Last week, Buzzfeed released a list of foods that are banned in several places around the world, but still available in the U.S. Check out the list of banned ingredients and see what foods are being used to hide them. Then try some of our tips for avoiding the offending ingredients.
Artificial Food Colorings – Many common snack foods
Companies are required to list Yellow #5 in their ingredient list, but it’s not the only artificial food color that is banned in other countries. Blue #1, Blue #2 and Red #40 may also cause health problems. Today, many companies are removing artificial colors from their products, so a little research should help you find safe alternatives.
Brominated Vegetable Oil – Sports drinks and citrus-flavored sodas
Brominated vegetable oil is used in drinks to prevent the flavoring from separating and floating to the surface. It is banned in over 100 countries world-wide because it contains bromine, which can be toxic. Stick to drinking water and 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices.
Azodicarbonamide – Breads, frozen dinners, packaged baked goods
Though azodicarbonamide is used to bleach flour, it is also used to bleach foamed plastic. Banned in Australia, the United Kingdom and most European countries, azodicarbonamide can induce asthma attacks. It is best avoided by staying away from pre-packaged meals and baked goods.
Bromated Flour – Many kinds of bread
While bromated flour is great if you need to reduce baking time, it isn’t so great for your body. The flour, banned in Europe, Canada and China, has been linked to kidney damage, cancer and nervous system damage. Happily, there are many other kinds of flour to use that are not bromated.
Olestra – Fat-free potato chips
Olestra was created by Proctor and Gamble as a cooking oil substitute. However, the fat substitute removes your body’s ability to absorb vitamins. This has led to its ban in the United Kingdom and Canada. If just have to have a salty, crunchy snack, try making your own chips from kale.
BHT and BHA – Cereal, gum, nut mixes
Intended to keep food from going bad, BHT and BHA have been shown to cause cancer in rats. Japan, the United Kingdom and other European countries have banned the preservatives, though no studies have proven their detrimental effects on humans. If you want to avoid BHT and BHA, your best option is purchasing food that is fresh and natural.
rBGH and rBST – Milk and other dairy products
Unless otherwise noted, most nonorganic dairy products will have some amount of rBGH and/or rBST. Both can impact human and bovine health and have been banned in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and the European Union. If you’re a dairy product consumer, you can find many organic brands that do not contain the growth hormones.
Arsenic – Poultry
Though a known poison, arsenic was used in some chicken feed to make the meat appear fresher. The National Chicken Council says that chickens raised for meat are no longer given feed additives containing arsenic, but that didn’t stop the European Union from putting a ban on it. If you eat meat, make sure you know where you’re poultry is coming from and how it is raised.