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What is Polysorbate 80?

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Here at Foodfacts.com, we like to keep viewers aware of possible health implications from a variety of products and ingredients. Today we feature Polysorbate 80.creamsicle

Polysorbate 80, also known as polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate, is a common food additive used as an emulsifier in a wide variety of products, mostly different ice creams. What it does is help make frozen treats smoother and more resistant to melting. Why do we classify this ingredient as controversial? Many studies have been done showing possible links to infertility, bladder cancer, negative interactions with Crohn’s disease, and in some cases anaphylactic shock. turkey-hill

Most humans in US and Canada consume approximately 0.1g of polysorbate 80 in their foods each day. In addition to foods, polysorbate 80 is now also an additive in H1N1 flu shots, and other vaccinations. With the increasing incidence of influenza in recent years, polysorbate 80 consumption is expected to rise even more.

Although polysorbate 80 is currently deemed safe for consumption, it’s wise for consumers to make their own judgments over these different types of additives. Check back to Foodfacts.com to see what other products contain this ingredient!

Azodicarbonamide: What Do You Know and Why You Should Care?

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Foodfacts.com wants to help you learn more about what controversial ingredients manufacturers are putting into your foods. Let’s look into the relatively little-known ingredient called Azodicarbonamide. If you enjoy eating bread, donuts, subs and bread-related products while eating out, perhaps you should read this.

Online research indicates that azodicarbonamide is used in the food industry as a food additive, a flour bleaching agent and improving agent. It reacts with moist flour as an oxidizing agent. The main reaction product is biurea (not urea), which is stable during baking. Secondary reaction products include semicarbazide and ethyl carbamate.

The United States allows azodicarbonamide to be added to flour at levels up to 45 ppm. Use of azodicarbonamide as a food additive is banned in Australia and in Europe. In Singapore, the use of azodicarbonamide can result in up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of $450,000.

The principal use of Azodicarbonamide is in the production of foamed plastics. The thermal decomposition of azodicarbonamide results in the evolution of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and ammonia gases which are trapped in the polymer as bubbles to form a foamed article. Common examples of this application are window and door gaskets, padded floor mats, gym/exercise mats, and shoe soles.

In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive has identified azodicarbonamide as a respiratory sensitiser (a possible cause of asthma) and determined that products should be labeled with “May cause sensitisation by inhalation.”

Azodicarbonamide may cause an allergic reaction in those sensitive to other azo compounds (such as food dyes). The consumption of azodicarbonamide may also heighten an allergic reaction to other ingredients in a food.

One of America’s largest fast food chains uses azodicarbonamide extensively in their breads, and a well-known donut chain uses it in their cooking and preparation of donuts.

In connection with food safety, it has wrongly been claimed that azodicarbonamide is completely decomposed into common, harmless substances during baking, either into urea or (alternatively) into gasses (carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen, and ammonia) Toxicological studies of the reactions of azodicarbonamide show that it is rapidly converted to biurea in dough, which is a stable compound not decomposed upon cooking.

What is the Food Additive TBHQ?

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Foodfacts.com wants to help you learn about what controversial food additives are being put into your foods.TBHQ is the acronym used to describe tertiary butylhydroquinone, which is an antioxidant that comes from petroleum and is related to butane. It is often used as a preservative, applied either to the carton of fast food items or sprayed directly onto them, as well as in various other prepackaged food items.

Usage
TBHQ reduces oxidative deterioration in foods it is applied to, delaying the onset of rancidness. It is particularly effective in reducing the deterioration of fats and oils and aids in reducing nutritional loss over time and extending storage life.

Toxicity
As a food additive, the FDA allows TBHQ to make up no more than 0.02 percent of the total oils in a food. Consuming up to a gram of TBHQ can cause variable toxicity, and up to 5 grams can be fatal. For perspective, it would take 312.5 McDonald’s chicken nuggets (if they contain a full 0.02% of TBHQ) to consume a single gram.

Side Effects
Consuming high doses of TBHQ (between 1 and 4 grams, approximately) can lead to a variety of negative symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), delirium and collapse. But the sheer amount of food consumption necessary to be afflicted by TBHQ toxicity generally makes these symptoms extremely rare.

Carcinogenesis
In toxicity studies, long-term, high-dose TBHQ administration in lab animals showed a tendency for them to develop cancerous precursors in the stomach, as well as causing DNA damage. But unlike other antioxidant additives, it did not cause lung lesions in laboratory animals.

TBHQ in Children
There has been some anecdotal evidence that TBHQ can cause anxiety, restlessness, and aggravation of ADHD symptoms, although there have been no clinical studies that show any link between food additives and behavioral disorders in children.

Get to know the controversial food additive Olestra!

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Foodfacts.com wants to help you learn more about what controversial food additives are being put into your foods. Olestra is a fat substitute used in the cooking and preparation of foods, most commonly those foods normally containing high concentrations of fat. Potato chips were one of the first commercially available products to have it used in their preparation. The benefit is the extreme lowering or complete elimination of a traditionally fatty food’s fat content. Like insoluble fiber found in corn and apples, olestra is not digested or absorbed by the body, and it passes through the human digestive system completely unchanged.
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Olestra, also known by the brand name Olean®, was discovered by researchers Fred Mattson and Robert Volpenhein of Proctor & Gamble (P&G) in 1968. The original study, which surrounded fats that could be more easily digested by premature infants, led to P&G contacting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1971 to investigate the testing that would be necessary to manufacture and market Olean® as a food additive, specifically as a fat replacement.

In the testing that followed, P&G scientists noted an interesting side effect when olestra was used to replace natural dietary fats. A drop in the level of blood cholesterol resulted when olestra was used. P&G subsequently filed a request with the FDA to market olestra as a drug in the treatment of high cholesterol. However, P&G’s studies failed to produce the 15% decline in cholesterol levels to quality olestra as a treatment.

It wasn’t until 1996 that the FDA finally approved olestra as a food additive. The first product to use Olean® as a substitute for dietary fat was the WOW® brand of potato chips by Frito-Lay®. Following their national launch in 1998, the WOW® chips were initially successful, raking in sales in excess of $400 million US Dollars (USD). However, due largely to reports of certain unpleasant side effects that were subsequently listed on a health warning label on the product as mandated by the FDA, sales dropped sharply.
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The side effects—including loose stools, abdominal cramping, and olestra’s interference with the body’s ability to absorb certain crucial vitamins, namely Vitamins A, D, E, and K—were enough to cut sales in half by 2000 to $200 million USD. Although the intestinal side effects, which became commonly known as “anal leakage” in the media, occurred only as a result of over-consumption, it was enough to tarnish the product’s reputation and diminish consumer appeal. Citing further studies, the FDA decided that the warning label wasn’t warranted and approved its removal despite complaints numbering over 20,000 regarding side effects. It has also been proven since the time of the original studies that Olean® has no impact on the body’s ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

Olestra, under the brand name Olean®, is still used primarily as a fat substitute in the manufacture of certain savory snack foods including Lays® Light Potato Chips, Doritos® Light Snack Chips, Pringles® Light Potato Crisps, Ruffles® Light Potato Chips, and Tostitos® Light Tortilla Chips. The FDA declared Olean® as “Generally Regarded As Safe” (GRAS) in late 2008 for use in the production of prepackaged, ready-to-eat cookies using Olean® BakeLean. BakeLean products are proprietary blends of Olean® and vegetable oils used as a substitute for butter, margarine, and shortening in the manufacture of baked goods, reducing the calories and fat content of the end product by 75%. Olean® is not approved for use or sale in Canada or the European Union.

Article provided by wisegeek.com