Do you read food labels? What do you look for? Most people look at calories, fat grams and carbs, but do you know what is actually in your food? One thing I learned as I researched more and more about food and politics is that many countries outside the US have banned some ingredients that are still being sold here in the US. Below is a list of 5 (of many) food ingredients banned outside the US that we still eat.
1. Artificial Food Colorings- Yellow #5, Red #40, Blue #1…these dyes are derived from petroleum and coal tar! They are used to enhance products like Fruit Loops (what fruit?), Nutrigrain bars (actually marketing themselves as healthy!), and of course Kraft macaroni and cheese! These dyes have been associated with allergies, hyperactivity, learning problems and aggressiveness in children. This explains why Austria, Belgium, France, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland have all banned them. So next time your kid begs for the Loops, just say NO!- and don’t feel bad about it.
2. BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoulene)– I can barely pronounce them, so they’re already off my list. These waxy substances are used as preservatives, keeping food from spoiling. Many chips, sausages and cereals contain BHA and BHT, which have been shown to raise cancer risks in animal testing, so best to stay away! These are banned in Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada and New Zeland. So why is the US so slow to ban them!
3. Azodicarbonamide – Again, non-pronounceable! It’s used to enhance the texture of soft white breads, including most fast-food hamburger buns. It can cause respiratory problems, especially worsening asthma in some people. So check for this ingredient before buying breads! Crazy that we can buy them no problem in the US, but in countries like Singapore, you could face up to 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine!!!
4. Olestra- Olestra, or Olean, is a fat substitute for fat-free chips, crackers and fries. It was introduced in the 1990s, but soon thereafter, it was noted to cause undesirable side effects; gas, cramps and diarrhea. It was also found to reduce the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients. Olestra is illegal in Canada and the United Kingdom. And this is why fat-free fatty food just shouldn’t exist!
5. Arsenic- Arsenic is found in chicken feed in the United States. It makes them grow faster, and gives their meat more color. But a recent study by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health reported arsenic as a cause of lung, bladder and skin cancers. Arsenic-laden feed is banned in the entire European Union. Another argument for buying organic chicken!
I found many more but to be honest with you this was depressing enough. The moral of the story is…Read the labels! Shop the Periphery of the Grocery Store! Stop buying products with these ingredients! Make our government listen!