Finally! Palmer Candy Company Responds to My Letter

If you’re just joining this series, it began with: Healthy Food Tip #4: Beware of Food Companies That Lie.

This was followed by a letter to the Palmer Candy Company regarding the harmful ingredients they put in their products specifically Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs).

Most recently (after Palmer failed to respond in a timely manner) I took the liberty of rewriting their “Quality Pledge” in The Palmer Candy Company Doesn’t Care About Your Kids. 

The other day, I did finally receive the following response:

“Dear Joey:

Thank you for expressing interest in Palmer products and your disappointment that we use Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Palm Kernel).

First of all, let us assure you Palmer is very concerned about our consumers. It is our corporate policy is to produce candy novelties that are not only attractive but designed to delight the hearts of consumers during the holidays.

A fat is required in order to hold the solids together in our products and to melt in your mouth combining the flavors of the other ingredients. Since our products must be shipped, stored and eaten in a solid state, that fat must be one that is solid at room temperature and slightly above. Generally, partially hydrogenated fats provide both the stability and performance that is needed.

The category ‘partially hydrogenated,’ covers oils which are barely hydrogenated all the way to ones almost fully hydrogenated. We select oils which are as least hydrogenated as possible, yet provide the characteristics necessary to maintain the qualities in our products that our customers both expect and deserve.

We continue to look for and test alternative oils, in order to further reduce hydrogenization in our oils.

We at R.M. Palmer care about our consumers and it will continue to be our pledge to provide you with wholesome products.

Again, thank you for writing and we hope you will seek our delicious Palmer quality products in the future.

Sincerely,

R. M. PALMER COMPANY”

– – – –

Although I want you to reach your own conclusion about the response I received, I can’t keep these burning questions to myself:

If other companies, some of which are chocolate companies that require the same  “performance qualities” mentioned above, have found healthier ingredients to replace PHOs, why hasn’t Palmer?

Am I supposed to feel better because they use oils with lower amounts of PHOs? If there’s only a little poison in their candy?

If someone told you that feeding your kids a cup of Comet could kill them, would feeding them a teaspoon a week be acceptable?

And remember, you are not alone…

Related Links:
Ban Trans Fats
What’s Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils?
The latest U.S. health safety distraction ploy: Blame China!
Recovery Medicine
6 Rules To Avoid Eating Bad Fats, by Ban Trans Fats.com

Related posts:
– Healthy Food Tip #1: Decoding PLU Codes For Better Health

The Palmer Candy Company Doesn’t Care About Your Kids

Two weeks ago, I e-mailed a letter to The Palmer Candy Company regarding the harmful ingredients they put in their products — specifically Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs).

After I posted the article, Healthy Food Tip #4: Beware of Food Companies That Lie, I wanted to give them a fair chance to express their side of the story and hopefully “make it right,” as promised in their Quality Pledge.

I have received no response. Nothing — not even a piece of toxic candy. So I’ve decided to rewrite their “Quality Pledge” in an effort to make it more honest:

The Old Palmer Quality Pledge

“For Over 50 years, Palmer has been a national brand making candy for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter and Halloween. We use only the finest ingredients and are proud of all our products. If you are not satisfied, please let us know and we will make it right. We would also enjoy hearing from you for any other reason. Visit us at: www.rmpalmer.com

The New Palmer Quality Pledge

“For Over 50 years, Palmer has been a national brand making candy for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter and Halloween. We use only the CHEAPEST ingredients and are proud of all our PROFITS.

Some people ask why it took so long for us to tell the truth about the poison we put in our candies. We stand by our company’s code of ethics:

We, the upper management of Palmer Candies, are a bunch of liars. We simply don’t care about your children’s health. We’ll just keep putting Partially Hydrogenated Oils in our products, which has been linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, obesity and allergies that can cause arthritis.

And don’t get us started on how it disables your body from properly absorbing good essential fatty acids (necessary to sustain healthy life). We know consumers are too stupid to understand this stuff, so why bother to explain, let along make a change?

But we promise to make these little pieces of death look all cute so your children will find them irrestible. And we’ll just depend on parents to keep trusting us, and keep being ignorant to the crap we’re selling.

