Category Archives: controversial food additives

Coca-Cola Company to remove brominated vegetable oil from U.S. soft drinks

Coca Cola Company Removes Brominated Vegetable OilBrominated vegetable oil is a highly controversial ingredient that’s banned in many different countries worldwide, but is still, for some reason allowed for human consumption here in the U.S. You can find it in some citrus-flavored soft drinks. The Coca-Cola company has announced that they will be removing brominated vegetable oil from soft drinks sold in the U.S.

FoodFacts.com is obviously very happy with this news. But we still certainly wonder why it remains true that there are several ingredients other countries have seen fit to ban that still degrade our food supply here in America.

Though there are exceptions running both ways, it’s generally accurate to say, “Food regulations in the European Union are much stricter than in the United States.”

This especially holds true for chemical preservatives; there are many for which you can say, “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows this substance in food and drink, but it is banned in the EU, and possibly elsewhere too.”

For example, the chemical azodicarbonamide is, according to FDA regulations, “Generally Recognized As Safe” in food — in densities no greater than 45 parts per million. But in most of the world, azodicarbonamide is used primarily in the manufacture of rubber and plastics. Various governments in Europe and Australia consider azodicarbonamide a “respiratory sensitizer” that can trigger asthmatic reactions, and in Singapore, using azodicarbonamide in food warrantshigh fines and lengthy prison sentences.

Azodicarbonamide made American headlines last February when the Subway sandwich chain, presumably responding to a petition started by a health-food blogger, announced that it would henceforth stop using the chemical in its bread.

And this week another company, presumably in response to a petition, announced plans to alter its recipes so that the products it sells in America are more in line with its offerings elsewhere in the world: the Coca-Cola company will stop adding bromiated vegetable oil to its American drink products. Brominated vegetable oil contains bromide, which has proven useful as a flame retardant, though Japan and the European Union ban it for human consumption.

Why the wide discrepancy between the U.S. and worldwide views of such chemical additives? Is the United States too lax about food safety where chemicals are concerned — or is the European Union too strict?

Charles Vorhees is a Cincinnati toxicologist who studied the neurological effects of BVOs in the early 1980s. In 2011 Vorhees said, “Compounds like these that are in widespread use probably should be reexamined periodically with newer technologies to ensure that there aren’t effects that would have been missed by prior methods … I think BVO is the kind of compound that probably warrants some reexamination.”

There are definitely cases of people who developed massive health problems after excessive consumption of bromide. Consider this example from the 2011 SciAm article:

In 1997, emergency room doctors at University of California, Davis reported a patient with severe bromine intoxication from drinking two to four liters of orange soda every day. He developed headaches, fatigue, ataxia (loss of muscle coordination) and memory loss.

In a 2003 case reported in Ohio, a 63-year-old man developed ulcers on his swollen hands after drinking eight liters of Red Rudy Squirt every day for several months. The man was diagnosed with bromoderma, a rare skin hypersensitivity to bromine exposure. The patient quit drinking the brominated soft drink and months later recovered.

While you’ll read a lot of news that speaks pointedly about the amounts allowed in food products being far too small to cause harm, you may want to consider some other ideas as well:

Brominated vegetable oil has been shown to bioaccumulate in human tissue and breast milk, and animal studies have found it causes reproductive and behavioral problems in large doses.

Bromines are common endocrine disruptors, and are part of the halide family, a group of elements that includes fluorine, chlorine and iodine. When ingested, bromine competes for the same receptors that are used to capture iodine. This can lead to iodine deficiency, which can have a very detrimental impact on your health.

Bromine is a central nervous system depressant, and can trigger a number of psychological symptoms such as acute paranoia and other psychotic symptoms. Bromine toxicity can also manifest as skin rashes, acne, loss of appetite, fatigue, and cardiac arrhythmias.

