4 Chemicals You Can Find in Food But Probably Can’t Pronounce

It seems hardly a day goes by now without some company announcing they are removing a chemical or artificial ingredient from food product, and that’s fantastic! However, for every chemical removed from a product, there are more still being used.

Also known as Yellow No. 5, this chemical and its fellow food dyes are for the most part still found in many food products. Kraft announced that tartrazine would no longer be found in some of its macaroni and cheese varieties after consumers called for its removal. However, some dyes like Blue 1 and Red 40 are still widely used in candies and baked goods and have been found to cause hyperactivity in children. Though, so has candy.

Propyl gallate
As a preservative, propyl gallate is often used alongside BHA and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). Its purpose is to prevent oily products from oxidizing and going bad. It is suspected that in addition to keeping mayonnaise from spoiling, propyl gallate can interfere with human hormones. Though some scientists think the link between propyl gallate and problems in the endocrine system are definite, more research still needs to be done.

Silicon dioxide
Silicon dioxide and silica are fancy-sounding names for something simple that we’ve all encountered before: beach sand. Not just for building sand castles, silicon dioxide is used in dry coffee creamer and other foods with a powdery substance. Though the health risk of consuming sand is low, studies have shown that high exposure can cause respiratory problems. Perhaps we should leave the sand on the beach and out of our food.

If you’ve ever wondered what makes gum and chewy candy gummy look no further, the answer is triacetin. It also can keep food from drying out. Triacetin has been approved and is generally recognized as safe by the FDA, though many no longer put stock in the FDA’s opinion of safety when it comes to food products. Probably because products like triacetin are not only used in foods, but in cigarette filters and Viagra as well.


Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons, by Evan-Amos


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Edgar Zuim
Edgar Zuim1 years ago

Interesting. Thanks.

Carole R.
Carole R.1 years ago

Scary. You have to be so careful when buying food now days. Keep it fresh!

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen1 years ago

Thank you :)

Amy Ingalls
Amy Ingalls1 years ago

This is why it is better to try and avoid processed foods whenever possible. Most food can be made much healthier at home.

Roxana Saez
Roxana Saez1 years ago


Summerannie Moong
Summerannie M.1 years ago


Lynn C.
Lynn C.1 years ago


Elisabeth JImmink

Although some of the additives like tartrazine can be removed from prepared foods because they are merely a food dye, there are some that can't be removed like propyl gallate because it keeps products from spoiling. If you want to stay away from additives and artificial ingredients then you are going to have to make everything your self, including the mayonnaise.

Duane B.
.1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Philip R.
Philip R.1 years ago

Silicon dioxide, also known as silica, SiO2, Is inert and, unless you ingest a large quantity in one sitting, should cause no problems; what problem you might develop would be in the digestive tract. You can develop respiratory problems from inhaling silica, especially a lot at once or, as is more common, chronically, as one would if working as a sandblaster; this can cause a respiratory condition known as silicosis. Perhaps a little less speculation and sensationalism, and a bit more research, should go into some of these articles.