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September 29, 2010

Fake Syrup Becomes More Natural

Log+Cabin+All+Natural After much bellyaching by U.S. Rep. Peter Welch and some maple-producing compatriots in New Hampsha, the producer of Log Cabin "All Natural" Syrup has announced that it will comply with FDA guidelines and actually become natural. Apparently now, it's unnatural. Like dogs wearing goggles. Or doggles.

In a press release sent on Tuesday, Welch's office claimed partial victory in its quest to vanquish the offensive pancake topper, or at least get its producers to stop trying to pass off its syrup as real. According to a statement by Pinnacle Foods, Log Cabin's corporate parent, the company will remove the "caramel color," which apparently isn't natural. The xanthan gum and citric acid that are also found in the Log Cabin variety will remain. Cuz that shit's natural, obvs. 

Welch and syrup slingers from Vermont and New Hampshire criticized the brand for basically trying to fake out undiscerning syrup consumers. By calling its product "all natural" and packaging it in the iconic beige plastic syrup jugs, Welch contended that the Log Cabin slop diminished the Vermont brand. 

Let this be a lesson to us all. The next time you think that politicians are do-nothing fatcats, sucking on the teat of special interests while screwing an intern or two, just remember the day that Peter Welch saved Vermont maple syrup. 

If you want to read more about the original beef, check out our previous Blurt post on the subject here.

Here's the press release from Welch's office:

Welch and Allbee react to Pinnacle Foods announcement
Log Cabin syrup to change ingredients following Vermont protest
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Peter Welch and Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Roger Allbee on Tuesday reacted to an announcement by Pinnacle Foods that the company has agreed to remove caramel color from its Log Cabin “All Natural Syrup.”
Welch and Allbee wrote the Food and Drug Administration earlier this month, calling on the FDA to investigate whether the brand violates its guidelines by marketing as “natural” a product containing added colors, flavors or artificial substances.
In a statement released to the media, Pinnacle Foods announced that it was changing its ingredients in an effort to comply with FDA guidelines.
Welch and Allbee called the move a step in the right direction, but said that Pinnacle’s labeling does not make clear that the table syrup product is not, in fact, all-natural maple syrup.
Welch said, “By removing what is clearly an unnatural ingredient from its Log Cabin table syrup, Pinnacle Foods, Inc. has taken an important step to comply with FDA guidelines, but it does not go far enough. By continuing to market its product with jug-like packaging and ‘all-natural’ labeling, Pinnacle leaves consumers with the impression that Log Cabin table syrup and Vermont maple syrup are one and the same. As Vermonters know, they’re not even close. It’s time for Pinnacle to stop misleading customers and stop imitating the Vermont maple industry.”
Allbee said, “The current labeling and packaging of Log Cabin syrup is misleading to consumers and violates Vermont maple syrup labeling regulations. Our agency is dedicated to protecting the integrity of what is pure maple syrup. Pinnacle Foods, the maker of the Log Cabin syrup brand, has indicated that they will change  the label of their product to better differentiate it from pure maple syrup. This is a step to conform with Vermont maple labeling regulations.  I appreciate the work Congressman Welch has done to address this issue as well as the work of the agency's Consumer Protection Division."
Pinnacle Foods’ statement is copied below:
“Log Cabin All Natural syrup provides consumers with a value-priced table syrup choice made from all natural ingredients, in full compliance with FDA regulations. We’d like to thank Congressman Peter Welch and Vermont Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee for alerting us to the FDA’s voluntary guidelines regarding the addition of color to a natural product, even if from a natural source. Although this product does not pose any health or food safety issues, we are changing our recipe to remove caramel color immediately. With regard to the other ingredients, xanthan gum and citric acid are natural plant-derived ingredients. We have reached out to Congressman Welch and Secretary Allbee to discuss our changes and reinforce our commitment to producing high quality products.”

Now that is how you "stick it to the man". None of this roll over and take Natural off the label like Ben & Jerry's nonsense.

At least a somewhat good move on Log Cabin's part. Now we need to get the FDA straight on what 'natural ingredients' are. Xanthan Gum natural? Crack is also plant derived, but anyone would be hard pressed to call it natural. If it has to be made in a lab, it ain't natural.

Coca-cola has trademarked their "wave" bottle -- I don't mean the contents or the label or the logo, but the actual bottle. This is an opportunity for VT/NH and other maple syrup producing states to trademark the iconic maple syrup bottle itself.

It escapes me why the articles on this subject here have been so sarcastic and snickering. It embarrasses me that you appear to know so little about Vermont that you think trying to do something about fake maple syrup on supermarket shelves is just a silly joke. Peter Welch is absolutely right to pursue this.

You think he just thought this up by himself? It's obviously something the maple syrup producers in this state brought to his attention and requested his help with. That's actually a good thing, and it's exactly what he should do.

Hane, I'm in total agreement that this is worth Peter Welch's time, especially considering that we are the largest maple producer in the U.S. Hell, I don't want to grab a jug of this stuff by accident because it looks identical to real syrup. So I'm all for going after parent company. Just trying to report the news nugget in a slightly different way.

I agree that Pinnacle should take the "all natural" language off, but the bellyaching should end there. I only use Vermont maple syrup. I would never mistake Log Cabin syrup for real maple syrup. Seriously, how many people would mistakenly choose Log Cabin thinking they were buying Vt. maple syrup? Esp. in Vermont, where we are constantly made aware of what maple syrup is. There's absolutely nothing on the Log Cabin label that says the word "maple."

People have the right to choose Log Cabin bc it's cheaper. I don't really think there's a lot of mistaking going on.

Trademark the bottle. Yup lets make this sweet stuff even more unaffordable.
Let the buyer beware. Know what you want to buy, know what you are buying, and buy it responsibly. Please consume in moderation this sweet stuff.

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