The Political Economy of Twinkies: An Inquiry into the Real Cost of Things

 

 

By Richard H. Robbins
SUNY at Plattsburgh
Plattsburgh, NY

Keynote Address delivered at a Conference on Globalization and Community sponsored by the Society for Applied Anthropology of Manitoba, March 11, 2000. Winnipeg, Canada

E-mail: richard.robbins@plattsburgh.edu
Web Site: http://www.plattsburgh.edu/legacy

 

Introduction

There is little question I think,  that the expansion of the culture of capitalism or "globalization" has left few, if any, communities unaffected. There is also, I believe, little question that the effects have been largely negative. There are more people malnourished in the world than ever before, some half of the six billion people who inhabit the earth. 1.3 billion people live on less than $1.00 a day. The environment is still being devastated as never before with 40% of all deaths globally now attributed to environmental causes. Infectious disease is ravaging millions, with HIV/AIDS alone infecting some 40 million people. My aim in this paper is to articulate why globalization inevitably does the harm that it does and explore the reasons why we seem incapable of halting global social and environmental devastation.

I want to suggest that the values of our culture, the culture of capitalism, promote behaviors that are globally destructive and that there are structural features of the culture of capitalism that systematically mask the damages caused by its global expansion.

I think that we can begin to appreciate how our culture conceals from us the implications of our patterns of behavior by systematically examining the real costs of things. Commodities, as Igor Kopytoff points out, have biographies. But like the ghostwritten autobiographies of famous figures, the life story often hides more than it reveals. To illustrate I want to examine the political economy and biography of one commodity--the Twinkie. I want to propose a way of determining the real cost of a Twinkie, and, by extension, all of the commodities that make up our everyday lives, and then explore how the real cost is hidden from us.

For those of you unfamiliar with Twinkies they are described by their producers, The Hostess Corporation (a subsidiary of the Interstate Baking Company), as "golden sponge cake filled with creamy filling." More exactly, the Twinkie consists of some 27 ingredients (see Appendix A), the main ones being sugar, Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour, water, eggs, corn syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening, and dextrose. Added together in the appropriate amounts they comprise a Twinkie.

 

The Real Cost of a Twinkie

Twinkies sell for approximately $1.00. But that is only the store price. To arrive at the real price we would need to examine the hidden costs of each ingredient, that is the additional monetary and non-monetary expenses that go to produce and distribute each ingredient that, for some reason, are not reflected in the store price. We can’t do that here, but to illustrate how we might begin, let’s examine just one ingredient that comprises a Twinkie--cane sugar.

 

Underpayment of Labor: Most obviously there is the cost that derives from the underpayment of labor. In the case of cane sugar, sugar workers are among the worst paid farm laborers in the world. In Brazil, the largest exporter of cane sugar, workers earn less than $25.00 (USD) a week. In the Dominican Republic, Haitian sugar workers earn about CAN$10 per day.

To calculate the hidden labor costs, we would also need to include the cost of the force necessary to discipline workers to accept far less then their labor warrants and the costs that accrue because of living conditions of those forced to work at less than a living wage. We can get a good appreciation of the hidden costs of labor by the fact that economists estimate that if workers in the South were paid the same as workers in the North the cost of imported items would be ten times higher than they are.

 

Environment: Another obvious cost not reflected in the price of a Twinkie and the sugar it contains is environmental damage. Environmentally, sugar is not a benign crop. Its growth (not to mention its processing into the highly refined white, granular stuff we desire) is responsible for damage to corral reefs in Hawaii, water pollution in Buenos Aries, damage to river estuaries in Brazil, and waterways in the Philippines. Florida's sugarcane industry is situated just south of Lake Okeechobee, one of North America's largest fresh water lakes. Water that had flowed unimpeded from the lake to the Everglades now must pass through thousands of acres of sugar cane. When it reaches the Everglades it is contaminated with phosphorus-laden agricultural run-off that destroys native species and results in the growth of non-native species. As a result, almost $8 billion will be spent over the next 2 years to fix the Everglades. While some of that cost will be paid by the sugar producers, most of it will be passed on to taxpayers. Of course in countries with few or no environmental regulations, these costs will be paid largely by the poor with increased health problems and passed on to future generations.

