Banned Around the World But Safe For US Consumption?

Here in America, we rely on the FDA to approve ingredients and chemicals used in our foods and determine whether or not it is safe for our consumption, but just how trusting should we be? After all, they wouldn’t knowingly approve something that could potentially hurt you right?

Unfortunately, there are many ingredients that are approved here in the U.S. and found in common food items that are otherwise banned throughout the rest of the world.

These ingredients are often used by companies in order to make their product more appealing, last longer, or to make it cheaper to keep the animals that will be used for food. Most of this is an effort to produce food more cheaply and increase profit.

In this post, you will learn:

What food additives are banned throughout the world, but in the US

  • Why specific countries have banned these ingredients
  • How consuming these products affects us
  • Ways you can avoid consuming these toxic ingredients

There are many questionable things that the FDA has allowed to be included in the foods we buy and consume while at the same time many other countries around the world ban them, leading you to question just how dangerous some of these ingredients are. Are other countries just being overly cautious or are they things we really should be avoiding?

WHAT FOODS ARE OK IN THE U.S.? AND WHERE ARE THEY BANNED?

Artificial Food Colorings

These dyes are found in most processed and non-organic foods that are sold to us, yet at the same time, they are banned in most European countries, including France, Finland, Norway, UK, and Austria. In fact, many American companies remove the dyes and replace them with natural ingredients when selling to these countries. Two of the most well-known companies to do this are Mars and McDonalds.

M&M’s, owned by the parent company Mars, sells Americans candies full of artificial dyes such as Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Red 40, while the European candies are made from natural food colorings.

Another big company that is guilty of this is McDonald’s. This famous fast food chain uses artificial dyes in foods like their strawberry shake, while in Europe the company uses real strawberries to color and flavor their strawberry shake.

Artificial dyes have been banned throughout Europe for the negative side effects it can have. Not only has it raised concerns in relation to allergies and cancer, but it is also known to contribute to hyperactivity and ADHD in children [1].

Growth Hormones rBGH and rBST

These growth hormones are mostly used on cattle raised on factory farms in order to produce more milk, but questions have been raised whether or not these added hormones affect the people who consume beef or dairy products that come from animals treated with growth hormones. This is a highly controversial debate with inconclusive research that has been going on for decades. Some early research pointed to links between rBST and the development of many cancers, including breast cancer and prostate cancer [2].

This is one of the reasons many countries, including New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Japan, Israel, Argentina, and Europe have banned the use of these growth hormones in cows. The only concern isn’t just whether people are consuming these hormones, but also the effect it can have on the cows themselves. In 1999 the European Union effectively banned the use of rBST in cows, citing concerns for animal welfare. Cows treated with these hormones tend to have a higher rate of mastitis, an infection of the udders, and foot problems, both of which are debilitating to the animal [3].

Antibiotics in Meat

When you think of antibiotics, you don’t think of something that is harmful, but rather medicine that is used to make someone better. But antibiotics are being pumped into the animals that are raised to become food. The reasons for giving animals antibiotics is normally due to the poor conditions the animals are raised in that cause them to be sick. These antibiotics are found in factory farmed beef, salmon, and poultry. The debate on whether antibiotics are safe to use, and why some places like Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union, is not just about the deeper mistreatment of the animals, which can lead to the need for antibiotics, the but affects it can have overall on the human population. When antibiotics are overused, bacteria can evolve to resist the medication, making it ineffective and treatment more difficult [4]. 

Drinks with Brominated Vegetable Oil, BVO

So many drinks in the U.S. are made with brominated vegetable oil and it is added to sports drinks and citrus-flavored sodas in order to ensure that the fruity flavor remains mixed in the drink. Too many big brand named drinks use BVO, such as Mountain Dew, Squirt, Fanta Orange, Sunkist Pineapple, Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange, Powerade Strawberry Lemonade, and Fresca Original Citrus.

The problem with BVO are the effects it can have on the health of the people who consumed it. One study shows how BVO not only remains in the human body after consumption, but it builds up over time, even remaining for a time after consumption has stopped [5]. This can have unhealthy side effects, especially if over consumed. An article published in The New England Journal of Medicine discusses the case of a man who drank 8 liters of Squirt every day, which resulted in the development of ulcers on his hands which had swelled. Once cut off of Squirt, his hands returned to normal [6]. Other side effects include thyroid issues, cancer, autoimmune disease, organ damage, and birth defects. These are the reasons BVO has been banned in over 100 countries, including throughout Europe and Japan.

Olestra/Olean

Olestra is a sucrose polyester blend with the properties of fat, without the calories, trans fat, or cholesterol. This fat substitute is found in fat-free foods, and also some high-fat foods, such as chips, all over the U.S. In fact, the FDA at one point demanded that products containing Olestra be labeled and that it may cause cramping and loose stools, but removed the mandate in 2003 after deciding it was unnecessary. In a particular study involving rats, one group was fed chips cooked in olestra, while the other consumed chips that were not. The conclusion was that rats who consumed the olestra chips gained much more weight than the rats that ate the chips not cooked in olestra [7].

This fat substitute is banned throughout the European Union and Canada due to its negative health effects on people who consume products made with it. Popular foods, including Lay’s and Pringles, still use it here in the U.S.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US?

It makes you wonder why so many countries ban certain ingredients in their food and their livestock, yet the FDA has considered it to be safe for our consumption. This is where it is important for you to know what you are putting into your body.

Just because something is on the shelf at the local grocery store, doesn’t mean it is completely safe for you to eat or drinks. The best way to avoid this is to eat whole foods that are not processed. When eating meat, go for brands that are known to not use artificial hormones or antibiotics when raising their animals. When it comes to beef, you want to make sure that your cows come from grass-fed farms for better quality and taste. 

⚡ Related: Learn what highly controversial pesticide is being sprayed on your food

When you are buying fruits or vegetables, try to buy organic, or at least follow the dirty dozen rule to avoid certain chemicals that may be used on the crops.

And of course, when you purchase supplements, follow the same rules. It is best to avoid supplements made with artificial ingredients, colors, and sweeteners. Or better yet, try an Organic Vegan Protein Superfood so you can be sure to avoid all of the harmful ingredients that are already banned around the world. Whatever the supplement is, whether it is BCAAs or Organic Vegan Protein Superfood, it should be free of all of these ingredients.

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