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A bit about food additives – what they are

16 Sep

According to Health Canada, a food additive is “any chemical substance that is added to food during preparation or storage and either becomes a part of the food or affects its characteristics for the purpose of achieving a particular technical effect.” Food additives generally are used to increase shelf life, sweeten food without adding calories, keep powders free-running, or to enhance the colour of a product.   This is a billion dollar industry in both Canada and the US. In Canada it is the Food and Drug Administration that Regulates what is allowed and what is not allowed to go into our foods.  In the US it is the US Food and Drug Administration.  Additives should be listed.  The following are not considered to be to be additives:\

 ·                     Food ingredients such as salt, sugar and starch.

 ·                     Vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

 ·                     Spices, seasonings and flavouring preparations.                     Agricultural chemicals.

·                     Veterinary drugs.

 ·                     Food packaging materials. Watch out for these products.  Stay away from them when you see them in the ingredients:

 ·                     Sodium benzoate, a preservative used to extend shelf-life of food and drinks. It’s common in pickles and sauces.

 ·                     Tartrazine, a yellow food dye used in ice cream, soft drinks and fish sticks. It is a sodium salt and contains more salt than the human body can handle. Besides hyperactivity, research has linked it to asthma, skin rashes, and migraines. This product is banned in Norway and Austria. ·                     Quinoline yellow, a yellow dye used in soft drinks, cosmetics and medications. This additive is banned in Australia, Japan, Norway and the United States. ·                     Sunset yellow, a dye used in yogurts and sweets. This product is banned in Norway and Finland. ·                     Carmoisine, a coal tar derivative used in sweets and yogurts. It has been banned by Canada, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United States. ·                     Allura red, a dye used in soft drinks and bubble gum. This additive was introduced in the early 1980s to replace Amaranth, a dye that was banned by the U.S. FDA and is only allowed in France and Italy in the production of caviar. Allura red is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria and Norway.

What are some of the other food additives that have raised concerns? Some people report a sensitivity to monosodium glutamate. Some MSG-intolerant people can develop MSG symptom complex, which is characterized by one of more of the following:

 ·                     A burning sensation in the back of the neck, forearms and chest.

 ·                     A numbness in the back of the neck, radiating to the arms and back.

 ·                     A tingling, warmth and weakness in the face, temples, upper back, neck and arms.

·                     Facial pressure or tightness.

 ·                     Chest pain.

 ·                     Headache.

·                     Nausea.

·                     A rapid heartbeat.

                    Bronchospasm (difficulty breathing) in MSG-intolerant people with asthma.

·                     Drowsiness.

(Source: US FDA)

Ban Food Additives for Better Health

6 Sep

Gordon Brown, British PM is calling on the food producers to ban additives in children’s foods. Brown, like other food lobbyists believe that these additives are what causing the increase in hyperactivity in children.  Why can’t manufacturers use natural products to give colour to foods instead of some artificial colouring.

Professor Jim Stevenson, of the University of Southampton  who researched this subject, said: “We now have clear evidence that mixtures of certain food colours and benzoate preservative can adversely influence the behaviour of children.”  

 Parents have to start putting their money where there children’s health is, and stop buying foods with additives not only for children but even themselves. Start changing the way we eat and return to basics.  We will all benefit from greater health, less health care costs and more money in our pockets. Join Brown and call for a ban on unnecessary additives in our foods.

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