UNITED STATES: ‘ Can We Trust Companies Like Campbell’s Soup Brand Products ‘

#AceFoodNews – UNITED STATES – August 26 – It’s really been a whirlwind of activity over here while we continue to get to the bottom of what’s really in a bottle of V8. I’d like to give you a quick run-down of what happened since I published my Campbell’s V8 Juice post on Tuesday, so that you have the complete picture and know what to do from here on out to hold Campbell’s accountable for their lack of transparency and the huge mistakes they are making that have confused many of us.wahol-campbell-soup-cans

On the morning of August 5th, 2014, I was alerted that a petition was launched on Change.org to remove animal products from V8 juice, as they had publicly admitted to a vegan blogger on Twitter that the natural flavors in their products may contain meat or dairy:

Twitter Campbells

I was alarmed to find out that V8 “100% Vegetable Juice” could contain something other than vegetables. Not sure if it was true, I asked one of my team members to contact Campbell’s to double check and ask them to verify this information. We used the chat function on their website, so that we’d have a written record, but we also called them. As you can see, at around 11:30 a.m. EST, August 5th, Campbell’s confirmed that the information given on Twitter was true:

———: Hi there. I read that you recently Tweeted that the “natural flavors” in V-8 Juice may contain “meat/seafood/poultry/dairy”. Is that true?
**Welcome to Campbell’s Chat! An agent will be with you shortly.
Thank you for holding, you are speaking with Kelly.
Kelly: Thank you for taking the time to contact Campbell today ———. I will be happy to help.
Kelly: That is a great question! Yes this is true.
———: Are there any more ingredients that may contain animal parts?
———: Can you clarify if it is meat or dairy?
Kelly: The term “flavoring” refers to the oils or extracts that are obtained from spices and herbs. Natural flavoring may also include onion or garlic derivatives, as well as flavor derived from fruits, vegetables and their juices, or edible parts of plants. Other sources may include meat, seafood, poultry or dairy products, whose significant function in the food is flavoring rather than nutrition.
Kelly: I cannot clarify, However I can tell you if there was dairy in the Natural Flavoring, It would be listed in parenthesis after Natural Flavoring, because dairy is a top 8 allergen.

Campbell’s went on to say the natural flavours are “proprietary” and may contain meat:

———: Okay, so it would be from either meat, poultry, or seafood?
Kelly: Correct. It can be.
———: Are you saying that you don’t know if it does?
Kelly: I’m not saying that. It can be derived from Meat, Seafood, Poultry or Dairy.
Kelly: It is a proprietary recipe.
———: So, you can’t disclose which it is made from?
Kelly: That is correct. However, as I stated, if there was an allergen, That would have to be listed after the Natural Flavoring.

Campbell’s responds after consumers become outraged…

I also couldn’t find any mention of the fact that V8 “100% Vegetable Juice” may contain animal products on their website or their labels. I know that there are many vegans and vegetarians that have been consuming V8 juice for years without realizing that it could contain meat-derived flavorings, and I had to share this information. Within minutes of publishing my blog post on this issue, many of you were very upset, commented on V8′sFacebook page and signed the petition on Change.org, demanding that Campbell’s remove animal products from V8. As reported in Politico, after I shared the petition, it “zoomed from less than 200 signatures to nearly 6,000 in just a few hours” (and it now has over 11,000 signatures). This surely got Campbell’s attention and they made an attempt to respond, by leaving a short comment on my website:

“Hi there, It’s Anna here from Campbell Soup. We saw this post and wanted to set the record straight. V8 100% Vegetable Juice IS vegetarian and uses natural flavourings derived from plants and vegetables. Also, our Tomato Soup is vegetarian. Our care team got this information wrong on Twitter. We apologize for any confusion”.

This comment brought up more questions than it answered.

Just a few short hours ago they told us that V8 may contain meat, but now it is all plant/vegetable derived? Your customer service got it “wrong on Twitter”, although they confirmed this was “true” this morning via their website and on the phone? Why are your customer service agents giving inaccurate information to your customers? What other product questions are getting answered incorrectly?

If V8 is vegetarian, why isn’t it vegan?

Just because it is vegetarian, does not mean that it does not contain any animal products. Vegan foods shouldn’t contain any meat or animal bi-products, including dairy, eggs, and gelatin – so what does V8 contain that prohibits it from being vegan?

According to Karen C. Duester, MS, RD, the editor of FoodLabels.com: “Neither FDA nor FTC has any labeling regulations for vegetarian or vegan statements, other than being “truthful and not misleading.” A clarifying “contains honey” statement near the “vegan” call-out would help to ensure that the manufacturer is making truthful and not misleading statements while giving consumers the information they need to make informed decisions”.

