by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Fruit

May 8 2019

The number of cherries in pie: a regulatory priority?

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I hear things like this.  According to a report from the Associated Press, the FDA plans to follow the Trump administration’s deregulaory agenda by getting rid of the standard of identity rules for frozen cherry pies.

The rules currently require commercial frozen cherry pies to be filled with “mature, pitted, stemmed cherries that are fresh, frozen, and/or canned,” to contain at least 25% cherries by weight, and to have no more than 15% of the cherries with blemishes.

In October, then-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb sent out this tweet.

In a June email, the FDA said it planned to revoke the standard for frozen cherry pies in April. It has kept its word.

My questions:

  • Without the standard of identity, are we likely to have more or fewer cherries in frozen cherry pie?  [Want to make a bet?  I’m guessing fewer].
  • What lobbying group got the FDA to do this, and why did the FDA agree?
  • Did ex-Commissioner Gottlieb really consider this a top priority for FDA? [If so, we are in even worse trouble than even I imagined].

I’m stuck on regulatory priority.  Food safety, anyone?

As for the origins of the cherry pie count, see this excellent piece in the Washington Post by historian Xaq Frohlich.

 

Share |
Tags: ,
Feb 18 2019

Industry-sponsored research of the week: Cherries

In my book, Unsavory Truth, I mention that I often receive letters from food trade associations requesting research proposals aimed at proving the benefits of their products.

I point out that there is a big difference between calling for research to prove benefits, and open-ended basic research aimed at discovering what the actual effects might be.

Here is a delicious example from the Cherry Research Committee of the Cherry Marketing Institute:

All proposed research should be hypothesis-driven, and would strive to establish an association or to document a direct relationship between the consumption of tart cherry phytonutrients (when consumed as whole tart cherries or processed tart cherry products) and reduced risk, prevention, or improved treatment of a disease or condition of significant public interest. The study design should also examine a possible
cellular/molecular mechanism of the treatment effects.

And here’s an example of cherry-benefit research in action:

Title: Effects of Tart Cherry Juice on Biomarkers of Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Older Adults.  Chai SCDavis KZhang ZZha LKirschner KF.  Nutrients. 2019 Jan 22;11(2). 

Conclusion: “The present study suggests that the ability of tart cherry juice to reduce systolic BP [blood pressure] and LDL cholesterol [the bad kind], in part, may be due to its anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. Larger and longer follow-up studies are needed to confirm these findings.”

Grant support: Cherry Research Committee of the Cherry Marketing Institute

Comment:  As the press release explains:

Montmorency tart cherry juice helped lower systolic blood pressure and LDL or “bad” cholesterol in older adults by reducing certain biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress in older adults, according to a new study published in Nutrients. Larger and longer follow-up studies are needed to confirm these findings.

I posted another cherry-funded study early in December.

I love cherries.  They are delicious, but this is marketing research, not basic science.

…Thanks to Casey Palmer for sending all this.