 

Direct and Indirect government subsidies. Part of the hidden cost of sugar comes from the subsidies provided by nation-states, subsidies that ultimately come from taxpayers. In the United States, most direct subsidies were discontinued after 1996 (although some remain), and import quotas introduced in some cases, such as sugar, to keep prices high. Thus the federal government sugar program costs consumers approximately $1.4 billion a year in higher prices. This is not a hidden cost of a Twinkie, since it is passed on the consumer. But these price supports do make sugar production in the U.S. more profitable and have encouraged the conversion of over 500,000 acres of Everglades wetlands to sugar cane production.

Indirect subsidies include government funding of the infrastructure for sugar production and processing. This includes, among other things, the roads, the power system, water and sanitation system, waste disposal, etc. The entire water management infrastructure that supports the Florida sugarcane industry, for example, was built with federal tax dollars. We would also need to calculate the portion of the military budget needed to maintain governments friendly to neo-liberal economic policies.

 

Health damage: 17% of the calories consumed by North Americans are from sugar and other sweeteners. Among other things, that means that our basic nutrition must come from the other 83%. While there is no specific data on the direct contribution of sugar to excess weight and obesity (fat is obviously another major culprit), 54% of Americans are overweight. One estimate of the direct and indirect cost of obesity in the U.S. puts the cost at $118 billion annually, or 12% of the nation's health care costs. The amount spent on diet drugs and weight loss programs would add another $33 billion. People, of course, are not forced to consume fat and sugar. However food policies and the use of government and tax incentives serve to promote their consumption, particularly among the young.

These are only some of the hidden costs of one ingredient in a Twinkie. To arrive at a real cost we would need to examine each of the other ingredients and then add the hidden costs of processing, packaging, delivery, and waste disposal. The energy and pollution costs of distribution, alone, would be considerable. In Europe and North America a typical food item travels 1,000 miles before it reaches our meal plates. The average head of lettuce from your local supermarket has traveled an average of 1,200 miles from where it was grown. The shipment of foods, while sometimes necessary, is further encouraged by energy subsidies that allow North Americans to enjoy some of the lowest fuel prices in the world.

This brief overview should suffice to illustrate how the costs of our commodities, measured in monetary and non-monetary terms, are far greater than the direct price that we pay. The question is why do people seem so unaware of the real costs of commodities?

 

How are these costs obscured?

Some of reasons, I think, are obvious. Corporations spend billions, for example, to distance themselves from the processes used to manufacture and distribute their products. They hide the "dirt" in the biographies of commodities through advertising and public relations efforts. They hide the effects of their production and distribution practices by controlling the information that is allowed to reach the public or through legislative or legal measures to discourage public criticism. Two weeks ago in Michigan a six-year-old child shot and killed a classmate. News pundits speculated at length about the causes; they talked about drugs, parental abuse, and the availability of guns. None that I heard noted that the slums in Flint, Michigan where the killing occurred, and where 83% of the children live below the poverty level, were created when General Motors relocated their operations to other countries in search of greater profits.

But a third, and more insidious way that costs are hidden is through structural mechanisms that lie at the heart of our economic system and that are much more difficult to recognize and, consequently, almost impossible to change. Three of these are the process of globalization itself, corporate externalization of costs, and the use of credit-money.

Globalization obscures the real cost of commodities by geographically distributing these costs as widely as possible. The wealthy have, of course, always tried to geographically distance themselves from the unpleasant consequences of their lifestyle. Poverty, crime, infectious disease, and toxic-dumps have always been ghettoized. But globalization affords the wealthy the opportunity to distance themselves even further from the effects of their lifestyles. It means very little to the buyer of fancy wood floors or furniture that their purchase required the cutting of trees in Brazil or Indonesia. But it might mean something if it involved the cutting of trees in his or her neighborhood. The costs of the exploitation of foreign labor are less visible when the shantytowns, poverty, and health risks that result are displaced to foreign lands; we might be more sensitive to poverty wages if these exploited workers resided next door. We would certainly be more aware of them.

A second way that the direct cost of our commodities is obscured is through the externalization of much of the cost of production, distribution, and disposal. Primary among these, as Immanual Wallerstein has pointed out, are the environmental costs of production. To give just one example, corporations for years have been able to escape paying for the disposal costs of what they produce. Computer disposal is a major problem in the United States and Canada. By the year 2004, experts estimate that we will have over 315 million obsolete computers in the US many destined for landfills, incinerators or hazardous waste exports.

"If everyone threw them out at once," as one person put it, "we would have a one mile high waste mountain of junked computers the size of a football field."