If you are not satisfied, please let us know and we will IGNORE YOU. We would MUCH RATHER not hear from you at all. Visit us at: www.rmpalmer.com

– – – –

So what do you say parents? Are you willing to send this company an e-mail asking them what gives? Maybe if enough of us speak up, the will listen.

And remember, you are not alone…

Related Links:
Ban Trans Fats
What’s Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils?
The latest U.S. health safety distraction ploy: Blame China!
Recovery Medicine
6 Rules To Avoid Eating Bad Fats, by Ban Trans Fats.com

Related posts:
– Healthy Food Tip #1: Decoding PLU Codes For Better Health

My letter to Palmer (America’s Favorite Holiday Candy)

This is the follow-up letter I sent to Palmerâ after I posted Healthy Food Tip #4: Beware of Food Companies That Lie:

– – – –

Dear Palmer:

 

I am the father of two and a daddy blogger.

 

Your Quality Pledge on your products states: “We use only the finest ingredients and are proud of all our products. If you are not satisfied, please let us know and we will make it right.”

 

Your company uses Partially Hydrogenated Oils in your products – marketed to kids! This ingredient has been banned in Europe and many states have made it illegal to use in restaurants. So the question is, how is this a quality ingredient? It’s junk and it’s hazardous to peoples’ health. How can you be proud of putting this in your products, especially considering children are the main consumers.

 

You say in your quality pledge that if a customer has a problem, you will make it right. Are you willing to take this out of your foods?

 

Thank you for your time.

 

Peace,

Joey

– – – –

I’ll report back with their response.

And remember, you are not alone…

Healthy Food Tip #4: Beware of Food Companies That Lie

This statement was on the back of a Palmerâ “Double Crisp” Chocolate Holiday Candy package I unwrapped for my kids today. Palmer is a large, popular holiday candy provider based in Pennsylvania.

Keep in mind, this story could be true of any food manufacturer (unless they’re USDA Organic). So checking the ingredients on the label is really important to the long term health of your kids (and you). 

The Palmerâ Quality Pledge
“For Over 50 years, Palmer has been a national brand making candy for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter and Halloween. We use only the finest ingredients and are proud of all our products. If you are not satisfied, please let us know and we will make it right. We would also enjoy hearing from you for any other reason. Visit us at: www.rmpalmer.com

After reading this, I thought to myself, “that’s nice.” Then I read the ingredients.

First was sugar, of the bleached/refined variety. Second was Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (PHO) which is really bad stuff (click here for details).

Cocoa, obviously a key ingredient in making chocolate, was the 6th (just behind crisped rice). The Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (PHO) was probably used to help crisp the rice, thicken the candy and achieve a richer taste.

It’s also cheap, and it helps the product have a shelf life of infinity. That’s why hundreds (possibly thousands) of companies put it in their food. Here’s a link to 6 Rules To Avoid Eating Bad Fats, by Ban Trans Fats.com 

Since PHOs are Trans Fats, how can this company claim that they are using the “finest ingredients?” This crap is bad for our kids! It’s been banned in Europe, and many states have made it illegal to use in restaurants.

Here’s a quote from my previous post about PHO’s explaining why they’re so bad:
“They cause cancer, diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and allergies that can cause arthritis. It also disables your body from properly absorbing good essential fatty acids (necessary to sustain healthy life) found largely in polyunsaturated oils. Instead of being absorbed and providing your body with what it needs to function properly, the essential fatty acids are eventually stored as fat cells, causing you to gain weight.”

You know what? I’m going to e-mail Palmer and see what they have to say. Let’s see if they keep their promise to “make it right,” because I’m not satisfied.

If we all did this with companies like Kellogs, Post, all non-organic bread companies and Pilsbury, maybe they’d finally make a change. If we stop buying their products, what choice do they have? I guess they could just think up some new lies, or some new names for trans fats (like mono-and-dyglicerides or shortening).

Even though these ingredients are listed on the label, more often than not the Nutrition Facts section of the package states “Trans Fat Og.”

