VP Biden ~~ on voting rights


Democrats
One of the most important things we do as Democrats is protect the right to vote. We’re the political party working to expand that right, so votingcan be easier and more secure, and so that more voices are heard — not fewer.That’s why Democrats started the Voter Expansion Project. We’re taking everything we’ve learned and built from years of fighting Republican attempts to block access to voting, and using it to help even more people vote.

And you know what? When more Americans vote, Americans elect more representatives to stand up and fight for their families, and protect their future. In other words, they elect more Democrats.

I’ll turn it over to our favorite VPOTUS to tell you more about our project — then please let him know you’re with him:

I’ll be sending you more information on the Voter Expansion Project shortly, and I look forward to working with you.

Thanks,

Pratt

Pratt Wiley
National Director of Voter Expansion
Democratic National Committee

P.S. — Speaking of Vice President Biden, he just announced that he’s going to be using Twitter a lot more during these midterm elections. Be sure to follow @JoeBiden!

more from Writer Justin Gammill … “natural flavorings”


Remember the Beaver Butt Juice? Don’t Shoot the Messenger… Again.

Writer Justin Gammill recently spilled the beans (not the vanilla kind) on where some of your “natural flavorings” for say, vanilla ice cream, may come from. This is round two of the findings and let’s just say, you may be surprised to know what may be included in your favorite Easter treats.

for complete article …click on graphicbeever-sac-400x400

Ryan’s Poverty …


By

Paul Ryan’s Latest Rhetoric On Poverty Doesn’t Add Up To Any New Ideas

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced a new anti-poverty plan in a speech in Washington today. But while Ryan is trying out new rhetoric around the issue of poverty, his “American idea” is full of the same empty promises he’s been making for years, this time with Ryan Rhetoric 2.0. His plan to fight poverty doesn’t include a fair wage for hard work and would dismantle the safety net. We need an economy that works for everyone, and Ryan’s cuts to low and moderate income Americans are not what this country needs to continue to prosper.

Here are a few things we know about his plan:

1. The Math Doesn’t Add Up. Ryan claims his plan is deficit-neutral. That’s a 180 degree turn from his budget proposal from earlier this year, which gets over two-thirds of its cuts from programs helping low and moderate income families. So either the plan is a dressed-up version of his budget, or he has abandoned his goal to balance the budget.

2. “Consolidation.” Ryan’s rhetoric calls it consolidation, hoping you won’t notice he is actually cutting programs helping low and moderate income Americans. And we already know that this strategy doesn’t work. Ryan holds up the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program as a model reform of the safety net. But under TANF, extreme poverty rose, fewer families received help, and states were unable to respond to the Great Recession. Consolidating multiple programs into a single funding stream would carry these same risks. In fact, Ryan undermines his own argument by proposing to eliminate an already-existing block grant, the Social Services Block Grant, calling it “ineffective” (which, by the way, helps approximately 23 million people).

3. Not Every Idea Ryan Proposes Is Without Merit. Depending on the details, ideas such as reforming our criminal justice system to give people the opportunity to rebuild their lives have a lot of merit and could attract bipartisan support. In fact, Ryan is not a leader on this issue, which has already had a bipartisan team of Senate champions in Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). On the whole, however, his plan would exacerbate poverty and inequality.

If Ryan were serious about cutting poverty, here are three policy ideas he could embrace — taken from a column by the Center for American Progress’s Melissa Boteach:

1. Increase The Minimum Wage. Ryan’s speech comes on the day marking five years since the last federal minimum wage increase. Progressive leaders and advocates around the country are marking the occasion by taking the “Live The Wage” Challenge — walking in the shoes of a minimum wage worker by living on the average minimum wage budget of $77 for one week. It’s simply not enough to live on. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 could lift as many as 4.6 million people out of poverty.

2. Bring Our Work And Family Policies Into The 21st Century. Women are now the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of families, but our workplace policies and public policies don’t reflect this change. One thing Rep. Ryan could do in this realm is support the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, or FAMILY Act, which would create a national paid leave program and stop the United States from being the only developed country that with no paid maternity leave. This is a critical poverty issue, as having a child is a major cause of poverty for families that can’t afford to leave the workforce.

3. Support High-Quality Child Care And Early Education. Poor families who pay out of pocket for child care spend approximately one-third of their incomes just to be able to work. Ryan could support policies to provide greater economic mobility for low-income families, like Head Start. He could also sign onto the bipartisan Strong Start for America’s Children Act, which would invest in preschool, quality child care for infants and toddlers, and home visiting as a resource to pregnant women and mothers with young babies, simultaneously helping parents work while boosting the future economic mobility of young children.

