Seeking Transparency through the Complexities of a Corn Allergy.

Uncertainty and Confusion

Uncertainty and Confusion

With regard to shedding a little light on the corn ingredients and derivatives list, I will start by saying it is very difficult to gain complete understanding due to the lack of transparency.

Just knowing it will be confusing and uncertain at best, may take a little frustration out of the process.

Whether you are looking at the list of corn derivatives found on this website, or somewhere else online, or looking at an ingredient label, it is important to understand this….. THERE IS NO WAY TO BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN IF THE INGREDIENTS LISTED CONTAINS OR HAS BEEN DERIVED OR PROCESSED FROM CORN.

Lets break that statement down.

In using an easy example, say high fructose corn syrup…. clear, yes? If you are looking to avoid corn, that is a simple example of one to avoid.

Xanthan gum, next example. It doesn’t take long to find out in researching corn derivatives to learn xanthan gum (a biggie used in gluten free foods) is a no-no. In seeing its name, the average label reader may not know xanthan gum is corn, but the information is relatively easy to find through a google search. And as it is found in so many ‘allergy safe’ foods, the consumer may begin to wonder and explore what exactly that is. Let me tell you, it’s Corn!

Vanilla extract. If you were to look at a bottle of McCormick’s 100% pure vanilla extract, you will find it also contains corn syrup. As do many other brands of vanilla. Yet, it is possible to find corn-free vanilla. There is delicious pure vanilla bean powder or the bean itself to chose from as an alternative. For this reason, when you read a label that contains vanilla, how does one know for sure if the vanilla used in the ingredients is corn-free or not?

Good question.

Citric Acid. Found in a wide range of products from sodas to fruit juices and candy to canned fruit. It is also found in a lot of beauty products, like make up and shampoo. This one ingredient, like so many, is incredibly tough to tell its origin. Even if the consumer placed a call to the manufacturing source, it is highly unlikely that even they would be able to tell you where the citric acid is derived from. It is the manufacturing process of the citric acid which is often done by using a corn-based solution that causes the reaction. This kind of in-depth information into the processing of food is just not available from the manufacturer to the consumer. Huge breakdown in transparency.

Natural Flavorings. This one always gets me. Reading an ingredient label, going through, looks good, looks good. Natural flavors. BAM! Stopped dead in the tracks. This is another one. Anybody’s freaking guess, where the heck natural flavors are derived from. It’s not even worth the exploration. One would be hard pressed to get a specific, clear answer on that!!

Are you catching the drift here?

Corn is in the drivers seat and staying in the blind spot. It is HIGHLY genetically modified. It is BIG business for big agriculture. It is not recognized as a common allergen. It takes the place in foods for the other big allergens such as soy or wheat. It is so very hidden and very much overused.

As a consumer, ingredient labels are in place to allow the individual to make an informed decision of whether or not to purchase and consume the product.

When it comes to corn, THERE IS NO TRANSPARENCY.

Just look at that list. Any, and MANY of those ingredients can contain or are derived from corn. And if you react or are allergic to corn, not knowing the source of an ingredient pretty much qualifies it as a food to avoid.

As a mother and a consumer, this is intolerable. Our food industry is undergoing much scrutiny these days. And rightfully so. It is time corn is put on the list of much needed transparency. It is time for it to be recognized as an allergen.

On a personal note, I believe corn is in the early stages of becoming the ‘next gluten’. Through education and recognition, the convoluted corn maze has the potential to become less complex. Transparency is due.

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