Your ‘Craft’ Rye Whiskey Is Probably From a Factory Distillery in Indiana. The Daily Beast covers the phenomenon of a large list of whiskey brands serving only as bottlers, purchasing their spirits from a "hulking factory in Indiana". Thirdhand hattip to blogger SKU for leading the charge on this. [more inside]
You Just Threw Out a Perfectly Good Gallon of Milk Because You Think the "Sell By" Date Means Something. Food waste is a huge problem. Globally, one-third of all food produced goes uneaten. In the US, that's up to 40% (pdf report). What can we do to prevent labeling confusion? And the most important question... should you eat it or is it expired?
The US Food and Drug Administration started regulating the labeling of food, beverages, and medicines after the passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, and added food coloring and cosmetics with the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. They have just released a new website, the FDA Notices of Judgment Collection, 1906-1963, containing data from thousands of cases of mislabeled or misadvertised products and drugs, available in multiple forms (text, PDF, metadata XML, .TIF image, etc.), with searchable archives. Poking around in the data will yield information on cases ranging from misbranding methamphetamine tablets, to quack "Film-O-Sonic" devices, to bacteria-laden unproven abortifacients sold over the counter, to purported "4-way" cures for baldness, to hunks of radium sold for putting in your drinking water to "stimulate the sex organs" (judged against for stating an unproven use, not for actual danger of product). Organized by the FDA's history office, the new database is a fascinating resource for historians, public safety advocates, researchers, and librarians.
"Try Legal Weed" is the slogan printed on bottle caps made by Weed, California brewer Mount Shasta Brewing Company's latest microbrewed lager. The ATF has ordered the brewer not to use the caps, as they may "mislead consumers about the characteristics of the alcoholic beverage." [more inside]
Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear. "Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics–ruthless legal battles against small farmers–is its decades-long history of toxic contamination."
The Pennsylvania government is worried that consumers will be “confused” by labels such as “pesticide free”, “antibiotic free”, and “contains no artificial hormones”. After all, doing so might seem to imply that products without such labels might be unsafe! PA Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff is very concerned about that sort of “confusion”, which surely has nothing to do with the fact that he owns a 600-acre dairy farm. Oddly, while Mr. Wolff said his office had received many calls from confused consumers, his office was unable to come up with the name of even one consumer who had complained.
Nestle, the makers of Poland Spring water are being sued for selling their bottled water as "naturally purified" or "spring water" when in fact it does not meet the scientific criteria for spring water, is worse than some area tap water, and is sourced near "asphalt parking lots or other areas of dangerous contamination".