And remember, you are not alone…

Related Links:
Ban Trans Fats
What’s Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils?
The latest U.S. health safety distraction ploy: Blame China!
Recovery Medicine

Related posts:
Healthy Food Tip #1: Decoding PLU Codes For Better Health

Healthy Food Tip #3: Many Top Food Brands Don’t Care About Your Family’s Health

In Healthy Food Tip #2: The Perils of Partially Hydrogenated Oils & Other Bad Food Ingredients (wow, that’s a long title), I spoke about the negative health effects of partially hydrogenated oils (PHO’s). With more and more people checking for this ingredient on product packaging, many companies have taken to changing the name to mono-and diglycerides (MAD). Don’t be fooled, it’s the same thing trans fats.

Shame on every one of these companies for keeping this harmful garbage as an ingredient. It’s banned in Europe, why not here? Shame on the FDA for allowing companies to use the PHO’s, and for allowing them to change the name and claim that there’s no trans fats in their products! We’ve trusted these companies we’ve trusted for years.

You might be surprised at some of the names I’m about to mention. Especially the ones that target our children as customers. I’ve highlighted some of the brands known to use the term mono-and diglycerides:

Kellogg’s: Pop Tarts and most of their cereals
– General Mills, as well as most other cereals
Thomas’ English Muffins & Bagels
– ALL Pillsbury products
– Practically ALL non-organic breads, bagels, rolls (including hamburger & hot dog). This includes brands like Arnold, Brownberry, Sarah Lee and every other non-organic brand I have found on my supermarket shelf
– Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
Redi-wip Real Whipped Cream: Made with real cream and real PHO’s. They claim 0 grams of trans fats, but one of the ingredients are mono-and diglycerides  how can this be legal?
– Practically ALL frozen & non-frozen pies, cakes, waffles, pancakes
– Many, many frozen foods that use oil as an ingredient us PHO’s
– Ritz, Town House, Wheat Thins, along with practically every other cracker & cookie in the snack aisle
– Shake and Bake
– Uncle Ben’s Rice
– Duncan Hines

And the list goes on. Basically, you’ve got to check everything you buy unless it’s organic. The acronyms I’ve created should make it easier for you to get started. If the label says partially hydrogenated oil (PHO) or mono-and diglycerides (MAD), put it back on the shelf. Tell your friends.

Stores like Whole Foods, or grocery stores with an organic section will provide you with just about anything you could imagine, without the junk. Yes it costs more, but aren’t our kids worth it? Plus, spending a little more money now may save us thousands in medical bills later.

One final thought: Which of these companies (if any) will step up and do what’s right? Who has the ability to look beyond short-term profits?

Maybe someone should mention to the executives that it might even be PROFITABLE to take this junk out of their food. Think of the advertising…

“Buy Kellogg’s Pop Tarts  — we’ve stopped trying to kill you and your children!”

And remember, you are not alone…

Family Blogs
blog

Healthy Food Tip #2: The Perils of Partially Hydrogenated Oils & Other Bad Food Ingredients

You may have heard about the health issues caused by a food ingredient called partially hydrogenated oil (PHO). It is found in many, many foods in your supermarket and in restaurants. Although I knew it was unhealthy, I never really knew why until I did some research for this post.

In a nutshell, PHO’s are created when hydrogen bubbles (yes, hydrogen) are passed through oil that has been heated. This removes the essential fatty acids that do a lot of good for your body, and chemically alters the oil so it becomes a trans fat, also called a saturated fat (bad, bad stuff). McDonalds is one of the better-known trans fat cases because of all the media attention.

So why are PHO’s so bad? They cause cancer, diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and allergies that can cause arthritis. It also disables your body from properly absorbing good essential fatty acids (necessary to sustain healthy life) found largely in polyunsaturated oils. Instead of being absorbed and providing your body with what it needs to function properly, the essential fatty acids are eventually stored as fat cells, causing you to gain weight.

I’m not a scientist (although I’ve been told I look like Dr. Egon Spengler from the Ghostbusters sans the hair), so I won’t pretend to be. The purpose of this post is to inform you of the ill effects of this ingredient (as well as some others). I’ve included some informative links below for those of you who are interested in a more detailed explanation of PHO’s.

