One of FoodFacts.com’s most important missions is to educate consumers about the controversial ingredients found in our food products. There are so many food additives that aren’t good for our bodies and that have actually been linked to a myriad of serious health problems, conditions and diseases.
One of those food additives is Sodium Benzoate. This widely used preservative prevents the growth of microorganisms in acidic foods. It can cause allergic reactions and exacerbate asthma symptoms in sufferers. It is also known to exacerbate ADHD symptoms in both adults and children alike. In addition, and most concerning, is that when it is used with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), the two ingredients can react together to form small amounts of benzene which is a carcinogen.
Today we learned that Sodium Benzoate, along with Sodium Propionate and Benzoic Acid which had been prohibited for use in meat and poultry products will now be approved as of May 6th, 2013. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has stated that these three additives are safe for use as antimicrobial agents in certain ready-to-eat (read prepared) meat and poultry products.
This ruling was prompted by a petition from Kraft Foods Global, Inc. in 2006 to allow their use to inhibit the growth of Listeria in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products. In 2010, Kemin Food Technologies also petitioned for their use for the same purposes. After evaluating the requests, the FDA stated that it had no safety objections to the use of the preservatives. They reviewed the supporting data which was supplied by Kraft and Kemin. While they concluded that the companies had established the safety of the preservatives, it asked for more data and granted both companies waivers to conduct trails on the efficacy of the additives as antimicrobial agents.
Data was then collected from in-plant-trials and scientific studies that illustrated that these substances do not conceal damage or make the products in which they are used appear better or of greater value then they actually are. Research findings demonstrated that the use of the additives is effective in controlling the growth of Listeria in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products.
There are many studies which have already been conducted linking Sodium Benzoate to numerous side effects and health concerns. FoodFacts.com is not especially concerned with the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s insistence on data that shows that the additives do not make the products appear superior to others that do not contain them. We are, however, extremely concerned that these controversial ingredients will now be making their way into even more products on our grocery store shelves when we are already aware of their harmful potential. It would appear that instead of working to remove potentially harmful ingredients from our food supply, the FDA and the food industry are working expand their use. This isn’t good news for consumers and it’s something we’ll need to keep an eye out for in ingredient lists beginning in early May. Let’s stay aware and keep reading labels so that we can continue to avoid those ingredients as best we can.