Warning: This story contains graphic content.
PHOENIX – Sam Kazemi stood over the old man’s corpse. Nearby lay pliers, a scalpel and a motorized saw designed to cut drywall and pipe.
On a busy day, Kazemi might harvest body parts from five or six people who had donated their bodies to science. On this day in November 2013, the corpse before Kazemi typified the donors who gave their remains to his employer, Biological Resource Center.
The man was a retired factory worker with a ninth-grade education. He had lived with his wife in a mobile home in Mohave Valley, Arizona, and had died six days earlier, aged 75. His name was Conrad Patrick.
But after he died and his body was donated, Patrick became a commodity, known by the company’s initials and a number: BRC13112103.
Reuters reviewed thousands of internal BRC records and confidential law enforcement documents containing profiles of Patrick and 2,280 other donors. The documents include invoices and inventories for thousands of body parts harvested from those people. They show how their bodies were dissected, which body parts were sent where, and why buyers obtained them.
Kazemi helped cut up and package Patrick into seven pieces. BRC shipped Patrick’s left foot to a Chicago-area orthopedic lab. His left shoulder was sent to a Las Vegas company that holds surgical seminars. His head and hisspine went to a project run by the U.S. Army. And Patrick’s “external reproductive organs” were sent to a local university. His right foot and left knee were placed in the company’s freezers, where they became part of BRC’s million-dollar inventory of flesh and bone.
For more than a year, Reuters has examined America’s body trade, a little-known and virtually unregulated industry. These businesses, which call themselves non-transplant tissue banks, are also known as body brokers.
The operations can resemble meat-packing plants. At BRC, body parts from heads to fingernails were harvested and sold. On Saturday mornings, Kazemi taught college students how to dismember cadavers in the company lab. He also starred in a grisly training video, demonstrating how to carve out a man’s spine using a motorized saw.
The documents obtained by Reuters – along with dozens of interviews with investigators, former BRC workers and families of donors – offer an unparalleled look at how one of America’s major body brokers operated.
The records, never before made public, also reveal how little the government or the donors themselves understood what was happening at the company, and show in graphic detail how a cadaver becomes a commodity.
Sales invoices detail many of those transactions.
For $607, BRC sold the liver of a public school janitor to a medical-device company. The torso of a retired bank manager, bought by a Swiss research institute, fetched $3,191. A large Midwestern healthcare system paid $65 for two femoral arteries, one from a church minister. And the lower legs of a union activist were purchased by a Minnesota product-development company for $350 each.
For raw material, the industry relies in large part on people too poor to afford a funeral, offering to cremate a portion of each donated body for free.
A Reuters analysis of BRC donor files from May 3, 2011 through January 20, 2014 confirmed how important the disadvantaged were to business. The vast majority of BRC donors came from neighborhoods where the median household income fell below the state average. Four out of five donors didn’t graduate from college, about twice the ratio of the country as a whole.
Before brokers accept a body, they typicallypresent the donor or next of kin with a consent form. These agreements are often written in technical language that many donorsand relatives say they find hard to understand. The documents give brokers the right to dismember the dead, then sell or rent body parts to medical researchersand educators, often for hundreds or thousands of dollars. At BRC, a whole bodysold for $5,893, records show.
Since 2004, when a federal health panel unsuccessfully called on the U.S. government to regulate the industry, Reuters found that more than 2,357 body parts obtained by brokers from at least 1,638 peoplehave ended up misused, abused or desecrated.
Documents reviewed for this article indicate that those figures are vastly understated. The extent of BRC’s operation surprised even investigators who raided the Phoenix-based company in 2014.
There, agents discovered 10 tons of frozen human remains – 1,755 total body parts that included 281 heads, 241 shoulders, 337 legs and 97 spines.
Applying a state forfeiture law, authorities hauled away the contents of BRC’s freezers, filling 142 body bags. One bag held parts from at least 36 different people.
The seizure was so large that officials struggled to properly handle the body parts. When plans to cremate the remains stalled, officials brought three walk-in freezers to a military base and stacked the body bags inside, one atop another. Parts from 851 different people remained in those freezers for almost three years before they were cremated.
