U.S. food additives banned in other countries


If research indicates that a certain chemical is harmful to humans (or animals), it may seem obvious that food regulatory agencies around the world would all agree to ban it. But it’s not always that simple: Many studies don’t produce definitive results, and people don’t always agree on what constitutes “definitive results” anyway. So the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Union’s European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other organizations have to make up their own minds and, unsurprisingly, they often arrive. to different conclusions. Here are seven food additives the FDA has approved but other countries have banned.

1. rbST

Somatropin is a growth hormone found in humans and other animals that stimulates growth and development. In cattle, it is popularly known as bovine somatropin, or bST. If you inject cows with extra synthetically produced bST called ‘recombinant bovine somatotropin’ (rbST) or ‘recombinant bovine growth hormone’ (rBGH), they will produce more milk. But it often comes at a cost: Studies have shown that cows subjected to rbST have a much higher risk of lameness, infertility problems and udder infections. The risks to humans who drink milk or eat meat from cattle that have received injected rBST are unclear, and the FDA has found these products to be safe for consumption. But the damaging effects of rbST on the cows themselves was reason enough for Canada and the European Union to ban it in 1999. It is also not permitted in US USDA Organic certified products.

2. Ractopamine

To provide livestock with as much lean meat as possible before slaughter, breeders often add ractopamine to their feed. It is part of a class of drugs called beta agonists, also used to relax muscles and open the airways in people with asthma. Like rbST, there is still a lot of ambiguity regarding the safety of ractopamine for human consumption. The FDA and other experts say all is well; but some research has suggested that it can cause an increased heart rate in humans [PDF]. It has also been linked to increased rates of lameness and other problems in the animals themselves (especially pigs). In general, more research is needed, but uncertainty has led the European Union to ban it altogether, and dozens of other countries, including China, Russia, Turkey, Egypt and India. , did the same. The United States has not followed suit, although some American meat manufacturers have given up on using it themselves in order to export meat products to the Chinese market without ractopamine.

3. Olestra

Olestra, a fat substitute from Procter & Gamble, was common on shelves in the form of fat-free Pringles and Frito-Lay products in the late 1990s. Its infamous habit of causing “anal leaks” and interfering with the absorption of vitamins by the body made it go out of fashion after several years, but the FDA still allows it in snack foods (although manufacturers must add certain vitamins to products containing olestra to compensate for the problem. ‘absorption). Canada and the UK, on ​​the other hand, have kept it simple by never accepting olestra in the first place.

4. Potassium bromate

Potassium bromate helps flour rise and lightens the color of bread, but it is also known to cause cancer in rats. [PDF]. The possibility that it could also cause cancer in humans is enough to have it placed on the must-not-use list in China, Brazil, India, Canada, the UK and the United Kingdom. European Union. In the United States, where the mindset is less “better safe than sorry” and more “innocent until proven guilty”, it is permitted in bread products and malted barley.

5. Azodicarbonamide

Azodicarbonamide, or ADA, creates the gas bubbles that help make plastic products like yoga mats and shoes elastic and light. It has a similar effect on bread products by making the dough softer and more durable (and, like potassium bromate, can also work as a whitening agent). ADA breaks down when cooked, and one of the resulting chemicals, semicarbazide, has been linked to increased cancer rates in some rodents. The FDA claims that it poses no threat to humans when consumed at certain legal levels, and dozens of recognizable brands are known to use it in their products. But public pressure has led some companies, like Subway and Wonderful bread-to remove the additive from their food in recent years. In the European Union, however, the ingredient has been banned outright for over a decade.

6. Red dye 40 (and other synthetic dyes)

In 2007, researchers at the UK University of Southampton published a study suggesting that consuming a mixture of certain synthetic food colors, including red # 40 and yellow # 5, and the preservative sodium benzoate could increase hyperactivity and inattention in children. While the study did not result in an outright ban, the UK Food Standards Agency has advised manufacturers to stop using these synthetic colors, and you typically won’t find them in UK food products. Nowadays. Within a few years, the European Union demanded that products containing the dyes carry a warning indicating that consumption “may have a detrimental effect on the activity and attention of children”. In the United States, manufacturers only need to mention artificial colors in their ingredient lists.

7. Brominated vegetable oil

The reason why your citrus soda tastes the same from start to finish may be because of Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO), a blend of bromine and vegetable oil that helps keep flavors from separating from the flavor. ‘water. According to the Mayo Clinic, bromine is known to cause skin irritation and neurological problems after long-term chronic exposure, and it’s possible that drinking a few liters of soda a day will produce some of the same symptoms. While the European Union and Japan have banned BVO completely, the FDA still allows diluted amounts in “fruit flavored drinks”. That said, the public backlash has been successful in getting major U.S. beverage makers like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola to remove it from many products anyway.



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