra for food consumption
and good nutrition is just eat a
wide variety of food in
moderation.
And in fact, I will take
questions.
Grace: Great, thank you so much,
Professor Montville.
And I feel like I learned a
lot, and the audience did,
too. We have a ton of questions
coming in through the
question-and-answer tool in
Zoom.
We have a cluster of questions,
I think, about food allergen
labeling , a number of questions
like — is it legal to use only
a contains allergen, certain
allergens, say, peanuts, to
include cross contaminants that
are not an ingredient, but they
are trace amounts?
What is the law around, for
example, say, “may contain tree
nuts,” versus specifying the
type of treatment? — of tree
nut?
And what is actually meant when
the label says “may contain,” or
“this is manufactured on shared
equipment”?
Can we quantify those risks?
Dr. Montville: That is a great
question.
There is a wide concern about
allergens, and some food
companies have large facilities
that make food that contain
allergens — you know, milk is
an allergen, eggs are an
allergen, shellfish, soy, meat,
so it is not just peanuts.
So the use of a label that says
“may contain
” depends on the
processing line, or made in a
facility that produces some
specific allergen, I think, is
the broadest warning to the
consumer.
However, like I said, if a food
contains wheat, milk, or eggs,
it is not going to be labeled as
an allergen, and the consumer is
going to have to know to avoid
those foods by reading the
ingredient list.
Grace: There’s also a
cluster — thanks, Professor
Montville.
I think some of us in the
audience are parents of
children, especially, who have
food allergens, so this is
something that we pay very close
attention to.
There’s another question, a sort
of cluster of questions, about,
you know, emerging trends and
what the definitions are of
certain terms, such as — are
there any legal definitions of
free range, cage-free, and
pasture raised?
Are there legal definitions of
low-carb or keto?
Dr. Montville: I know there is
no definition for low-carb or
keto. I
n terms of — for example,
cage-free, I know there is not.
Cage-free, I have seen pictures
of “cage-free facilities,” where
the chickens are literally
shoulder to shoulder in a huge
barn that contains maybe 8000
chickens, so these are poorly
regulated. Grace:
That is kind of troubling
for those of us who —
Dr. Montville: Yeah.
Grace: Worry about animal
welfare.
Dr. Montville: I think “free
range” does
mean free range, and
that is what I look for when I’m
concerned about animal welfare.
That is another good point on
why food manufacturers are going
toward organic and natural and
free range.
Conventional, in my shop right,
you can get on sale conventional
eggs for $.99 a dozen, where the
farmers’ best
organic free range
eggs run for about $4.50, so
there is a huge premium for
these. Grace: Right, so there is
certainly a huge commercial
motivation to get them labeled
this way. Dr. Montville: Mmhmm.
Grace: Perhaps you might have
seen some of the questions about
fraud in these claims.
There is a question
about to
what extent can we really trust
that foods labeled as organic
are genuinely organic, for
example, in the farmers markets,
when you see fraud going on,
they take off the box, and here
is the food presented as
organic.
To what extent can we trust
organic labeling in the U.S.?
Dr. Montville: Well, there are
two parts of that. If there are
— that USDA
organic symbol, those are
verified by third-party
auditors, so you could be very
confident that it is organic.
When it comes to fruit him and
produce stands, a former man
fact grind his food as organic,
but definitely verification and
legal and organic costs about
$5,000, which is prohibitive to
most small farmers, so they
label it, and the trust really
comes from the consumer trusting
the farmer that is selling the
produce, so there is potential
for fraud there, and it has to
do with trust between the
consumer and the farmer.
Grace: Right.
Coming back to the idea of trust
, you know,
what is — where do
you see consumer demand for
these foods going, and to what
extent is trust — or mistrust
— in conventional food systems
behind that?
Dr. Montville: That is another
question for sociologists, but
the food industry is aware of
this consumer distrust of, you
know, General Foods and
Kellogg’s and General Mills and
the other generals,
so a lot of
the food companies are buying up
smaller companies, like nature
Valley, and they are selling
them under the name of the
smaller company, and somewhere
you can see in fine print that
it is in fact owned by General
Mills.
The food companies are very
aware of this
, and — which
runs, I think, counter to the
big trend of consolidation, so
there is some tension between
the consolidation in the
consumer perception of the “big
is bad.”
Grace: Right.
Obviously, consumers seem to be
paying a premium for organic and
natural labeled food.
Why isn’t that companies can
demand such a premium for
organic, labeled food?
Is that pricing
due to the
organic processes used and to
produce the food, and to what
extent is that just commercial?
Dr. Montville: There is a supply
and demand issue, so that the
supply of organic food is
less
than the demand, and sometimes
there is a demand for some
organic or ingredient that is
just not available commercially
because of that transition
period.
Does the increase in price — is
it warranted by the increased
price of production or consumer
demand? Is it predatory?
I do not know whether it is
predatory or not, but I guess
basic economics tells you that
the price of something is
what
they are paying and what the
producer is going to sell for.
I personally do not believe in a
premium, except when I buy my
eggs. Grace: Great.
So moving on to questions about
supplements, what kinds — where
should consumers seek out
accurate information for
supplement quality and content?
Dr. Montville:
That is a tough
question to answer.
I have seen some of them start
to have the U.S. pharmaceutical
symbol on them.
Some of them, I think the big
companies, which you can be
pretty sure are containing what
they say they are containing,
but aside from that, it is the
wild wild West when it comes to
supplements.
You can never really be sure of
what you are getting or how much
of it.