The raid on BRC was part of a broader federal probe into the suspected practices of one of its clients, Arthur Rathburn. A Detroit body broker, Rathburn has pleaded not guilty to charges of defrauding customers. During a 2013 search of Rathburn’s warehouse, federal agents found rotting body parts along with four preserved fetuses,confidential photographs reviewed by Reuters show. It is not clear how Rathburn acquired the fetuses or what he planned to do with them. He was indicted for allegedly selling diseased body parts without warning buyers. His trial is set for January.
After the BRC raid, the company went out of business. Its founder and former owner, Stephen Gore, later pleaded guilty to fraud – not for selling body parts but for misleading customers by shipping them contaminated specimens. His punishment: probation. He is expected to testify at the Rathburn trial.
Gore’s attorney, Clark Derrick, said Gore always tried to act in the best interests of his donors. “At some point the business grew exponentially, we became shorthanded, we cut some corners, and for that I apologize and make amends,” Derrick said on Gore’s behalf.
PROFITING OFF THE POOR
Gore housed his business in a 9,000-square-foot building once occupied by an insurance agency – a one-story facility near two interstate highways and the Phoenix airport. From 2005 until early 2014, court records show, BRC received about 5,000 human bodies and distributed more than 20,000 body parts.
As Reuters reported last year, BRC also sold body parts to U.S. Army contractors for military experiments. A Pentagon spokeswoman said BRC provided the body parts “under false pretenses,” misleading the Army that consent had been secured for donors to be used in destructive tests.
Among the parts BRC sold for the Army experiments were the heads and spines of Conrad Patrick and Leon Small, a 71-year-old retiree who had once managed a furniture factory.
On the consent forms Patrick and Small signed, each man checked a box stating that he did not wish to be used in military or destructive tests, records show.
But just days after Patrick and Small died, a BRC employee called their widows and persuaded them to amend the forms so their husbands could be used by the military, according to recordings of the calls reviewed by Reuters. The widows said the calls came during a traumatic time.
“I didn’t understand what they were talking about,” Dona Patrick said. “But I said ‘OK.’”
Bodies or parts from at least 20 BRC donors were used without their consent in Army experiments, Reuters found. Parts from Small and Patrick, however, were not. The military halted testing when it learned of the raid at BRC.
The shoulders of both men were sent to a for-profit surgical training company in Nevada.
The widows, Karen Small and Dona Patrick, are among two dozen next of kin who said they were surprised to learn that BRC profited from a relative’s donated body.
“They prey on people that have no money, that are poor, that have no insurance – like us,” Patrick said.
Family members of some donors said BRC employees led them to believe body donation was regulated by federal and state authorities, and that selling body parts is illegal. Based on those pitches, the relatives said they believed the remains wouldn’t be sold. In truth, there are virtually no regulations on the body trade.
“They prey on people that have no money, that are poor, that have no insurance –like us.”
“It’s a horrible thing,” Small said. “Sick.”
In a statement to Reuters last year, Gore said his employees took “great care to ensure that donors and their families were well-informed about the processes.” Gore acknowledged at his sentencing that he relied on books and the Internet for instruction on how to handle the bodies he sold.
“HOMEMADE HORROR MOVIE”
In 2012, BRC hired lab technician Kazemi. He earned $21 an hour. Before joining the company, his resume shows, he spent the previous decade working as a real estate agent, a waiter at a Morton’s steakhouse and a manager for an Olive Garden restaurant.
When he arrived at BRC, he was 35 and had just graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in kinesiology, the study of body movement. At ASU, he was a teaching assistant in an anatomy lab.
In 2013, Kazemi starred in a BRC instructional video. It opens with a jarring title, punctuated for emphasis: “Stripped Cervical Spine!”
The video begins with a close-up of Kazemi wearing a mask, gloves, goggles and a surgical gown. Then it pulls back to reveal a body face down on a table. The man’s shoulders and arms have already been sheared off. The head lolls from side to side until Kazemi holds it still.
With a scalpel, he makes incisions along the neck and back, then peels away the man’s skin and scalp. About seven minutes into the video, Kazemi picks up a construction saw.
“On this one,” he says of the cadaver, “we are using a sturdy, thicker 9-inch blade. You want to make sure that the blade is long enough to reach from ear to ear across the back.”