We are looking for the truth, and it really should not be that hard.

Even if you are not a vegan, can you really trust a company that gives conflicting information about their ingredients to their customers? For a company that has spent nearly ONE MILLION DOLLARS to fight transparency in food ingredient labeling, you’d think they would have spent that money in a positive way, possibly by creating better products and training their employees so that customers could get accurate and honest information. Mary Tully recently updated her petition, which sums up how Campbell’s actions are untrustworthy:

“How does a food company’s customer care team (they make the food, they don’t just sell it like a supermarket) not know something so basic as whether or not some of its most popular products have animal ingredients?… If their own staff doesn’t know what’s in these products, how do they expect consumers to trust them?… Trust has been lost. Campbell really screwed up. I don’t know why we are expected to trust them now”.

Yesterday, I responded to Campbell’s by email, this is what I wrote:

“I am still confused, just this morning, I received a chat response on your website from “Kelly” indicating that your natural flavorings could have animal products and the statements on Twitter were true. Are you going to issue a formal response to this matter? What EXACTLY are “natural flavorings derived from plants and vegetables”? What process(es) are used to “derive” these flavorings? You say the V8 and Tomato Soup are vegetarian, but you don’t mention if they are vegan, are they? I’d like to share your response with my readers.”

Then, I received this response from Campbell’s:

“To clarify, both V8 100% Vegetable Juice and Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup are suitable for vegetarians. The information provided by our care team wasn’t accurate and we’ve updated the way we respond to these enquiries. The flavoring in V8 100% Vegetable Juice product is a blend of herb and citrus oils and in Tomato Soup it’s a blend of herb oils. Both these blends help give the products their unique tastes. We don’t currently market any of our products as vegan.”

Our Path Forward

I responded back to Campbell’s and asked them to provide a complete list of all of their products that may contain animal products hidden within their flavours. We’ve also asked them to explain why V8 is not vegan. If it’s not, we want to know what animal products or by products are in V8 juice that prevent it from being vegan. Again, you’d think that a product that says 100% vegetable juice, should just be made from vegetables, right?

Please let Campbell’s know that this lack of transparency is unacceptable. Hold them accountable and ask them to provide clear labelling for vegetarian and vegan products and to provide the public with a complete list of products that may contain animal-derived ingredients.

If you haven’t already, go to Campbell’s Soup Facebook page here or Twitter page here and leave a comment.

Feel Free To Call Campbell’s Customer Service Line: 1-800-257-8443



UNITED STATES: ‘ Do You Really Know What is in your Pumpkin Spice Latte? ‘

#AceFoodNews – UNITED STATES – August 26 – I really love the smell of pumpkin (especially in the Fall), but, there is at least one seasonal pumpkin treat that I will never order and that’s the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. With more than 200 million sold to date, these drinks sell like hotcakes this time of year, and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said it “still ranks as its most popular seasonal beverage”. But, does anyone know what’s really in it?

I found out, and I am going to break it all down for you here:


But first, I want to mention that I get riled up when restaurants refuse to disclose their ingredients, because we have the right to know what we are eating and drinking. I have tried for years to get ingredient information from Starbucks and it’s been a bit frustrating to say the least. If you have ever tried emailing their customer service for ingredients you probably know what I am talking about.

This week, we emailed them asking for the complete list of ingredients in the Pumpkin Spice Latte and this was their response:

“The Pumpkin Spice Latte is of pumpkin and traditional fall spice flavours combined with espresso and steamed milk, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice. If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please don’t hesitate to get in touch”.

After several more emails back and forth, they were still refusing to share the ingredients:

While we understand that some customers would like to know the nutrition information for their specific customized beverage, unfortunately we are unable to provide this level of detail for every beverage customization request. The beverage information that is available on Starbucks.com reflects the beverage offerings currently on our menu with the most common customization options.

For a company that prides itself in its transparency, it’s unbelievable to me that this is how they respond to customers who ask for information about what’s in their drinks. After really putting the pressure on, I was finally able to get the complete list, but it wasn’t easy. While they list some ingredients on their website, they still do not list the ingredients in their most popular items: their drinks! This includes all of their lattes, frappuccinos, macchiatos, smoothies, etc. Starbucks doesn’t even publish the ingredients in their “Kid’s Drinks” – keeping parents completely in the dark. If you have a food allergy, their allergen information isn’t available on-line either.

How’s that for transparency?

