Solution Proposal RT

Check in Evaluation

  • I found this part of my paper to be particularly interesting:

Because I was able to provide what I thought we could do. Finally we are able to have a say what we are writing about and why its so bad.

  • This part was surprisingly difficult:

It was difficult because it seemed so easy to become repetitive.

  • Next time I would do this differently:

I would have made time to bring this paper in to the writing center for an additional set of eyes on my paper. Like after the two people in class evaluated it. Anything would help.

Unraveling of Hazardous Food Preservatives Found in the U.S.

Have you ever heard the expression, you are what you eat? If that were the case many of us would be toxic. The United States is in the minority of countries still allowing the use of harmful food additives. Food additives are defined as “substances intended to change the food in some way before it is sold to consumers.” (Additives, 2014). Examples of these food additives are artificial food coloring, brominated vegetable oil (BVO), potassium bromate, recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), and azodicarbonamide. Over 100 countries have banned these listed ingredients because all of them are directly linked to unhealthy side effects. Some ingredients are so severe to human consumption that banning the ingredient isn’t enough for some countries. We can stop the use of food additives going into our food supply. A few common solutions are; Petitions, buying locally, reading labels before buying, and the use of coupons. These solutions are stepping stones to help aid the U.S. in joining the majority of countries by banning these specific additives.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is our safety net. It is our voice to say what is and what is not okay to go into our food. The FDA oversees many food additives before they are released to the public. They are given the information on the substance and exactly what it does to the food, and the consumer. They have the power to approve, deny, or recall any food item, or ingredient. In the book, Rich Food, Poor Food the authors spent six years going around the world to study ingredients that seemed to cause a red flag. The authors looked at over 150 ingredients, and from that came with a compacted list of the most hazardous ingredients that many of us consume daily. When Rich Food, Poor Food came out it caused a lot of controversy as to why the U.S. still allows ingredients that have been banned elsewhere. Amongst their research they found that the U.S. is one of the last countries to still allow the intake of these specific preservatives.

When the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) were asked to comment on the most common harmful food additives such as: food coloring, brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), and azodicarbonamide, they made no comment. However, in the past they have said once they allow a certain ingredient to be used in food it’s almost impossible to ban that ingredient. That statement seems to contradict the FDA website. On the FDA website they have the archive of recalled items it goes as far back as to 2004. Each year has pages and pages of recalled items, and why the FDA has put a stop for consumption. The FDA stated “Our mission is first and foremost to protect public health by ensuring that foods are safe and properly labeled.” It is because of them the U.S. food supply is “the safest in the world” (Eng, 2013). Claiming we have the safest food supply in the world may be a bit over exaggerated, especially when we are one of the very few countries still allowing the use of the world’s top 5 food additives.

Majority of the population believes that every additive must be approved by the FDA; however that is not the case. The FDA offers many loop holes for companies to use specific additives without it ever being tested. “The term GRAS refers to ‘generally regarded as safe,’ the moniker the FDA uses to regulate food additives, dyes, and preservatives.” (Additives, 2014). There is no set law that companies have to submit their food additives that are being used in their products. Because there is no law set many companies chose to avoid submitting listed ingredients to the FDA to save money and time. “The FDA requires that all ingredients be listed on a food’s label, but additives are often listed without specificity. In other words many companies list them as ‘spices’ or ‘flavorings,’ making it impossible for consumers to determine what, exactly, they are eating.” (Additives, 2014).

If we chose to make our voices heard we can build and reconstruct the FDA so that everything going into our food is first approved rather than being put on the shelves for us to buy. A common fault is the assumption the FDA approves everything we consume. Those who have the mindset that the FDA has our best interest and knows exactly what goes into common foods is sadly mistaken. But why can’t it be that way? Petitions are the strongest and most effective way we have to get out voices heard. With enough people supporting and willing to sign a petition to reevaluate FDA procedures we can change to a much healthier nation. There are so many petitions that exist for a number of different causes. Change.org provides you with the necessary tools of creating and spreading the word of your petition, if you chose to create one. There are already many petitions that exist to stop the use of preservatives. All it takes is your signature to make a difference.

