Tuesday, October 25, 2011

12 Dangerous Food Additives

The Dirty Dozen Food Additives You Really Need to be Aware Of

In the United States, more than 3,000 substances can be added to foods for the purpose of preservation, coloring, texture, increasing flavor and more. While each of these substances is legal to use (at least here in the States), whether or not they are all something you want to be consuming is another story all together

With any processed food you run the risk of coming across additives, and reading through ingredient labels can be like trying to decode a puzzle.

Of course, eating largely fresh, whole foods is the best way to stay away from unsavory additives, but, assuming you do include some processed foods in your diet, the following additives are ones you surely want to stay away from. Look for them on ingredient labels and if one turns up, take a pass.

Propyl Gallate

This preservative, used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling, might cause cancer. It's used in vegetable oil, meat products, potato sticks, chicken soup base and chewing gum, and is often used with BHA and BHT (see below).


Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are used similarly to propyl gallate -- to keep fats and oils from going rancid. Used commonly in cereals, chewing gum, vegetable oil and potato chips (and also in some food packaging to preserve freshness), these additives have been found by some studies to cause cancer in rats. If a brand you commonly buy uses these additives, look for a different variety, as not all manufacturers use these preservatives.

Potassium Bromate

This additive is used in breads and rolls to increase the volume and produce a fine crumb structure. Although most bromate breaks down into bromide, which is harmless, the bromate that does remain causes cancer in animals. Bromate has been banned throughout the world, except for in the United States and Japan. In California, a cancer warning would likely be required if it were used, which is why it is rarely used in that state.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

MSG is used as a flavor enhancer in many packaged foods, including soups, salad dressings, sausages, hot dogs, canned tuna, potato chips and many more. According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, an author and neurosurgeon, there is a link between sudden cardiac death, particularly in athletes, and excitotoxic damage caused by food additives like MSG and artificial sweeteners. Excitotoxins are, according to Dr. Blaylock, "A group of excitatory amino acids that can cause sensitive neurons to die."

Many consumers have also personally experienced the ill effects of MSG, which leave them with a headache, nausea or vomiting after eating MSG-containing foods. To find out more about the side effects associated with MSG, as well as a complete list of which foods contain it, see our past article MSG: If it's Safe: Why do They Disguise it on the Labels?

Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet)

This artificial sweetener is found in Equal and NutraSweet, along with products that contain them (diet sodas and other low-cal and diet foods). This sweetener has been found to cause brain tumors in rats as far back as the 1970s, however a more recent study in 2005 found that even small doses increase the incidence of lymphomas and leukemia in rats, along with brain tumors.

People who are sensitive to aspartame may also suffer from headaches, dizziness and hallucinations after consuming it.


Acesulfame-K is an artificial sweetener that's about 200 times sweeter than sugar. It's used in baked goods, chewing gum, gelatin desserts and soft drinks. Two rat studies have found that this substance may cause cancer, and other studies to reliably prove this additive's safety have not been conducted. Acesulfame-K also breaks down into acetoacetamide, which has been found to affect the thyroid in rats, rabbits and dogs.


Olestra is a fat substitute used in crackers and potato chips, marketed under the brand name Olean. This synthetic fat is not absorbed by the body (instead it goes right through it), so it can cause diarrhea, loose stools, abdominal cramps and flatulence, along with other effects. Further, olestra reduces the body's ability to absorb beneficial fat-soluble nutrients, including lycopene, lutein and beta-carotene.

Sodium Nitrite (Sodium Nitrate)

Sodium nitrite (or sodium nitrate) is used as a preservative, coloring and flavoring in bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, corned beef, smoked fish and other processed meats. These additives can lead to the formation of cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosamines.

Some studies have found a link between consuming cured meats and nitrite and cancer in humans.

Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil

The process used to make hydrogenated vegetable oil (or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil) creates trans fats, which promote heart disease and diabetes. The Institute of Medicine has advised that consumers should eat as little trans fat as possible. You should avoid anything with these ingredients on the label, which includes some margarine, vegetable shortening, crackers, cookies, baked goods, salad dressings, bread and more. It's used because it reduces cost and increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods.

