sodium benzoate

USDA to mask sodium benzoate preservative with new 'anti-microbial' label to trick consumers

Friday, May 25, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: USDA, sodium benzoate, labeling

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(NaturalNews) Kraft Foods Global, Inc. and a food chemical company known as Kemin Food Technologies, Inc. have both propositioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in recent years to approve the use of propionic acid and salt solutions in various new food applications, including in raw meat and poultry products, sausages, hot dogs, soups, stews, salads, and brine injections.

According to a recent May 7 petition filing, the Des Moines, Ia.-based Kemin is seeking approval for what it says are safe and effective antimicrobial alternatives to sodium lactate and other preservatives commonly used in meat products. Kemin says its liquid propionic acid and salts solutions, collectively known as BactoCEASE, extend the shelf life of meat products, and protect them against contamination by Listeria monocytogenes.

But long-term consumption of both propionic acid and sodium benzoate has been linked to causing serious side effects, including brain damage, personality disorders, gastrointestinal problems, autism, and various other neurological problems. And yet Kemin wants to have these additives specifically listed on ingredient labels as "anti-microbial" nutrients in order to fool the public into thinking they are safe.

"Ingestion of propionic acid or its salts has been reported to induce behavioral disturbances in some children and migraine in three adults," says Bibra Toxicology Advice & Consulting, a toxicology consulting firm. "Repeated oral administration of propionic acid to rats produce damage and tumors in the forestomach, and effects on the esophagus in dogs."

Some BactoCEASE solutions also contain sodium benzoate, which has been shown to deprive bodily cells of much needed oxygen, and break down the immune system. And like propionic acid and its salts, sodium benzoate, which is already commonly used in many processed foods, combines with both vitamin C and vitamin E to produce benzene, which is a known carcinogen (

FSIS waiver allows companies to use new, unapproved food technologies without approval

Even though BactoCEASE has not been officially approved by FSIS, manufacturers can still use it in food products as long as they obtain an FSIS waiver. This waiver essentially bypasses, for a short period of time, the normal safety route for utilizing new food additives, and allows producers and manufacturers to begin using untested chemicals on an experimental basis (

If and when the USDA eventually approves BactoCEASE for commercial use, it will show up on food packaging with "customer-friendly" labeling in accordance with Kemin's requests. And this labeling, of course, will confuse consumers into thinking the anti-microbial product is safer than it really is, a marketing trick that the industrial food industry relies upon to retain customers.

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