In his interview with Reuters, Kazemi described the video as clinical and “not disrespectful to donors” in any way. It was meant for internal use only,he said.Kazemi also said he did not know how BRC acquired donors or where body parts were shipped.
In hindsight, Kazemi said using a motorized saw was wrong because it cannot be cleaned well enough to avoid spreading diseases.
“Would I do something like that now that I know better? No,” Kazemi said. “But at the time, that’s what was provided to me.”
Two retired investigators for the Arizona attorney general said even veteran prosecutors recoiled when they viewed the 24-minute video.
“It was like a homemade horror movie,” said Charles Loftus, the former assistant chief agent.
“It’s not how you treat human beings ... You don’t throw them in a bunch of body bags and then throw them into a freezer like a pile of garbage.”
“I couldn’t sleep at night after seeing that,” said Matthew Parker, another former agent who says he retired with a disability – post-traumatic stress disorder – related to his work on the case. “It looked like a junkyard chop shop where they are just ripping things apart.”
INTERNING AT BRC
Kazemi also spent Saturdays in BRC’s lab teaching college students about dissection.
On one Saturday in late 2013, ASU junior Emily Glynn said she showed up for her first day at the lab. She was majoring in nutrition.
“I was really surprised when I got the internship because I didn’t have any experience,” said Glynn, then 20. “Just went in the first day and learned things on the job.”
That first day, under Kazemi’s direction, interns used pliers to remove fingernails from donors, Glynn recalled.
“I don’t want to say it was barbaric, but it was weird,” she said. “One day, I found myself holding the hand of a 70-year-old woman and felt like I needed to apologize to her, to say, ‘I’m sorry.’”
Neither Glynn nor Kazemi knew how the fingernails were used, they said, and Reuters could not locate invoices for that order. But the news agency did identify fingernails from 22 other donors that were sold by BRC. They went to a North Carolina bioengineering research company, SciKon Innovation.
SciKon CEO Randy McClelland said he was unaware that BRC was raided by the FBI. He said his business helps companies study how products enter the bloodstream through fingernails. “Like new cosmetics that go on your skin,” he said.
On another Saturday, Glynn said, Kazemi gathered the interns around the body of another elderly woman.
“He says, ‘Emily, you’ve never cut off a head before, and everyone else has, so do you want to try?’” Glynn recalled. “And I’m, like, ‘OK.’”
As she held the reciprocating saw, Glynn said, Kazemi steadied her grip.
“It wasn’t a full-on chainsaw like you would see in a horror movie, but it was a smaller version,” Glynn said. “And then I just went for it. I was expecting lots of blood but there wasn’t much to it. It came right off,” she said of the woman’s head.
Kazemi said he doesn’t remember helping an intern cut off a head or any other body parts. The Saturday sessions, he said, were more akin to lectures during which he showed interns various organs and other body parts.
In her senior thesis, Glynn described her time at BRC differently.
“One day, I found myself holding the hand of a 70-year-old woman and felt like I needed to apologize to her, to say, ‘I’m sorry.’”
“Over the course of the internship, I stripped subcutaneous fat from the vertebrae of a cervical spine, practiced performing cricothyrotomies (incisions to the throat), sutured dismembered legs using an oversized needle and twine, and decapitated an elderly woman with what looked and sounded like a chainsaw from Home Depot,” Glynn wrote in her thesis. “Not once did I receive formal training or instruction.”
BODY PARTS TO MIDDLEMEN
BRC’s customers were not always directly acquiring body parts from the broker for their own medical education, research or training programs. According to invoices, some customers were middlemen – brokers who resold or leased body parts originally donated to BRC. The consent forms gave BRC the discretion to choose its customers, but the forms did not state that body parts could be resold by third parties.
In 2012 and 2013, BRC sold at least 961 body parts, including at least 224 human heads, to three such middlemen.
One was Innoved Institute LLC, a Chicago-area medical lab provider that also supplies human body parts. Innoved was among BRC’s best customers. It received at least32 shipments with 277 body parts. Innoved executives did not respond to requests for comment.
Another was Rathburn, the Detroit-area broker facing trial next month. He received at least 26 heads from BRC. Rathburn’s lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.