The Coca-Cola Company is taking a big step and we’re happy to know that soon Fanta and Fresca will be sold without the brominated vegetable oil. And for all the claims of “a little won’t hurt anyone,” we’d like to emphasize the bioaccumulation of the ingredient. To us, that basically means that there’s really no such thing as just a little brominated vegetable oil. The U.S. needs to catch up with other countries and begin banning chemical additives that citizens abroad don’t need to worry about in their food supply.

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/coca-cola-to-remove-flame-retardant-from-american-drinks-050614.html

Holiday flavored chips. Yes. Really.

Well that’s new and different, isn’t it?

We’re used to holiday flavors all around us. We’ve posted recently about the new holiday flavored coffees being offered from the major coffee retailers. Most of us are looking at holiday cookies every day in our offices thanks to home bakers who faithfully, every year, get to work in their kitchens to create incredible holiday flavors for us all to enjoy. And many of us are attending holiday parties offering us an array of seasonal flavors on their tables.

Let’s face it – we’re all about holiday flavors. So it’s no wonder that Pringles picked up on that and decided to offer us some holiday flavored chips. That’s right for a limited time we can all enjoy Cinnamon Sugar Pringles and Pecan Pie Pringles. Honestly, we’re not quite sure how tasty this sounds, but we haven’t tried them yet. So FoodFacts.com did a little research to fill you in on how these holiday Pringles stick up. Here’s what we found:

Cinnamon & Sugar Pringles:
Serving Size: about 15 chips
Calories: 150
Fat: 9g
Ingredients: Dried potatoes, vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: corn oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, and/or sunflower oil), corn flour, wheat starch, sugar and maltodextrin, contains 2% or less of rice flour, salt, dextrose, cinnamon, caramel color, natural flavor and paprika extract (color). Contains wheat ingredients.

If you’re counting out 15 chips, or crisps as Pringles refers to them, it’s honestly not too bad. But the ingredient list certainly leaves something to be desired – complete with some caramel color and “natural” flavor (which really isn’t natural at all).

Pecan Pie Pringles:
Serving Size: about 15 chips
Calories: 150
Fat: 9g
Ingredients: Dried potatoes, vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: corn oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, and/or sunflower oil), corn flour, wheat starch, sugar and maltodextrin. contains 2% or less of rice flour. salt, dextrose. butter (cream, salt). dried molasses, gum acacia, natural flavors, yellow 6 lake, red 40 lake, blue 1 lake and canola oil.
Contains wheat and milk ingredients.

This flavor has the same profile for calories and fat. But let’s take a closer look at the ingredient list here. In addition to those “natural” flavors included in the cinnamon & sugar flavor, the Pecan Pie Pringles are exceptionally colorful – including Yellow 6, Red 40 and Blue 1. Not the best option out there for any snack.

So that’s the FoodFacts.com assessment of holiday flavored chips. While they aren’t that bad in terms of calories and fat, upon closer look there are better ways to indulge this holiday season. Interesting flavors to be sure – but we’re always concerned about how interesting flavors are derived, and honestly, these ingredient lists leave something to be desired. We’re pretty positive that we can find other ways to flavor our holiday season that don’t include the controversial ingredients in these limited edition Pringles flavors.

http://www.pringles.com/products/limited-edition

Can consuming processed meats increase your chances of developing thyroid cancer?

FoodFacts.com has always maintained the position that the consumption of processed meats is not the best choice to make while trying to maintain a healthy diet. We know that most in our community feel the same way and try to avoid processed meats as much as possible.

We recently read about some new research published in the International Journal of Cancer that links nitrites used in processed meats to a increased risk of cancer. The study comes out of the Department of Health Studies at the University of Chicago and focused on participants with higher and lower intakes of nitrites.

Over 73,000 females up to the age of 70 were followed through a food frequency questionnaire. They were followed for an 11 year period. During that follow-up period, 164 cases of thyroid cancer developed within this population. While there was no general association made between nitrate intake and risk for thyroid cancer in most of the studied population, that in the highest range of nitrite intake had a 100% increased risk of developing thyroid cancer when compared with those who had the lowest range of nitrite consumption. You read that right – a 100% increased risk!