The use of food coloring is found in almost everything we eat, and drink. It is said that we add food coloring to our food because we are a country that relies on the look of food rather than just the taste. While some food coloring may be fine, there are a few that are linked to causing many life threatening problems. The most harmful food colorings we can consume are blue #1, red #40, and most importantly yellow #5, and #6. An example of foods that continue to use the coloring are macaroni and cheese, M&M’s, sports drinks, pet food, and even medicines. There are many more foods that have this as a listed ingredient. When food coloring first started being used the ingredients that went into making certain colors were natural ingredients that caused no harm. As of today food coloring is made up of many other ingredients because of how effective and fast the dyes are made to represent different colors. “Artificial colors are made from coal tar, which is also used to seal-coat products to preserve and protect the shine of industrial floors” (Goyanes, 2013). Not only does it protect the shine of floors it also is used to kill off lice.

Yellow food colorings #5 and #6 have been shown to have long-term health problems such as asthma, skin rashes, and migraines. Not only that but it also causes hypersensitivity in children, and are linked with direct carcinogens. (Hari). The most popular item that uses yellow #5 and #6 is Macaroni and Cheese. The target consumers for Macaroni and Cheese are kids. Norway, Finland, Australia, and many other countries have banned the use of these specific dyes. (Säätelä, 2013). While many other countries demand that the warning labels to be placed on the product for consumers to view before they buy.

A popular debate is the use of warning labels. Many places all over the world demand the use of warning labels on food packaging that contains harmful food additives. An example of this would be “Warning product contains BVO.” Warning labels are placed on any product that uses additives linking directly to carcinogens. Warning labels provide the buyer information that should be made to them rather than withheld or disguised. The debate constantly comes to the same question will it help if we regulated food warning labels in the U.S.?

Many believe food warning labels would be the right answer and can solve many issues with the use of food preservatives. However, that may not be the case. If the FDA did chose to reconstruct the rules by making warning labels on all food products containing harmful food additives a law many consumers would be even more confused and won’t have the correct background information as to why that additive is bad for your consumption. ABC news had interviewed scientists and had observed shoppers with the products who display a mini nutrition label on the front of their packaging. In their research they found there is no advantage of displaying the same information found on the back. The companies that design their products as such only put the most desirable information on the front and leave trans-fat amongst other information on the back. (Corbin 2011). Overall warning labels would require a wide range of knowledge and understanding from the community and sadly many people are not informed properly. The use of the warning labels could only confuse and hurt the people and the businesses making the products.

In a study by food babe they compared Macaroni and Cheese in the UK versus the Macaroni and Cheese sold in the U.S. The difference between the two is that the UK prohibits the use of yellow #5 and #6 while in the products in the U.S. still continues to have that as a listed ingredient. The other difference between the two is packaging and the color of the Macaroni itself. When the two were placed side by side the color similarity was high and as for taste the testers could not taste the difference. Kraft has received countless petitions to remove yellow food coloring #5, and #6. In response they kept replying ‘no’ to all petitions. It wasn’t until they received a petition with over a quarter million of signatures. Last month Kraft had made a decision to take out yellow food coloring to the kid shaped macaroni and cheese products. An example of this would be Sponge Bob or Scooby Doo cut out noodles. However Kraft will not be changing the regular elbow macaroni shaped ingredients. Although Kraft is not giving recognition to any petitions that have been sent for this change they are taking credit for a healthier product that families can feel right about feeding their children.

Due to the change in some of the Macaroni products if sales increase with the new ingredient list it is a possibility they will change all Kraft products. What you buy has a much bigger impact than one might think. If you start looking at nutrition labels before committing to buy, those companies using the harmful food additives will notice. Imagine if everyone started paying attention to detail and in return that one person starts a chain reaction. Our actions alone go a long way and if companies want to stay in business they will change their product to be able to compete and keep their items on the shelves for as long as they can.

Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is found in many drinks such as mountain dew, energy drinks, and in the past, Gatorade. BVO is originally used as a flame retardant. So how did that end up in our drinks? According to the FDA, BVO is safe in small amounts and there is no other substitute that could take its place. BVO was brought to the FDA as a temporary ingredient and still is listed as temporary forty years later. BVO is dangerous for your health because,” it can build up in fatty tissues and cause reproductive and behavioral problems in rodents.” (Eng. 2013). BVO is just as bad as drinking chlorine, because of the direct effects it can have on our body and is some cases death. Directly BVO is linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss. (Goyanes. 2013) For the protection of their nations this ingredient is banned in over 100 countries, and in return those countries have been using a more suitable replacement.

Chicago Tribune News reported that BVO was previously found in Gatorade until a teenage girl had started a petition to remove the ingredient. With a lot of signatures Gatorade had approved and made the drink with a healthier substitution. Although Pepsi Co. has not removed BVO from all of their drinks Gatorade is a start. BVO is most commonly found in citrus drinks such as Mountain Dew, Mellow Yellow, and Sun Drop. It is possible to avoid drinks containing BVO. There are so many other drinks available without a carcinogen listed ingredient. In other words if” your soft drink is bright green, consider opting for something less nuclear looking.” (Kraus, 2013) If sales decrease the company is more likely to take that listed ingredient off the label and replace it with glycerol, like they do in many other countries.