But I will tell you this. Companies use this stuff because it’s a really cheap way to give things like cake, cookies, pancakes, cereal and bread a rich buttery taste WITHOUT adding butter (which is more costly). It also extends the shelf life of the product so it can sit there for months (or years) instead of a few weeks. I guess the almighty dollar is more important than the health of our children.

Now that there’s more awareness, some corporations have changed the name of these trans fatty oils to mono-diglycerides. Don’t be fooled, it’s the same thing. Shame on every company that is trying to trick us. I wonder if the owners and employees feed this crap to their families. Or do they take their profits and shop at Whole Foods?

Hey Kellogg’s, charge me an extra dollar and take that crap out of your Pop Tarts and your cereals. It’s in Froot Loops, Corn Pops and lots of other cereals I can’t think of right now (check the labels).

My question is this: who is going to step up, take responsibility and get rid of this stuff in our food? Will it be a major corporation that will set the precedent, the government, or nobody?

If that’s not enough to keep you up at night, here are a few more bad food ingredients:

Sodium Nitrite: found in bacon, hot dogs and other processed meats kids and parents like to eat. Why is it bad? It causes colon cancer and pancreatic cancer. It has been proven to cause leukemia and brain tumors in children! We eat bacon at least once a week!! At least we used to. I’ll have to check Whole Foods for organic bacon.

Naturalnews.com also lists: MSG, refined white flower, refined white sugar, aspartame, saccharin, artificial colors, chemical preservatives, color fixer chemicals and homogenized dairy fats. Visit their link, or use Google to find out more.

Special thanks to the following links which provided me with this useful information. Pleases visit them for more details:
Ban Trans Fats
What’s Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils?
The latest U.S. health safety distraction ploy: Blame China!
Recovery Medicine

Related posts:
Healthy Food Tip #1: Decoding PLU Codes For Better Health

And remember, you are not alone…

Family Blogs
blog

Healthy Food Tip #1: Decoding PLU Codes for Better Health

Last week I was listening to Wisconsin Public Radio. There’s a show I enjoy on my drive home called: At Issue with Ben Merens. The featured guest was a man named Jeff Cox, former editor of Organic Gardening magazine. 

I learned some very interesting information about the PLU Codes of produce that I’d like to share. PLU Codes are usually located on the tiny stickers appearing on fruits and veggies. And they hold a wealth of information that is in direct relation to the quality of the food and your health.

There are three types of codes:

1) Five digit codes beginning with the #9 mean the item is organic. No pesticides or chemicals are used in the growing of the product. This is our least toxic option.

2) If the code begins with a #8, that means the product has been genetically modified. This is bad and should be avoided.

3) Any four digit code means that the produce has been grown the traditional, standard way. Pesticides and chemicals are used to grow them. But they’re not genetically modified.

I never had a clue about the PLU (no pun intended), but this info seems very useful in providing our families with healthier foods.

One of the callers, a college student, was concerned about eating healthy. But she was on super-tight budget, so she wanted to know the top 5 foods to buy if she were going to go organic in a small way.

Jeff Cox mentioned the following foods, stating that if we could all eat these five organically grown foods, instead of their non-organic counterparts, we would all be “way ahead of the game.” They are (in no particular order):

1) Beef
2) Milk (GMO Hormones, also known as the Artificial Growth Hormone, increases milk production by 10%. But it is very bad for the cows who are treated with it. Guess what? It’s not good for us either.)
3) Strawberries
4) Apples
5) Bell Peppers

In these times of economic struggle, where the price of gas is quickly approaching $4 per gallon, it might be tempting to overlook the benefits of making organic choices part of our lives. Spending more doesn’t seem feasible. But the thought of making very few, specific changes doesn’t seem so bad. And the thought of providing healthier food for my wife and kids? Priceless.

I hope this helps!

And remember, you are not alone… 

Related posts:
Healthy Food Tip #2: The Perils of Partially Hydrogenated Oils and Other Bad Food Ingredients

Links to more information:
Wikipedia’s PLU Page