Computers are not benign waste; those 315 million computers represent 1.2 billion pounds of lead, 2 million pounds of cadmium, 400,000 pounds of mercury, 1.2 million pounds of hexavalent chromium, to name a few of the toxic substances from which they are made.

What is the solution to the damage done by cost externalization? Wallerstein suggests that the governments of nation-states have three alternatives. First, the government can insist that corporations internalize costs. However, that would either mean an untenable corporate profit squeeze or a marked rise in the cost of things that would put them out of the reach of the average citizen. Furthermore, corporations can easily device strategies to limit attempts by the governments of nation-state to force them to externalize costs. The World Trade Organization, operating under a mandate to reduce barriers to trade, exists, in effect, to prevent nation-states from forcing corporations to internalize the costs of production, distribution, and disposal. Thus attempts by the European Union to force computer and automobile makers to pay for disposal costs, is being met by complaints to the WTO that this constitutes an unfair restriction on trade.

A second alternative to the problem of externalized cost is for the government to continue to pay the externalized costs of production and distribution. But, as Wallerstein points out, tax increases required for this cleanup would be strongly resisted by corporations whose profits would be squeezed and precipitate a tax revolt from everyone else.

The third alternative is to do nothing, which will lead to continued ecological crises, civil unrest, and poverty; so far, says Wallerstein, the third alternative is carrying the day. As Mathis Wackernagel and William E. Rees succinctly put it,

In today’s materialistic, growth bound world, the politically acceptable is ecologically disastrous while the ecologically necessary is politically impossible.

The third way that the real costs of our commodities are structurally masked is by the use of credit-money. Our economy functions with a form of currency that is based simply on people's faith that it can be exchanged for something. That is part of the beauty of credit-money as a social construct. Since credit-money is backed by nothing but people's expectations that it is valuable, it is subject to endless manipulation by banks, traders, and by the nation-state itself. And by controlling money, these institutions can control the price of things, and, consequently, regardless of the social and environmental damage precipitated by our economic practices, sales will always stay one step ahead of costs. Nation-states can manipulate the prices of commodities in many different ways.

  • It can do so by adjusting corporate tax rates

  • By the enforcement or non-enforcement of tax laws

  • By allowing corporations to externalize costs

  • By limiting the power of labor unions

  • By using force or diplomatic pressure to control the price of raw materials

  • By issuing or denying credit.

  • By regulating the price of money itself

In other words, credit-money permits the use of a whole array of devices through which the governments of nation-states and/or their agents can manipulate the prices we pay for things. As long as credit-money is used as the system of value, as long as the nation-state and financial institutions control monetary policy and the creation of money, and as long as capitalists maintain control of the nation-state, the process of controlling and obscuring the real cost of things can proceed.

Credit-money also hides the physical effects of our patterns of production and consumption by reducing the production and consumption cycle to numbers that are conveniently divorced from what the numbers represent. The use of money as our major source of value allows a Brazilian government official to claim that his country would be better off if the rainforest were cut down and destroyed, since the value of the interest accrued would be greater than the value of the future forest.

Money, of course, needn't be the way we value things; other methods that are based on things of concrete value have been proposed. A number of writers suggest, for example, that we value things according to the energy required to produce it, that the kilocalorie or the demotechnic unit becomes the basic unit of exchange. If that were the case, Twinkies would cease to be a bargain because the energy costs that go into producing and distributing Twinkies, would far exceed the energy that we get from them.

Another way to value commodities is the amount of land required to produce and dispose of them. The Ecological Footprint analysis developed by Mathis Wackernagel and William E. Rees provides a tool that estimates the resource consumption and waste assimilation requirements of a specific human population in terms of a corresponding land area. For example, based on an estimate of the amount of usable land in the world, each person would have approximately 4.2 acres; but the average used is 5.4 acres.

Furthermore, citizens in some countries use far more than the average. For the U.S. the average footprint is 25.4, for Canadians 19 acres a person. In China the Footprint is 3 acres a person, while in India it is two. It is obvious that, if we were forced to reduce our Ecological Footprint, Twinkies would again be a wasteful luxury. But if we can appropriate more land because our military and economic power allows us to take land from others, and if the cost of environmental destruction is not taken into account in the cost of our commodities, our Ecological Footprint can remain well out of proportion to what it should be.

Perhaps the greatest possibility for the development of alternative currencies lies at the local level. Ithaca Money or Ithaca Hours, a local currency used in central New York, is based on labor units--a single unit worth approximately ten dollars. Thus local items are priced according to the labor used to produce them. One consequence of local currency is that it promotes the development of local business and keeps the money supply circulating in the community.

