While food safety is highly-protected against bacteria and other hazardous contaminants, one area is somewhat overlooked – toxic food ingredients!
The food we eat is protected by a variation of testing including: HACCP Plans, Sanitation Handling Practices, and a number of strict procedures that validate a safe and wholesome product is produced for consumption. While HACCP was designed to protect the consumer from physical, chemical, and biological hazards, it seems that a few chemical hazards have slipped by! Those chemical hazards include those “approved” toxic food ingredients that are allowed in food.
Many of these “approved” food ingredients are carcinogens (cancer causing agents) – which may explain the growing rate of cancer patients in the population. By avoiding certain foods and changing diets, it may be possible to greatly reduce chances of developing cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER), the average age of people diagnosed with cancer of the colon and rectum in 1975 was 59.5 – in 2007 the age group had dropped to 44.6 years old. It is not a proven fact that the increase of toxic food ingredients used in the food system is the cause of the increase of this particular cancer, but it is highly suspected.
Many potential carcinogenic ingredients are used in today’s foods – specifically meat and processed meat products (bologna, cured meats, hot dogs, etc.) The reasoning for adding these potential carcinogens is to provide a long product shelf life and to maintain a desirable color of the product. Others are used to enhance taste as well as help eliminate harmful bacteria.
It is simple to determine if a product ingredient has toxic effects by reading the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) of the chemical/ingredient. The MSDS specifically provides scientific details about the chemical – listing all hazards. Within these details, it will also explain whether the chemical is consumable and any side effects that the chemical may have on the human body. Lets identify a few of the known carcinogenic ingredients used in foods.
While sodium nitrite is an anti-oxidant naturally found in vegetables, the processed version is used in cured meats such as bologna, hot dogs, potted meats, bacon, and cured ham. Sodium nitrite is used in these products to extend the shelf life, and improve color, and it can help prevent the growth of deadly bacteria. Natural sodium nitrite is available to use in food products, but it is not commonly used due to processed sodium nitrate being more cost effective.
Sodium nitrite is probably the most used “potential carcinogen” in the food industry. This chemical is used in a variation of foods, but specifically meat and cured meats. While only a very small amount of sodium nitrite is used in the food product, it is still a possible carcinogen (even though many MSD Sheets state “Information Not Available”): it induces mutagenic effects, teratogenic hazards, and developmental toxicity. The MSDS for Sodium Nitrate states: “If Swallowed, Get Medical Attention Immediately!”
The Food and Drug Administration has performed testing and studies on sodium nitrite and have determined it to be safe and suitable for use in food.
Without reading product ingredients, it’s easy to consume exitotoxins! The most common and contraversial exitotoxins include aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Aspartame is commonly used in diet soft drinks and other “diet foods” to replace sugar; while monosodium glutamate is considered to be a “taste enhancer” to make certain foods taste better. Links to the following chemicals point to their Material Safety Data Sheets.
Aspartame is basically a sugar substitute which was synthesized in 1965 and is composed of aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. These chemicals are briefly identified below. (It has not been proven that aspartame has negative affects on the human body, but it is a proven fact that people having certain “disease symptoms” – after removing aspartame from their system – returned to a normal, healthy life.)
- Aspartic acid is a non-essential amino acid and is naturally produced in the human body.
- Phenylalanine is a natural and essential amino acid. While phenylalanine is completely harmless to most people, those with the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) are not able to metabolize phenylalanine.
- Methanol is found in antifreeze, paint removers, and other chemicals that should not be ingested. It is a type of alcohol but a non-drinkable type that is commonly used in industrial processing.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a “taste enhancing” chemical added to many foods such as chips, seasonings, snack foods, sauces, and a number of other products. The most common symptom of MSG poisoning is headache, vertigo, and possibly hyperactivity. Some have reported long-term dizziness after ingesting monosodium glutamate.
While monosodium glutamate has also been determined by the FDA as a safe ingredient for food products, it is still listed as an allergen.
Many other toxic chemicals exist that are used in everyday foods. People consume these toxins everyday not knowing the long-term health effects that may develop from these chemicals. For more information on the chemicals listed here, follow the hyperlinks listed above to review the Material safety Data Sheets that are required for all chemicals.
The easiest way to eliminate ingestion of these chemicals it to maintain a natural and healthy diet. Remove those nasty processed foods from the diet and resort to single ingredient foods such as fruit, vegetables, and single ingredient meats. Our bodies are what we eat, so eat healthy and live healthy!
- Material Safety Data Sheets, sciencelab.com
- National Cancer Institute, 1975 – 2007
- University of Minnesota | Extension, Nitrite in Meat, 1992