By RebDee Latest Reply 2015-01-14 22:40:00 -0600
Started 2015-01-12 12:31:16 -0600

5 Ingredients That Should Have Never Been Approved By The FDA – Are You Eating Them?
By Food Babe (who has her own website and blog)

The more I learn about the food system, the more passion grows inside me to change it. What I am about to share with you will have you gasping for air – it’s so downright appalling. There’s a sorry state of affairs regarding the approval of new food ingredients in this country, and there is a BIG misconception that the FDA diligently reviews and approves them all.

The media has reported some serious mistakes made by the FDA in the recent past, like approving a tea that contained cocaine to be sold in the U.S. And approving a new pain killer that their own advisory committee voted against. While these actions are very telling, I’m focusing here on what the media hasn’t been talking about. A glimpse into the last few decades of FDA oversight shows how little the FDA has done to improve the food system in this country, how they have allowed us to eat harmful food additives and fail to act (sometimes for years) after an ingredient has been found to be unsafe.

There are several products that have been deemed “FDA Approved” or “Generally Recognized As Safe” which were yanked from market years after they were shown to be downright dangerous. What’s really scary about this is that history shows that something very serious needs to happen – like deaths – before the FDA takes action. Does someone really need to die before an ingredient is banned? In the eyes of the FDA, that may be the case. I thought I’d put together a few examples for you of ingredients that have been allowed into our food supply, despite ample research showing that they’re harmful. The fact that these are (or have been) allowed in our food is outrageous, as there are safer ingredients and practices that could be used by the industry.


1. Sulfites on Fresh Vegetables
REGULATORY STATUS: Approved in 1982 / Banned in 1986

The FDA approved sulfite preservatives on fresh produce in 1982, despite evidence that sulfites could trigger asthma attacks. Soon after, many people got sick and some even died after eating salads laced with sulfites in restaurants. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) claimed to have documented over a dozen deaths, and petitioned the FDA to ban its use - yet the FDA failed to act for 4 long years. The FDA finally banned sulfites on fresh produce in 1986 and subsequently limited it in other foods.

2. Artificial Coloring Red No. 3 - Erythrosine
REGULATORY STATUS: Banned from Cosmetics in 1990 / Still Approved in Food

After finding out that Red #3 causes cancer in animal studies the FDA banned it from cosmetics in 1990. Yet, the FDA still permits Red #3 in our food and you’ll find it in chewing gum, Nesquik Strawberry Milk, popsicles, yogurts, fruit cocktail, Duff’s cake mix, Betty Crocker icing and candy – but you won’t find it legally in lipstick. In 1989, the Washington Post reported that the fruit industry was “enraged” by the FDA’s proposal to ban Red #3 from food, because “Americans like their cherries red” in a can. So they lobbied the House Appropriations Committee to add language to “its report on the FDA’s funding for next year that instructed the FDA not to ban the dye-formally titled FD&C red No. 3-without further study.” This is in violation of the “Delaney Clause” that requires the FDA to ban carcinogenic food ingredients. When they banned it in cosmetics, the FDA said it would “take steps” to ban in it food too. Well, it’s been over 20 years, and we are still waiting for the FDA to take action on Red #3. There are six more artificial food colors that were approved for food and later banned by the FDA: Green 1, Green 2, Red 1, Red 2, Red 4, and Violet 1.


3. Partially Hydrogenated Oils / Artificial Trans Fat
REGULATORY STATUS: GRAS Tentatively Withdrawn 2013 / Still Permitted in Food

Partially hydrogenated oils are everywhere at the grocery store, especially in the bakery aisle (pies, crackers, cakes, cookies) and in fried foods at restaurants. When partially-hydrogenated oils are manufactured they create artificial Trans fats. In the 1990s, research came out that showed Trans fat raises the “bad” LDL cholesterol, and lowers the “good” HDL cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease. According to the CDC, up to 7,000 deaths and 20,000 heart attacks per year can be attributed to artificial Trans fat in the diet – and it’s been shown to be the most harmful fat in our food – yet, the FDA still allows it. After decades of mounting research, the FDA finally made a tentative determination that partially hydrogenated oils are no longer considered GRAS in November 2013 – but that doesn’t mean it’s been taken out of our food. The FDA has still not made a final determination to ban it, despite pleas from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. Food manufacturers see the writing on the wall and many of them are voluntarily removing partially hydrogenated oils from their products. Beware that even if a product is labeled “0 grams of Trans Fat” it’s permitted to contain up to .5 grams of trans fat per serving, and this is why it’s still very important to check the ingredient list for partially hydrogenated oils to make sure it’s clean of artificial trans fat.

