As consumers continue to flock back to full-fat dairy with the lifting of the veil of lowfat propaganda, a multi-million dollar dairy company is taking full advantage to boost the bottom line by illegally adulterating its pasteurized heavy cream.
The culprit is Hiland Dairy, a large midwestern joint venture between Prairie Farms co-op and Dairy Farmers of America.
With annual revenue in excess of $500 million, the megacorp nonetheless tries to appeal to consumers via an astroturfed “farmer owned” marketing persona.
Illegally Adulterated Cream
In clear violation of FDA regulations, Hiland Dairy is adulterating its heavy cream with hydrogenated vegetable oil, aka “transfat“.
To add insult to injury, the label does not even list which vegetable oil!
Thus, the consumer doesn’t know which rancid, artery-clogging GMO lipid is replacing a portion of the healthy fats in the dairy cream.
Is it GMO soy, canola, corn, or cottonseed?
Probably all of the above depending on the time of year and which one(s) Hiland can get most cheaply for a given production run.
The plant code identifies Hiland Dairy’s factory in Little Rock, Arkansas as the product’s processing and packaging location.
According to the November 2022 issue of The Milkweed:
Hydrogenated vegetable oil is NOT an ingredient that conforms with standards of identity established by the federal Food and Drug administration for heavy whipping cream.
The presence of an unapproved ingredient in a dairy product that’s protected by an FDA standard of identity constitutes adulteration.
Further, under FDA rules, adulterated prodcuts are also considered mislabeled. (1)
The Milkweed goes further to identify exactly what FDA regulation is violated via the inclusion of hydrogenated vegetable oil.
The FDA standards of identity for Heavy Whipping Cream are included under the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 131.150 Heavy Cream.
Part (d) of Section 131.150 reads in part: “Nomenclature. (1) The name of the food is “Heavy cream” or alternatively “Heavy whipping cream”. (2, 3)
Hiland Dairy Heavy Whipping Cream Ingredients
As if hydrogenated vegetable oil isn’t bad enough, several other unhealthy and potentially carcinogenic additives appear on the ingredients list:
Grade A Milk and Cream, Mono- and Diglicerides, Polysorbate 80, Carageenan, Dextrose, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
Besides the well-established cardiovascular risks of hydrogenated vegetable oil, the additive Polysorbate 80 is a risk for brain and uterine damage. In addition, carrageenan is a possible carcinogen. (4, 5)
The Milkweed published a photo of the illegally adulterated product in the print publication. See a scanned copy below.
Hiland Dairy Tries to Cover its Tracks
Predictably, since The Milkweed article was published, Hiland Dairy has wiped all traces of the illegal product from its website. Is this an attempt to cover its tracks? It would seem so.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for food inspectors to do their job and enforce the FDA rules, however.
Being an informed and eagle-eyed consumer is always your best protection!
Be sure to check labels frequently and be aware that good-quality and bad-quality products can look similar.
This is usually by design to fool consumers into buying a cheaper product that is more profitable.
For example, the label of Hiland Dairy’s Fresh Cream product which contains only milk and cream is nearly identical to the adulterated Heavy Whipping Cream.
See a picture of the “Fresh Whipping Cream” below. Compare this to the above picture of the adulterated Heavy Whipping Cream.
Hiland Dairy has also changed the label of the adulterated heavy whipping cream.
It now has a different color label which omits the listing of vegetable oil (see below from the Hiland Dairy website).
Does this mean the hydrogenated oil is no longer in the cream?
Food manufacturers are shockingly permitted to put ZERO next to the transfat line item on the label and leave it off of the ingredients list as long as the food contains .5 grams or less of transfat per serving.
Note that the one-quart container below has each serving listed as one tablespoon with zero grams of transfat.
Since there are 64 servings in a quart, this means there could be a whopping 32 grams of transfat (288 calories) in the quart container and Hiland Dairy could still list it as zero.
The Solution? Boycott Big Dairy
Are you disgusted as I am by Big Dairy labeling tricks and marketing deceptions?
Even worse, when these companies are caught they just quickly adjust the label/ingredients. This makes it seem like nothing was ever amiss and those reporting the problems are fabricating the story.
Sadly, reporting violations to the FDA does next to nothing in my experience over the last 30 years.
Remember that the FDA is under the Department of Health and Human Services which has a terrible track record (particularly over the past two years) of telling the truth to the American people.
The cat-and-mouse games that Big Food has played for decades with consumers that are outright ignored by the FDA, only end when consumers boycott their products….permanently.
This is why I only buy cream from independent small farms that are truly “farmer owned”…not a semantic facade for a megacorp.
Putting these charlatans out of business is the only thing they understand.
(1) The Milkweed
(2) US Food and Drug Administration. CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21
(3) Cornell Law School FDA Code of Federal Regulations
(4) Polysorbate 80: A Risky Ingredient
(5) Researcher Bias and the Carrageenan Controversy