Remember: Know what you eat…but don’t eat it all! All You Can Eat
Please click on the video of the Fat Boys ALL YOU CAN EAT link above
Hold on to your hats. Here are just a few of the things added to our foods that you may not realize can be very harmful to you and your family’s health. I have chosen to write about the food additives that have been banned in other countries but are still allowed in the United States. How can we be so far behind? Is it a matter of denial, economics, or just plain negligence? Whatever the reason, we need to be persistent in our efforts to keep our food safe. Know what you are eating. Read the labels. You do have a choice.
We rely on the FDA to be vigilant in protecting our best interest, heading current research, and banning foods that can make us sick, and worst yet, kill us. While obesity rates soar, cancer is on the rise and diabetes is rapidly reaching a new heights, the FDA is not adequately regulating our food sources and what goes into the food that we eat. Diet is the biggest contributor to health and yet the FDA allows questionable additives and processes to saturate our markets, our foods, and our bodies with little regard to health risk. When it comes to my health, and the health of my loved ones, reasonable certainty falls short of insuring that what is allowed in foods will certainly not cause harm.
In regulating food additives, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it “can never be absolutely certain of the absence of any risk from the use of any substance.” Instead, the agency will use the “best science available” to determine “if there is a reasonable certainty of no harm to consumers when an additive is used as proposed.” To allow something -anything- with a “reasonable doubt” to permeate our food supply is ludicrous. Beyond reasonable doubt is a healthier morsel to ingest.
What happens when government agencies, research groups, or foreign countries find fault with an ingredient? The Center for Science in the Public Interest is one consumer advocacy group that provides information for public and policy use on topics such as food, the environment, health, and safety. The organization has charted food additives, classifying them in categories ranging from “safe” to “avoid.” Only one of its “avoid” additives, cyclamate, is illegal in the U.S. The rest are fair game, and pop up in foods all the time. Although some have been banned in other countries, and studies have found they can damage health, the FDA has not outlawed their use. See for yourself:
Caramel coloring casts its dangerous shade in a wide range of products — baked goods, precooked meats, and soy sauce all contain the hue according to CSPI. The biggest offender? Soda. The color is made by a chemical cocktail that can be made with ammonia. When it is, it includes 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, which studies have found cause cancer in mice. Since 2012 and 2011, respectively, California has listed the chemicals on its Proposition 65, a list of chemicals known to cause cancer. In July, the Center for Environmental Health found that in California, Pepsi had reconfigured its soft drinks to remove the 4-methylimidazole it is still sold with 4-methylimidazole everywhere else! The company has promised to reduce levels by February 2014.
Michael Jacobson, CSPI executive director, said that the average amount of 4-MI in soda translates in the population to a lifetime cancer risk of 5 out of 100,000 people. “Coke and Pepsi, with the acquiescence of the FDA, are needlessly exposing millions of Americans to a chemical that causes cancer.”
Recently PepsiCo tooted its own horn for removing the additive “BVO” from Gatorade. But the soft-drink giant neglected to mention it still appears in other beverages such as Mountain Dew and Fresca. BVO is also listed as an ingredient in some flavors of Coca-Cola-made Powerade. PepsiCo classifies the ingredient as an “emulsifier,” which means it distributes flavor evenly throughout the beverage. So it keeps the Mountain Dew’s citrus flavors from collecting at the surface and only being present in the first few sips. But it also contains bromine, an element found in flame retardants.
According to the Mayo Clinic, bromine can also accumulate in fatty tissues, something linked to trouble with thyroid function and may affect the nervous system causing tremors, depression, and confusion. The FDA has flip-flopped on BVO’s safety originally classifying it as “generally recognized as safe” but reversing that call now defining it as an “interim food additive” a category reserved for possibly questionable substances used in food.
Where it’s banned: Europe and Japan
Cheers, and tears, Pepsi Corp.!
Yellow #5 is the second most widely used food coloring and yellow #6 is the third most widely used food dye. You have probably consumed one or both in your lifetime. Some negative affects of yellow #5′s offenses are allergy-like hypersensitivity reactions, and the potential of triggering hyperactivity in children. It can also become contaminated with cancer-causers benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl. Yellow #6 has caused adrenal gland and kidney tumors in animal testing, but the FDA has reviewed data to conclude it does not pose a cancer risk for humans…??? In a 2007 study in the UK by a University of Southampton research team the dyes wiere linked to an increase in hyperactive behavior (ADHD) in children.
Where it’s banned: Norway and Austria. And in 2009 the British government advised companies to stop using food dyes by the end of that year. The European Union also requires a warning notice on most foods containing dyes.
BHA is classified by the Department of Health and Human Services as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.“ But, as CSPI makes clear, this has not stopped the FDA from allowing it to appear in products. Worse yet, it can easily be replaced by something safer, like vitamin E, or removed from the product entirely. It is also used in cosmetic products like lipstick and eyeshadow.
Know that BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are widely used preservatives that prevent oils in foods from becoming rancid. “BHT is a waxy preservative in cereal, nut mixes and bubble gum,” says Rachel Greenberger, director, Food Sol at Babson College. It’s also known to cause cancer in rats. And according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Toxicology Program’s Twelfth Annual Report on Carcinogens (2011), BHA “is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen …..” BHA is also suspected of triggering allergic reactions and hyperactivity.
