Standards

To demonstrate our commitment to the highest quality standards, we’ve compiled a list explaining our policies on the most common and controversial food additives.

At Native Sun, we have always put the focus on eating locally and supporting a community that demands the most out of their food.

Thankfully, our standards apply to every department in our stores, ensuring that we ask the right questions and know what to look for when reviewing potential new products. Whether you’re shopping fresh, frozen, pre-packaged, or from our deli, you don’t have to wonder whether your favorite foods are full of harmful additives.

What you won’t find:

Antibiotics

We discourage the excessive use of antibiotics seen in large-scale meat and dairy operations. All of our meat and fresh dairy products, whether natural or organic, are free of antibiotics. Additionally, we are proud to offer pasture eggs alongside our organic and free-range offerings. All of our fresh eggs are antibiotic free and come from chickens that are raised and treated humanely.

Artificial Colors or flavors

Mainstream products are full of electric yellows, neon greens, and other bright colors that are supposed to make food more visually appealing. In many cases, these additives are petroleum based and linked to cancer and other conditions. At Native Sun, we are more than happy to swap crazy colors, flavorings, and dyes for real ingredients.

Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame & Sucralose)

Aspartame contains several controversial ingredients, including methanol and DKP, which link it to numerous diseases (Mercola 1). Sucralose starts off as a simple sugar molecule before the introduction of chlorine molecules creates an unnatural sugar (Kovacs 1). The newly created sugar molecule does not naturally occur in nature, meaning that our bodies are not programmed to metabolize it (Kovacs 1). There are limited studies on the long-term effects of Sucralose and its safety in humans. We have always been wary of these poorly tested sweeteners and have never allowed them on our shelves.

BHT/BHA/TBHQ

BHT, BHA, and TBHQ are preservatives used in many foods to prevent fat spoilage. At Native Sun, we refuse to carry any products that contain BHT, BHA or TBHQ.

Cloned Meat or Dairy from Cloned Animals

Cloned meat and dairy lacks the rigorous testing needed to determine its safety. In addition, companies that produce cloned meat and animal products do not have to label their products or acknowledge that they might be using cloned meat or dairy. We refuse to sell cloned meats or any products potentially sourced from cloned animals at Native Sun. All of our meat and poultry comes from animals that eat natural or organic feed and are raised in open-air environments without the use of steroids, hormones, or additives.

Expandex

A chemically altered form of modified tapioca starch for use in gluten free baked goods, Expandex mimics the appearance, taste, and texture of wheat-based ingredients (Shinsato 1). The lack of safety information we have been provided by the makers of Expandex regarding the chemical modification process, prevents us from carrying products that contain Expandex in our stores.

GMOs

We believe that we have the strictest non-GMO policy in the United States in spite of our dependence on the honesty of manufacturers, a flawed regulatory system, and a glaring lack of defined industry standards. In order to ensure that our personal standards are met, we contact each and every manufacturer to obtain confirmation that ingredients are not sourced from GMOs. We update several times a year to make sure nothing has changed in regard to raw materials used and the manufacturing process itself.

Growth Hormones (rBGH/rBST)

As with unnecessary and overused antibiotics, we frown upon the use of growth hormones in food production. We verify that all of our fresh and frozen meat and dairy offerings come from animals raised without growth hormones.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

A cheap, processed sweetener, High Fructose Corn Syrup always seems to find itself in the news. Regardless of claims that it is no different from regular table sugar, we refuse to carry any products made with high fructose corn syrup.

Hydrogenated Oils

Hydrogenation forces hydrogen into oil at extremely high temperatures and pressures (Armstrong 1). The resulting oils are incredibly shelf stable and work well in many processed foods. Unfortunately, the hydrogenation process also damages the oil, creating trans fatty acids that are linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other harmful diseases (Armstrong 1). Hydrogenated oils have never been allowed in Native Sun.

See Mono- & Di-Glycerides

Nitrates/nitrites

Unnecessary preservatives typically found in processed meats, nitrates/nitrites are known carcinogens. If you purchase any meat product, fresh or frozen from Native Sun, rest assured that it does not contain any nitrates/nitrites.

Pesticides

We only carry 100% organic produce, eliminating concern over the pesticides sprays used on conventional fruits and vegetables. We prefer our produce without chemical and pesticide residue and refuse to provide you with anything but the best.

