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Food manufacturers

Food manufacturers hide dangerous ingredients in everyday foods by using confusing terms on the label

Tuesday, July 27, 2004
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: food manufacturers, food manufacturing, dangerous ingredients


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The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act will take effect in January 2006 and will require food companies to use common names for eight food allergens such as milk, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, fish, wheat, and soy. There has been a lot of press about this Consumer Protection Act, but very little discussion about the other ingredients hidden in foods by food manufacturers that pose a legitimate health risk to all consumers, not just those with specific food allergens.

As a good example of the kind of ingredients that are hidden on food labels, let's take a look at MSG, also called monosodium glutamate. MSG is an excitotoxin -- an ingredient known to cause nerve damage by overexciting nerves. This is exactly how MSG enhances the taste of foods: by overexciting the taste buds on your tongue. While MSG is sometimes listed directly on the label, it is more frequently hidden in other ingredients, such as yeast extract, autolyzed vegetable protein, or hydrolyzed vegetable protein. All three of these ingredients contain monosodium glutamate, and yet they are designed to mislead consumers by avoiding mentioning MSG directly on the label.

Other ingredients may be misleading without necessarily being dangerous. One such ingredient is carmine -- a red coloring frequently used in yogurt, candies, fruit drinks and sweets. Carmine is actually made from the dead, ground-up husks of female red beetles. These beetles, which are typically raised in the Canary Islands, are dried and ground up to create a red paste. This red paste is then exported to the United States and other countries where food is produced. It is added to foods to give them a rose-like color, something similar to a strawberry color. It's listed on the label as "carmine", not as "ground-up red beetles." And while carmine doesn't necessarily pose a health risk to American consumers, it is still an example of dishonest labeling, because people have the right to know when ground-up insects are being used in their foods. There are probably 100 items in your grocery store right now with carmine listed right on the label. You can go to your store right now and check it out, and verify that what I'm relating here is true. (Pick up practically any strawberry yogurt...)

There are other ingredients used on food labels that are, in fact, extremely toxic to the human body, and yet are not listed with appropriate descriptors. One such ingredient is sodium nitrite. Sodium nitrite is added to most packaged meat products found in a grocery store, and even in health food stores. To most people, sodium nitrite simply sounds like a form of salt, but, in fact, this ingredient is extremely carcinogenic. When combined with your saliva and digestive enzymes, sodium nitrite creates cancer-causing compounds known as nitrosamines. These nitrosamines are so toxic to biological systems that they are actually used to give lab rats cancer in laboratory tests. In humans, the consumption of sodium nitrite has been strongly correlated with brain tumors, leukemia, and cancers of the digestive tract. Yet this ingredient carries absolutely no warning on food labels, and in fact, seems to sound like a perfectly safe ingredient, like sodium. As with carmine, you can go to your grocery store and find hundreds, if not thousands, of products using sodium nitrite. Look for it on bacon, ham, pepperoni, and other packaged meat products. In fact, it's almost impossible to find a packaged meat product that isn't made with sodium nitrite. This ingredient is especially prevalent in hot dogs and lunch meats. It has been clinically proven to cause leukemia, brain tumors and other forms of cancer.

By the way, if sodium nitrite is so dangerous, why do food manufacturers use it? Because it adds red color to meat products that would otherwise appear to be a putrid gray color. By making them look red with the help of this color additive sodium nitrite, these meat products look more delicious and fresh, even though they are not. Some of these products have the shelf life of several months, which is far longer than any normal piece of meat would last without looking rather undesirable.

The three ingredients mentioned here are only small examples of the kind of ingredients used by food manufacturers that pose potential harm to consumers and yet are not appropriately described on the food labels. Food labeling is frequently a con game, where the food manufacturer attempts to put ingredients into foods that benefit the manufacturer and yet harm the consumer. Of course, the manufacturer does not want the consumer to be aware that these ingredients are harmful, or that they are even present in the foods, so they rely on confusing names or innocent-sounding names, like "carmine", in order to avoid the chance that consumers might be concerned.

Taken as a whole, this demonstrates the high level of dishonesty and lack of integrity at food manufacturing companies. Many such companies in the business of manufacturing the cheapest, most profitable processed foods that consumers will buy, regardless of how healthy they may be. And as we can see from manufacturing practices today (and examples throughout the history of modern food), food manufacturers will use practically any ingredient they can get away with, including ones that are well-known to cause chronic disease. In modern times, such ingredients include hydrogenated oils and homogenized milk fats, which are found in virtually all cow's milk products.

The bottom line to all this is that the new Act requiring accurate labeling of food allergens is certainly a small step in the right direction for protecting consumers from food manufacturing companies, but it barely scratches the surface of the kind of labeling requirements that need to be enforced in order to prevent consumers from being exposed to other ingredients that promote chronic disease.


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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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