The 7 Nastiest Things Lurking In Your Supermarket

If you think pink slime is awful, (which it is, of course), and that arsenic in baby food, cereal bars, rice and even chicken is an outrage, here are seven more nasty items lurking in your local supermarket.


1.  Flame-Retardant Sodas

The toxic flame retardant chemical brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, was first used to keep plastics from catching on fire. However, the food industry has been using it in sodas, juices and sports drinks to keep those artificial flavoring chemicals mixed in with the rest of the liquids. You’ll find it in drinks such as Mountain Dew, Fanta Orange, Sunkist Pineapple and Powerade.

BVO has been linked to skins lesions, memory loss, and nerve disorders.

Photo Credit: thinkstock

2.  Petroleum-Laced Candy

You’ve probably wondered if that candy with those wacky bright colors is good for you. It’s not. Many of the artificial food dyes found in everyday foods, including candy, are made from petroleum-derived materials. Kids love those “fun” colors in their cereal and candy, but food dyes are also used in hundreds of supermarket foods.

They are harmful: orange and purple food dyes have been shown to impair brain function, while other dyes have been linked to ADHD and behavioral problems in kids. Of course, companies don’t care because it’s cheaper for them to use those fake dyes than it is to use real ingredients.


Photo Credit: thinkstock

3. Moldy berries

Here’s a sobering fact: the FDA legally allows up to 60 percent of canned or frozen blackberries and raspberries to contain mold; 15 percent mold is the limit for canned fruit and vegetable juices.

It’s true that it’s perfectly fine to eat some food when it starts to grow mold, but you should toss soft fruits and vegetables, since they may have mold growing below the surface. Also, because mold spreads quickly in fruits and vegetables, check nearby foods in your produce drawer.


Photo Credit: thinkstock

4. Salade Verte With Paint Chemicals

Perhaps you didn’t know that your salad dressing may well contain titanium dioxide, which is a component of titanium, a mined substance that is sometimes contaminated with toxic lead.

This chemical is widely used in paints and sunscreens, but Big Food also adds it to lots of things we eat, including processed salad dressing. They do this to to make dingy, overly processed items, like your salad dressing, appear brighter and whiter.


Photo Credit: thinkstock

5.  Hormone-Heavy Milk

Ah, the wonders of modern technology: today’s cows produce double the amount of milk they did just 40 years ago, and that’s mostly because of a genetically engineered, synthetic hormone called recombinant bovine somatotropin, or rBST, that helps them along.

This synthetic hormone is banned in many other countries because it has been linked to prostate, breast and colon cancers. However, it is still legal here, although many dairies are being pressured to abandon it.


Photo Credit: thinkstock

6. Meat Laced With Flesh-Eating Bacteria

Beware the supermarket meat department! Grocery store meats are commonly infused with nasty extras, including staph bacteria, and especially the hard-to-kill, potentially lethal MRSA strain. A study published last year in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that half of grocery store meat tested positive for staph bacteria.

MRSA kills about 19,000 people a year in America.


Photo Credit: thinkstock

7.  Toxic shrimp

Imported shrimp is on the Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch List as “Avoid” at all costs. Less than two percent of all imported seafood is inspected, which is a huge problem. As a result, imported shrimp often contains antibiotics, cleaning chemicals used in farmed shrimp pens, residues of toxic pesticides banned in the U.S., and pieces of insects.

Domestic shrimp would be the answer, except that 70 percent of domestic shrimp comes from the Gulf of Mexico, and the recent oil spill has made us all wary of eating that. Instead, try buying shrimp from Texas, the East Coast, Maine and the Carolinas.

The obvious solution to all these nasty items: avoid processed food, and stick to organic produce as much as possible. Not to mention, if you are buying processed food, always check the ingredients.


Photo Credit: thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Vabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa3 years ago

Thank you

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

ick. be careful what you buy.. be an informed consumer!

Spirit Spider
Spirit Spider4 years ago

I sort of started laughing reading's just so absurd I couldn't help but laugh a bit. Sigh :(

Dani Henges
Dani Henges4 years ago

My goodness with all the tings you have to watch out for these days in your FOOD, it makes you wonder what IS safe to eat

Diane L.
Diane L4 years ago

What about San Francisco Bay shrimp? What is sold here comes from there. Nobody in their right mind would eat strawberries looking like those in the photo. I think this is another article in C2 where, while the writer may have meant well, suffered another bout of indigestion and had nightmares, woke up and felt the sudden urge to write something for Care2. As for MRSA, this would be the first time I've heard about that being in meat, but sounds like another anti-meat-eating doomsday remark. Try cooking it! Better yet, try obtaining meat, if you eat meat at all, from a source that you trust............a local organic butcher who deals in free-ranging and naturally fed animals! That would also go for the milk thing...........avoid the factory farm products and you're about 99% there.

Ryan Yehling
Ryan Yehling4 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

Mia Reh
Mia Reh4 years ago

Thanks for sharing. Good to know.

Natasha Case
Natasha Case4 years ago

Its honestly so terrible that these products are used and condoned - as a simple consumer, you do not think about those horrid added extras - you are simply looking for a carton of milk or piece of steak! The standards should really be higher!!

Margarita G.
Margarita G4 years ago

Thanks for the info!