Where it’s banned: The UK has banned BHA in food for infants, parts of the EU and Japan also ban BHA.
Are you willing to eat a gray hot dog? Probably not — and the food industry knows it. This is why it adds sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite into meat products. The red color in cured meat becomes stabilized after the addition. Sodium nitrite can lead to the formation of nitrosamines, cancer-causing chemicals. Small but mighty, the chemicals are particularly dangerous in fried bacon. This can also happen in the stomach, and to counteract this, companies will add ascorbic or erythorbic acids.
In the past, WebMD explains, sodium nitrite may have been the cause of gastric cancers in the U.S. When refrigeration became more common than curing meat, the incidents of gastric cancer dropped. CSPI says the meat industry continues to use sodium nitrate and nitrite because it reduces the growth of botulism poisoning causing bacteria. Again, there are alternatives, including freezing, refrigerating, or using a process created by U.S. Department of Agriculture that utilizes lactic-acid-producing bacteria to produce the same results.
Added to breads to help the dough hold together and rise higher, studies have linked this additive to kidney damage and tumors, cancer and damage to the nervous system. It’s also credited with thyroid tumors. And the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies potassium bromate as carcinogen possibly cancerous to humans. But that hasn’t spurred the FDA to ban the additive in the U.S. In fact, potassium bromate is also approved by the FDA for use in the malting of barley.
Where it’s banned: Canada, China and the EU.
Notoriously poisonous, arsenic has routinely been fed to chickens raised in the U.S. for decades to increase poultry’s weight while requiring less feed. Arsenic also helps give meat a healthy-looking color and arsenic-based drugs are also approved by the FDA to treat and prevent parasites in poultry. But a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Center for a Liveable Future says poultry given arsenic-based drugs result in consumers buying packaged meat with high levels of inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen.
Where it’s banned: The European Union
In February 2013, Russia issued a long-term ban on U.S. red meat and pork as it contains ractopamine, a muscle enhancer banned in multiple countries including China (the ban only applies to pork) and Russia. “The drug is added to animal feed to promote leanness,” says Dessy. But it’s also linked to hyperactivity, muscle corrosion and adverse effects on the cardiovascular system in humans. “There are some studies which show that it can cause chromosomal abnormalities and behavioral changes,” adds Dessy.
It’s not the only drug fed to cows and pigs to increase muscle mass, but it is one of the few fed to animals in the last days before slaughter (to increase its effectiveness). And experts speculate as much as 20 percent of the drug can be present in meat consumers purchase from their local grocer.
Where it’s banned: 160 countries, including Russia, China, and Taiwan, and in Europe
One of the largest crops from the Big Island is genetically engineered, a move supported by the U.S. government. On Wednesday, June 19, 2013, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States supports the use of biotechnology to develop “smart” crops that can withstand disease, droughts and floods.
Scientists tinkered with papaya in an attempt to thwart ringspot virus, a threat that decimated crops in the 1990’s. And while genetically engineered papayas are resistant to ringspot, the world doesn’t share Kerry’s enthusiasm for genetically modified food. Numerous studies have found animals fed genetically engineered foods suffered intestinal damage, bleeding ulcers, kidney and liver disease, and a host of other health maladies.
Where it’s banned: The EU, which does not tolerate genetically engineered papaya.
Still with me, there’s more:
The fat substitute found in fat-free chips and fries packs quite a punch. Not only did a 2011 study from Purdue University conclude rats fed potato chips made with Olean gained weight, there have been several reports of adverse intestinal reactions to the fake fat including diarrhea, cramps and leaky bowels. And because it interferes with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K, the FDA requires these vitamins be added to any product made with Olean or olestra.
Where it’s banned: The UK and Canada
Wild salmon gets its pinkish-orange colored flesh from carotenoids in their diet of krill and other tiny shellfish. But farm-raised salmon don’t always have this dining option thus their flesh would be an unrecognizable pale pink or even gray color. So these salmon are being fed canthaxanthin, a chemical that perks up the trademark pinkish-orange color. One of the major producers of the pink dye used in farmed salmon feed pellets is pharmaceutical giant Hoffman-La Roche.
Some studies have shown that a high intake of canthaxanthin can lead to pigments collecting in the retina, potentially damaging eyesight.
Where it’s banned: You won’t find any fake pink fish on the barbie as food from fish and animals fed this chemical are banned down under in Australia and New Zealand.
Found in: Breads, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods.
Why it’s dangerous: Used to bleach both flour and FOAMED PLASTIC (yoga mats and the soles of sneakers), azodicarbonamide has been known to induce asthma.
Where it’s banned: Australia, the U.K., and most European countries.
Synthetic Growth Hormones rBGH and rBST: Harmful to cows and linked to increasing tumor development in humans.
Found in: Milk and dairy products.
Why it’s dangerous: Growth hormones are bad for cows and people, potentially causing infertility, weakened muscle growth, and a whole array of cancers.
Where it’s banned: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and the EU.
Bon Appétit mon chéri!