Potassium bromate is most commonly found in wheat products such as hot dog buns, hamburger buns, etc. It is said to give it the “bleach color” and “elasticity”. Potassium bromate has been linked directly to “many health conditions, such as kidney and nervous system damage, thyroid problems, gastrointestinal discomfort, and cancer, and therefore is banned in the European Union, China, Canada, and other countries.” (Säätelä, 2013). Potassium bromate is similar to BVO because they share some of the same toxins. In 1991 the state of California had declared potassium bromate a carcinogen. (Sagon, 2013). The FDA stance on potassium bromate is to urge bakers to leave it out if they can but yet it is still allowed for consumers to buy, and eat. (Goyanes, 2013).

Azodicarbonamide, like potassium bromate is also found in bread products, frozen foods, and packaged goods. The U.S. uses these ingredients to whiten the flour, rather than to wait for the flour to whiten naturally. Again this goes back to the views of food in the U.S. According to Shape magazine, this ingredient is so bad for you that not only has Singapore banned this ingredient they have also put a fine of a half a million dollars and a 15 year jail sentence for using this chemical (Goyanes, 2013). Azodicarbonamide is found in plastic products, or rubber like items. An example of this would be the bottom of work out shoes, yoga mats, or plastic silverware. Azodicarbonamide is linked to asthma. (Goyanes, 2013). ABC news reports that it leads to skin sensitization and is recommended when dealing with this chemical directly to wear gloves (Kim, 2013).

Potassium bromate and Azodicarbonamide are found in many common foods that we are all guilty of eating. The best solution we can do to avoid these chemicals in paying attention to labels. Some companies may not list either of these preservatives but there are many companies that advertise their product as being organic or no preservatives added. Those are the brands we should be buying. By buying those products without the added carcinogens you as a consumer are sending a direct message to the company itself, but also you are taking action as to what is going into your body. Having the mindset that your part does make a difference goes a long way. A current example of consumers changing the way they shop is buying Greek yogurt instead of Yoplait. Greek yogurt offers many advantages that regular yogurts don’t. People learned about these cons and started to change their buying habits. A comparison of the sales of Greek yogurt back then, to now, is astronomical. Now there are options of Greek yogurt on the shelves rather than regular yogurt. Companies have changed the way they make and advertise their product to be able to compete and stay in business.

Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) and recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) is a synthetic version of a growth hormone injected into cows for the use of dairy purposes. rBGH and rBST is supposed to increase the milk production up to 10%. This means more money for the farmers and a greater supply for the people. Many people don’t think there is a problem with the synthetic hormone, because it causes more problems for the cows rather than the human consumption, but there are still hazardous qualities for the humans as well. “The milk is supercharged with IGF-1 (insulin growth factor -1), which has been linked to breast, colon, and prostate cancers.” (Goyanes, 2013). It should also be a responsibility of ours to look at what it is doing to the cows. Cows that have been subjected to this hormone have been found to become infertile, and suffer from inflamed and infected udders. (Goyanes, 2013). When rBGH was first introduced there was a lot of controversy about it. The biggest concern was what would happen to the small dairy farmers if this chemical would be allowed? (Kleinman & Kinchy, 2003). Now that we have the answers and that we can confirm there are risks for both parties, there should be no reason as to why the USFDA chooses not to ban the use of ingredients.

Buying locally benefits people in so many ways. Not only is your purchase supporting the small farmers but you are also supporting a healthier family, and healthier cows. In some cases buying locally may be more expensive but there are more benefits that outweigh the cost. When buying local you are supporting the needs of people in your own community, you are treating you, and the rest of your family with better tasting, chemical free milk and sending a message to the major dairy farmers that you do not support the use of rGHB.

Some people don’t believe that these preservatives are a problem. In fact they look at it as being the opposite. With the use of these preservatives bigger companies are able to keep up with supply and demand and yet keep their products at a lower price. Take Macaroni & Cheese for example; That is a common food we all eat at one point or another during childhood, and continue to eat that brand as we age and have children of our own. The food coloring that they use may have severe side effects but the consumers have not witnessed any of their own after eating that product. As long as they haven’t been affected they don’t believe it’s a problem that needs to be changed. “More than 3 out of every 4 (76%) U.S. respondents think saving money is at least somewhat important to them in their everyday life, including nearly half (46%) who think it's very important and look for opportunities to save money every day.” (PR Newswire) These are the consumers that question the need to spend extra money for the products that use zero preservatives.

