With packaged food ingredient lists reading more like a chemistry text book, marketers have figured out a way to keep toxic additives and disease-promoting food packaging off of the label, making your job as a consumer harder than ever. The stuff on this list makes rat hair in peanut butter seem appetizing.
1.Flame Retardant Liquid: The toxic flame retardant chemical “Brominated Vegetable Oil” otherwise knows as BVO, was initially used to keep plastics from catching on fire. Today, BVO is used in some of your favorite sodas like Mountain Dew, Sunkist Pinapple and some Powerade/Gatorade Flavors. It is said that these chemical prevents the artificial flavoring chemicals from separating from the rest of the liquids. Unfortunately, Scientists have linked too much BVO to symptoms like skin lesions, memory loss and nerve disorders.
2. Paint Chemicals: Titanium Dioxide is a component of titanium, which is a substance quite often contaminated with toxic lead. Commonly used in paints and sunscreens, this chemical can also surprisingly be found in processed salad dressing, coffee creamers and icing.
3.Maggots/Mites: Maggots are fly larvae, tiny rice shaped creatures that feast on rotting foods. Unfortunately, the FDA legally allows 19 maggots and 74 mites to be packaged in a 3.5 ounce can of mushrooms. Although maggots have their place in the medical world, I don’t think people imagine eating them along with their canned mushrooms. If you need another reason to ditch canned goods, most are lined with BPA(Bisphenol A) a plastic chemical that causes unnatural hormonal changes linked to heart attacks, obesity and certain cancers.
4. Herbicide: Glyphosate, is an active chemical ingredient in the popular weed killer roundup. This hormone disrupting chemical is now used primarily on genetically engineered corn and soy crops. Because it’s a systemic herbicide, which is taken up inside the plant, we actually eat it even if we wash them first and this is legally allowed in our food, and in an amount that worries scientists. Continuous Glyphosate exposure is linked to obesity, learning disabilities, birth defects, infertility, and potentially irreversible metabolic damage.
5.Sex Hormones:The genetically engineered and synthetic hormone called rBST(recombinant bovine somatotropin) can be found in most dairy products not labeled(rBST free). This chemical(which is banned in other countries) has been linked to prostate,breast and colon cancers.
6.Human Hair/Feathers:L-cysteine, a non essential amino acid made from dissolved human hair(often from china) or duck feathers is used as commercial dough conditioner to improve the texture of breads and baked goods. Although there are no known side effects of this ingredient, it does violate some religious/ethical beliefs.
7.Beetle Juice: No, not the crazy white haired guy in the pinstripes… Carmine, a bright red food colorant usually labeled as crimson lake, cochineal or natural red #4 is actually the crushed abdomen of the female Dactylopius coccus, an African beetle like insect. These crushed critters can be found in any candy, yogurt or juices tainted red(ex. Ruby red juices). This too has no known side effects except of it posing an ethical issue for some vegetarians/vegans.
8. Ammonia: Meat factories are usually rife with bacteria after mixing meats from thousands of different cows which could be a public health hazard. To make the meat safer, the USDA typically allows these factories to put the beef through an ammonia gas bath. This process is deemed safe enough to not include any indication on the packaging that your beef has been treated with the stuff. Unfortunately, ammonia is a poisonous gas and evidence even suggests that blasting it with the stuff might not even be fully effective at killing these germs.
9. Brain Killing Food Dyes: Many artificial food dyes are made from petroleum derived materials. Dyes are used in cereals and candy especially to make them more fun for kids, in pickles to make them appear fresher and in place of real ingredients in a variety of foods. Take for example Betty Crockers Carrot cake mix, which is actually a carrot free product with only carrot flavored pieces cooked with these artificial dyes/corn syrup. Some of these dyes,especially Orange and Purple are shown to impair brain function, while others have been linked to ADHD and behavioral problems in kids and brain cell toxicity.
10. Non stick metal components: An Industrial nonstick chemical(perflourinated) used to coat theinside of popcorn bags is the same chemical used in the nonstick coating of many pots, pans and baking sheets. A stufy found that nonstick chemicals in popcorn bags significantly damage your immunce system, it is also linked to high cholesterol, sperm damage, infertility and ADHD.
I hope that this list gives you enough leverage to come to your own conclusions on what we are putting into our bodies every day. It’s very hard to escape eating some of these ingredients as they are found in many foods at your grocers, however purchasing Organic and avoiding processed foods as much as possible will be your key to living a healthier lifestyle. Here’s to good health! Cheers!
Credit: Leah Zerbe, Rodale News