Bu the problem with adopting a medium of value that better reflects the reality of our commodities is that credit-money also operates unobtrusively to ensure its continued use as a medium of value. Since credit-money is attached to nothing of real value, its supply is unrestricted. But an unrestricted money supply also means unrestricted and unlimited debt and unlimited debt binds us to the continued use of credit-money and ever-increasing production and consumption. For example, much is made of the problems of the debt of so-called developing counties. But that debt is dwarfed by the five trillion-dollar debt of the United States, the two trillion-dollar debt of Japan, or the six hundred and fifty billion-dollar debt of Canada. Citizens of the United States have some 4.2 trillion dollars in mortgage debt and some 1.5 trillion dollars in unsecured debt. How are these debts to be paid?

From a national perspective every country must produce and export more and more goods; thus developing countries are forced to compete with developed countries to sell products to an increasingly commodity-glutted global market. The debts of corporate entities, which have also risen dramatically, require them to do whatever is necessary to sell more products. Returning to Twinkies, the debt of the Interstate Baking Company, that produces Twinkies, rose from 251 million dollars in 1997 to 369 million dollars in 1999. The increased debt means that a greater portion of income must go to interest payments, thus reducing the profit margin and requiring the Interstate Baking Company to sell more Twinkies or cutting costs of materials (e.g. sugar) or labor. The Interstate Baking Company is not unique in this regard. in 1963 7% of business income went to interest payments on loans; in 1990, 28% of income went to interest. And, individuals, of course, must continue to work and consume Twinkies or risk the collapse of the whole capitalist financial edifice.

 

Conclusions

Given the logic of our cultural/economic system, given the way that we diffuse the cost of commodities conceptually and globally, given the ability of corporations to externalize costs, and given the use of credit-money as a medium of exchange, there is little way that we can ever be aware of what a Twinkie, or, of course, any other commodity, really costs. To make any progress we would need to formulate the real cost of virtually every commodity we consume, and, either require people to pay the real cost, or, at a minimum, print the real cost along side the subsidized one. What might be the real cost of a Twinkie? If we added the subsidized labor cost for sugar, and do a rough estimate of the environmental and health costs involved in production and distribution, a $10 Twinkie might not be out-of-line. Otherwise, others must subsidize our Twinkie fix by working for less than a living wage, living in a degraded environment, or suffer the violence resulting from the maintenance of dictatorial governments friendly to capital accumulation.

By examining the real cost of things, we are better able also to recognize and appreciate that the exchange of commodities has a political basis and that each consumer bears responsibility for their behavior. As Ajun Appaduarai points out, commodity exchange involves a broad set of agreements among members of society of what is desirable and what is reasonable. By purchasing a Twinkie, or any other commodity, each consumer enters into that set of agreements and validates and legitimates them. In fact it is ultimately the consumer of commodities who must validate these agreements. There are of course tensions in these agreements because not all the participating parties have the same interest. After all, for the consumer the major consideration is the price of the product--how the price is kept low is of secondary consideration. But keeping the price low is of great interest to underpaid laborers or those who must pay the price of the environmental devastation not reflected in the cost of our commodities.

Is there anything we can do about it? My answer would be "not likely." As long as our culture contains the normative requirement that its members be supplied with .50 Twinkies, $1.50 a gasoline, $2.00 Big Macs, and 6000 square foot homes, there can be, coining a phrase of Immanual Wallerstein, "no exit" from the global patterns of cultural, social, and environmental destruction caused by the expansion of the capitalist world economy.

 

Appendix A

A Breakdown of the Ingredients in Twinkies
(Prepared by Rachel Dowty)

1.  Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour [flour, ferrous sulfate, "B" vitamins (niacin, thiamine mononitrate (B1), riboflavin (B2), folic acid)] THIAMIN MONONITRATE ... Vitamin B-1. Perfectly safe, despite adding minuscule amounts of nitrate to our food.

