Are you looking for the Master List of Ingredients to Avoid? It can be found here:

Corn, Beer, and the FDA

A few weeks ago I wrote about A Typical American Day…with Corn, thinking it would be the best way to demonstrate how prolific corn is in our everyday lives. What I didn’t realize, was that Corn Products International is actually very open about all the places corn has been integrated into our society.

Corn Products International

For example, I thought it was almost a secret that corn is used in beer production. Von (of Corn-Free Foods & Products List) demonstrated that although it is sometimes easy to determine if a beer contains corn, that isn’t always the case. As she investigated further with Sierra Nevada, it was all about asking the right questions. This post of hers is a great example of how important it is to know more about the manufacturing process involved, regarding the food you are inquiring about. It is necessary to ask specific questions – to get that desired “corn free” or unfortunate “contains corn derived ingredients” response.

Back to my initial point, Corn Products International displays in their marketing literature, that corn is used everywhere.

“Corn Products International takes a kernel of corn and unleashes a variety of ingredients that act as building blocks for literally thousands of consumer and industrial products.”

Personally, I like their word choice “unleashes a variety of ingredients” – it feels quite appropriate. Their Product & Services page and Industries Served page display all the many places you can find corn. What they don’t explain though, is the extent that their footprint reaches. As of this point in time, I do not know of any commercially available, corn free shampoo, conditioner, deodorant (with antiperspirant), or multi-vitamin.

Corn Products International

Whether you are a fan of abundant uses of corn for eco-friendly reasons, or against it for allergy reasons – one thing is clear. Corn is everywhere, we know that – and it is hidden. Corn is hidden in “Natural Flavors,” or simply used in the manufacturing processes either in the creation of, or packing of various items.

Though Corn Products International is happy to declare corn-derived “Dextrose is used in intravenous fluids, pharmaceutical applications, vitamins, amino acids and alcohols” they do not label these items as “contains corn” and put those with a corn allergy in a position of serious health risk. Even for those with a mild allergy to corn, it can be incredibly dangerous to receive their allergen directly, intravenously!


Are you aware of the FDA Petition addressing this issue? If you have not yet signed this petition, please take a minute now and sign. Tell the FDA: Corn Needs to be Included in Food Allergen Labeling. After you sign, please share the petition on your Facebook and Twitter pages too.

If you would like to help even more, please consider donating a few dollars to help advertise this petition. Your dollars can help make sure more people see, and sign, this petition. There is a PayPal Donate button in the top right sidebar of Live Corn Free, just for this purpose. Your help and effort is greatly appreciated!

Corn Free Chewing Gum – It Exists!

BFresh Logo It was my understanding that there were no “corn free” chewing gum options around, at least in the US. Well, color us lucky, because today, I have some good news!
First, to anyone new to the Corn Allergy world, let me explain where the problem usually is with chewing gum.

For my ingredient example, I am using my all time favorite (and much missed by me): Orbit Sweet Mint Gum.
*Sorbitol, Gum Base, Glycerol, *Mannitol, *Natural and Artificial Flavors, Less Than 2% of: *Xylitol, Aspartame, Acesulfame K, *Sucralose, Soy Lecithin, Bht (to Maintain Freshness), Colors (Blue 1 Lake, Beta Carotene). Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine
To make it easy, I gave an asterisk (*) to the ingredients where corn is likely to be found. If you need a refresher as to where these ingredients come from, and how they relate to corn, please see the Ingredients Derived From Corn – What to Avoid post. Bottom line, the corn derived ingredients tend to be in the artificial sweeteners. It may be in the Gum Base as well, but that would require contacting the manufacture to find out definitively.

Now, let me share with you my discovery of B-Fresh Gum. I was researching something else corn-related, and came across someone's post about this gum in a forum. It was not a food allergy forum, and sadly, I cannot recall which forum as I really got too excited about the potential of this news!

The first thing while exploring this information, was look at the ingredients of the B-Fresh Gum (Spearmint).
Ingredients: Xylitol, Gum Base, Natural Spearmint Flavor, Vitamin B12, Gum Arabic, Carnuba Wax, Calcium Citrate, Calcium Gluconate
The ingredient list definitely has some questionable items that could be derived from corn. However, there is mention of this on their FAQ page.
Question: Does the product contain any corn?
Answer: There are no ingredients used that are derived from corn.
After reading the corn free claim, I called B-Fresh Gum anyway, just to discuss this with them further. I felt silly, I mean after all, the answer in their FAQ is pretty clear - “no ingredients derived from corn.” For good measure, I inquired as to the source of their Xylitol. The Xylitol they use is from “Birch and other hardwood (tree) sources”.