While the study is suggesting a link, that link may be quite factual because nitrites can be converted into cancer causing N-nitroso compounds. These compounds have already been discovered to cause other types of cancers.

Nitrites are common ingredients in products such as hot dogs, processed deli meats, ham, bacon, sausage, and many boxed or canned products where preservatives are found. FoodFacts.com cannot stress the importance of reading ingredient labels strongly enough. There are times when a consumer picks up a product in which they would never expect to find nitrites and the ingredient is listed clearly on the product.

In addition to the possibility of picked up a processed food product where you wouldn’t expect to find nitrites as an ingredient, FoodFacts.com is also aware that there are many folks who do have a difficult time completely giving up foods like bacon and sausage. For these folks, the research suggests that taking a high dose of a Vitamin C supplement, or drinking a high Vitamin C fruit juice can help prevent the conversion of nitrites into N-nitroso compounds. The study also points out that while a juice product may be labeled as high in Vitamin C, it is a more reliable option to take Vitamin C supplements regularly because you can be sure of the content of the supplement more readily than that of the juice.

When looking for a healthy Vitamin C supplement, keep in mind that FoodFacts TRI Nutritionals offer you pure, natural, real ingredients that are free from most items you may be actively avoiding in your supplements, like sugar, salt, gluten and corn. FoodFacts.com would, of course as always, be an advocate of eliminating nitrites from your diet completely. It’s one of the best, healthiest decisions you can make for your body.

We invite you to read more about this fascinating study:  http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Nutrition/Food/processed_meat_linked_to_thyroid_cancer_1222120314.html

When it comes to our food, do we worry about the wrong things?

Everyday, FoodFacts.com adds a plethora of different foods to our database. We post about various food products and ingredients on our Facebook page. We deliver information that encourages people to get to know what they’re actually eating that they can’t see. And, of course, we read labels ourselves. And it makes us wonder …

The first thing anyone looks at on food packaging is the nutrition label. We all know what they look like:

And we are all familiar with what they list out: Calories, Total Fat, Saturated Fat, Trans Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Total Carbohydrates, Dietary Fiber, Sugars, Protein, Vitamins and minerals. And for the most part, as a society, these are the things we worry about.

Maybe we don’t worry enough about the product’s ingredient list. Maybe we should consider that if a product’s ingredient list is so long that it takes up a good portion of the package, that it might outweigh the fact that the product is low in calories, fats and sugars and high in fiber and protein. Do we determine what’s healthy by the Nutrition Facts label or do we determine what’s healthy by the ingredient list carried on the product? And finally, how do we determine what makes more sense — eating foods with ingredient lists that we can pronounce and understand or eating foods whose calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs and proteins fall within the prescribed requirements?

FoodFacts.com understands that the nutrition label is, of course, extremely important. But we don’t think that all consumers understand that it’s not the only important thing to consider when making a food purchase. Too many of us rely on convenience products that we believe are healthy for us, without ever considering that ingredient list. Sure, that diet frozen dinner is low in calories and fat, with an acceptable amount of sodium and it’s only going to take 10 minutes to heat up in the microwave. But, go ahead and try to decipher what some of the ingredients are that are listed on the box. And that bowl of microwave popcorn that took just minutes to prepare without any oil or having to wash out any pans involved in preparing it? There’s a good possibility you can’t pronounce more than a few of the ingredients on the package it came from.

While we’re all rightfully concerned about the nutrition labels, we need to commit ourselves to being equally concerned about ingredient lists. We need to be alert to ingredients in food like BHT, BHA, MSG, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Bisulfite, Ethoxyquin, Benzoyl Peroxide, Potassium Bromate and hundreds of others that are not only potentially harmful in our food supply, but have actually been banned for use in other countries.