A third middleman was Biological Resource Center of Illinois, another Chicago-area broker. Better known as BRC-IL, it received at least 658 body parts from BRC. BRC-IL operated independently from BRC. But it was also raided by FBI agents as part of the federal probe into suspected fraud against donors and customers. No one has been charged with a crime in the BRC-IL matter, and executives there did not respond to requests for comment.
One of the shoulders shipped to BRC-IL came from the body of Robert Louis DeRosier, a casino security employee. He died at age 64 after a long battle with diabetes.
His widow, Tama DeRosier, lives in a mobile home park in Mohave Valley, Arizona. She said her husband donated his body hoping it might contribute to diabetes research. She did not expect anyone to make money selling his remains.
“That’s morbid,” the widow said. “Greed is a terrible thing.”
Russell Parker Jr, who helped care for his dying brother Todd, said he was surprised to learn from a reporter that BRC sold Todd’s right knee and offered to sell Todd’s head. Friends had recommended BRC, he said. And when the company returned his brother’s ashes, everything seemed “all on the up and up, very professional.”
“Shame on BRC for showing such disrespect,” Parker said. “That’s so wrong. It’s like trafficking.”
The companion of one donor cited another area of confusion: BRC’s use of the term “tissue.”
In sales pitches and on consent forms, body brokers commonly talk about retrieving tissue from donors. To the medical community, “tissue” means any part of the body – from an organ to a torso.
“Shame on BRC for showing such disrespect. It’s like trafficking.”
But in interviews with Reuters, family members of some donors said they believed “tissue” meant only skin samples. Though BRC did sell skin, those sales represented just 2 percent of its business, invoices show.
Maureen Krueger said her partner of 42 years, Fidel Silva, told a female hospice worker in his final days that he wished to be cremated.
“And that’s when she brought it up: ‘Would you be interested in donating tissues?’” Krueger recalled.
The way she understood it, Krueger said, a few skin samples would be removed for research purposes. In return, BRC would cremate Silva for free. Silva, a 69-year-old construction worker with a high school degree, peppered the hospice worker with questions.
“He asked, ‘Well, are you sure? What are they going to do?’” Krueger said. “He wanted to know. And that’s when she assured him it was only body tissues, they only took samples, they didn’t remove any organs or parts or anything. It was just tissues. And that’s when Fidel agreed.”
The conversation took place at the Hospice of Havasu in Arizona. Its executive director, Dan Mathews, said he could not discuss the matter due to patient-privacy laws. But he said the hospice, which offers its clients options to donate their bodies to science, “removed that company BRC from our list of providers” upon hearing it was under investigation.
Internal BRC records show the body broker removed Silva’s head, and his right and left arms from shoulder to hand. Each was tagged with a tracking number and prepped for sale.
“Wow,” Krueger said. “I didn’t really realize they could do all that. I mean, I didn’t understand that’s what would happen with Fidel at all.”
BODY PARTS IN LIMBO
After the raid of BRC by federal and state agents, the body parts seized by authorities remained in limbo for almost three years. Their fate, detailed in confidential state logs, sworn statements and photographs, has never been made public.
Logistical problems began the day of the raid, said former agents Parker and Loftus. Authorities were stunned to find so much human flesh inside BRC, they said.
“We expected two freezers and a few hundred pounds of body parts,” said Loftus, who’s now running for state representative. “Instead, we found 40 freezers with 10 tons of bodies and parts.”
Agents entered in hazmat gear and took biopsies from each body part to preserve as evidence. Records show the agents then placed the 1,755 parts into 142 body bags.
The bags were sent to 10 local funeral homes so the remains could be cremated. But records and interviews show that BRC and others for whom it was storing body parts objected to their destruction. They argued that the parts had a value of more than $1 million.
The cremation plans were put on hold, but authorities soon faced a pressing problem, according to former agents Loftus and Parker. Funeral homes could refrigerate but not freeze the body parts, and the mortuaries began to complain that some of the parts were starting to thaw.
As a solution, authorities obtained three walk-in industrial freezers and installed them at a military base used by the Arizona National Guard. Then, body bag by body bag, the mortuaries delivered the parts, and Loftus and Parker helped carry them into the freezers.