Instead, just a day after his speech, he and his House Republican colleagues will vote tomorrow to exclude millions of low-income working families from the Child Tax Credit, pushing millions of children deeper into poverty.

BOTTOM LINE: Addressing poverty with more than rhetoric is the challenge our country faces. America was not built on rhetoric, it was built on an idea that if we came together and worked hard, we could create a nation full of opportunity. There are policy proposals that exist that would help us do that — create an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest. Paul Ryan’s latest rhetoric on poverty is not the answer we need.

You Put WHAT in My Ice Cream??


You Put WHAT in My Ice Cream??

 

by Justin Gammill
After all of the research that has gone into the food articles I’ve been writing, I have to admit that there are more things on my “List of Stuff to Never Put in my Mouth” than there has ever been. Razor blades, small woodland creatures, marbles, and burning embers are now joined by anything from McDonalds, Subway, Burger King, or Arby’s. Admittedly, that’s probably a good thing, but one such item that got added to the list recently really hurt.

 

See, out there in the food universe, there is a fun little ingredient called Castoreum. A seemingly innocent enough looking word since there is no questionable “-izine” at the end of it. “Hey can you pass the Castoreum?” sounds perfectly normal. Well, take it from me, you don’t want to pass the Castoreum, you want to throw it out the nearest window … possibly after lighting it on fire.

Castoreum is literally a secretion from the anal glands of a mature North American beaver. For the sake of conversation, we’ll just go ahead and call it Beaver Butt Juice, because that makes me giggle. I wish I was making this up, because the idea of putting beaver butt juice on anything other than a beaver recliner or beaver toilet paper is pretty disgusting. Unfortunately it’s a common ingredient whose most common use is for vanilla flavoring. Normally you’d expect people to try to prevent the anal secretions from a beaver from getting into your food, but not in this case. Beaver butt juice is FDA approved, and is listed as “natural flavoring” on most food labels. I can respect that, “natural flavoring” sounds better than “exudate from the castor sacs of the mature North American Beaver”. But wait, my beloved Blue Bell has “Natural flavoring” listed in its ingredients … Have I been Beaver Butt Juiced? I’ll never know!

Well, It’s official Blue Bell Ice Cream, you’ve broken my heart…

I guess I shouldn’t single you out Blue Bell, you might not be the only one. Those crazy creamers Ben and Jerry might use it. Those silly Danish-sounding guys over at Häagen-Dazs might use it. Heck, even the weirdo’s over at Breyers might be slinging beaver butt juice around like Columbian drug lords. But I thought we had something special Blue Bell. You were always there in my childhood; at birthdays, holidays, school functions, everything. You covered my brownie. You accompanied my cake. You cooled me on hot days. Only for me to discover that after all these years you may have been beaver butt juiced up.

This is one of those rare chances in life where I will take the synthetic man-made alternative, Vanillin in this case, over the “All Natural” approach. Even with this being said, I guarantee you that there is some hippy out there that will read this and say “Wow, I’m only eating Blue Bell now because it’s all natural”. Have at it, buddy, the Vegans and I will pass. Well, the vegan is going to pass no matter what unless it’s soy ice cream; because heaven forbid we torture the poor cows by milking them. I don’t know if the beavers enjoy being “juiced”, I haven’t heard back from their press agent, but the vegans usually don’t think anything is good. Ever. And I’m pretty sure they hate puppies, freedom, and roller coasters too.

Random Side Note: Next time you think you hate your job, at that very moment there is a guy squeezing juice out of a beaver’s butt so that your ice cream is extra vanilla-y. All the sudden being the head cashier at the Dollar Store isn’t so bad…

Beaver Gland Castoreum Not Used in Vanilla Flavorings According to Manufacturers ~


by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

A reader wrote to The VRG in April 2011 about a comment made by British chef, Jamie Oliver, on The Late Show with David Letterman. Mr. Oliver said that vanilla flavoring in ice cream is made with castoreum, a substance derived from beaver anal glands. The reader asked us if there was any truth to this statement.

The VRG asked five companies that manufacture both natural and artificial vanilla, vanilla extracts, concentrates, distillates, powders, and flavors. All five unanimously stated that castoreum is not used today in any form of vanilla sold for human food use.