4. Caramel Coloring Level IV
REGULATORY STATUS: Approved in Food / Currently Under Review & “Assessing Consumer Exposure”

Caramel coloring has been deemed “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS) by the FDA and is the most widely used food coloring in the world. Although it sounds harmless, Level IV caramel color contains the cancer-causing byproduct 4-methylimidazole (4-Mel). In 2007, research was published that showed 4-Mel was carcinogenic. Consumer’s Reports tested the levels of 4-Mel in drinks and found it in excessive levels in several soft drinks that contain caramel color. They petitioned the FDA to limit and label its use, however the FDA has not taken this action. The FDA simply released a statement that they would review its safety and “determine what, if any, regulatory action needs to be taken”.Following their presentation at the American Chemical Society Annual Meeting in August 2014, the FDA said they have no reason to believe that current caramel coloring levels are a concern, so it looks like the FDA has no plans to limit, label or ban it. There are 4 levels (types) of caramel coloring and they are only listed on ingredient list as “caramel color” – the type (like Level IV) is not generally disclosed. Given that this coloring is in so many processed foods (sometimes in levels exceeding “safe” standards), it’s difficult to avoid. No one is assessing the cumulative consumption of caramel color from all of these sources. We are still waiting for Starbucks to remove caramel coloring from their drinks in the U.S., especially since they don’t use it in other countries (proving that it’s unnecessary!)

5. Antibiotics in Animal Feed for Growth Promotion
REGULATORY STATUS: Approved in Animal Feed / Voluntary Guidance to Industry Issued in 2013

The meat industry uses significantly more antibiotics than the healthcare industry and it’s been reported that animals receive 80% of the antibiotics produced in this country (estimated at 29 million pounds per year). The real reason that industrial farms are systematically feeding their animals antibiotics is to produce bigger animals that grow faster on less food – thereby increasing their profits – and also to help the animals survive the poor conditions they are being raised in. Do you see anything wrong with this picture? The CDC does, and warns that this use is contributing to antibiotic-resistant infections in humans and harming public health. Recent reports indicate that antibiotic resistance can be blamed for at least 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the U.S. and Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Director of the CDC is warning, “If we don’t act now, our medicine cabinet will be empty and we won’t have the antibiotics we need to save lives” - a scary prospect. In 2013, the FDA issued guidance for the industry (that goes into effect in December 2016), which recommends halting the use of antibiotics to fatten up animals, along with veterinary oversight of antibiotic use. The FDA’s guidance is voluntary and not legally enforceable:

“FDA’s guidance documents, including this guidance, do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities. Instead, guidances describe the FDA’s current thinking on a topic and should be viewed only as recommendations, unless specific regulatory or statutory requirements are cited. The use of the word “should” in FDA’s guidances means that something is suggested or recommended, but not required.“

According to Pew Charitable Trusts, there’s a huge loophole that will still permit antibiotics for “disease prevention” in “the absence of any threat from a specific bacterial disease”, which may allow veterinarians to rationalize a prescription for routine antibiotics. Reutersreported,

“by enlisting the help of veterinarians…the FDA will be empowering a profession that not only has allegiances to animals, farmers and public health, but also has pervasive and undisclosed financial ties to the makers of the drugs… No laws or regulations – including the new FDA directives – require veterinarians to reveal financial connections to drug companies. That means veterinarians can be wined and dined and given scholarships, awards, stipends, gifts and trips by pharmaceutical benefactors without the knowledge of the FDA or the public.”

The European Union took a stronger stand and banned antibiotics in animal feed for growth promotion in 2006 (nearly 10 years ago!) and “animal food production in these countries continues to thrive, with appropriate adjustments in practices to ensure continued animal health and safety”. Meanwhile in the U.S., the FDA is setting weak voluntary standards that don’t hold much weight.