FoodFacts.com wants everyone in our community to be the most informed food consumers possible. And we want you to make the choices that are right for you and your family. So we’d like to make sure that the next time you’re in a grocery store with a product in your hand looking for the nutrition label that you pay close attention to the ingredient list and appreciate the information it’s giving you. You might be surprised as to how quickly you put the box down and go find the real, natural ingredients out of which you can create a comparable dish that contains products you can understand, pronounce and have no chance of being banned anywhere.

Top 10 Scariest Food Additives

Here at foodfacts.com, we like to keep our readers informed of all current and up-to-date information regarding health and food. Here is a recent news article discussing the 10 scariest food additives in some of the most popular food products most can find in their pantry.

There was a time when “fruit flavored” and “cheese flavored” meant “made with real fruit” and “made with real cheese.” Today? It’s artificial everything. Most of the food at your local supermarket is no more authentic than Snooki’s tan. Our fruit comes packaged in Loops, our cheese delivered via Whiz. Sure, it’s edible, but there’s no way your great grandparents would recognize this junk as food.

The problem with additives runs deep. The FDA currently maintains a list of ingredients called Everything Added to Food in the United States (EAFUS), which features more than 3,000 items and counting. Thankfully, most EAFUS ingredients are benign, but a few of them do have potentially harmful effects. Why they’re legal is a mystery to us. Some of them might be backed by powerful lobby groups, while others probably survive simply because some guy at the FDA has too much paperwork on his desk and hasn’t made time to adequately review the data.

Below are 10 of the most dubious ingredients hiding in your food, compliments of Eat This, Not That! 2011. Even if you’re not convinced of their danger, you have to admit this: The more filler ingredients you cut from your diet, the more space you have for wholesome, nutritious foods.

Scary Ingredient #1: Olestrapringles
A fat substitute synthesized by Procter & Gamble. Because human digestive enzymes can’t break down the big molecules, Olestra contributes 0 calories to your diet.

Why it’s scary: In the late ’90s, Frito-Lay released Olestra-enhanced WOW chips and Procter & Gamble introduced Fat Free Pringles. Both products were required to carry warning labels to notify customers about the risk of “loose stools.” Within 4 years, some 15,000 people had dialed in to a hotline set up specifically to handle adverse-reaction complaints. Apparently the complaints didn’t move the FDA, because in 2003, the administration revoked the warning-label mandate. If you want to take your chances with diarrhea, go ahead, but first consider this: Olestra also appears to interfere with the body’s ability to absorb some crucial nutrients like beta-carotene and lycopene. To counteract the effect, processers add some nutrients back, but it’s unlikely that all the blocked nutrients are adequetly replaced.

Furthermore, just last week I tweeted that an animal study at Purdue University found that fake fats like Olestra may cause more weight gain than real fat.

Where you’ll find it: Lay’s Light chips, Pringles Light chips

Scary Ingredient #2: Caramel Coloring
An artificial pigment created by heating sugars. Frequently, this process includes ammonia.stove-top

Why it’s scary: Caramel coloring shows up in everything from soft drinks and sauces to breads and pastries. When made from straight sugar, it’s relatively benign. But when produced with ammonia it puts off 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, chemicals that have been linked to cancer in mice. The risk is strong enough that the California government, a bellwether for better food regulation, categorized 4-methylimidazole as “known to cause cancer” earlier this year. Unfortunately, companies aren’t required to disclose whether their coloring is made with ammonia, so you’d be wise to avoid it as much as you can.

Where you’ll find it: Colas and other soft drinks, La Choy soy sauce, Stove Top stuffing mix

Scary Ingredient #3: Saccharin
An artificial sweetener discovered by accident in the 1870s.sweet-n-low

Why it’s scary: Studies have linked saccharin to bladder tumors in rats, and in 1977, the FDA required warning labels on all saccharin-containing foods. In 2000, the agency changed its stance and allowed saccharin to be sold without warning labels. But that doesn’t make it entirely safe. A 2008 Purdue study found that replacing sugar with saccharin in rats’ diets made them gain more weight, proving once again that you should be aware of these faux fat foes.

