Tag Archives: 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. (more…)

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Forget Drinkified: How PepsiCo Could Build a Better Snack

CEO of Pepsi Indra NooyiIn the May 16 edition of The New Yorker, John Seabrook delves into the ways that PepsiCo is working to reposition itself in light of the global obesity crisis. “Snacks for a Fat Planet” is bookended with the author’s interactions with Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo’s C.E.O. Nooyi argues that it’s not enough for the company to make snacks that taste good, but also be “the good company.”

Nooyi is clearly a leader who understands the huge potential for corporate good, both for the bottom line and for society. She also sees that the health crisis created by obesity does not bode well for the future of PepsiCo’s profits, no doubt a factor in the company’s efforts to make healthier products. Earlier this year, the company began making a number of Frito-Lay products with natural ingredients. They also have plans to reduce the amount of sodium and sugar in their products by 25 percent by the year 2015, under guidelines created by Derek Yach, the former World Health Organization cabinet director.

(more…)

What’s Really in Your Food on The Doctors

The Doctors TV show logoTune in to The Doctors on Thursday, May 5 to find out what’s really in your food. The Doctors take a close look at chemical additives found in many common foods, and what consequences these substances can have for your health. Thousands of chemicals are commonly used in our food to improve the taste, enhance the smell, and prolong shelf-life, yet little is know about the real effects of consuming these chemicals. The show will reveal some of the shocking dangers of food additives that are emerging from the medical community.

Learn about the carcinogen that’s lurking in chips, chemicals in salad dressing, why benzoyl peroxide can be found in bread and how insect parts are making their way into pasta. Learn how you can avoid these chemicals, and more reasons to eat whole, unprocessed foods.

(more…)

FDA Rules Artificial Food Coloring Is Safe for Most

JelloA FDA panel ruled that there is not proof that artificial food coloring caused hyperactivity in most children, and concluded that products containing these substances do not need to carry special warning labels or be banned altogether.

The panel convened in response to a petition from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The advocacy group petitioned for banning artificial food dyes because a growing number of studies suggest a link between children’s behavior and hyperactivity.

(more…)

Lawsuit Says Taco Bell Doesn’t Use Real Beef

Fast Food TacosA Montgomery, Alabama, law firm filed suit against Taco Bell, arguing that the fast food chain is guilty of false adverting when they reference “seasoned beef” and “seasoned ground beef” in their food. According to the Plaintiffs, the meat mixture found in Taco Bells products is so full of binders, extenders and other additives that it does not qualify for the minimum standards set by U.S. Department of Agriculture to carry the label “beef.”

The class-action lawsuit was filed on Friday in federal in the Central District of California. The law firm, Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles does not seek monetary damages, but wants Taco Bell to accurately represent it products. “We are asking that they stop saying that they are selling beef,” said Attorney Dee Miles. Miles further said that the firm had Taco Bell’s meat mixture tested, and found it to only contain 35 percent beef.

(more…)

Is Food Dye a Health Risk?

Candies containg food dyeWith Halloween around the corner, there’s a lot of discussion about the nutritional pitfall that is candy. We know Halloween candy can be packed with empty calories, and have offered advice on how to avoid binging, but a recent report in Eating Well suggested that synthetic food dyes may also post problems to your health.

Americans consume five times more synthetic food coloring than in 1955, in diverse products from candy and cereal to frosting and ice cream. Food dyes are always included in the ingredients list with the rest of a food’s nutritional information. These synthetic food dyes are identifiable as a color followed by a number: Blue 1, Red 3, Yellow 5. Three of the most commonly used dyes, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40 have been linked to cancer.

(more…)