Submitted by Judith Alexander
1) The shocking truth is that many of our favorite foods, like boxed mac and cheese and yogurt, include ingredients that other countries have established as potentially harmful for health, and therefore are banned. Clearly, mac and cheese on its own isn’t poisonous in any way, but the yellow food colorings #5 and #6 have been shown to cause hypersensitivity in children, and are therefore banned in countries including Norway, Finland, and Australia. For yogurt and other milk products, it is the rBGH and rBST that some countries are concerned with – these growth hormones are banned in several regions including the European Union, Canada, and Japan because of their potentially dangerous impacts on the health of both humans and cows.
2) Olestra is a zero-calorie fat substitute created to make healthier snacks such as fat-free potato chips. But olestra has been shown to cause side effects in the form of gastrointestinal problems, as well as weight gain – instead of weight loss – on lab rats. The U.K. and Canada are two places that have banned this fat substitute from their food markets.
3) Brominated vegetable oil (BVO), is vegetable oil, derived from corn or soy, bonded with the element bromine. It’s added to many sodas and sports drinks prevent the flavoring from separating and floating to the surface. But bromine has also been shown to alter the central nervous and endocrine systems, causing skin rashes, acne, loss of appetite, fatigue, and cardiac arrhythmia. The chemical is banned both in Europe and Japan.
4) Synthetic hormones rBGH and rBST
These two growth hormones can be found in dairy products such as yogurt and milk. The controversy with cows injected with these hormones is that several studies cite rBGH as a cause of cancer. Due to these reports, many consumers in the U.S. choose to buy organic milk and dairy products, as well as those labeled “rBGH free,” and the hormone is totally banned at milk and dairy farms and in dairy products in the European Union, Australia, Canada, Israel, and New Zeeland.
5) The chemical azodicarbonamide can be found in boxed pasta mixes, breads, frozen dinners, and packaged baked goods, and is added as an instant bleaching agent for flour. In Singapore, Australia, and most European countries, this chemical is banned due to reports of it causing asthma. Azodicarbonamide is also a chemical used in foamed plastics, like yoga mats.