Besides trying to get an employee to spill the beans, pretty much the only way to get the ingredients in their drinks is to go into their online store and search for each of the individual components that make up these drinks, but they are not all listed here. Quite frankly, this is a pain. This also requires you to know all of the components that make up the drink that you order. For instance, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is not just espresso, syrup and milk. If you order it the usual way on the menu, it contains espresso, pumpkin sauce, steamed milk (or soy milk), whipped cream and spice topping – and these each come with their own ingredient list.

Another way to get ingredients is to email and call customer service, or to ask a corporate contact at Starbucks (if you’re lucky enough to know one like me). We used all of these avenues to get the ingredients in this drink, and you know what?

So Now You Know What is Wrong Visit this Link and Find out How to Put it Right.


RUSSIA: ‘ Ramps Up Safety Checks on McDonald’s Restaurants on Food Safety After Complaints by Customers Official of the Regulators Said ‘

#AceFoodNews – RUSSIA (Moscow) – August 21 – Russia ramped up its scrutiny of McDonald’s restaurants on Thursday, as the state food safety watchdog began unscheduled checks in several Russian regions, a day after four branches in Moscow were shuttered by the same agency Reuters reported.

​The food safety agency cited breaches of sanitary rules by restaurants in the fast food chain, but the action came after Moscow and the West imposed tit-for-tat sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.

The agency denied that its actions were politically motivated.

​’ Russia Suspends Four Restaurants ‘

"There are complaints about the quality and safety of the products in fast food restaurant chain McDonald’s," said the regulatory agency, known in Russian as Rospotrebnadzor. It declined to comment on the scope of the planned checks.

The regulator said on Thursday it is already conducting checks at McDonald’s outlets in the Ural mountains region of Sverdlovsk, the Volga region of Tatarstan, the central Voronezh region and the Moscow region.

It also plans checks in the republic of Bashkortostan and the southern Krasnodar region. Some of the checks are unscheduled.

Natalya Lukyantseva, an official of the regulator’s branch in the Sverdlovsk region, said checks had been started because of complaints from customers.


‘ Finer Things in Life Cost Money But Are We Being Scammed As Some Cheaper Things Are No Different ‘

#AceFoodNews – August 15 – Whiskey, olive oil, truffle oil, and meat are some of life’s finer pleasures. But more often than not, we pay too much for products that end up being a scam, or worse, no different than the cheap stuff.

Here are just a few of the more popular types of artisanal goods you might be wasting money on.

If you’re willing to look around, you’ll find high-end, expensive versions of just about every single food product imaginable. For connoisseurs and those willing to put in the legwork, this is a great way to refine your palette, but for most us, it usually ends up being a pretty big waste of money.

Some foods are bigger offenders than others, or have large scale scams that come with them that makes it hard to justify spending any extra money at all without the research.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the worst offenders at this link


‘ Great Chocolate Cake Recipe ‘

#AceRecipeNews – August 02 – The word ‘consulting’ always sounds like a dream job when you’re stuck working in a restaurant kitchen, slaving over a hot stove, on the line.

​As a consultant, it sounds like you sweep into a kitchen, where the staff welcomes you with open arm as their saviour, and you magically transform the meals coming out of the kitchen into extraordinary feats of culinary magic.

So for Sugar High Friday #27, Chocolate By Brand, the premier online dessert event started by the fabulously sweet Jennifer of Domestic Goddess, I decided to make this cake with ScharffenBerger chocolate. And in fact, it’s a variation of myChocolate Orbit Cake from my book Ready for Dessert, although my editor nixed the name Chocolate Idiot Cake for some strange reason.

John Scharffenberger, was always a big fan of this cake, since it allows their chocolate to shine, and when John and Robert Steinberg were working on their book, The Essence of Chocolate, John wanted to definitely include this recipe, which I was happy to oblige them with as thanks for introducing me to the world of handcrafted chocolate.

The first time I tasted their bittersweet chocolate, it was truly a revelation for me. I’d never tasted handmade, small-batch chocolate in my life and from that moment on I was hooked. And although the company was recently bought, I still hold their chocolate in high esteem and wish I had easier access to it (as well as stock options!)

But one of my guests brought me a lovely tablet of their chocolate as a gift, which I was saving for when I needed to bake something special. So I melted it down for making this cake. The chocolate is exquisite, dark, and very intense, with a highly-complex flavor due to the careful blending of nine different cocoa beans, each individually roasted to bring out their particular characteristics. It’s perfect for using in a cake where chocolate is the one-and-only flavor.

And boy, what a flavour it is.

Great Chocolate Cake Recipe by David Lebovitz