2. SUGAR (SUCROSE) ... ... Sweetener: Table sugar, sweetened foods. Sucrose, ordinary table sugar, occurs naturally in fruit, sugar cane, and sugar beets. Americans consume about 65 pounds of sucrose per year. That figure is down from 102 pounds per year around 1970, but the decrease has been more than made up for with HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP and DEXTROSE. About 156 pounds of all refined sugars are produced per person per year, an increase of 28 percent since 1983. Interestingly that’s just when the use of ASPARTAME started skyrocketing. In other words, it appears that artificial sweeteners have not replaced sugar, but may have stimulated America’s sweet tooth. Sugar and sweetened foods may taste good and supply energy, but most people eat too much of them. Sugar, corn syrup, and other refined sweeteners make up 16 percent of the average diet, but provide no vitamins, minerals, or protein. That means that a person would have to get 100 percent of his or her nutrients from only 84 percent of his or her food. Sugar and other refined sugars can promote obesity, tooth decay, and, in people with high triglycerides, heart disease.

3.  CORN SYRUP ... Sweetener, thickener: Candy, toppings, syrups, snack foods, imitation dairy foods. Corn syrup, which consists mostly of dextrose, is a sweet, thick liquid made by treating cornstarch with acids or enzymes. It may be dried and used as corn syrup solids in coffee whiteners and other dry products. Corn syrup contains no nutritional value other than calories, promotes tooth decay, and is used mainly in foods with little intrinsic nutritional value.

4. Water

5.  HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP ... Sweetener: Soft drinks, other processed foods. Corn syrup can be treated with enzymes to convert some of its dextrose to fructose, which results in High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). HFCS has largely replaced ordinary sugar used in soft drinks and many other foods because it is cheaper. Americans consume about 59 pounds per year of HFCS (and a total of 150 pounds per year of all refined sugars).

6.  HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL ... Fat, oil, shortening: Margarine, crackers, fried restaurant foods, baked goods. Vegetable oil, usually a liquid, can be made into a semi-solid shortening by reacting it with hydrogen. Hydrogenation reduces the levels of polyunsaturated oils — and also creates trans fats, which promote heart disease (they act like saturated fats). Ideally, food manufacturers would replace hydrogenated shortening with less-harmful ingredients.

7.  Dextrose DEXTROSE (GLUCOSE, CORN SUGAR) ... Sweetener, coloring agent: Bread, caramel, soda pop, cookies, many other foods. Dextrose is an important chemical in every living organism. A sugar, it is a source of sweetness in fruits and honey. Added to foods as a sweetener, it represents empty calories and contributes to tooth decay. Dextrose turns brown when heated and contributes to the color of bread crust and toast. Americans consume about 25 pounds per year of dextrose -- and a total of about 150 pounds per year of all refined sugars.

8. Whole Eggs

Contains 2% or less of:

9.  STARCH, MODIFIED ... Thickening agent: Soup, gravy, baby food. Modified starches are used in processed foods to improve their consistency and keep the solids suspended. Starch and modified starches sometimes replace large percentages of more nutritious ingredients, such as fruit. Choose baby foods without added starches (starch thickened baby foods have contained as little as 25 percent as much of the fruit ingredients as 100-percent-fruit baby foods). One small study uggested that modified starches can promote diarrhea in infants.

10. GUMS: Arabic, Furcelleran, Ghatti, Guar, Karaya, Locust Bean, Tragacanth, Xanthan ... Thickening agents, stabilizers: Beverages, ice cream, frozen pudding, salad dressing, dough, cottage cheese, candy, drink mixes. Gums are derived from natural sources (bushes, trees, seaweed, bacteria) and are poorly tested, though probably safe. They are not absorbed by the body. They are used to thicken foods, prevent sugar crystals from forming in candy, stabilize beer foam (arabic), form a gel in pudding (furcelleran), encapsulate flavor oils in powdered drink mixes, or keep oil and water mixed together in salad dressings. Gums are often used to replace fat in low-fat ice cream, baked goods, and salad dressings. Tragacanth has caused occasional severe allergic reactions.

11. Whey

12. Leavenings (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate) PHOSPHORIC ACID; PHOSPHATES ... Acidulant, chelating agent, buffer, emulsifier, nutrient, discoloration inhibitor: Baked goods, cheese, powdered foods, cured meat, soda pop, breakfast cereals, dehydrated potatoes. Phosphoric acid acidifies and flavors cola beverages. CALCIUM and IRON PHOSPHATES act as mineral supplements. SODIUM ALUMINUM PHOSPHATE is a leavening agent. CALCIUM and AMMONIUM PHOSPHATES serve as food for yeast in baking. SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE prevents discoloration in potatoes and sugar syrups. While excessive consumption of phosphates could lead to dietary imbalances that might contribute to osteoporosis, only a small fraction of the phosphate in the American diet comes from additives. Most comes from meat and dairy products.