Where you’ll find it: Sweet ‘N Low, TaB cola

Scary Ingredient #4: Potassium Bromate
A compound that conditions flour and helps bread puff up during baking.

Why it’s scary: Potassium bromate causes thyroid and kidney tumors in rats, and it’s banned from food use in many countries. In California, products containing potassium bromate are required to carry a cancer warning. Fortunately, negative publicity has made the additive relatively rare, but until the FDA banishes it, you should remain on the lookout.

Where you’ll find it: Johnny Rockets Hoagie Roll

Scary Ingredient #5: Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Petroleum-derived antioxidants and preservatives.
.orbit

Why they’re scary: The Department of Health and Human Services says BHA is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” yet the FDA allows it to be used anyway. BHT is considered less dangerous, but in animal research, it too has resulted in cancer. Oddly, the chemicals aren’t even always necessary; in most cases they can be replaced with vitamin E.

Where you’ll find it: Goya lard, Golden Grahams, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Orbit gum

Scary Ingredient #6: Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
A semi-solid fat created when food processors force hydrogen into unsaturated fatty acids.sandwich

Why it’s scary: Partially hydrogenated fats are the principle sources of trans fat in the American diet, and a Harvard study estimated that trans fat causes 70,000 heart attacks every year. The good news: Partially hydrogenated oils are beginning to slowly retreat from our food. Progressive jurisdictions like New York City are starting to restrict the allowable amounts in restaurants, and many chains are switching to healthier frying oil. Still, the battle isn’t over. At Long John Silver’s, for example, there are still 17 menu items with more than 2 grams of the stuff. According to the American Heart Association, that’s about the maximum you should consume in a single day.

Where you’ll find it: McDonald’s McChicken, Long John Silver’s Broccoli Cheese Soup

Scary Ingredient #7: Sulfites
Preservatives that maintain the color of food, and by releasing sulfur dioxide, prevent bacterial growth. fig-enwton

Why it’s scary: Humans have used sulfites to keep food fresh for thousands of years, but some people—especially asthma sufferers—experience breathing difficulties when exposed. In the 1980s, unregulated use resulted in at least a dozen deaths, prompting the FDA to slap warning labels on wine bottles and develop new guidelines for proper use. Now restaurants can no longer soak fresh ingredients in sulfites. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, there have been no known deaths since the new legislation took hold. The bottom line: If you’re among the majority of people not sensitive to sulfites, consumption won’t hurt you. If you’re not sure, ask your doctor for a test.

Where you’ll find it: Wine, Sun-Maid Mixed Fruit, Jolly Ranchers, Fig Newtons

Scary Ingredient #8: Azodicarbonamide
A synthetic yellow-orange dough conditioner bagel

Why it’s scary: This chemical is used most frequently in the production of industrial foam plastic, and although the FDA has approved its use for food in the States, the United Kingdom has labeled it a potential cause of asthma. In a review of 47 studies on azodicarbonamide, the World Health Organization concluded that it probably does trigger asthmatic symptoms. The WHO concluded, “exposure levels should be reduced as much as possible.” I’ll put it more concisely: Avoid it.

Where you’ll find it: Dunkin’ Donuts bagels, McDonald’s burger buns

Scary Ingredient #9: Carrageenan
A thickener and emulsifier extracted from seaweed.popsicle

Why it’s scary: Seaweed is actually good for you, but carrageenan is a mere seaweed byproduct. Through animal studies, it has been linked to cancer, colon trouble, and ulcers. It isn’t certain that carrageenan harms humans, but avoiding it is clearly the safer option. Most studies examined degraded forms of the additive, and research from the University of Iowa found that carrageenan could be degraded through the normal digestive process.

Where you’ll find it: Weight Watchers Giant Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream Bars, Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches, Creamsicles

Scary Ingredient #10: Ammonium Sulfate
An inorganic salt that occurs naturally near active volcanoes and is used commercially to nourish yeast and help bread rise.4036996_orig

Why it’s scary: This nitrogen-rich compound is most often used as fertilizer, and also appears commonly in flame retardants. Thankfully, the ingredient only sounds scary—a 2006 Japanese rat study found the additive to be non-carcinogenic. Both the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the FDA deem it safe.

