Receiving surprisingly little media attention, reports of what could be seen as a bit of government overreach began to trickle out this week. It seems that the FDA has taken issue with love and banned it.
Well, the FDA didn’t ban love outright but they did ban it in baked goods. Those pesky government regulators are not buying that food is “baked with love.” I don’t know how your Nanas are reacting to this development but I daresay mine are spinning in their graves. They fed their families through the depression when love was pretty much all they had.
Nashoba Brook Bakery, in Concord, Massachusetts, listed “love” as an ingredient on its Nashoba Granola label. The FDA said no. A letter on the FDA website says, “‘Love’ is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient.”
The bakery’s co-owner and chief baker Stuart Witt said the company has been baking granola for almost all of the 20 years they have been open, and their granola, which he claims is baked with love, has always listed love as an ingredient.
But on September 22, the FDA told them to nix the love. Which is not only sad, it’s kind of surprising when you consider all the things the FDA does allow in our food.
Like insect parts. Yes, it’s true. The FDA is good with insect parts, up to a point. Ground cinnamon, for instance, can contain up to an average of 400 insect fragments per 50 grams. Since a typical cinnamon jar holds about 42 grams, it’s a pretty sure bet that vegetarians should steer clear of cinnamon toast and apple pie.
However, love, not insect parts, is the ingredient that dares not speak its name.
And if you thought you could avoid nastiness by steering clear of ground cinnamon and using cinnamon sticks instead, there’s the mold issue. In a given sample of cinnamon sticks, 5% are allowed to be moldy. Same with bay leaves.
But love, not mold, is the ingredient that dares not speak its name.
And I’m not quite sure what fig paste is, but the FDA handbook only allows it to have one defect and that one defect is a doozie. Insect heads. Yep that’s right, 13 insect heads are perfectly acceptable in 100 grams of fig paste. So, who’s decapitating all these insects and where are they hiding the rest of their bodies? Marjoram, perhaps? Maybe oregano? Both are allowed to contain a dismaying quantity of insect parts.
But love, not insect heads, is the ingredient that dares not speak its name.
Hold onto your hats for this one. While the FDA is busy protecting you from love, they are allowing maggots in your canned tomatoes, up to one maggot per 500 grams. Tomato juice and tomato paste are allowed up to one maggot per 100 grams.
And the FDA’s lax standards are going to cost my grandchildren a pleasure their mother dearly enjoyed. She loved ordering Shirley Temples in restaurants when she was growing up but that is not happening with the little ones. At least not on my watch. A sample of maraschino cherries is considered to be fine as long as no more than 5% of the sample is rejected for having maggots. So I would suggest limiting maraschino cherries to beverages with a high alcoholic content. Very high.
But surprisingly, love, not maggots, is the ingredient that dares not speak its name.
Don’t be deceived by the FDA’s rather coy term, “mammalian excreta,” more commonly known to you and me as rodent poop, when we’re speaking in polite company and probably called by a harsher word when we’re freely speaking our minds. Sesame seeds are allowed to have up to 5 milligrams of mammal poop per pound.
And though I am so blinded by tears of shock, dismay and grief that I can barely type these words, I am compelled to inform you for your own good that cocoa beans are allowed to have as much as 10 milligrams of poop per pound. As much chocolate as I have joyously scarfed down in my life, odds are long that I’ve consumed my share of rat poop. Life is cruel. And getting more cruel by the minute.
Though I learned of the FDA’s love ban from their own website, I got the other information from a website called LiveScience.com. I implore all of you to convince me this information is fake news. Ignorance was such bliss. I miss it already. And I really miss chocolate.
But I can take comfort that the FDA is protecting me from love, the ingredient that dares not speak its name, though that comfort is very cold indeed.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.