13. Salt

14. STARCH ... Thickening agent: Soup, gravy. Starch, the major component of flour, potatoes, and corn, is used in many foods as a thickening agent. However, starch does not dissolve in cold water. Chemists have solved this problem by eacting starch with various chemicals to create MODIFIED STARCHES (see above).

15. Corn Flour

16. Corn Dextrins Dextrins are intermediate products of starch digestion (starch to dextrins to maltose to glucose) commercial product produced when starch is heated (dry heat) products are sweeter and easier to digest Zweibach for infants or toast mainly a emulsifying and thickening agent

17. MONO- and DIGLYCERIDES ... Emulsifier: Baked goods, margarine, candy, peanut butter. Makes bread softer and prevents staling, improves the stability of margarine, makes caramels less sticky, and prevents the oil in peanut butter from separating out. Mono- and diglycerides are safe, though most foods they are used in are high in refined flour, sugar, or fat.

18. POLYSORBATE 60 .... Emulsifier: Baked goods, frozen desserts, imitation dairy products. Polysorbate 60 is short for polyoxyethylene-(20)- sorbitan monostearate. It and its close relatives, POLYSORBATE 65 and 80, work the same way as mono- and diglycerides, but smaller amounts are needed. They keep baked goods from going stale, keep dill oil dissolved in bottled dill pickles, help coffee whiteners dissolve in coffee, and prevent oil from separating out of artificial whipped cream.

19. LECITHIN ... Emulsifier, antioxidant: Baked goods, margarine, chocolate, ice cream. A common constituent of animal and plant tissues, lecithin is a source of the nutrient choline. It keeps oil and water from separating out, retards rancidity, reduces spattering in a frying pan, and leads to fluffier cakes. Major natural sources are egg yolk and soybeans.

20. ARTIFICIAL AND NATURAL FLAVORING: Soda pop, candy, breakfast cereals, gelatin desserts, and many other foods. Hundreds of chemicals are used to mimic natural flavors; many may be used in a single flavoring, such as for cherry soda pop. Most flavoring chemicals also occur in nature and are probably safe, but they are used almost exclusively in junk foods. Their use indicates that the real thing (often fruit) has been left out. Companies keep the identity of artificial (and natural) flavorings a deep secret. Flavorings may include substances to which some people are sensitive, such as MSG or HVP.

21. Soy Protein Isolate

22.CALCIUM (or SODIUM) STEAROYL LACTYLATE ... Dough conditioner, whipping agent: Bread dough, cake fillings, artificial whipped cream, processed egg whites. These additives strengthen bread dough so it can be used in bread-making machinery and help produce a more uniform grain and greater volume. They act as whipping agents in dried, liquid, or frozen egg whites and artificial whipped cream. SODIUM STEAROYL FUMARATE serves the same function.

23. CASEIN, SODIUM CASEINATE ... Thickening and whitening agent: Ice cream, ice milk, sherbet, coffee creamers. Casein, the principal protein in milk, is a nutritious protein containing adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids. People who are allergic to casein should read food labels carefully, because the additive is used in some "non-dairy" and "vegetarian" foods.

24. CaSO4, Calcium Sulfate Class: Sulfates Uses: in the manufacture of some cement, a source of sulfate for sulfuric acid. Anhydrite is a relatively common sedimentary mineral that forms massive rock layers. Anhydrite does not form directly, but is the result of the dewatering of the rock forming mineral Gypsum (CaSO4-2H2O). (Also called Plaster of Paris)

25. SORBIC ACID, POTASSIUM SORBATE ... Prevents growth of mold: Cheese, syrup, jelly, cake, wine, dry fruits. Sorbic acid occurs naturally in many plants. These additives are safe.

26. Color Added (Yellow #5, Red #40) RED 40 ... Artificial coloring: Soda pop, candy, gelatin desserts, pastry, pet food, sausage. The most widely used food dye. While this is one of the most-tested food dyes, the key mouse tests were flawed and inconclusive. An FDA review committee acknowledged problems, but said evidence of harm was not "consistent" or "substantial." Like other dyes, Red 40 is used mainly in junk foods. YELLOW 5 ... Artificial coloring: Gelatin dessert, candy, pet food, baked goods. The second most widely used coloring causes mild allergic reactions, primarily in aspirin-sensitive persons.

27. May Contain Peanuts or Traces of Peanuts

 

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