20 Mar 15 Nasties Added To Food
You’re looking for food with no nasties in them, maybe for your kids or just because you want to live a healthier lifestyle. When you look at the back of food packaging, it can often be shocking to see how many nasty sounding things have been added to something we thought was simple healthy food. It can be so confusing as these additives are often given strange names or obscured as E numbers. It seems bizarre that companies routinely put toxic chemicals into our food, but quite often they are adding nasties seemingly for the sake of it. We’re putting this stuff into our bodies! Many nasties are found in foods, what are they and why should they be avoided?
**Tartrazine E102** Found in fizzy drinks, ice creams, sweets, chewing gum, jam, yoghurt and infant medicines. A variety of immunologic responses have been attributed to tartrazine ingestion, including anxiety, migraine, clinical depression, blurred vision, itching, general weakness, heatwaves, feeling of suffocation, purple skin patches, and sleep disturbance. Banned in Norway and Austria, infants less than 3 years.
**Quinoline yellow E104** Found in ice creams, lollies and smoked haddock. The substance may have effects on the liver and is possibly carcinogenic to humans. Banned in Australia, Norway and the US, infants less than 3 years.
**Sunset yellow E110** Found in orange jelly, apricot jam, packet soup, canned fish, hot chocolate mixes and infant medicines. Sunset Yellow may be responsible for causing an allergic reaction in people with an aspirin intolerance, resulting in various symptoms, including gastric upset, diarrhea, vomiting, nettle rash (urticaria), swelling of the skin (angioedema) and migraines. Banned in Norway and Finland, infants less than 3 years.
**Carmoisine E122** Found in jams, sweets, sauces, yoghurts, jellies, cheesecake mixes and infant medicines. It appears to cause allergic or intolerance reactions, particularly amongst those with an aspirin intolerance. Other reactions can include a rash similar to nettle rash and skin swelling. Asthmatics sometimes react badly to it. It is one of the colourants that the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group recommends be eliminated from the diet of children. Azo dyes generally have been known to be carcinogenic for over 60 years and are linked, particularly, to bladder cancer. However E122 itself has not been proven to be carcinogenic. Banned in Japan, Norway, Sweden and the US, infants less than 3 years
**Ponceau 4R E124 (also known as Cochineal Red)** Found in dessert toppings, jelly, canned strawberries and fruit pie fillings, salami, seafood dressings and infant medicines. Because it is an azo dye, it may elicit intolerance in people allergic to salicylates (aspirin). Additionally, it is a histamine liberator, and may intensify symptoms of asthma. Banned in Norway and the US, infants less than 3 years.
**Allura red A4 E129** Found in Sweets, drinks, medicines. Allura Red AC has fewer health risks associated with it in comparison to other azo dyes. However, some studies have found some adverse health effects that may be associated with the dye. Banned in Most of Europe, infants less than 3 years.
**Indigo Carmine or Indigotine E132** Found in tablets and capsules, ice cream, sweets, baked goods, confectionery, biscuits. Best avoided by people with allergy reactions as it may cause skin sensitivity, a skin rash similar to nettle rash, itching, high blood pressure and breathing problems. Banned in Norway, infants less than 3 years.
**E155 Brown HT** Found in chocolate flavour cakes. It may provoke allergic reactions in asthmatics, people sensitive to aspirin, and other sensitive individuals, and may induce skin sensitivity. Banned in most of Europe and the US, infants less than 3 years.
**Sodium Benzoate E211** Found in soft drinks (fizzy drinks, squashes and fruit juices), cakes, jellies, sweets, crisps and infant medicines. In combination with ascorbic acid (vitamin C, E300), sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate form benzene, a known carcinogen. May cause hyperactivity. Banned in infants less than 3 years.
**Benzoic acid E210** Found in beer, coffee essence, dessert sauces, soft drinks, flavouring syrups, fruit juice, pulp and purée, jam, margarine, marinated herring and mackerel, pickles, salad cream and dressings, fruit yoghurt, baked goods, cheeses, gum, condiments, frozen dairy, relishes, soft sweets, cordials and sugar substitutes. Best avoided by people with allergy reactions as it can cause a rash similar to nettle rash with large quantities also causing gastric irritation. When combined with Tartrazine (E102) it provokes a very high hyperactive response in children. Can cause asthma, especially in those dependent on steroid asthma medications, is also reputed to cause neurological disorders and to react with sulphur bisulphite (E222). Banned in infants less than 3 years.
**Sulphur dioxide and other sulphite compounds E220 – E228** Found in dried apricots. The are also hidden in corn syrup and corn starch so will be present in anything containing these ingredients ie many commercial foods and sweets. In the United States, the Center for Science in the Public Interest lists the two food preservatives, sulfur dioxide and sodium bisulfite, as being safe for human consumption except for certain asthmatic individuals who may be sensitive to them, especially in large amounts. Banned in Australia.
**Monosodium glutamate E621** Found in crisps and other savoury snacks, Chinese food. Sensitive individuals may experience “transient” side effects such as “headache, numbness/tingling, flushing, muscle tightness, and generalised weakness” to a large amount of MSG taken in a single meal. Banned in infants less than 3 years.
**Aspartame E951** Aspartame is an intense sweetener, approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar. It has been used throughout the world in soft drinks and other low-cal or sugar free foods since 1974. It was first approved for use in the UK in 1982. It is known by the name NutraSweet, aspartame or E951. Banned in The Philippines.
**Saccharine E954** Found in sugar free foods, medicines, vitamin and mineral supplements. Studies in laboratory rats during the early 1970s linked saccharin with the development of bladder cancer in rodents. Banned in The Philippines. Labelled as ‘maybe hazardous to your health’ on products in the US.
**Acesulfame K (potassium) E950** Found in sugar free foods and drinks, chewing gums, deserts. As with other artificial sweeteners, there is concern over the safety of acesulfame K. However, the US FDA has approved their general use. Critics say acesulfame K has not been studied adequately and may be carcinogenic, although these claims have been dismissed by the US FDA and by equivalent authorities in the European Union. Banned in infants less than 3 years.