What do Donald Trump and Lower Quality Cheese have in common?
What do Donald Trump and Lower Quality Cheddar Cheese have in common?!? Well, they both use colour to turn orange!
Now, I'm sure you knew that about Donald Trump, but did you know that about cheddar cheese? Yes, you heard me right! The food industry adds colour to cheddar cheese to make it orange! Surprised?! haha I know I was!
So how do you know what is being added to your food? This is where the "Ingredient List" on a food package comes in.
For example, from Black Diamond (cheese available here in Canada), here is a screen shot of the nutritional information for Old Cheddar (http://www.blackdiamond.ca/our-cheeses/natural-cheese/old-cheddar/) taken July 26, 2016:
So this screen shot shows the Nutrition Facts Panel and the Ingredient List. Here in Canada, it is required that companies post the nutritional value of any product coming in a package based on their specified SERVING SIZE (3rd line) - 1 1/4 in cube (30g). The serving size is not regulated, so different cheeses may offer their nutrient information based on a different serving size (makes it hard to compare products, eh? - yup... it just adds to the confusion).
Now, usually (but not necessarily) underneath the Nutrition Facts Panel is the Ingredient List. Here in Canada, it will always be listed from largest to smallest by WEIGHT (NOT VOLUME) - which for us Canadians is usually confusing because we tend to measure by volume rather than weight.... alas...
Now, look at the ingredient list... Mllk, Bactertial Culture, Salt, Rennet and/or Microbial Enzyme, COLOUR.
Did you see it?! there it is! Unfortunately when you see the word "colour" you really don't know what they have put in to the food, but a common colourant is "Annatto" (although usually "Annatto" or "Annatto colouring" is found directly on the ingredient list).
According to Wikipedia, food colouring was introduced to dairy products to give the allusion of a 'healthier product' - as grass fed milk and cheese would naturally have an orange tint... so competitors with a lower quality product would use Annatto to make consumers think they were getting a premium product. Hmm... interesting... I wonder if times have changed... ?
According to WebMD, Annatto is a plant used for a number of medicinal purposes and as food colouring. It appears to be safe, but people can have allergic reactions to it. It also may interfere with diabetic medications and influence blood sugars. But limited information appears to be available on it.
Now, buying less-processed cheeses, either organic or direct from farmers - these ones tend to not have any colour added to them... those are the ones I choose to buy for my family.
What do I suggest for your family? Ah, well, now you know so you can make the decision for yourself and buy food products that you feel comfortable with. :)
Until next blog, have a great day!
As always, if you have any questions, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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Wishing you the best of health, Eliana