Food Additive Health Hazards

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Written by Bina Naik | Medically Reviewed by dr. reeja tharu / dr. sunil shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on May 16, 2019
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Food Additive Health Hazards

There exists an apprehension, among the general public, regarding the food additives and their effects on health.

The use of these products is stringently monitored by several international bodies.

They are approved for usage only after thorough testing to ensure their safety for human consumption. They are then conferred the 'Generally regarded as safe' (GRAS) status.

Ajinomoto came under question in 1969 when on injection, brain damage was reported in young mice. It was immediately discontinued in baby foods. Its use was permitted again in 1970, since a small amount was being used in baby food. A permissible level is set for human consumption and there are no reported risks if the amount of any additive consumed is within that limit.

Nitrite - a meat- curing agent, was found to react with amino acid in the intestine to produce nitrosoamine, a cancer-inducing agent. However since nitrites are also present other foods, FDA have permitted the use of small amount of these compounds as an additive.

Cyclamates - an artificial sweetener was granted the GRAS status in 1958. However the status was removed in 1969 since rats fed on cyclamates were known to develop bladder tumors.

Natural additives are not superior to artificial ones. In fact, the artificial additives generate a greater level of purity and consistency in comparison to the artificial ones. The presence of additives is usually mentioned in the ingredient column of the food packet.

References:

  1. Food Science: Third Addition - By Norman Potter
  2. Anticaking Agents - (http://www.foodadditivesworld.com/anticaking-agents.html)
  3. Hydrogenated Sperm Oil: Sec 173.275, of Ch 1 "Food and Drug Administration, Dept of Health and Human Services", Code of Federal Regulations.

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Thanks for such good post. Food additives is used in to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste and appearance.Food additives is to be divided into several groups all are acidic in nature .artificial food additives have been linked with cancer, digestive problems, neurological conditions.

The Centre for Science for the public Interest in the USA reports that - Hazards in food cause an estimated 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year, most of which are never reported to public health officials. These illnesses cost American taxpayers approximately $6.9 billion annually in medical costs, hospitalizations, and lost work time according to the Economic Research Service (USDA).

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