Grace: So our curiosity, what is
behind the divergence, that food
labeling has all of these very
strict rules, but supplement
labeling is the wild West?
What is the history behind that?
Dr. Montville: The history is
the NLEA
regulates food
ingredients and was originally
going to be applied to
supplements, but there was a
tremendous consumer outcry.
The government is going to take
away our supplements.
They are going to take away the
pills we need to survive on.
So there was a political
pressure, which resulted in the
legislation of the dietary
supplement health and education
act, so there are two separate
set of laws governing food and
supplements, where the
supplement, the regulation is
just very vague.
Grace: That is really
interesting.
And sort of disturbing as well.
There is another question, a set
of questions about the safety of
food
, and when you label
something as “Best By
,” that
says, yes, the food is that peak
taste before that best by date,
but is there any consensus about
what happens to foods beyond
that Best by date?
Dr. Montville: Beyond the best
by date, it is just a quality
issue.
Beyond the use or freeze by
date, it could become a safety
issue.
There is an organism called
Listeria that is the leading
cause of microbial recall,
and
this organism is very different,
because it grows in the cold, so
the concern is that if you keep
the food in the cold for an
extended period of time, this
Listeria can grow in sufficient
numbers to cause an infection
and illness.
Grace: OK, so there is a clear
safety issue on, say, a package
of chicken that has a freeze by,
versus your package of crackers
that says best by, after that,
perhaps it just gets a little
stale.
Dr. Montville: yeah, I had my
daughter goes my pantry one day,
and she said “dad, I’m going to
throw out anything that is older
than me.”
I will not tell you what she
found. [LAUGHTER]
Grace: Are you still eating it?
Dr. Montville: I was
still
eating it, because it is best if
used by. Grace: Fair. [laughs]
Dr. Montville: In foods, there
is a characteristic
physiological thing as tasters,
so people who find bitter
modifiers like defining
saccharin or broccoli, things
like that.
Non-tasters are genetically
insensitive to these compounds,
and I am a non-taster, so if it
tasted off a little bit, I never
know.
Grace: Well, that is lucky, I
think.
I just want to reassure the
audience that whatever questions
that Professor Montville is not
able to get to currently, we
will try and send to him to —
for him hopefully to comment on
or answer.
Dr. Montville: And I will do my
best to get back to those over
the next couple of days. Grace:
There’s a question coming
in about — and this is another
allergy question, a sensitivity
question, from somebody who is
sensitive to glutamate.
They are finding that there is
no labeling of flavors that are
made from other sources of
glutamate.
Do companies have an obligation
to disclose these sources of
natural glutamate?
Dr. Montville: The brief answer
is no
, and this has to do with
several natural compounds.
So, for example, Parmesan cheese
is about 30% acid.
Nitrates are looked down upon
as
partial consent ages when they
are added to meats, but
celery contains probably
four
-fold to eight-fold nitrates
than does the added nitrate, so
you will see some cured meat
products that say “no added
nitrates except those that
contain naturally and celery.”
— in celery.”
Grace: Right.
So therefore this person should
— where can I find information
about the naturally occurring —
Dr. Montville: They just have to
dig it out. I guess Google.
Grace: OK. And
kind of looking ahead, what
trends do you expect to see in
consumer goods and food-related
labeling, the on just natural —
beyond just natural
and organic.
Dr. Montville: The trend is
toward lean labels, the fewest
possible ingredients, what
consumers are increasingly
looking for.
It goes back to this Michael
Coh adage that if it
containse chemicals that you
cannot pronounce, you should not
be eating it, which of course is
not right.
He has done a lot of harm.
Grace: Can you talk a little bit
more about that?
Dr. Montville: The food we eat
is the most clinical, safest,
and least expensive food in the
history of the world.
If that bothers you, you can
certainly spend more money
on a
high quality of food, but for
the most part, people do not
want to do that.
They want the free lunch.
Grace: What about the example
that there is a health
difference between the way high
fructose corn syrup affects our
bodies in the way other forms of
sugar affects our bodies?
Dr. Montville: Yes, I have
implied many times that high
fructose corn syrup is natural,
but I have never specifically
said that it is good for us.
Fructose is metabolized
differently than Glenn Close —
then glucose, and when fructose
is metabolized, it is more
likely to be shunted off to the
production of lipids and fats.
Grace: Right.
Dr. Montville: I should stop
there, because it may be held
against me in court someday.
Grace: [laughs] OK.
That is fair.
I think, unless there are any
other further questions, we will
probably — do you have any
closing remarks that you would
like to make? Dr. Montville:
Well,
one of my
colleagues, who is a risk
analyst, likes to say that the
risk of eating is much, much
less than the risk of not
eating.
The food that we eat is good for
us, it is safe.
Our food industry is best to in
producing it — is vested in
producing safe foods.
Food scientists eat the same
foods as everybody else, and we
feed it to our kids.
Grace: Great.
OK, thank you very much,
Professor Montville.
On behalf of the Alumni
Association, I just want to
thank everybody in the audience
for tuning into this Faculty
Forum Online. We will be sure to
forward all
questions to Professor
Montville, and you can continue
to tweet about today’s chat
using the hashtag
#MITBetterWorld, and send any
other follow-up questions to
[email protected]
That is [email protected]
This webinar, I understand, will
also be a made available online
later. Thank you, everyone, for
watching, and have a nice day.
Dr. Montville: Bye-bye.
Grace: Bye-bye.
>>Thanks for joining us.
And for more information on how
to connect with the MIT Alumni
Association, please
visit our website.