Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

6 Common Food Additives Used in the U.S. That Are Banned in Other Countries

Food
6 Common Food Additives Used in the U.S. That Are Banned in Other Countries

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the use of food additives like preservatives, colors, sweeteners, fat replacers, emulsifiers and other ingredients added to food to maintain or improve safety, freshness, nutritional value, taste, texture and appearance. Food additives can be direct (those added for a specific purpose) or indirect (those added in trace amounts due to packaging, storage or handling) and are determined safe for market use only after stringent FDA review.

Many food additives approved for use in the U.S. are banned in other countries.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Due to the FDA's regulation of food additives, most people assume that if food is on grocery store shelves, it must be 100 percent safe for human consumption. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. As the FDA states: "Because of inherent limitations of science, FDA can never be absolutely certain of the absence of any risk from the use of any substance." In fact, several food additives approved for use in the U.S. by the FDA are banned in other parts of the world.

So if you think everything in your pantry is safe to eat, think again. Here are 6 common food additives found in the U.S. that are banned in other countries.

Azodicarbonamide (ADA)

  • Use: whitening or bleaching agent for cereal flour and as a dough conditioner in baking; also used to make rubber products like yoga mats and shoe soles
  • Concerns: During baking ADA breaks down to form new chemicals, one of which, semicarbizide (SEM), is known to increase the incidence of tumors in lab rats.
  • Banned: European Union

Bromated flour

  • Use: improves gluten content in baked goods to strengthen dough and promote rising
  • Concerns: Studies dating back to 1982 have found that potassium bromate used in bromated flour causes cancer in lab rats and is "possibly carcinogenic to humans"
  • Banned: European Union, Canada, Brazil, Peru, China

Brominated vegetable oil (BVO)

  • Use: added to citrus drinks like Mountain Dew to keep flavor evenly distributed; also used as a flame retardant
  • Concerns: nervous system depressant, endocrine disruptor, causes reproductive and behavioral problems
  • Banned: Europe and Japan

Olestra/Olean

  • Use: fat-free fat replacer in foods like potato chips
  • Concerns: gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea; interferes with absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
  • Banned: U.K. and Canada

Ractopamine

Recombinant Bovine growth hormone (rBGH)

  • Use: artificial growth hormone given to cows to increase milk production
  • Concerns: increased risk of breast and prostate cancer
  • Banned: European Union, Canada, Japan, Australia

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

McDonald’s Is Curbing Use of Antibiotics in Chicken, But Does It Go Far Enough?

Hershey’s Most Popular Chocolates Will Go GMO-Free by End of the Year

Could Common Food Additives Be Causing Serious Health Problems?

A dugong, also called a sea cow, swims with golden pilot jacks near Marsa Alam, Egypt, Red Sea. Alexis Rosenfeld / Getty Images

In 2010, world leaders agreed to 20 targets to protect Earth's biodiversity over the next decade. By 2020, none of them had been met. Now, the question is whether the world can do any better once new targets are set during the meeting of the UN Convention on Biodiversity in Kunming, China later this year.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Jan. 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

By Andrew Rosenberg

The first 24 hours of the administration of President Joe Biden were filled not only with ceremony, but also with real action. Executive orders and other directives were quickly signed. More actions have followed. All consequential. Many provide a basis for not just undoing actions of the previous administration, but also making real advances in public policy to protect public health, safety, and the environment.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Melting ice forms a lake on free-floating ice jammed into the Ilulissat Icefjord during unseasonably warm weather on July 30, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

A first-of-its-kind study has examined the satellite record to see how the climate crisis is impacting all of the planet's ice.

Read More Show Less
Probiotic rich foods. bit245 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Ana Maldonado-Contreras

Takeaways

  • Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria that are vital for keeping you healthy.
  • Some of these microbes help to regulate the immune system.
  • New research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, shows the presence of certain bacteria in the gut may reveal which people are more vulnerable to a more severe case of COVID-19.

You may not know it, but you have an army of microbes living inside of you that are essential for fighting off threats, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
Michael Mann photo inset by Joshua Yospyn.

By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.

The New Climate War: the fight to take back our planet is the latest must-read book by leading climate change scientist and communicator Michael Mann of Penn State University.

Read More Show Less