One company, in business for ninety years, informed The VRG that they have never used castoreum in their products. “At one time,” we were told by a senior level employee at this company, “to the best of my knowledge, it was used to make fragrance and still may be.”

Companies directed us to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) which they all said they follow strictly and exclusively: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=169.175

To quote the CFR, Title 21, Part 169, Subpart B, Section175 (cited as 21CFR169.175) on this point:

“…[v]anilla extract is the solution in aqueous ethyl alcohol of the sapid and odorous principles extractable from vanilla beans. In vanilla extract the content of ethyl alcohol is not less than 35 percent by volume…The vanilla constituent may be extracted directly from vanilla beans or it may be added in the form of concentrated vanilla extract or concentrated vanilla flavoring or vanilla flavoring concentrated to the semisolid form called vanilla oleo-resin. Vanilla extract may contain one or more of the following optional ingredients:
(1) Glycerin. (2) Propylene glycol. (3) Sugar (including invert sugar). (4) Dextrose. (5) Corn sirup (including dried corn sirup). (VRG Note: spelling appears exactly as is from the original.)
(b)(1) The specified name of the food is ‘Vanilla extract’ or ‘Extract of vanilla’.
(2) When the vanilla extract is made in whole or in part by dilution of vanilla oleoresin, concentrated vanilla extract, or concentrated vanilla flavoring, the label shall bear the statement ‘Made from ___’ or ‘Made in part from ___’, the blank being filled in with the name or names ‘vanilla oleoresin’, ‘concentrated vanilla extract’, or ‘concentrated vanilla flavoring’, as appropriate…”

Section 177 of this subpart in the CFR Title 21 specifies requirements for vanilla flavoring:

“…[v]anilla flavoring conforms to the definition and standard of identity and is subject to any requirement for label statement of ingredients prescribed for vanilla extract by 169.175, except that its content of ethyl alcohol is less than 35 percent by volume.

(b) The specified name of the food is Vanilla flavoring.”

A major ingredients supplier that sells both natural and artificial vanilla extracts, concentrates, distillates, and flavors to many food companies told us this about some of their vanilla flavorings: “The flavor itself contains proprietary information that cannot be shared but it’s made from a combination of raw materials, such as vanillin, vanitrope, heliotropin, and maltol.” (VRG Note: All ingredients in this list are either all-vegetable or synthetic.) We were also informed by this company when The VRG asked specifically about castoreum in food ingredients: “…It’s not a common raw material that is used and we don’t use it, so I can safely say that our natural vanilla flavors do not contain any animal juices. All vanilla extracts are free of it, too, wherever you go.”

What is true is that castoreum is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and so approved for use in foods by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (A few other animal-derived ingredients including ambergris (whale-derived) and musk (civet-derived) also have GRAS status and so may be ingredients in products intended for humans): http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=582.50

According to G.A. Burdock in a 2007 article published in the International Journal of Toxicology, “Castoreum extract… is a natural product prepared by direct hot-alcohol extraction of castoreum, the dried and macerated castor sac scent glands (and their secretions) from the male or female beaver. It has been used extensively in perfumery and has been added to food as a flavor ingredient for at least 80 years. Both the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regard castoreum extract as generally recognized as safe (GRAS).”

When castoreum occurs in a food, it does not have to be listed by its name. It is considered a “natural flavor” and may be so designated on a food package according to the CFR: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=501.22

Readers who are doubtful of a particular brand listing “natural flavors” as ingredients are encouraged to call the food’s manufacturer and specifically request detail on which “natural flavor(s)” is/are present in the food.

For updates on vanilla flavor and other food ingredients, subscribe to our free e-newsletter at http://www.vrg.org/vrgnews/
Readers may wish to purchase our Guide to Food Ingredients available at http://www.vrg.org/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=8

To support VRG research, go to https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565

The contents of this blog, website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

- See more at: http://www.vrg.org/blog/2011/06/17/beaver-gland-castoreum-not-used-in-vanilla-flavorings-according-to-manufacturers/#sthash.W09gMLrl.dpuf

by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

A reader wrote to The VRG in April 2011 about a comment made by British chef, Jamie Oliver, on The Late Show with David Letterman. Mr. Oliver said that vanilla flavoring in ice cream is made with castoreum, a substance derived from beaver anal glands. The reader asked us if there was any truth to this statement.