In an interview, Parker recalled feeling body parts sloshing around inside the bags as he moved them. Some bags leaked blood that stained his pants and shoes. The experience led to his PTSD diagnosis, he said.
“It’s not how you treat human beings, human remains,” Parker testified in a deposition as part of his PTSD claim. “You don’t throw them in a bunch of body bags and then throw them into a freezer like a pile of garbage.”
The spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office said the body parts were kept for federal authorities “as evidence in ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions across the country.” An FBI spokesman declined to comment. In February, after almost three years in the containers, the remains were cremated and returned to families that requested them, the state spokeswoman said.
In response to the Gore case, the Arizona governor signed into law a bill that requires body brokers like BRC to be licensed and regularly inspected. The new law calls for brokers to follow a set of standards and to hire a medical doctor to supervise company practices.
Although the law was adopted a year and a half ago, it has yet to be enforced: The state health department still must create specific rules for brokers. It isn’t clear when it will. Health department officials, said a spokeswoman, “do not have an anticipated date of completion at this time.”
The Body Trade
By John Shiffman, Reade Levinson and Brian Grow
Data analysis: Reade Levinson
Graphics: Maryanne Murray
Photo editing: Steve McKinley
Design: Troy Dunkley
Edited by Blake Morrison
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Find out which types of food are zero-rated and which are standard-rated for VAT purposes.
It’s been updated from the 2014 version to include references to the temporary reduced rate of VAT that will apply to supplies of food (excluding alcoholic drinks) for consumption on the premises on which it is supplied and to supplies of hot takeaway food (excluding alcoholic drinks) between 15 July 2020 and 31 March 2022.. You must always standard rateBut you can zero rateIce cream, similar products, and mixes for making them — read paragraph 3.5 of this guidanceFrozen yoghurt that’s designed to be thawed before being eatenConfectionery, apart from cakes and some biscuits — read paragraph 3.6 of this guidanceDrained cherries and candied peelAlcoholic beverages — read paragraph 3.7 of this guidance—Other beverages, and preparations for making them — read paragraph 3.7 of this guidanceMilk and milk drinks, tea, maté, herbal tea, coffee and cocoa, preparations of yeast, meat and eggPotato crisps, roasted or salted nuts and some other savoury snack products — read paragraph 3.8 of this guidance—Products for home brewing and wine making — read paragraph 3.7 of this guidance—How these criteria apply to general and specialised food products is explained in sections 3 and 4 of this guidance.. Food itemRate of VATNotesMeat and poultry, for example, beef, lamb, pork, chicken and so onZero rateButchered or complete carcassExotic meat, for example, horse, ostrich, crocodile, kangaroo, and so onZero rateButchered or complete carcassLive animalsZero rateIf of a species generally used for human consumptionLive horsesStandard rateNot a recognised food species — read VAT Notice 701/15: animals and animal food Animal products other than for human or animal foodStandard rateFor example, for medicinal purposesFishZero rateIf fit for human consumptionLive fishZero rateIf of a species generally used for human consumptionOrnamental fish, such as Koi carpStandard rateIf prepared for human consumption, they are zero-ratedFish for baitStandard rateUnless fit for human consumptionFish withdrawn from the food market under EU fisheries rulesZero rateIf of a quality fit for human consumptionVegetables and fruitZero rateIf of a quality fit for human consumption.. However, for growing plants and seedlings — read VAT Notice 701/38: seeds and plants Culinary herbs and spicesZero rateRead VAT Notice 701/38: seeds and plants Ornamental vegetablesStandard rateFor example cabbages, that are grown for their appearance rather than consumptionFruit and vegetable pulps, such as pureed apple used for cookingZero ratePulps that are to be made into beverages, for example, fruit and vegetable smoothies are standard-rated — read paragraph 2.2 of this guidanceJuice and juice concentratesStandard rateBeverages or products for the preparation of beverages are standard-rated — read paragraph 2.2 of this guidanceCerealsZero rateHowever supplied, such as growing crop, bulk or retail — read VAT Notice 701/15: animals and animal food Nuts and pulsesZero rateIf raw and unprocessed