In summary, if you are looking for corn free chewing gum, you may find it at B-Fresh Gum. Keep in mind, the FDA does not regulate the term corn free, and there may be corn sourced ingredients used in manufacturing, processing or delivery of this product, even unaware to the company making the claim.

B-Fresh Gum states they are Kosher, Vegan, Gluten Free, Soy Free, and Diabetic Safe. Please contact them directly if you have any questions about any of those claims.

Case Study #1 - Avalon Organics

Avalon OrganicsWhat comes to mind when you purchase a product labeled “Organic”? Do you think purity? Natural? Perhaps awareness?

Sadly, the term Organic can mean many things – since the term itself is not federally mandated. As I began to prepare this post I did more reading about the term and definition of Organic, but do keep in mind, nowhere does Avalon Organics state they have Organic Certification. With that in mind, it doesn't seem important to provide the definition of what that means. Instead, this particular Case Study is about... Marketing.

Let's take a look.

Organic Case Study #1 - Avalon Organics
About Us 

It's in our name: Avalon Organics. We're dedicated to the expansion of organic agriculture and endeavor to select organic ingredients for our products to support the highest ideals of sustainable, organic agriculture, a cleaner environment and good health. Our devotion to Consciousness in Cosmetics defines an unwavering commitment: To create an extraordinary, unprecedented range of products that are inherently pure and safe while expanding the efficacy and vibrantly healthy benefits of natural body care. We honor you with Consciousness in Cosmetics. Take the time to honor yourself.

Did you read that paragraph closely? Consciousness in Cosmetics. That is an interesting term. Avalon goes on to explain Consciousness in Cosmetics is the guiding principle behind everything we do at Avalon Organics.

On May 8th, 2010 I sent Avalon Organics a message using the contact form on their website. This is the message I sent them:
I have seen a few of your products listed on allergy sites as "corn free" and was hoping I could obtain a list of your corn free products. I am interested in finding products that are 100% corn free, meaning the the source ingredients as well (i.e. corn free Vitamin E, citric acid, etc).

Do you have such a list of corn free products?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sharon Rosen

On May 10th, I received a reply – that became an inspiration to have Case Studies here on Live Corn Free.
Dear Ms. Rosen,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding our Avalon Product. We strive to maintain the highest quality products and appreciate your patronage.

Our plant-based formulations come from a variety of sources and combinations of derivatives and we do not screen our products for traces of corn. Therefore, we cannot specifically guarantee that any of our products are corn-free.

Thank you for your continued support. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-434-4246, Monday through Friday from 7AM - 5PM Mountain Time.


Consumer Relations Representative

Ref # 2068992

Now, go back and re-read the first paragraph from the "About Us" section. Do you see the phrase "pure and safe"? Now re-read their message to me.

I am posting this as a discussion topic. Rather than tell you my thoughts, I want to hear yours. As a consumer, how does this make you feel? Is this a brand you trust, or did you trust them before? Would you trust them now?

I will leave you with this one thought of mine. If they don't know what's in their product, why would you trust them?

A Typical American Day…with Corn

Corn - It's in Everything How many times do you think you interact with corn based products in a given day? Ten times? Twenty? Thirty?

In the documentary King Corn, the filmmakers Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney are introduced to Professor Stephen Macko, and his methods for hair analysis. Cheney has a sample of hair tested, and the results are astonishing, as Cheney learns his hair shows how corn dominates his diet.

For real world comparison, join me on a walk through the day of a typical American female. She’s in her mid-30’s and strives to eat a healthy, well balanced diet, as well as interact with as few chemicals as possible. For sake of example, this woman’s name is Susie.

Susie awakens in the morning, brushes her teeth, uses mouthwash, and hops in the shower. While in the shower, she uses shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. After showering, she uses her allergy nasal spray, and pops her daily allergy pill and multi-vitamin as she begins to brew her coffee.

