How to Avoid Phosphate Additives

In my videos Phosphate Additives in Meat Purge and Cola and Phosphate Additives in Chicken, I talked about the danger of phosphate and phosphate additives, and how phosphates are often added to chicken and turkey to help preserve the meat. But how often is poultry injected with phosphates? The vast majority of chicken products (more than 90%) were found to contain these additives. However, most packages did not list the additives on their label.

Sometimes they call the phosphate additives “flavorings” or “broth,” and sometimes the labels don’t say anything at all. In the above video, we can see a list of the different ways phosphate additives have been listed (if they are listed at all) on ingredient labels. I’d recommend minimizing one’s intake of anything with the four letters: phos. These additives are also used in junk foods and fast food. Some products even have phosphorus and aluminum. We see this a lot in processed cheeses. One grilled cheese sandwich may exceed the World Health Organization’s provisional tolerable daily intake of aluminum by 428%. (I’ve previously touched on the aluminum in cheese in Aluminum in Vaccines vs. Food). More concerning, though, are the levels of lead in some venison (Filled Full of Lead) and mercury in tuna (The Effect of Canned Tuna on Future Wages).

The food industry no longer has to list phosphorus content on the Nutrition Facts label. There have been calls from the public health community to mandate that phosphorus content of foods be included back on the nutrition facts label, but I’m not holding my breath.

All these studies bring home the same strong message, “phosphorus-containing additives are present in most meat products and significantly increase the phosphorus content. Moreover, the lack of this information in the Nutrition Facts labels and even in nutrition databases prevents patients and dietitians from accurately estimating the phosphorus content of their food and their daily intake.”

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentationsUprooting the Leading Causes of Death and More Than an Apple a Day.

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Magdalena J.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you!

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

Aluminum consumption has been shown to increase the contracting of Alzheimer's and Dementia. Think about what you put in your mouth!

Vicky P.
Vicky P3 years ago


Marie W.
Marie W3 years ago

Too many additives.

Lynn C.
Lynn C3 years ago

Oops - that question was to be posted on the link re aluminum in cheese. Ah well, the question still stands.

Lynn C.
Lynn C3 years ago

I did notice that the aluminum was used in processed cheese and cheese products. Is it used in traditionally made cheeses?

Jana DiCarlo
Jana DiCarlo3 years ago

surprised me with the cheese!!

Anna Undebeck
Anna Undebeck3 years ago


Chinmayee Jog
Chinmayee Jog3 years ago

Thanks for sharing - glad I'm vegetarian, but I'm sure this stuff crops up in all sorts of foods...

Bonnie Bowen
Bonnie Bowen3 years ago

"...we're not all dead"......we aren't?