for human consumption.. This does not apply to starch for stiffening shirt collars, or ‘photographic’ gelatineSalt for culinary useZero rateIncluding fine salt, dendritic salt, and, in retail packs (12.5kg or less) - rock and sea saltNon-culinary saltStandard rateIncluding compacted salt (pellets and tablets), granular salt, rock salt (other than retail packs), soiled salt, salt for dishwashers and salt of any type for non-food useSweetenersZero rateIncluding natural products like honey and sugar, and artificial products like saccharin, aspartame and sorbitolFlavourings and flavour enhancersZero rateIncluding natural essences such as peppermint and vanilla, culinary rosewater and synthetic flavouringsFlavouring mixesZero rateIncluding dusting powders, blended seasonings and marinating mixes, whether natural or syntheticMonosodium glutamateStandard rateNot a food product in its own rightOther food additives such as baking powder, cream of tartar, rennet, lactase and pectin for culinary useZero rate—Non-food additives such as bicarbonate of soda, saltpetre and other single chemicals for use in brining or other processing of meats or fishStandard rate— If you supply processed or prepared foodstuffs you need to check that they’re not standard-rated — read paragraph 2.2 of this guidance.. Food itemRate of VATNotesCanned and frozen food other than ice cream and similar frozen productsZero rateThese have the same liability of the unprocessed product, such as peas or fishIce creams, sorbets, frozen yoghurt (designed to be eaten as such) or ice lolliesStandard rateRead paragraph 3.5 of this guidanceChilled or frozen ready meals, convenience foods, and so onZero rateFor further preparation, such as reheating at homeCold sandwichesZero rateZero-rated as prepared food unless a supply made in the course of catering when standard-rated (or temporarily reduced rated) — read paragraph 2.1 of this guidance Although most traditional bakery products, such as bread, biscuits and cakes, are zero-rated, some confectionery is standard-rated including:. Zero-ratedStandard-ratedBread and bread products such as rolls, baps and pitta breadThe same products supplied as part of a hot take-away meal (subject to the temporary reduced rate), such as a hot hamburger in a bun, or a hot kebab in a pitta or to ‘eat in’ — read VAT Notice 709/1: catering and take-away food Cakes including sponges, fruit cakes, meringues, commemorative cakes such as a wedding, anniversary or birthday cakesCakes supplied in the course of catering (subject to the temporary reduced rate) — read VAT Notice 709/1: catering and take-away food Slab gingerbread—FlapjacksCereal, muesli and similar sweet tasting barsMarshmallow teacakes — with a crumb biscuit or cake base topped with a dome of marshmallow coated in either chocolate, sugar strands or coconutScottish snowballs — a dome of marshmallow coated with chocolate or coconut, aerated and boiled (not baked), they have a short shelf life and harden rapidly when removed from the packet. Zero-ratedStandard-ratedChocolate couverture, chips, leaves, scrolls and so on (designed specifically as cake decorations)Chocolate buttons (except packets of mini-chocolate buttons sold for use in bakingJelly shapes, sugar flowers, leaves etc designed specifically as cake decorationsChocolate flakes (except when they are supplied within the bakery and ice cream industries, when they may be zero-rated if sold in packs of one gross or more, clearly labelled ‘for use as cake decorations only: not for retail sale’)Hundreds and thousands, vermicelli and sugar strandsAny other items which are sold in the same form as confectioneryRoyal icing—Toasted coconut and toasted almonds held out specifically for baking use—Cherries used in baking (often described as ‘glacé’)—Edible cake decorations whether sold as part of a cake or sold separately unless they fall within the exceptions relating to confectionery (read paragraph 3.6 of this guidance) or roasted nuts (read paragraph 3.8 of this guidance)Inedible cake decorations sold on their own 3.4.2 Biscuits Biscuits covered or partly covered in chocolate or some other products similar in taste and appearance to chocolate are standard-rated.. Zero-ratedStandard-ratedChocolate chip biscuits where the chips are either included in the dough or pressed into the surface before bakingAll wholly or partly coated biscuits including biscuits decorated in a pattern with chocolate or some similar productBourbon and other biscuits where the chocolate or similar product forms a sandwich layer between 2 biscuit halves and is not continued onto the outer surfaceChocolate covered shortbreadJaffa cakesGingerbread men decorated with chocolate unless