Thursday, March 12, 2015

6 Common Food Additives

6 Common Food Additives Used in the U.S. That Are Banned in Other Countries » EcoWatch

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the use of food additives like preservatives, colors, sweeteners, fat replacers, emulsifiers
and other ingredients added to food to maintain or improve safety,
freshness, nutritional value, taste, texture and appearance. Food
additives can be direct (those added for a specific purpose) or indirect
(those added in trace amounts due to packaging, storage or handling)
and are determined safe for market use only after stringent FDA review.

Many food additives approved for use in the United States are banned in other countries: Photo credit: Shutterstock
Many food additives approved for use in the U.S. are banned in other countries. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Due to the FDA’s regulation of food additives, most people assume
that if food is on grocery store shelves, it must be 100 percent safe
for human consumption. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. As the
FDA states: “Because of inherent limitations of science, FDA can never
be absolutely certain of the absence of any risk from the use
of any substance.” In fact, several food additives approved for use in
the U.S. by the FDA are banned in other parts of the world.

So if you think everything in your pantry is safe to eat, think
again. Here are 6 common food additives found in the U.S. that are
banned in other countries.

Azodicarbonamide (ADA)

  • Use: whitening or bleaching agent for cereal flour and as a dough conditioner in baking; also used to make rubber products like yoga mats and shoe soles
  • Concerns: During baking ADA breaks down to form new
    chemicals, one of which, semicarbizide (SEM), is known to increase the
    incidence of tumors in lab rats.
  • Banned: European Union
Bromated flour

  • Use: improves gluten content in baked goods to strengthen dough and promote rising
  • Concerns: Studies dating back to 1982 have found that potassium bromate used in bromated flour causes cancer in lab rats and is “possibly carcinogenic to humans”
  • Banned: European Union, Canada, Brazil, Peru, China
Brominated vegetable oil (BVO)

  • Use: added to citrus drinks like Mountain Dew to keep flavor evenly distributed; also used as a flame retardant
  • Concerns: nervous system depressant, endocrine disruptor, causes reproductive and behavioral problems
  • Banned: Europe and Japan

  • Use: fat-free fat replacer in foods like potato chips
  • Concerns: gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea; interferes with absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
  • Banned: U.K. and Canada

Recombinant Bovine growth hormone (rBGH)

  • Use: artificial growth hormone given to cows to increase milk production
  • Concerns: increased risk of breast and prostate cancer
  • Banned: European Union, Canada, Japan, Australia

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