What To Do With This Information:
Even if the FDA does nothing to rid our food supply of these dangerous ingredients, there is an easy way to protect yourself. Organic standards prohibit these ingredients mentioned here, so one of the best ways to avoid harmful ingredients is to choose 100% certified organic food and to prepare your own meals at home with minimally processed ingredients. Beware that organic standards still allow some ingredients with known health risks, like carrageenan. So, you still need to read those ingredient lists and make informed decisions about your food! Please spread the word, the more people that know the truth, the faster this food system will change!

14 replies

lilleyheidi 2015-01-13 00:37:24 -0600 Report

I guess somewhere in the back of my head I've known most of this stuff, or at least some of this stuff. I read labels. I try to buy whole foods now, and in summer I buy at my local farmers market to buy local. But, I also feel, there is no 100% way to keep me alive and safe forever. I'm going to die of something sometime. I'm a smoker, it will probably be lung cancer. My goal is to give up cigs in 2016. Why not now? I have too many other things I'm working on now to try to give that up. I've got too many things to worry about to worry about each thing in my food as well. I do like knowing and being able to make informed decisions though. Thanks for the article. Heidi

roxanne bohnnow
roxanne bohnnow 2015-01-14 22:40:00 -0600 Report

I would love to add my voice here. Please quit smoking now while you can still breath. I smoked for just over 51 years and now I am connected to an oxygen machine 24 hours a day. I have oxygen tanks that I use when I leave the house, but I can only carry just so many of those with me. I can't visit with family for very long. My doctor visits take two to three tanks of portable oxygen. The way I quit smoking is not the way you want to do it. Believe me, not being able to breath is no picnic and it is not the way I want to die. At one point the oxygen in my blood was so low that the folks in the ER could not figure out why I was still conscious. For that reason I am going to help you quit smoking now.
First: I want you to put your cig buts in a coffee can for the next week. At the end of that week I want you to add 1/3 cup of hot water into that can and put the lid back on it and set it aside for two days. After the two days have passed I want you to open that can and take a deep breath of what is in that can. This is what you, your clothes, and your house smells like.
Second: If you must have that next cig I want you to find the most uncomfortable place you can find, even if it means sitting on a box six inches off the floor and you play hell getting up from there. This is now the only place where you can have the cig. You go out to town you can not smoke. Driving in your car you can not smoke. Only in that one place, on that box or small stool can you light up that cancer stick that you want so badly.
Third: You must pick two days out of the week that you will not smoke. If you need to you can split these days, say Tuesday and Friday. Every few weeks I want you to add another day of not smoking.
Now for the good news. When you can avoid smoking for four days your body no longer needs the nicotine. What drives you now is body memory. You pore a cup of coffee and now you want to have a smoke. Now comes that after dinner smoke or just sitting down at your computer. Think about all the things you do just before you smoke. These are your triggers, be mindful of them and know them for what they are, MEMORY TRIGGERS. If you can;t help yourself and you have that smoke after weeks of not smoking don't worry about it. Start over as if you just got back from vacation. You can do this because you Have aStrong mind.

RebDee 2015-01-13 10:48:32 -0600 Report

My father died of lung cancer from smoking Chesterfield regular cigarettes. It was horrid. Please stop smoking now rather than waiting for 2016. Then you will have to work on your diet as when you stop smoking you tend to eat more. Since you are working on your diet anyway, it might be easier for you rather than working on diet now and have to work on it again when you decide to stop smoking.

RebDee 2015-01-12 18:51:11 -0600 Report

Thanks to all who wrote their opinions on this article. You verified my thoughts and I thank you. That's why I like this group so much.