Blue 1 and Blue 2

Blue 1, used to color candy, beverages and baked goods, may cause cancer. Blue 2, found in pet food, candy and beverages, has caused brain tumors in mice.

Red 3

This food coloring is used in cherries (in fruit cocktails), baked goods and candy. It causes thyroid tumors in rats, and may cause them in humans as well.

Yellow 6

As the third most often used food coloring, yellow 6 is found in many products, including backed goods, candy, gelatin and sausages. It has been found to cause adrenal gland and kidney tumors, and contains small amounts of many carcinogens.

Source: Sixwise

Saturday, October 15, 2011

“Dog Meat Festival” Cancelled After Popular Public Opposition

The following call to action was reposted over a 100 thousand times on popular Chinese microblogging service Sina Weibo (similar to Twitter), placing it amongst the most forwarded posts for several days this past week, and accumulating over 20 thousand comments by Weibo Users…


[10.18 Bloody Massacre] Oppose the “Zhejiang Jinhua Dog Meat Festival”. The “Save Zhejiang” society proposal/petition + Four point plan + Hotlines for the Asian media. (Doesn’t matter if you are a celebrity or an ordinary common person, please forward this as each time is one more sliver of hope). This is not a festival, this is a massacre! Call on China to pass animal protection laws!

The link leads to a post on a Chinese movie blog that protests the city of Jinhua in Zhejiang province of China holding a “Dog Meat Festival” next month on October 18th, similar to the annual beer festival in Qingdao except involving dog meat and people who enjoy eating dog meat.

Due to popular opposition, the festival has already been cancelled and it appears that the campaign now is to ask the Jinhua local government what will happen to the dogs that were originally prepared for the festival.

Source: Chinasmack

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Counterfeit Alcohol Risks Lives

Trend of Counterfeit Alcohol Risks Lives 7/22/2011 1:06:32 PM

A recent surged in fake alcohol is putting lives at risk and costs the UK around $8,619,000 a year in lost revenue. Video courtesy of Sky News.

"It can be extremely dangerous. The abdominal pain can be severe, and they will need medication to get on top of that."

"It can lead to liver failure. It can lead to kidney failure and it can ultimately lead to death."

Police raided three stores in Lincolnshire where they found fake Smirnoff vodka containing the solvent isopropanol - a chemical used as a cleaning fluid.

How to spot fake alcoholComposeEdit Html
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Spelling mistakes on the label
Bottles of the same product look different
Bottles not filled to same level
Label not straight
Smell of nail varnish

Daily Star

Monday, October 10, 2011

Additives Turn Ordinary Rice into Gourmet Wuchang Rice

FAKE screams the headline on 14 July 2010, Tibet Business Daily.

Aromatic rice from Wuchang, Heilongjiang Province, is considered one of the best types of rice in China. In 2009, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine recognized the rice as a local brand, and it sells for considerably more than ordinary rice.

Just 800,000 tons of Wuchang Rice are produced every year, but up to 10 million tons are sold. According to reports by CCTV and Xi'an Evening News reprinted in today's Tibet Business Daily,rice processors in Xi'an have been adding fragrance to ordinary rice and selling it as Wuchang Rice:

Over the course of several days, this reporter visited a number of workshops in and around the Xi'an Grain and Oil Wholesale Market. Although much of the rice used by these processors bore the Wuchang label, it was actually a combination of rice from Hubei, Jiangsu, and the northeast that was masquerading as Heilongjiang Wuchang Rice.

To give the fake rice its aroma, a fragrance was added during processing. This was an open secret. Workers said that half a kilo of fragrance could aromatize ten tons of rice.

Managers in charge of several workshops said that because its price was cheaper than true Wuchang Rice, their rice sold quite well, and was mainly marketed in Henan, Shanxi, Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu.

