Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How Dangerous are these "Banned" Food Items...? Part 2

Last Wednesday, I was discussing food ingredients that are banned in some countries but not the United States. If you missed it, that post is available here. I'm going to continue on that theme today.

Another item that is banned in some places but not the United States is arsenic in poultry feed.  Yes, believe it or not, it seems that it was once common practice  to add arsenic to poultry feed.  It helped to reduce infections, apparently.  The National Chicken Council says this is no longer happening. I imagine that's why no one ever got around to banning the practice in the US.
If you really want to be sure that you know what your poultry is eating, then do some investigation.  The company I work for, for example, feeds an all-vegetable diet to the birds and doesn't use antibiotics. I feel safe serving that poultry to my family. There are several companies with the same practices so you should be able to find chicken raised in this manner where you live.

Certain artificial food colors are banned in some areas of the world.  Yellow #5 is one of these as is blue #1.   People who are allergic to aspirin may also react to yellow #5, and some can be allergic to blue #1, as well. If you want to know if a food contains these, look on the label.
Red #40 is another artificial dye banned in some countries.  Studies indicate that it might be linked to an increase in hyperactivity in young children. It might be best to avoid feed this to young children if they have attention issues or signs of hyperactivity.
There are a number of relatively unsubstantiated studies linking some artificial dyes with ADHD in children, as well.  These studies include so many artificial dyes that I'm not going to list them.
I think the safest thing to do is to limit your child's exposure to any artificial food colors until we know more about them, to be honest. This might be somewhat difficult as brightly colored candy and sugary snacks often contain artificial dyes. The ones I have listed here will appear on the labels of products that contain them.  As far as adults go, I doubt ingesting a small amount occasionally would be harmful unless allergies are involved.

Bromated flour is the last ingredient we are looking at today. Potassium bromate is added to some flours.  It is supposed to help make the dough more elastic and bleaches the flour.  Some studies have indicated that potassium bromate can cause cancerous tumors when fed to rats and mice.
The FDA has decided not to ban the substance at this time as it appears that the vast majority of the potassium bromate turns into potassium bromide - which is harmless -  during the baking process.  I found this information here. If you are concerned about this additive, then read the labels of any baked goods you purchase.  Potassium bromate or bromated flour will appear on the ingredients list if a product contains it.

I know of a few more of these banned substances but I'm going to wait until next week to discuss those.

Image found here

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