Keeping your pantry healthy and safe may seem like a fairly simple task, but believe it or not there are lots of foods hiding in your pantry that aren’t really safe for consumption. Here we’ve collected 15 foods and food additives that other countries have outlawed, but the United States has deemed completely safe for consumptions. Before you pop another bowl of cereal in front of your kids, or pick up a sandwich from a fast food joint read ahead and find out what is actually hiding in your innocent looking food.
Azodicarbonamide is an additive that acts as an enhancement agent in some breads. The additive keeps the bread soft and fresh longer, and is commonly found in fast food breads, specifically the buns from McDonalds and Burger King. While the FDA considers the additive “safe” food agencies in the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia don’t see it that way. The food is band throughout the European Union and in some Asian countries as well. Singapore takes a particularly harsh stance on the substance, and those using it can face up to 15 years behind bars for utilizing Azodicarbonamide. It is banned in these countries because it has been shown to cause respiratory issues and asthma in some individuals.
Olestra became the “it” item in the 1990s when it was added to chips, crackers and fries to create fat-free junk food. While Olestra made these items into low or no-fat foods, the side effects aren’t particularly appetizing. Olestra has been found to cause gas, cramps, and diarrhea. More recently, the substances has been found to interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins. Canada and the United Kingdom quickly outlawed Olestra, however, the United States decided it was fine, as long as the manufacturer told consumers it could cause gastrointestinal problems.
3. Diphenylamine (DPA)
Diphenylamine, also known as DPA, is a coating put on apples, pears and other fruits. It is added to baby food and apple sauce as well. Not only does it give the fruit that glossy shine that we are all familiar with, but it also protects the fruit from browning or blackening over long periods of time. In short, it is essentially a preservative coating that keeps apples looking fresh picked even after a few weeks in a storage facility. Recently the European Food Safety Authority outlawed the use of the chemical because it may breakdown into Nitrosamines, a known carcinogen. The United States has been using the substance since the 1960s and there is no plans to ban it at this time.
4. Artificial Coloring
When you see Yellow #5, or any other artificial coloring, in an ingredient list you may not think anything of it, but these substances are banned in Norway, Finland, Austria, France and the United Kingdom. These dyes are made from chemicals. They are often derived from petroleum and have been linked to never-cell issues, brain cancer and ADHD. These additives are found in a lot of products including cake mix, energy drinks, cheese, candy and boxed macaroni and cheese.
If you watched a spy movie or two you probably know what arsenic is; it is a posion for those not in the know. In large enough concentrations it will kill you, but it is also used in chicken feed to beef up poultry and to make it appear pinker and, thus, fresher. The United States considers it an acceptable additive to feed in small quantities, but the European Union has voted it down. It is banned as an additive to chicken feed across the union.
6 & 7. Synthetic Growth Hormones ( rBGH and rBST)
Synthetic Growth Hormones are commonly used in the United States to make cattle bigger and to achieve more meet from each cow, however, other nations have decided the additive is very harmful and have discontinued their use. They are bad for the cows, and can cause poor muscle growth, infertility and cancer in humans. It has been outlawed by the European Union, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
8 & 9 : BHA and BHT
BHA and BHT are both waxy preservatives that are commonly found in bubble gum, cereal, butter, meat and instant potatoes. They are used to keep foods stable on the shelf for much longer than what is natural. That is why you can eat cereal for a good year after its purchase, according to the best by date. Studies have found that the preservatives can cause cancer in rats, and because of this the U.K, Japan and a slew of other nations have outlawed its use. The United States hasn’t taken a stance yet, but for now it remains on the ingredient list of countless food products.
10. Potassium Bromate
Potassium Bromate is a found in bromate flour, which is found in wraps, rolls, breads, bagel chips and flatbreads. In short, it is derived from chemicals and can create a much shorter baking time and helps to reduce the cost of commercially produced baked goods. While it’s good for companies looking to cut costs, it isn’t so good for the human body. Potassium Bromate has been linked to kidney damage, cancer and damage to the nervous system in some studies. It has been banned in Europe, Canada and even China.
11. Brominated Vegetable Oil
Brominated Vegetable Oil is what is used to create Brominate Flour listed above. As an oil it serves as an emulsifier and is commonly seen in sports drinks and citrus sodas, such as Mountain Dew. Its use has been linked to birth defects, growth issues, mental health concerns and even hearing loss. It has been deemed so hazardous that it is banned in 100 countries, but the United States still allows it in foods.
12. Genetically Modified Corn
Genetically modified corn is banned in a plethora of countries, including the European Union, but research suggest nearly 90% of the United States corn crop is genetically modified. GMO corn has been linked to intestinal problems and stomach inflammation in pigs. Many believe the same affects are felt in humans. Currently the United States does not require the labeling of GMO products, although many believe it should be stated on the label of foods.
13. Genetically Modified Canola Oil
Canola oil is used for many different purposes and it is in many different foods, but in the European Union it is illegal for farmers to use genetically modified varieties of the crop. About 90% of the crop in the United States is of the GMO varieties available. Research suggest that the pesticides used on GMO canola crops become part of the finish product which can lead to many health problems. GMO items such as Canola oil are not banned in the United States and there is no regulation forcing farmers to reveal the source of the crop.
14. Genetically Modified Soy Beans
GMO soy beans are common place in the United States, and as the desire for soy increases the use of GMO soy beans only increases as well. GMO soy beans have been linked with hormonal disturbances in some who ingest them. GMO crops of soy beans have been outlawed in the European Union and many Asian countries. The United States, however, is in no hurry to ban genetically modified crops.
15. Blue Dye No. 1
While we already touched on food additives blue dye No. 1 gets its own section. The dye has been outlawed in the European Union as well as other European nations, but it is a common additive in foods marketed to children in the United States. It has been linked with irritability, aggression, ADHD and learning disabilities in children. This is especially bad as the majority of foods that contain the dye are intended for young children who find the blue color appealing in their foods.