The VRG asked five companies that manufacture both natural and artificial vanilla, vanilla extracts, concentrates, distillates, powders, and flavors. All five unanimously stated that castoreum is not used today in any form of vanilla sold for human food use.

One company, in business for ninety years, informed The VRG that they have never used castoreum in their products. “At one time,” we were told by a senior level employee at this company, “to the best of my knowledge, it was used to make fragrance and still may be.”

Companies directed us to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) which they all said they follow strictly and exclusively: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=169.175

To quote the CFR, Title 21, Part 169, Subpart B, Section175 (cited as 21CFR169.175) on this point:

“…[v]anilla extract is the solution in aqueous ethyl alcohol of the sapid and odorous principles extractable from vanilla beans. In vanilla extract the content of ethyl alcohol is not less than 35 percent by volume…The vanilla constituent may be extracted directly from vanilla beans or it may be added in the form of concentrated vanilla extract or concentrated vanilla flavoring or vanilla flavoring concentrated to the semisolid form called vanilla oleo-resin. Vanilla extract may contain one or more of the following optional ingredients:
(1) Glycerin. (2) Propylene glycol. (3) Sugar (including invert sugar). (4) Dextrose. (5) Corn sirup (including dried corn sirup). (VRG Note: spelling appears exactly as is from the original.)
(b)(1) The specified name of the food is ‘Vanilla extract’ or ‘Extract of vanilla’.
(2) When the vanilla extract is made in whole or in part by dilution of vanilla oleoresin, concentrated vanilla extract, or concentrated vanilla flavoring, the label shall bear the statement ‘Made from ___’ or ‘Made in part from ___’, the blank being filled in with the name or names ‘vanilla oleoresin’, ‘concentrated vanilla extract’, or ‘concentrated vanilla flavoring’, as appropriate…”

Section 177 of this subpart in the CFR Title 21 specifies requirements for vanilla flavoring:

“…[v]anilla flavoring conforms to the definition and standard of identity and is subject to any requirement for label statement of ingredients prescribed for vanilla extract by 169.175, except that its content of ethyl alcohol is less than 35 percent by volume.

(b) The specified name of the food is Vanilla flavoring.”

A major ingredients supplier that sells both natural and artificial vanilla extracts, concentrates, distillates, and flavors to many food companies told us this about some of their vanilla flavorings: “The flavor itself contains proprietary information that cannot be shared but it’s made from a combination of raw materials, such as vanillin, vanitrope, heliotropin, and maltol.” (VRG Note: All ingredients in this list are either all-vegetable or synthetic.) We were also informed by this company when The VRG asked specifically about castoreum in food ingredients: “…It’s not a common raw material that is used and we don’t use it, so I can safely say that our natural vanilla flavors do not contain any animal juices. All vanilla extracts are free of it, too, wherever you go.”

What is true is that castoreum is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and so approved for use in foods by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (A few other animal-derived ingredients including ambergris (whale-derived) and musk (civet-derived) also have GRAS status and so may be ingredients in products intended for humans): http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=582.50

According to G.A. Burdock in a 2007 article published in the International Journal of Toxicology, “Castoreum extract… is a natural product prepared by direct hot-alcohol extraction of castoreum, the dried and macerated castor sac scent glands (and their secretions) from the male or female beaver. It has been used extensively in perfumery and has been added to food as a flavor ingredient for at least 80 years. Both the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regard castoreum extract as generally recognized as safe (GRAS).”

When castoreum occurs in a food, it does not have to be listed by its name. It is considered a “natural flavor” and may be so designated on a food package according to the CFR: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=501.22

Readers who are doubtful of a particular brand listing “natural flavors” as ingredients are encouraged to call the food’s manufacturer and specifically request detail on which “natural flavor(s)” is/are present in the food.

For updates on vanilla flavor and other food ingredients, subscribe to our free e-newsletter at http://www.vrg.org/vrgnews/
Readers may wish to purchase our Guide to Food Ingredients available at http://www.vrg.org/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=8

To support VRG research, go to https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565

The contents of this blog, website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

- See more at: http://www.vrg.org/blog/2011/06/17/beaver-gland-castoreum-not-used-in-vanilla-flavorings-according-to-manufacturers/#sthash.W09gMLrl.dpuf

beever-sac-400x400Posted on June 17, 2011 by The VRG Blog Editor

VRG Research Director

A reader wrote to The VRG in April 2011 about a comment made by British chef, Jamie Oliver, on The Late Show with David Letterman. Mr. Oliver said that vanilla flavoring in ice cream is made with castoreum, a substance derived from beaver anal glands. The reader asked us if there was any truth to this statement.

