In the United States, arsenic is allowed in the chicken we eat, chemical colors are added to food so we’ll eat more, and the chemical used to bleach flour to a pristine white as quickly as possible, Azodicarbonamide, is allowed. In contrast, Azodicarbonamide is considered so dangerous in Singapore that using it can get you 15 years in prison and a hefty, hefty fine.
All of this information and more can be found in Shape magazine’s informative piece, 14 Banned Foods Still Allowed in the U.S. The list had me rooting through my refrigerator and kitchen cabinets to make sure that nothing in our kitchen included potassium bromate, which has been “associated with kidney and nervous system disorders as well as gastrointestinal discomfort.”
The list also gave me more ammunition to tell my boys no more sports drinks. I cut them out years ago because of the artificial dyes and the sugar, but now I find out that many of them also contain brominated vegetable oil, a chemical that’s banned in more than 100 countries. According to the nutritionist quoted in the magazine article, hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, cancer, organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss are all associated with the intake of brominated vegetable oil. Wow!
Some of the ingredients on the list like synthetic hormones in milk and artificial dyes are probably things many of us try to avoid already. But there are other ingredients on the list that aren’t as well known, so you’ll want to take a look at the complete article.
One tool that I use to help me learn about unfamiliar ingredients when I’m at the grocery store is the Don’t Eat That app for my iPhone. It lists hundreds of ingredients, including the ones mentioned in the Shape article, and even has a special section dedicated to ingredients that have been banned in other countries.
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