Total interactions with corn before breakfast? Eight items, some with multiple corn-based ingredients. Let’s take a closer look…

Items below show their corn based ingredients, and then brand name for a concrete example:

  1. Toothpaste: Sorbitol and Sodium Saccharin - Colgate Total 12 Hour Multi-Protection Toothpaste
  2. Mouthwash: Sorbitol and Sodium SaccharinListerine
  3. Shampoo: Citric Acid - Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo
  4. Conditioner: Citric Acid – Giovanni Smooth as Silk Conditioner
  5. Body Wash: – Xanthan Gum, Citric AcidBurt’s Bees Milk & Shea Butter Body Wash
  6. Nasal Allergy Spray: DextroseFlonase
  7. Daily Allergy Pill: Microcrystalline Cellulose, Magnesium Stearate - Zyrtec
  8. Daily Multi-Vitamin: Cellulose, Magnesium Stearate, Starch, Tocopherol, and a whole bunch of FD&C coloring - One-A-Day Women's Formula Vitamins
Susie progresses on to have coffee with milk and Sweet N’Low, thinking it’s better for her than sugar. That’s a +1 for the corn side given she just consumed dextrose, care of that little pink packet.

She’s in a hurry and decides to skip breakfast, taking yogurt with her as a snack for later instead. She grabs a yogurt, her favorite – Yoplait Whips – and packs up her things. The corn in that last minute grab includes the ever popular High Fructose Corn Syrup, along with Modified Corn Starch. This is another +1 for corn.

Susie is now really running late for work, and quickly applies some light makeup consisting of face powder, blush, and a light lip tint. Each of the facial powders contain corn starch, and the lip tint? Well she went with Burt’s Bees, which means she’ll be licking corn off her lips in the form of corn based Tocopherol. The makeup session gave us a +3 for corn.

Where are we now? Oh yes, we’re up to 13 interactions with corn and it’s first thing in the morning.

Let’s speed this up a bit. Susie goes to work, eats her yogurt in the car (we already counted that), and realizes she didn’t bring enough of a snack. When she gets to work, she goes for her emergency stash of Ritz crackers she keeps at her desk. This point went yet again to High Fructose Corn Syrup, who is definitely in the lead is this match.

For lunch, Susie grabs a salad from the cafeteria, and chooses a Fat Free Ranch dressing (complete with Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, and Tocopheryl Acetate). For our example, we can use Wish Bone.

She also purchases a sandwich to eat back at her desk – a turkey and cheese sandwich. Since most lunch meats are injected with Dextrose, she would have consumed this unless she happened to be eating organic meat. Given she’s at an office cafeteria, those odds are low. The last thing she grabs to include with her salad and sandwich, is a Vlasic Kosher Dill pickle, which is packaged in Polysorbate 80. And lastly, she finishes her lunch with some chewing gum to freshen her breath, Trident White, because it is sugar free, and helps to whiten teeth. She may be whitening her teeth, but she’s also consuming Sorbitol, and Mannitol. And to answer the unasked, but well researched question – no, there are no chewing gums available for purchase in the US that are 100% corn free. Glee Gum almost makes that cut, but doesn’t.

Later in the day Susie goes to a friend’s house for dinner. The friend prepared chicken, with side dishes of vegetables and rice. The chicken was seasoned with seasoned salt (yep, more corn, in the form of corn starch), the vegetables were pre-sweetened with sauce in the package (just read the label of ANY frozen vegetables with a sauce for this example), and the rice “fortified”.

The current tally? 20 interactions with corn, even though it wasn’t on the menu. Add in some dessert such as ice cream or cookies, and that number likely just went up to 21. Oh, wait, Susie got a headache, and took some Tylenol (Corn Starch, Magnesium Stearate, Powdered Cellulose), and washed it down with a Diet Coke. Now we’re up to 23.

Corn in Everything

Poor Susie… she really tries to eat healthy and limit her interactions with chemicals as much as possible. However, she has allergies, asthma, and eczema for which her doctors give her medicine to “control” her conditions. Her asthma inhaler is Proventil, which uses ethanol derived from corn. When her asthma or eczema really act up, her doctor will prescribe Prednisone to help her “break the cycle.” Prednisone contains several types of corn based ingredients including; microcrystalline cellulose, polysorbate 80, and saccharin sodium. 

What’s really wrong with our “typical” example here? Susie has an undiagnosed Corn Allergy, because her doctors treat her Asthma and Eczema as dead-end conditions with no cause. The very medications she is prescribed to “help” those conditions actually continue to make them worse – because they contain her allergens. Since the amount of ingredients that may be derived from corn is so lengthy, unless a person suspects they have a corn allergy, or is tested specifically for one – it remains undiagnosed. Even with an “elimination” diet (avoiding all corn), it is very difficult to reach that 100% corn free state. It seems almost magically unreachable given the reaches of corn in America.

If you or someone you know has an allergy to corn – it’s time to speak up. There is a problem in this country, and it goes by the name of corn.

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