this amounts to no more than a couple of dots for eyesBiscuits coated with caramel or some other product that do not resemble chocolate in taste and appearanceIce cream wafers partly covered in chocolate such as ‘chocolate oysters’ 3.4.3 Hot food Many bakery products, particularly bread, pies, pasties and other savouries, are baked on the retail premises, and are sold whilst still hot.. Zero-ratedStandard-ratedBaked AlaskaIce cream and ice lolliesCream gateauxIce cream gateaux and cakes, including arctic rollsMousseWater ices, sorbets and granitasFrozen yoghurt which needs to be thawed completely before it can be eaten and which has been frozen purely for storage or distributionFrozen yoghurtDesserts which are equally suitable for consumption frozen or defrosted (unless primarily designed for eating frozen and made substantially of ice cream or similar products)Powders and mixes for making ice creams and similar frozen products, including incomplete mixes and emulsions used by the trade and fruit syrups sold in plastic tubes for home freezing as ice lolliesWafers and cones (unless wholly or partly covered in chocolate or a similar product)Wafers and cones sold with ice cream or similar productsToppings, sauces and syrups unless sold with ice cream or similar products— Standard-rated confectionery includes chocolates, sweets and candies, chocolate biscuits and any other ‘items of sweetened prepared food which is normally eaten with the fingers.’ Items of sweetened prepared food do not need to have added sweetening if they are inherently sweet, for example, certain fruit and cereal bar products.. Zero-ratedStandard-ratedCakes including sponge cakes, pastries, eclairs, meringues, flapjacks, lebkuchen, marshmallow teacakes and Scottish snowballsChocolates, bars of chocolate including those containing nuts, fruit, toffee, or any other ingredients, diabetic chocolate, liqueur chocolates and similar sweetsChocolate spread, liquid chocolate icing, chocolate couverture, and chocolate chips, strands, vermicelli, mini-buttons etc held out for sale solely for culinary use; chocolate body paintSweets, pastilles, gums, lollipops, candy floss, sherbet, chewing gum, bubble gum, Turkish delight, marshmallow, fondants and similar confectioneryBiscuits coated with icing, caramel or some other product different in taste and appearance from chocolateCompressed fruit bars and other items of prepared dried fruit confectionery that are sweet to the tasteChocolate cupsSweetened popcornToffee apples and other apples on a stick covered in chocolate, nuts and so onNuts or fruit with a coating, for example of chocolate, yoghurt or sugarGinger preserved in syrup, drained ginger or dusted ginger can be zero-rated as long as it’s not held out for sale as confectioneryCrystallised, sugared or chocolate covered gingerCandied peels, angelica, drained cherries for use in home baking often described as ‘glacé’ cherries and cocktail or maraschino cherriesDrained, glacé or crystallised fruits including Petha, Marrons glacésHalva (unless coated with chocolate or chocolate substitute or held out for sale as confectionery)Bars consisting mainly of seeds and sugar or other sweetening matterEdible cake decorationsCereal bars, whether or not coated with chocolate, with the exception of bars which qualify as cakesSweet tasting dried fruit held out for sale as snacking and home bakingSweet tasting dried fruit held out for sale as confectionery, snackingTraditional Indian and Pakistani delicacies such as barfis, halvas, jelabi, laddoos; and traditional Japanese delicaciesSlimmers’ meal replacements in biscuit form that are wholly or partly covered in chocolate or something similar in taste and appearance Although most drinks (other than medicinal drinks) are considered to fall within the general category of ‘food’ for VAT purposes, many drinks are standard-rated as alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages.. Zero-ratedStandard-ratedMilk and flavoured milk drinks (including milk shakes)Flavourings for milk shakes (except preparations and extracts of cocoa or coffee, which are zero-rated)Tea, maté, herbal teas and similar products, and preparations and extracts of these (but this does not include soft drinks containing tea as only one of several ingredients)Purgative and laxative ‘teas’, such as senna, and similar medicinal teasCocoa and drinking chocolate and other preparations and extracts of cocoaMineral, table and spa waters held out for sale as beveragesCoffee and chicory and other roasted coffee substitutes, and preparations and extracts of these (including coffee extracts for flavouring milk shakes)Alcohol-free beer and winesPreparations and extracts of meat, yeast, egg