Kats49 2015-01-12 15:42:36 -0600 Report

My family and I have been label readers since the 70's your are preaching to the choir. This is the generation that will start to make changes in our food system. Ihave read articles that proved how hazardous to our health GMO are. In Europe they have banned dyes, insecticides, etc…Go pick up some authentic German candy chews. You will see flavors but no dyes. Organic is the only way I eat.My daughter, my son, their families, all eat CLEAN foods. Not all organics are really organic. For example…to get raw unfiltered, not heated honey one must purchase from Canada. I eat mostly raw foods, no processed, no meat, I eat fish sparingly. My children who are in their 30's eat almost anything but rely more on vegetables, vegetable proteins, fruits..the meat is the side dish. If you keep up with the news a super antibiotic just recently was discovered in dirt. won't be available to the public for 10+ years…but it is a start. And I think that's what you are getting at…We all need to be as vigilant about our food as we did when our children were little and they needed safe places to play. I am saddened that my grandchildren will still have to battle against Big outfits like ConAGRA who is more interested in $$ than in health. Recent legislature has produce bills to start the process of keeping our food safe. Our FDA has always been a joke as far as I am concerned

Jibber Jabber
Jibber Jabber 2015-01-12 14:04:11 -0600 Report

I don't trust the ADA as far as I can throw them…and I can't throw…THIS is one of the main reasons I balked at the mere suggestion that I add a diabetes drug to my protocol..many many things get approved and then end up being recalled years later after they have devastated the lives of many people..and many more drugs have been approved overseas and have been used safely for decades that the FDA still has not approved here…

RosalieM 2015-01-12 13:56:23 -0600 Report

I could have written that. I only eat whole foods. Vegetables that I grow or frozen. Frozen doesn't need a preservative. I buy 1/2 cow from someone who I know raises it. Bread has a preservative that causes cancer. If it didn't have it
it would be moldy in no time. The antibiotics in meat are causing super bugs to form. Digestive problems and immune system problems are often caused by
those antibiotics. The digestive system and gut depend upon good bacteria.
I could go on and on. One of the worst things for older people is folic acid that is
added to food. It causes dementia.

debcox 2015-01-12 23:27:03 -0600 Report

We do the same thing regarding our meat. We buy a cow each year, raise our own chickens and buy from farmer's markets in our area where we know who and how the food is grown. Currently, we are looking for some 4H kids raising pigs.

RebDee 2015-01-13 10:54:02 -0600 Report

Since I keep the laws of Kashrut (kosher) I do not eat pig, nor the back half of cows, sheep, lamb, goats. Besides, it has to be slaughtered in a certain way, so I could never raise animals (except for dogs which we do not eat anyway) and besides I live in a townhouse. I guess being a city girl, and not knowing the cow by name is easier for me.

GabbyPA 2015-01-12 13:07:17 -0600 Report

There are always tons of things that get approved that later on are proven to be bad for us. At one time, Doctors used to recommend smoking. Who knew? The best you can do is do your own research, make your own decisions and do the best to meet your goals.

This list is an old list of "do not eat" that has been around for a long time. Her recommendation at the end to eat more whole foods and less processed items is sound advice no matter who it comes from.

haoleboy 2015-01-12 12:54:22 -0600 Report

She has been so discredited for making false claims I am surprised anyone would still take her seriously …
Is The Food Babe A Fearmonger? Scientists Are Speaking Out:

RosalieM 2015-01-12 14:02:29 -0600 Report

Sorry the claims in that article are not false. She may have written other false things I don't know. I have learned the same things and I don't even know who she is. I get a trade magazine from the processed food industry
I know from directly from them what they do. If eggs get expensive, they come up with fake eggs made of who knows what. I use powdered egg whites in my products, they are now $1000.00 for a 50 lb bag. I had to switch to whole egg powder $300.00 per bag which is half the price, I will not stoop to using fake eggs like the food processors do.

haoleboy 2015-01-12 14:18:42 -0600 Report

did not say that the claims were false.
I eat single ingredient 'non-processed' foods as much as possible.
I have a problem with internet/pop culture fear mongering that is not based on scientific evidence … such as the likes of Dr. Mercola, Mike Adams and Dr, Oz propagate
just windmills at which I feel compelled to tilt.


RosalieM 2015-01-12 17:02:51 -0600 Report

Steve, I don't know that woman and I don't listen to Dr Oz or Mercola either. Where there is money to be made we need to be suspicious.
I get my information from any different places. Then I check and cross check and experiment before I adopt information. I have a strong dislike for fear mongering to just for the sake of attention. If you notice the evening news on ABC, every night the top story is the weather. The weather is about the same as it has always been. It was not the headline every night. And often the weather they report on affects a
small area. The way it is reported, you would think it was half the country. It has gotten that way with everything. All drama, emotion and fear.

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