The VRG asked five companies that manufacture both natural and artificial vanilla, vanilla extracts, concentrates, distillates, powders, and flavors. All five unanimously stated that castoreum is not used today in any form of vanilla sold for human food use.

One company, in business for ninety years, informed The VRG that they have never used castoreum in their products. “At one time,” we were told by a senior level employee at this company, “to the best of my knowledge, it was used to make fragrance and still may be.”

Companies directed us to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) which they all said they follow strictly and exclusively: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=169.175

To quote the CFR, Title 21, Part 169, Subpart B, Section175 (cited as 21CFR169.175) on this point:

   “…[v]anilla extract is the solution in aqueous ethyl alcohol of the sapid and odorous principles extractable from vanilla beans. In vanilla extract the content of ethyl alcohol is not less than 35 percent by volume…The vanilla constituent may be extracted directly from vanilla beans or it may be added in the form of concentrated vanilla extract or concentrated vanilla flavoring or vanilla flavoring concentrated to the semisolid form called vanilla oleo-resin. Vanilla extract may contain one or more of the following optional ingredients:

   (1) Glycerin. (2) Propylene glycol. (3) Sugar (including invert sugar). (4) Dextrose. (5) Corn sirup (including dried corn sirup). (VRG Note: spelling appears exactly as is from the original.)

   (b)(1) The specified name of the food is ‘Vanilla extract’ or ‘Extract of vanilla’.

   (2) When the vanilla extract is made in whole or in part by dilution of vanilla oleoresin, concentrated vanilla extract, or concentrated vanilla flavoring, the label shall bear the statement ‘Made from ___’ or ‘Made in part from ___’, the blank being filled in with the name or names ‘vanilla oleoresin’, ‘concentrated vanilla extract’, or ‘concentrated vanilla flavoring’, as appropriate…”

Section 177 of this subpart in the CFR Title 21 specifies requirements for vanilla flavoring:

“…[v]anilla flavoring conforms to the definition and standard of identity and is subject to any requirement for label statement of ingredients prescribed for vanilla extract by 169.175, except that its content of ethyl alcohol is less than 35 percent by volume.

(b) The specified name of the food is Vanilla flavoring.”

A major ingredients supplier that sells both natural and artificial vanilla extracts, concentrates, distillates, and flavors to many food companies told us this about some of their vanilla flavorings: “The flavor itself contains proprietary information that cannot be shared but it’s made from a combination of raw materials, such as vanillin, vanitrope, heliotropin, and maltol.” (VRG Note: All ingredients in this list are either all-vegetable or synthetic.) We were also informed by this company when The VRG asked specifically about castoreum in food ingredients: “…It’s not a common raw material that is used and we don’t use it, so I can safely say that our natural vanilla flavors do not contain any animal juices. All vanilla extracts are free of it, too, wherever you go.”

What is true is that castoreum is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and so approved for use in foods by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (A few other animal-derived ingredients including ambergris (whale-derived) and musk (civet-derived) also have GRAS status and so may be ingredients in products intended for humans): http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=582.50

According to G.A. Burdock in a 2007 article published in the International Journal of Toxicology, “Castoreum extract… is a natural product prepared by direct hot-alcohol extraction of castoreum, the dried and macerated castor sac scent glands (and their secretions) from the male or female beaver. It has been used extensively in perfumery and has been added to food as a flavor ingredient for at least 80 years. Both the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regard castoreum extract as generally recognized as safe (GRAS).”

When castoreum occurs in a food, it does not have to be listed by its name. It is considered a “natural flavor” and may be so designated on a food package according to the CFR: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=501.22

Readers who are doubtful of a particular brand listing “natural flavors” as ingredients are encouraged to call the food’s manufacturer and specifically request detail on which “natural flavor(s)” is/are present in the food.

 For updates on vanilla flavor and other food ingredients, subscribe to our free e-newsletter at http://www.vrg.org/vrgnews/

Readers may wish to purchase our Guide to Food Ingredients available at http://www.vrg.org/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=8

 To support VRG research, go to https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565

 The contents of this blog, website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

 

 

- See more at: http://www.vrg.org/blog/2011/06/17/beaver-gland-castoreum-not-used-in-vanilla-flavorings-according-to-manufacturers/#sthash.W09gMLrl.dpuf by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS