The Wheels Of Government Turn Slowly; Even For Food-Safety:
A short while ago, we talked about Sam Parr’s question on slim travelers.
He was surprised by how many people came back from European vacations noticeably slimmer than before.
But since these were generally healthy people who had good diets and exercised regularly, there seemed to be some x-factor responsible.
One of the revelations from that post was that the European Food Safety Agency bans a lot more ingredients in their food than we do.
-Which leads right into today’s post, because both the CSPI and Consumer Reports are trying to get one of them banned here…
The Short Answer:
- Sam Parr’s question about The French Paradox led to some revelations about food in Europe.
- The EFSA bans a lot more weird additives than we do.
- There are several foods the US can’t export because of rules like those.
- One of the substances banned in the EU that should also be here is probably Red Dye #3.
- It was banned by the FDA in 1990 for cosmetics.
- But it was still allowed to be added to food!
- The dosages where it looks to be hazardous appear to be about 1% of total calories, as shown in previous studies.
- This dose would take 28 weeks or less to cause the problems.
- The problem is that children consume much more of this dye than adults.
- Due to their lower body weights, they may be more at-risk, as with many things.
- Industry groups have pushed back and tried to disqualify they studies that showed risks.
- The FDA & California are starting to take action.
- Other studies have found problems with 8 other dyes used as food additives.
- There may be more natural sources for red color in food.
- Even though some action is being started, it’s still probably important to go and sign Consumer Reports’ petition anyway.
- On the bright side, the FDA just banned BVO, a potentially-hazardous food additive that’s put mostly in sodas.
- Unfortunately, that ban goes into effect in 2027, the same year as California’s ban on Red Dye #3.
- Food dyes are usually listed on product labels to help you avoid some of these things.
- On the other hand, hopefully we won’t overdo regulations; but with the red tape involved that might not be a real risk.
Read on to find out the details…
→ Show/Hide Table Of Contents ←
Last time we looked at reasons Americans might be fatter than Euros,
We also found a list of US foods that can’t be exported because of banned additives.
Well, we should now consider adding Red Dye #3 to that list.
In an event of accidental good fortune, it was banned for cosmetic purposes by the FDA as far back as 1990.
This was on the basis that it can be a carcinogen in sufficient quantities over time.
What the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and Consumer Reports are trying to point out right now, is that it’s still somehow approved for use in foods.
Now the dosage may have to be pretty high for it to cause those problems, but who wants to take that chance?
Especially since children can be high-consumers of these things and generally more-susceptible than adults due to smaller size, low body weight and other factors.
-According to one study that showed lesions in male rats, doses of up to 1% of total calories for 28 months produced the effect.
Of course the industry groups are pushing back, citing unusual dosage and also that lab-rat studies don’t count.
It’s usually these types of people who always suggest that concerned groups of citizens who pose ideas on regulation are overreacting.
-Just like the guys from the tobacco industry did.
I guess there are two saving graces we have right now:
1) At least it’s listed on the ingredients label for most things
2) Even the FDA is raising its own concerns
3) California will ban the additive starting in 2027
So unfortunately, Red Dye #3 seems to do a lot more than making children hilariously hyperactive.
And it’s not the only dye that does something similar.
In “Toxicology Of Food Dyes”, researchers are finding that all 9 of the currently approved dyes can cause problems.
Three of them were contaminated with benzidine and other carcinogens.Those were:
1) Red 40
2) Yellow 5
3) Yellow 6.
Four others besides Red #3 were associated with hypersensitivity:
1) Blue 1
2) Red 40
3) Yellow 5
4) Yellow 6.
So it seems there’s a lot more work ahead for groups like EWG, CSPI, & CR.
This article by The Cleveland Clinic discusses some good alternatives for Red 40.
Either way, this post was inspired both by the Sam Parr’s French Paradox piece,
So go ahead and read that before I steal too much of her thunder.
And while you’re there, Sign The CR Petition to get Red #3 out of our food!
And on a happier note, it looks like the FDA might be helping us all out a little.
-Or at least Mountain Dew drinkers.
Because one of the additives on the list that cannot be exported is Brominated Vegetable Oil.
This is used primarily in fruit-flavored drinks to keep the flavor from separating.
But the downsides can be harm to the nervous system, organs, reproductive system, and accumulation in fatty tissues.
It can also concentrate some of that bromine around organs like the thyroid.
Now all we have to do is stay vigilant until 2027, when the BVO ban goes into actual effect.
We can also cross our fingers and hope that California’s recent ban of Red #3 might turn the tide in the future, too.
That said, I do hope the US doesn’t turn into an overreacting, Socialist “Regulation Purgatory” like Europe, and we can still retain our entrepreneurial spirit.
But hopefully, the preponderance of study evidence in some cases can help put sensible limits on things that could hurt people over time.
Until next time, stay away from those Ultra-Processed Foods and Be Well!
• Source: Consumer Reports
• More Coverage: Sign CR’s Petition | EWG – Foods With Red #3 | EarthJustice – Chemicals In Food | FDA – Color Additive Status List
• Source Studies:
• IntJ.OccEnvHealth – Toxicology Of Food Dyes
• Clin.Pediatr – Amounts of artificial food colors in commonly consumed beverages and potential behavioral implications for consumption in children