Retrieved from: Yahoo.com

MSG is sometimes hidden in food with labels that say “No Added MSG,” “No MSG Added,” and “No MSG”

alg_campbells_soup1
Foodfacts.com wants to help make you more aware about some of the things that manufacturers hide on their labels. Manufacturers are aware that many consumers would prefer not to have MSG in their food. Some manufacturers have responded by using “clean labels,” i.e., labels that contain only ingredient names they think consumers will not recognize as containing MSG — names such as “hydrolyzed soy protein.” Others advertise “No MSG,” “No MSG Added,” or “No Added MSG,” even though their products contain MSG.

Most offenders are small processors who are possibly being misguided by the FDA, the USDA, and/or consultants. Hain and Campbell’s, both large companies, are among those who have been alerted to both the deception that they are perpetrating and the illegality of what they are doing, yet continue with what the FDA has, in the past, termed deceptive and misleading labeling.
hain_75_years_lg
Placing “No MSG,” “No MSG Added,” or “No Added MSG” on food labels has been deemed by the FDA to be false and misleading under section (403)(a)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act when the label also lists any hydrolyzed protein as an ingredient since it contains MSG.” Thus, to advertise “No MSG,” “No MSG Added,” or “No Added MSG” when there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in a product is illegal.

At one time, the FDA responded to the illegal use of the term “No MSG Added,” with both a Regulatory Letter and threat of seizure and injunction in case of non-compliance.(4) At one time, State Attorneys General sued manufacturers that made such claims, and won consent decrees from them, and sometimes fines were imposed.(5-6) But when the FDA began to look the other way, and the State Attorneys General turned their attention to other matters, the deceptive and misleading use of “No MSG” and No Added MSG” once more began proliferating.

Following the FDA’s announcement in 1995 that “…FDA considers foods whose labels say “No MSG” or “No Added MSG” to be misleading if the food contains ingredients that are sources of free glutamates, such as hydrolyzed protein,”(7) the incidence of such misleading and deceptive labels regulated by the FDA began to decline. At the same time, similar labels regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) continued proliferating. At the USDA they don’t simply fail to enforce the regulation. The USDA actually approves labels of meat and poultry products that claim “No MSG,” “No MSG Added,” or “No Added MSG” when they contain free glutamic acid.

Clearly, it is false and misleading to claim “No MSG” or “No MSG Added” on a product label when MSG is present, even if it is present as a constituent of an ingredient.

Those making such claims should be able to demonstrate, through valid tests for free glutamic acid content, that there is no (zero) free glutamic acid in their products.

Even if one could assume that a particular label reflected the ingredients actually in the product (which one cannot), review of product labels to determine the presence of MSG would not be satisfactory, and will not substitute for analysis of the end product. The number of products/ingredients /substances that contain MSG is not finite, i.e., new ingredients that contain MSG are invented and/or renamed every day. To keep track of them would be virtually impossible. Moreover, MSG can be freed from protein during processing or manufacture given appropriate conditions. For example, any ingredient that contains a bit of protein can be hydrolyzed if hydrochloric acid, enzymes, heat, and/or other substances or conditions that cause glutamic acid to be separated out of its host protein are present, resulting in some processed free glutamic acid (MSG). Hydrolyzation of protein inevitably creates some (processed) free glutamic acid (MSG).

Only if there is no (zero) free glutamic acid in an end product can one legitimately claim that there is no MSG. The burden of proof for a claim about the absence of MSG must lie with those making the claim.

If you write or call to ask whether or not there is MSG in a product…

If you want to find out if there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in a product, you must ask the manufacturer for information about “free glutamic acid.” Don’t ask about “MSG.” Manufacturers find it convenient, when speaking to consumers, to tell them that there is no “MSG” in their product, meaning that there is no ingredient called “monosodium glutamate.” Even if a manufacturer tells you there is no MSG in a product, there may be autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed pea protein, carrageenan, sodium caseinate, enzymes, and a whole slew of other ingredients that contain or create processed free glutamic acid (MSG) during manufacture.

