author of Feeding Eden

Heart Stealthy

I rarely call out the major food manufacturers. Usually the allergy organizations and websites announce surprise ingredients before I can screw up and give my son the wrong food. But last week was an exception. My mother-in-law bought a carton of my son's everything except rice-free rice milk, gave it to him in her apartment, and then rushed him home with one of his eyes puffed like a roasted marshmallow, I took a hard look at the carton in question. It was almost like the dozen already in my pantry except for a red "Corowise" heart and a "Heartwise" banner. Okay - Benadryl time! 

That night, I click my way to the TasteTheDream Website and discover that Corowise (TM) is "...creamy and delicious" and contains "plant sterols which are extracted from plants..." Nothing about which plants. At the Corowise website I am assured that plant sterols are "GRAS" or Generally Recognized As Safe. My son is a minority allergy statistic. But, of course, I wanted to know what was in this GRAS stuff. 

So I called those clever Corowise people who have figured out how American consumers can lower their cholesterol and still drink their yummy creamy Rice Dream (ever tried it?) They repeatedly assured me that Corowise was "all natural." But they could not, would not, name the "natural" plants in question. The punch line finally came from the nutritionist at The Mt. Sinai Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology. "Yeah, it's made from soybeans," she said flatly. "So is he very sensitive to soy?"  Uh, evidently. However, food allergies aside, I am prickly about this: 

Most people like to know if someone is putting stuff in their stuff. My friends and I agree that we don't like it when our kids put their Pet Shop Pals into our jewelry boxes or their chewed gum into our pockets without telling us. Just tell us. Please.