Volume 12, Number 2                                         November 2, 2008

The Farmer

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Truth has teeth

By Dr. Ridgely Abdul Muímin

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us in "How to Eat to Live" that there was little pure food on the market. He taught us what to eat and what to stay away from. Following in his footsteps the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has warned us not to trust the "merchants of death" who sell us death in the form of processed food.

In the past the ratio of processed to fresh food in the grocery stores was 70% processed to 30% fresh. Now the ratio of fresh food has gone down below 20% leaving the average consumer to choose between brands of processed food which they believe is safe because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is supposedly looking after their health. However, the FDA is under the same type of corporate influence that distorts findings and pays scientists to look the other way or even fabricate results to protect their "bottom line".

Over the last few years the "Farmer Newsletter" at www.MuhammadFarms.com and the Final Call Newspaper have been on the look out for poisons within Americaís food system. In particular we exposed the health hazards of both MSG (monosodium glutamate) and HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup). Evidently the truth has teeth because the processed food industry is spending a lot of money on ads to allay the peopleís fears of these two substances. Evidently our and others efforts to warn the public have resulted in reduced consumption of those items containing these substances to the point that the industry has to launch a media blitz to confront the enemy (the consumers) at the pass.

Back in September of this year the Corn Refiners Association started a $30 million dollar national advertisement blitz to calm the consumers fears over the relationship between high fructose corn syrup, obesity and diabetes. Their ad goes like this: A mother pours a child a flavored drink, a younger woman offers her boyfriend a Popsicle ó then both are confronted about the health effects of high-fructose corn syrup.

Their response: The sweetener is made from corn, has no artificial ingredients and is fine in moderation.

Maybe it is "fine in moderation" but if you read the labels on every soda brand, except one or two small insignificant brands, you will find high fructose corn syrup. More than 10 percent of Americansí daily calories come from fructose, including high-fructose corn syrup, with sweetened beverages the largest source of the syrup, according to an Emory University study published this year.

None of the advertisements cast the manufactured sweetener as "natural," though they could, following a letter written in July by a supervisor with the Food and Drug Administrationís Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. The supervisor, Geraldine June, wrote that high-fructose corn syrup could be called "natural" because itís corn-based and contains nothing artificial or synthetic.

The letter was in response to the Sugar Association petitioning the FDA in 2006 to clarify the definition of "natural," complaining that its use in describing high-fructose corn syrup was misleading because cornís original chemical state is altered significantly during processing into syrup. Using enzymes, the cornstarch molecules are broken down into the simple sugars, glucose and fructose. A team of researchers in 2007 at the USDA, led by Dr. Meira Field, found that laboratory rats were not negatively affected when fed glucose, but when fed fructose they had anemia, high cholesterol and their hearts enlarged until they exploded.

MSG is another food additive taking it on the chin lately. Even the Food channel and the Weather Channel are carrying the ads of the soup war between Progresso (owned by General Mills) and Campbell. The Campbell Soup Company struck the first blow September, with ads in The Inquirer, the New York Times, and a slew of papers around the country.

"Bring your dictionary," one ad declared, and the ingredient list for a can of Progresso's "Italian-Style Wedding" soup, which was shown alongside the ingredient list, about half as long, for Campbell's new Select Harvest version of the same soup. The headline over Campbell's version said, "Bring your appetite."

The ad highlighted such Progresso ingredients as sodium stearoyl lactylate and hydrolyzed corn protein. "No artificial flavors. No MSG," Campbell's ad said of its Select Harvest soups. "Real ingredients. Real taste."

Progresso fired back in October, buying its own full-page comparative ads in The Inquirer, Times, and other papers where Campbell's ads had been published. The ads announced Progresso's plan to remove MSG - monosodium glutamate - from its entire line of about 80 soups.

"Campbell's has 95 soups made with MSG," the headline said. "Progresso has 26 delicious soups with no MSG. (And more to come.)" Tom Forsythe, a spokesman for General Mills, which is based in Minnesota, said Campbell was responding to Progresso's success.

"We have been focused on taste and weight management and [on] bringing innovation to the market," Forsythe said. "More than three million households have moved to Progresso soup in the last two years alone. So we do think we have Campbell's attention."

Campbell, which still claims nearly two-thirds of the ready-to-serve soup market, says Progresso's focus on MSG misses the broader point of Campbell's new product line: recipes that rely only on recognizable ingredients.

While both companies are competing to get rid of MSG in all of their soups they still try to claim that MSG is just another taste enhancer. However, what the proponents of both MSG and HFCS fail to accept is that enhancing empty calories and making people addicted to junk food are causing people to eat themselves to death. We at Muhammad Farms have seen at first hand how people respond to naturally grown and naturally ripened vegetables and fruits. The taste of what is truly natural is easily discernable over the products of this artificial world and if given the choice the people would choose natural. However, because of the preponderance of the artificial stuff on the market and the increased dependence on processed food due to laziness of the people, many young people have never had truly natural unprocessed food.

Until all of our people are awakened, we will continue to grow the best food, promote the establishment of food buying clubs across the nation and do the research to help the people take "a bite out of crime" with the teeth of truth and cut off the blood stream of the "merchants of death". Please continue to support the Three Year Economic Savings Program so that Muhammad Farms can increase your health and make the "merchants of death" sweat.