There are some things that just shouldn’t change. I hate it when my favorite bra is discontinued, or the formula for the moisturizer that I use for my sensitive skin changes. When food ingredients change – and they do – I get even more distressed.
Most recently, Earth Balance has changed the formula for their natural shortening sticks. These are the ones that come in the green and light yellow box, and work marvelously as a replacement for butter when baking. Until now, the sticks were a blend of palm fruit, canola, soybean, and olive oils – all non-GMO. Now, they have added flax oil to the mix.
This means that the parents of kids with allergies to flax or other seeds may no longer be able to use this as their shortening. I say “may” because the product consists of oils – fats – rather than proteins; most allergies are to the protein in food, and oils are usually refined well enough that no protein remains. However, seeds are tricky things, and anyone with a flax or seed allergy will want to check with their doctor before continuing to use this product.
That said, when I called Earth Balance to check on the ingredients, they were very excited about the change, noting that the addition of flax means greater nutrition in the form of Omega-3 fatty acid, and for many of us that is a good thing. It is also a good thing that the product continues with all non-GMO ingredients – including the canola oil.
I can also tell you that the new formula works equally well as the prior version when baking, and remains a favorite of mine for replacing butter. If flax is not a concern for your family, you will want to continue to use it too. However, this is a great reminder that ingredients change, and you must always check the labels – every time.