Synthetics (Excluding those approved by the Organic Standards Board)

Although we wish it were avoidable, certain ingredients necessary in the production of processed foods do not have a natural or organic source. When a natural or organic source does not exist and an ingredient must be used, it goes through a review and approval process outlined by the National Organic Program. At Native Sun, we only allow synthetics that are approved by the Organic Standards Board for use in organic and natural products.

Melamine

A chemical used in the manufacture of plastics and other industrial products, melamine can be toxic at high levels. We make sure to contact all of our meat and dairy suppliers to confirm that they are aware of the feed they provide their animals and that it does not contain melamine.

What you may find & why:

Autolyzed yeast extract

Produced by growing, harvesting, and concentrating yeast cells that self-digest, breaking down cell walls and creating a savory base used to formulate a multitude of different flavors (Annie’s Homegrown Products 1). Yeast naturally contains a small amount of glutamic acid, an amino acid also present in MSG (Kettle Foods 1). Those with severe sensitivities to MSG may want to enjoy foods that contain glutamic acid in moderation (Kettle Foods 1). We allow autolyzed yeast extract in our stores but do not carry any products that contain added MSG.

Carrageenan

Used as a thickener in many products, carrageenan can be naturally derived from seaweed or created from a synthetic base. Regardless of the source, there are varying grades of carrageenan. We make sure that our manufacturers are aware of the different grades of carrageenan and verify that they are using only the highest quality available.

Caramel color

Caramel color might sound simple enough but it can actually come from both natural and synthetic sources. We refuse to allow synthetic caramel color in our stores.

Cellulose

Found in many foods of plant origin, cellulose works well as a stabilizer, thickener, bulking agent, or source of fiber (Cellulose Gum 1). In order for any form of cellulose to make it into our stores, we must know the initial source and it must be non-GMO. In addition we also consider whether or not the cellulose present in a product serves as a main ingredient or as an inert ingredient. Given that the body does not absorb cellulose, we will allow it in products where it functions as an inert ingredient (Cellulose Gum 1).

Cornstarch

When it comes to corn, GMO contamination runs rampant. Before we allow any new product that contains cornstarch into our stores, we verify that the corn used to produce the starch comes from a non-GMO source.

Dry Dairy Powder

Found in prepackaged items like potato chips, boxed macaroni and cheese, and cheese puffs, dry dairy powder provides shelf stability and cheesy flavor. Unfortunately, dry dairy powder can also be sourced from dairy products derived from animals treated with antibiotics and hormones. Due to the difficulty in obtaining antibiotic and hormone free non-organic powdered dairy ingredients, not all manufacturers are able to continually confirm this information for us. At this time, Certified Organic ingredients are the only way to ensure powdered dairy products are both antibiotic and hormone free.

Eggs

A breakfast and baking staple, fresh eggs sold in the cooler at Native Sun are always free of antibiotics and come from hens that are either free range, cage free, or pasture raised. We do our best to ensure that the same standards apply to the eggs used as ingredients in the products on our shelves.

Fractionated Oils

It might sound terrifying, but fractionation actually refers to heating and cooling oils in order to separate them into different fractions (Sugar Inc. 1). The separated fractions of oil have unique melting points that make them more versatile for use in recipes with coatings and icings (Sugar Inc. 1). Fractionated oils are typically found in protein and energy bars. Before allowing any fractionated oils into our stores, we verify with the manufacturer that the oils have not been hydrogenated and that no harmful solvents were used during processing.

Fructose

Although we allow products with fructose into our store, we verify that this simple sugar found in fruits and vegetables comes from a non-GMO source even if it finds its way into a product as an inert ingredient. Sugar may not be the healthiest thing, but we know that every once in awhile you have to surrender to your sweet tooth. That being said, we want to ensure that indulging your sweet tooth skips the GMOs.

Glucose

Often made from corn and other sources recognized as GMO, glucose has quickly become anything but a simple sugar. As with fructose, before allowing any product that contains glucose into the store, we verify with the manufacturer that it does not come from a GMO source.

Honey

Potential contamination with heavy metals, antibiotics, and other toxins suggests that bees aren’t the only species that should be concerned about the production of honey (Schneider 1). At Native Sun, we refuse to carry any honey, or product that contains honey, unless we can confirm the country of origin. We do not allow honey from China, India, or other Asian countries. Our first choice will always be locally produced honey.