Source: Danwei

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Chinese FAKE Steam Buns Made of Cardboard Boxes

Million Tons of Swill-cooked Oil Back on Table

Read this before you eat at Chinese restaurants next time. Every year, two to three million tons of swill-cooked dirty oil, soaked with poisonous carcinogens have sneaked back to our dining tables through an underground muck-money network so rampant that it's an open secret in the industry, the China Youth Daily reported Wednesday.

A deadly toxin found in swill-oil is aflatoxin, which is among the most carcinogenic substances ever known and is 100 times more poisonous than the forbidding white arsenic.

The stomach-turning news report quoted a veteran food professor as saying "about one in ten meals" at the country's restaurants is cooked with such dirty oil, a calculation based on China's annual oil consumption of 22.5 million tons.

"You must have eaten the swill oil as well," asserted He Dongping, a professor on oil and toxin with central China's Wuhan Polytechnic University, and also a leading specialist with China's Food and Oil Standardization Administration, who has spent over seven years on an up-hill task -- how to detect and stop the despicable practice.
According to an undercover investigation in Wuhan by nine senior students of professor He, the conspiracy starts at night when swill-fishers hollow out the stinking hogwash from urban sewages, followed by filtrating, heating, subsiding, dividing, and then in the morning comes out the clear-looking "edible" oil for unwitting customers.

Each fisher could fetch up to four barrels at a time, nearly 300 yuan ($44) easy money every night or over 10,000 yuan ($1,465) a month, a lucrative deal too tempting to resist, especially so when the business was in a trouble-free "anarchy" state, said professor He.

The crux of the matter, in He's opinion, has to do with government management rather than detector gadgets, because without lab equipment, the only reliable counter measure for a common customer so far is special test paper, still a far cry from reality, the professor admitted.

"It might take about 10 years before China could get rid of the swill-oil completely," he said.

Source: China Daily

Source: China Daily

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Discarded Food Waste Slop Recycled Into Cheap Recycled Cooking Oil (Swill Oil)

Slop oil is “refined” from slop or swill, which is the leftover “food” that people and restaurants throw away. Another name is “地沟油”, “gutter oil” or “drainage oil”, because the oil is recovered from the sewer drains coming out of restaurants. Usually, slop or swill is fed to pigs but some unscrupulous people will gather the slop and “recycle” the oil in the slop to sell as cooking oil. Of course, this cooking oil is known as “slop oil” and it is cheaper than fresh cooking oil. Many street vendors who cook snacks (especially fried foods) may use this “slop oil” to save money and keep their costs low.

From NetEase:

Why has harmful slop oil once again flooded Wuhan?

(The bold black-hearted boss even guarantees: “Slop oil is safe to eat”). In March of this year, the internet exposed the Wuhan slop oil public health safety incident (refer to relevant report: “My god! Malicious Wuhan oil factories selling slop oil guarantee safe to eat“). The problem attracted heated discussion and criticism from netizens around the country. The problem also very quickly attracted the Wuhan city government’s attention and the relevant department committed additional people and man hours, conducting a city-wide special rectification operation that lasted over a month and investigated a large amount of slop oil (refer to relevant report: “Wuhan emergency seige of slop oil scenes (follow-up report)“). Yet, right when the people feel they can relax, who would have thought that illegal refining of slop oil would stage a comeback, and flood Wuhan.

At the end of September to beginning of October, 《王浩峰聚焦》["Wang Hao Feng Focus"] once again conducted an undercover investigation, witnessing large numbers of hideouts for the illegal refining of slop oil, with the hideouts on one street in the HongShan district being so numerous as to be innumerable; when it comes to refining slop oil, there are no procedures, and whoever offers the highest price is whoever it will be sold to.

This quickly, the problem has resurged. There are city residents who say this is not strange, is common, and is expected. With the supervision of some supervisory departments these days being “a gust of wind”, a problem is exposed, the leadership [government officials] will make some comments, there will be some on-site investigations, but they will see how the wind blows as they investigate and if no one continues asking and no one is after their positions/jobs, the investigations will stop there. Then, they will continue their own (tenured) lives of officialdom. [They will] let the same old problems wait until the next time they are exposed before saying anything. If they are not exposed, [they] won’t say anything.

Source: Chinasmack

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