If you are told that all of the MSG in a product is “naturally occurring,” thank the manufacturer for that meaningless information, but explain that all processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is referred to as “natural” by the FDA — so “natural” tells you nothing. In fact, as the word “natural” is defined by the FDA, the food ingredient “monosodium glutamate” is “natural.”

It is the amount of processed free glutamic acid in the product that will determine whether or not you might suffer an MSG reaction. (Everyone has a different tolerance for MSG.) If the manufacturer claims not to know whether or not there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in his or her product, ask that the product be analyzed for free amino acids, including free glutamic acid. There are tests for measuring free glutamic acid. The AOAC Official Methods of Analysis (1984) gives one method. There are others. The cost of testing should be no more than $150.

We have been advised by the FDA that if any such misbranded products are brought to their attention, they will act to correct the situation. To report misbranded products to the FDA, please call the FDA at 888-723-3366 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., eastern time – and keep a record of your call.

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

subway

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.

5 Chemical Foods to Remove from Your Diet

dir-round

Foodfacts.com is teaming up with our friends over at Dietsinreview.com to help inform you about what chemicals you should try removing from your diet. These days it seems you need an advanced science degree to read and understand a food ingredient label. Most of us scan over them simply because it’s easier. However, what we’re overlooking in all that multi-syllabic jargon are chemical additives that can have incredibly negative effects on our health.

Manufacturers use chemical additives for a number of reasons, including a longer shelf life, better taste or color, and even to keep production costs down. We’ve identified five that are especially concerning, and hope you’ll take an extra minute to review your food labels before making a purchase.

Trans Fat – One of the most controversial additives, this can be found on food labels as “Partially Hydrogenated Oil or Vegetable Oil.” The consumption of trans fat can be detrimental to cardiovascular health, and it has been linked with the obesity epidemic. Watch food labels closely because a food with less than.5 grams of trans fat per serving is allowed to list zero grams on its label.

Foods with Trans Fat: Fried Food, Microwave Popcorn, Margarine, Crackers, Chips, Store-bought Cookies

Artificial Coloring - Food dyes are a chemical and offer no nutritive value, meaning they don’t offer any vitamins or minerals. Artificial coloring is noted in food labels, with some of the more common (and considered carcinogens) being Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 3, Yellow 6.

Foods with Artificial Coloring: Soda, Candy, Juice, Frosting, Canned Fruit, Hot Dogs

Sodium Nitrite or Nitrate - These additives are used to give “cured meats” a salty taste and give their reddish hue. As an example hot dogs nd bacon would be more of a grey hue without these chemicals. Linked with cancers in adults and children, these are easily avoided by looking for natural meats and checking labels.

Foods with Nitrites or -ates: Bacon, Hot Dogs, Sausage, Deli Meat

Saccharin or Aspartame - These artificial sweeteners are actually sweeter than natural sugar, but far worse for your health. While they’ve made it possible for many to enjoy sweet treats, the affects on the body aren’t any better. Saccharin has been considered for ban by the FDA, and is linked with multiple types of cancers in many studies. These are manufactured chemical additives and, like the others, offer nothing in the way of nutrition.

Foods with Artificial Sweeteners: “Sugar” Packets, Diet Soda, Sugar-Free or Reduced-Sugar Foods

Diacetyl - The buttery flavor you enjoy from many packaged foods is probably not butter, but instead dactyl, a chemical ingredient linked with a lung disease nicknamed “popcorn lung.” While that health concern helped reduce its use, it’s still looking at the ingredients label to see if it’s lurking.

Foods with Diacetyl: Artificially-flavored Butter Products, Microwave Popcorn

By Brandi Koskie for DietsInReview.com

Get to know the controversial food additive Olestra!

olestra

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