or milkGinger, glucose, honey, peppermint and barley water drinks—Syrups, crystals, powders and flavourings for making any standard-rated drink—Carbonated drinks such as lemonade, cola and mixers such as tonic and soda—Fruit cordials and squashesAll hot beverages and any drinks, including zero-rated drinks sold for consumption on your premises are standard-rated (or temporarily reduced rated).. potato snacks and similar products, made from potato or from potato flour or potato starch (although a small amount of potato flour in the recipe of a savoury biscuit would not make that biscuit standard-rated if otherwise it had none of the characteristics of a standard-rated potato product) snacks made by the swelling of cereals — this applies only to products produced by the puffing of individual kernels or by an extrusion process where air is introduced under pressure into the cereal flour or starch paste during manufacture to produce an expanded, aerated product roasted and salted nuts. Zero-ratedStandard-ratedSavoury snacks consisting of sliced and dried or roasted vegetables other than potatoes for example beetroot, carrot, and so onPotato crisps, potato sticks, potato puffs, and similar products including those made from a combination of potato starch or flour and cereal flourTortilla chips, corn chips, bagel chips, cocktail cheese savouries and TwigletsSavoury popcorn (but not corn for popping for example ‘microwave’ popcorn)Prawn crackers made from tapiocaPrawn crackers made from cereals (but not unpackaged prawn crackers, for example, those supplied in unsealed bags as part of a takeaway meal)Roasted pulses and legumes, for example chick peas and lentilsRice cakes (but not unflavoured rice cakes intended for consumption with cheese or other toppings)Roasted or salted nuts supplied while still in their shells (such as ‘monkey nuts’ and pistachios), toasted coconut, toasted almonds and other toasted chopped nuts held out for sale in retail packs specifically for home bakingAll other roasted or salted nuts Dietary products designed to meet particular nutritional needs, either as supplements to a normal diet, or as food for specialised groups of people, such as invalids, slimmers etc, are often sold through specialised health food outlets or chemists’ shops.
Would you eat your favorite breakfast cereal if you knew that it contained Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), a product also used in jet fuel and embalming fluid? Can you imagine grilling … Continue Reading →
In total, there are more than 3,000 food chemicals purposely added to our food supply, yet avoiding them is a lot easier and more economical than you might think.. But advances in the food industry are hindering our efforts to stay healthy because thousands of chemicals have entered the food supply.. As a result, foods have become so industrially processed that in some cases they could be easily labeled as “edible food-like substances” – a synthetic man-made product – rather than actual nourishing food.. Not so fast… Let’s take a look at the ingredients of Kellogg's® Smart Start® Strong Heart Antioxidants:. Water, soybean oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, contains less than 2% of garlic*, xanthan gum, citric acid, propylene glycol alginate, onions*, polysorbate 60, spice, red bell peppers*, garlic, phosphoric acid, parsley*, vitamin E, natural flavor.. While some commercially made salad dressings really may have natural ingredients (make sure you read the labels), try to stick to basics and use olive oil with lemon juice as often as possible.. But not so fast… Take a look at the list of ingredients in a bag of fat free Rold Gold® Pretzels, the number one brand in the US:. Enriched flour: these pretzels are made with enriched flour.. It has fortunately become quite easy to replace enriched flour with healthy alternatives, especially with whole wheat flour.. I like to snack on alkalizing fruits, whether dried or fresh, and sometimes add a few nuts such as almonds or walnuts and some sesame seeds that are naturally high in calcium.. Dried fruits mixed with nuts are easy to carry around so you can have a bone-healthy snack anytime of the day.. Take a look at the ingredients:. It is very important for your bone health and your overall health that you avoid these acidifying chemicals that can cause a variety of undesirable side effects, besides accelerate your bone loss.. And here’s a shortcut, any food packaging that has a long list of ingredients with names that sound like they’re from a distant planet is not the kind of food you want to eat.. For strong and healthy bones, eat foods with a short and easy to recognize list of ingredients.