Molasses

A kitchen staple sourced from sugar cane, grapes or sugar beets, molasses provides added sweetness when baking or cooking. Sugar beets are a large and profitable GMO crop, forcing us to verify that any molasses in our store comes from non-GMO fields.

Modified Starch

Modified starches can be altered physically, chemically, or through the use of enzymes (GMO-Compass 1). The modification process allows the starches to act as gelling agents that preserve texture and serve as bulking, binding, and anti-caking agents (GMO-Compass 1). Determining the source of and process used to create modified starch can prove extremely difficult. We work with manufacturers to obtain non-GMO status on modified starches and do not allow them in any product in the store unless they are recognized as an inert ingredient.

Mono- & Di-Glycerides

Put simply, mono- and di-glycerides are common food additives most often used to blend ingredients together that would not otherwise blend or mix well (Be Food Smart 1). In many cases, mono- and di-glycerides are produced using hydrogenation, creating unhealthy trans-fat. If a product on our shelves contains mono- and di-glycerides, we have confirmed with the manufacturer that they are produced and processed without the use of hydrogenation.

Olive Oil

We verify that our olive oil has not been adulterated in any way and contains only 100% olive oil.

Rebaudioside or Reb-A

An all natural zero calorie sweetener extracted from the Stevia plant, we allow Reb-A on our shelves as long as we can confirm its purity.

Rebiana or Cargill Reb-A

A zero calorie sweetener extracted from the Stevia plant. Found alongside erythritol in Truvia products, Cargill Reb-A undergoes a production process that involves harsh solvents. We do our best to verify the manufacturer of the Reb-A used in the products on our shelves.

Rennet

The result of a genetic modification process approved by the National Organic Program, vegetarian rennet comes from microbial enzymes like fungi and bacteria (Hauze 1). We allow vegetarian rennet in our stores.

Sugar

If we see the word “sugar” on a product label, we make sure to verify that it does not come from a GMO source. We avoid products that contain bleached white sugar.

Sulfites

Sulfur compounds that occur naturally during the process of wine making, sulfites can also be added to foods as enhancers and preservatives. Added sulphites are linked to many health problems and include compounds like Sodium sulfite, Sodium bi-sulfite, and Potassium sulfite. At Native Sun, we do not carry any grocery items that contain added sulfites. In addition, we make sure that levels of added sulfites in our wines are below 100 parts per million.

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide gives conventional foods like ice cream, cottage cheese, and milk their familiar bright-white coloration. In food, we only allow titanium dioxide as an ingredient in specialty items like vegan cheeses and creamers when all other options have been exhausted.

References

Annie’s Homegrown Products. “Annie’s Homegrown FAQs – What Is Yeast Extract?”
Annie’s Homegrown. Annie’s, 2012. Web. 30 Apr. 2012. Source

Armstrong, Eric. “Metabolic Poisons: What’s Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils.”
Partially Hydrogenated Oils. Tree Light, 1998. Web. 16 Apr. 2012. Source

“Aspartame Is, by Far, the Most Dangerous Substance on the Market That Is Added to
Foods.” Mercola. Dr. Mercola, 06 Nov. 2011. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. Source

“Cellulose Gum.” Be Food Smart. Be Food Smart, 2 July 2010. Web. 17 Apr. 2012.
Source

Hauze, Diane. “What Is Vegetarian Rennet?” Livestrong.com. 5 Jan. 2011. Web. 11 May 2012.
Source

Kettle Foods. “Kettle® Brand FAQs – Do You Use MSG in Your Products?” Kettle
FAQs. Kettle Foods, Inc., 2009. Web. 30 Apr. 2012. Source

Kovacs, Betty. “MedicineNet.com.” MedicineNet. Web MD. Web. 30 Apr. 2012.
Source

“Modified Starch.” GMO Compass. GMO Compass, 10 Dec. 2008. Web. 24 Apr. 2012.
Source

“Monoglycerides.” Be Food Smart. Be Food Smart, 19 Aug. 2010. Web. 19 Apr. 2012.
Source

Schneider, Andrew. “Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey.” Food Safety News. 7
Nov. 2011. Web. 30 Apr. 2012. Source

Shinsato, Eric. “Expandex® Modified Tapioca Starch.” Expandex R&D Q&A. Corn
Products International, 2012. Web. 30 Apr. 2012. Source

Sugar Inc. “Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil Explained.” FitSugar. Pop Sugar Home &
Family, 29 Aug. 2011. Web. 30 Apr. 2012. Source