Saving money is a huge deal in today’s economy. Everyone is trying to save at every opportunity. It is easy to place the cheaper product in the cart without looking at the nutrition label. “U.S. consumers (20%) seem less interested in buying expensive brand-name items and prefer cheaper non-branded products (35%) versus high rollers in India (52%) who prefer branded items even if they cost more.” (PR Newswire) Majority of Americans are guilty of that, me included. With that said there are so many solutions and pros to spend the extra money rather than feed your body with harsh preservatives. Coupons are used now more than ever. Coupons have been trending more and more all over the world. “Over half of U.S. residents (53%) surveyed favor brands that issue coupons online or in-store because they help them buy the things they want or need.” (PR Newswire). With the use of coupons many of us are able to pay less for the better item. The use of coupons is only one way to save money but there are many options available to the average consumer.

There are many more ingredients that cause problems for our health. In fact, over 150 have been found to link to some kind of problem, and in return have been banned in other countries. However ingredients such as: food coloring, brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), and azodicarbonamide; are the most harmful and common food preservatives still allowed in the United States. Most people are not aware what is going into their bodies, especially children. We rely too heavily on the FDA to have our best interest in mind. The U.S is one of the few countries still allowing harmful food preservatives. The problem is that the chemicals we put into our bodies on a regular basis are destroying us slowly and the FDA is not taking any action to protect us, or speak for us. Just because it is on the shelf does not mean that it is completely safe for our consumption.

Any change is better than no change. It may seem like we are playing a small part to create a healthier U.S. but it will make a difference. The use of petitions, buying locally, reading labels before buying, and coupons are going to add up and food companies will take notice. We cannot rely on the FDA to make a change if we ourselves are not doing anything to make our voices heard. It is possible to ban these additives. There are substitutions that do exist that will be much healthier to consume. These solutions are stepping stones but it will lead to a huge change in food additives, but will also change attitudes of U.S. consumers and food preservatives.

Soultion Proposal Peer Review Rebecca Tuttle


Resources:

Kleinman, Daniel Lee, and Abby J. Kinchy. "Boundaries in Science Policy Making: Bovine Growth Hormone in the European Union." Sociological Quarterly 44.4 (2003): JSTOR. Web. (February 13th 2013)

Boundries in Science Making

Kim, Susanna. "11 Food Ingredients Banned Outside the U.S. That We Eat." ABC News. ABC News, 26 June 2013. Web. (February 13th 2013)

11 Foods Banned Outside the U.S.

Säätelä, Elsa. "Foods Americans Eat That Are Banned Around the World." Fox News. Fox News, 23 Oct. 2013. Web. (February 13th 2013)

Foods Americans Eat that are banned Around the World

Goyanes, Cristina. "13 Banned Foods Still Allowed in the U.S." Shape 15 January 2013: n. pag. Print.(February 13th 2013)

13 Banned Foods Still Allowed in the U.S. 1072

Sagon, Candy. "8 Foods We Eat That Other Countries Ban." AARP Blog. AARP, 25 July 2013. Web.(February 13th 2013)
8 Foods We Eat That Other Countries Ban

Eng, Monica. "U.S. Allows Chemicals in Food That Are Illegal Elsewhere." Chicago Tribune News. Chicago Tribune News, 21 Jan. 2013. Web.(February 13th 2013)
U.S. allows chemicals in food that are illegal elsewhere

Corbin, Lori. "Pros, cons of new nutrition labels on front of food packages." Abc Local. ABC, n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.
Pros, cons of new nutrition labels on front of food packages

"A Coupon Nation: Americans Proudly Use Coupons More than Shoppers in Great Britain, India and China, among Others." PR Newswire. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
A Coupon Nation: Americans Proudly Use Coupons More Than Shoppers in Great Britain, India and China, Among Others

"Food Additives." Substainable Table. Grace Communications Foundations, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
Additives

Hari, Vani. "Kraft: Stop Using Dangerous Food Dyes in Our Mac & Cheese." Food Babe. Change.Org, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. Kraft: Stop Using Dangerous Food Dyes in Our Mac & Cheese

Kraus, Rachel. "5 FDA-Approved Food Additives Banned in Other Countries." Take Part. Participant Media, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
5 FDA-Approved Food Additives Banned in Other Countries

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