It’s something of a shocker. A wide range of different food additives and animal feed supplements are commonly found in our diets here in the United States. Yet these exact same substances are banned for human – or animal – consumption by our European cousins, as well as by other nations. Forewarned is forearmed, they say, so have a look at these additives banned in Europe which might appear on your dinner plate in America.
Neither potassium bromate nor azodicarbonamide (ADA) sound remotely toothsome, but you might be eating them on a regular basis. Both may be found in your daily loaf as well as inside a range of baked goods from hot dog buns to pizzas. There’s some evidence linking these chemicals to cancer and other ailments. Both substances are banned in Europe, Canada, China and elsewhere, but are allowed in the States.
It’s unlikely that brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is something that you knowingly keep in your kitchen cupboard. But it might still lurk in your home unbeknown to you. That’s because it’s often used in sports beverages and soft drinks with citrus flavoring. BVO includes bromine and that’s been linked to skin and nerve issues and memory deterioration. The Japanese and the Europeans have nixed BVO, but it’s still allowed in America.
There are three food dyes you might want to know about: yellow numbers five and six, and red number 40. In fact, all of these are permitted in the European Union, but where they’re present there must be clear labeling announcing that they could cause activity and attention problems in children. No such warning is required in the U.S. The dyes are to be found in everything from ketchup and mustard to candies and cereals.
You won’t be directly eating a substance called ractopamine, as it’s fed to beef cattle, turkeys and pigs to increase weight. But there may be traces in your diet if you eat meat from an animal that’s consumed the substance. Researchers have linked ractopamine to hyperactivity and heart problems. It’s banned in as many as 160 countries, including all those in the European Union, as well as Russia and China.