The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandate to protect public health includes assuring the safety of the food supply. But according to the agency’s own database, 93 percent of food additives do not have reproductive or developmental toxicity data.
Many food additives can have dire health consequences, according to the web site Global Research.
The FDA currently allows thousands of different food additives. They are used to preserve food and enhance taste and appearance. Some cheaper additives replace more expensive real food ingredients, increasing profits for food producers, according to Global Research. A 2013 study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology found that for almost 80 percent of additives there is not enough relevant information to estimate the amount that consumers can safely eat. The researchers concluded. “In the absence of toxicology data on the majority of chemicals added to food, the scientific basis for determinations of safety to humans may be questioned.”
Many additives have the designation GRAS (generally recognized as safe), though this comes without the testing health experts say is necessary to know if an additive is truly safe for human consumption.
Global Research lists some potentially dangerous food additives and their health consequences.
- BHT and BHA – preservatives for fats and oils – found in cereals, vegetable oil, potato chips, popcorn, and other packaged foods. Studies have concluded that BHT and BHA may cause cancer in rats.
- Azodicarbonamide –used in the rubber and plastics industries and also used as a dough conditioner in breads, other baked goods, and in the buns and breads used in several fast food chains. In response to a petition campaign, Subway has agreed to discontinue its use. Azodicarbonamide has been found to cause cancer in rodents.
- MSG is an excitotoxin that enhances the taste of food. It is found in salad dressings, potato chips, hot dogs, canned soup and tuna, frozen dinners, and prepared gravies. There is believed to be a link between sudden cardiac death and excitotoxic damage caused by MSG and artificial sweeteners.
- Acesulfame-K – an artificial sweetener used in candy, drinks, chewing gum and other products. Acesulfame-K contains methylene chloride, a known carcinogen. It may also cause liver and kidney impairment, and problems with eyesight.
- Sodium nitrate is a preservative used in bacon, ham, hot dogs, and and other processed meats. Nitrates can be converted to cancer-causing nitrosamines.
A number of food dyes, including Blue 1, Blue 2, Red 3 and Yellow 6 are considered dangerous, according to Global Research. Blue 1 and Blue 2 have been found to cause hyperactivity and possibly cause brain tumors in mice. Red 2 may cause thyroid tumors. Yellow 6 may cause adrenal gland and kidney tumors.