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food additives



PepsiCo Has No Plans to Remove Brominated Vegetable Oil from Gatorade

UPDATE 1/29/13: After more than 200,000 signatures on a Change.org petition, PepsiCo has announced it will remove the flame retardant it currently uses in Gatorade. However, the company doesn’t not plan to issue a recall on products in market that still contain the BVO, or Brominated Vegetable Oil.

About a month ago, a 15-year-old teenager named Sarah Kavanagh was looking forward to the Gatorade she had stored in her fridge for after her long afternoon of playing outdoors in the humid heat in Hattiesburg, Miss.

With Sarah being the dedicated vegetarian that she is, out of habit she checked the ingredient list on the drink before popping open the top. While making sure none of the ingredients were made from any type of animal, she noticed it contained brominated vegetable oil. Though it had the word vegetable in it, Sarah still felt like investigating further.

“I knew it probably wasn’t from an animal because it had the word vegetable in the name, but I still wanted to know what it was so I Googled it,” said Sarah. “A page popped up with a long list of possible side effects, including neurological disorders and altered thyroid hormones. I didn’t expect that.”

Needless to say, Sarah threw the drink away without a sip or hesitation. She then began an online petition on Change.org where she now has nearly 200,000 signatures. Sarah’s hoping that she can get enough supporters that will persuade Gatorade’s maker, PepsiCo, to make some changes to the recipe.
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Is MSG Bad for You? The Facts about Monosodium Glutamate Make for a Hung Jury

It’s in ranch dressing, Doritos, canned soups, and french fries. You’re eating it if you go to KFC, have green bean casserole, or take a swig of Diet Coke. Really, any processed food likely includes some form of it. What is this ubiquitous food product? Monosodium glutamate, most commonly known as MSG.

For years, MSG has been the subject of debate. The Food and Drug Administration calls it safe, MSG-sensitive persons think it causes headaches and asthma, and scientists show conflicting research on the effects of MSG. What’s the truth? Should everyone stop eating it? Are the food companies and government in conspiracy against the public? Or is this product a safe and healthy flavor enhancer?

First, it is helpful to go over what monosodium glutamate is. MSG is added to foods to enhance flavor without giving a flavor of its own, according to the FDA. It was first discovered in Japan in 1908 by a scientist named Ikeda, who isolated the compound after wanting to know the secret of his wife’s delicious soup. Along with branding his product and making millions, he also came up with the idea of umami, a fifth taste translated as savory or deliciousness that is distinct from the senses of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.
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Beware Carrageenan, a Food Additive Common in Organic Products

By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

If you are into reading labels then you have most likely seen an ingredient called carrageenan. It specifically appears on the label of many organic processed food products.

What is Carrageenan?

Carrageenan is a polysaccharide derived from red seaweed and it has molecular qualities similar to plastic. Seaweed sounds innocent enough; it’s natural right? Absolutely, as a matter of fact, many types of seaweed are commonly used as a medicinal food to support many conditions like thyroid disorder and even cancer. However, not all seaweed is created equal and the process in which carrageenan is extracted from the red seaweed has become the cornerstone of a debate about allowed ingredients in organic products.
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What Do a McRib and Your Yoga Mat Have in Common?

These two items seem as far removed as the people who eat the sandwich and those who actually use a yoga mat, but they share something in common that is wildly alarming and worth having a look.

Azodicarbonamide, ammonium sulfate and polysorbate 80 are just three of the 70 ingredients that make up the famed McDonald’s BBQ McRib pork sandwich. Even though these nasty ingredients are in small enough quantities that may not otherwise be harmful to your health, it is worth noting how and where else these chemicals are being used just to put it into perspective.

The biggest one that will get some of you squirming in your seat is azodicarbonamide, a flour-bleaching agent found in the McRib bun. This chemical, in addition to giving your BBQ bun that fresh, white appearance, is also used to manufacture shoes, foam plastics, materials such as gym flooring and believe it or not, yoga mats.


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Lazy Larry Brownies Remind of the Danger of Natural Additives in Food

By Jill Buonomo

Most health-conscious consumers routinely avoid additive-laden foods. But are they missing hidden dangers by accepting “natural” additives at face value?

The Food and Drug Administration might say so. Earlier this week, the FDA issued a strong warning to HBB LLC, the manufacturers of “Lazy Larry” brownies, a product laced with melatonin and marketed through convenience stores and the company’s website. The FDA says it can seize the brownies if the company continues to manufacture and sell them.

Melatonin is a hormone that, while “natural,” affects the sleep-wake cycle and can make consumers sleepy. According to the FDA the addition of melatonin makes the brownies unsafe. Included on the packaging is a warning against driving or operating heavy machinery after consumption.

Although melatonin is fairly unregulated as an over-the-counter supplement, the FDA suggests that consumers, especially children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those with autoimmune diseases should consult their doctor before eating melatonin-laced foods. Some medical research suggests that use of melatonin could result in reproductive, cardiovascular, ocular and neurological issues.


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