Posts Tagged ‘Food Additives’

Expert View: Why white powder can be a great danger

November 5, 2008

Expert View: Why white powder can be a great danger

THE problem of melamine contamination of milk in China is the most recent example of the deliberate adulteration of food for commercial gain.

And once again it is analytical chemists who are at the forefront in the fight against unscrupulous profiteers.

At first glance melamine might seem to be a strange additive for food. In most British homes products made from melamine are more often found in the furniture than the fridge.

For instance, kitchen work surfaces are commonly made from melamine resin, a polymer which combines melamine and formaldehyde.

Melamine itself is a white crystalline powder, chemical name 1,3,5-triazine-2,4,6-triamine, and is not even very soluble.

So why is it added to milk?

The uses of melamine arise from an unusual aspect of its chemical composition; it is two-thirds nitrogen by weight. Its uses depend on that high proportion of nitrogen.

It is used as a fire-retardant in polymers because, on decomposing in fire, it releases nitrogen gas, which smothers the fire.

It is added to fertilisers as a source of nitrogen and now it seems it is illegally added to milk as a source of nitrogen to fool the tests of the milk’s quality.

Milk is analysed for constituents including fat, protein and carbohydrates. Protein is a measure of the quality of the milk and indicative of whether it has been diluted with water. Proteins are made up of chains of amino acids and a feature of amino acids is that they contain nitrogen.

The standard analytical test for protein has been around for a long time. In the 1880s the Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen wanted to be able to test the protein content of the grain they used to ensure the quality of the brewing process.

Their chief chemist, Johan Kjeldahl, came up with the solution. He realised that he could work out the amount of protein by simply measuring the nitrogen content. The method bears his name and is still widely used today.

With such a large proportion of nitrogen, although the cost of melamine is 10 times the cost of milk, adding even tiny amounts boosts the test result for the protein content of the milk and hence the price that is paid for the milk.

Addition of small amounts can boost the value of the milk by 100 times the cost of the melamine and allows someone, somewhere, along the supply chain from cow to home to dilute the milk.

But the problem is more serious than just one of greed and dishonesty.

Melamine can cause permanent damage to the body when ingested over a period of months. It, or possibly an impurity in the melamine, leads to the formation of crystals in the kidneys, which give rise to kidney stones and ultimately kidney damage.

Tragically, it is babies, fed with milk formula contaminated with melamine, who were most affected in the recent incidents in China, where at least four deaths have been reported.

This is not the first major incidence of melamine adulteration, which has been reported to have been a problem in China for some time.

Last year thousands of cats and dogs died in the US from pet food imported from China and contaminated with melamine.

While Kjeldahl analysis is carried out regularly on milk it is only now that authorities around the world are looking specifically for melamine and related compounds.

Since October the Food Standards Agency in Britain has enforced the testing of all dairy products from China that are sold here.

Traces of melamine have shown up in Britain in a novelty chocolate product which has now been recalled. Elsewhere, most reported cases of melamine contamination have been in South East Asia.

Perhaps more worryingly melamine has been found in other Chinese farm products such as eggs suggesting that the problem of contamination in China is more widespread than just milk.

In Britain we have been protected since the second half of the 19th century, when the first legislation was enacted and the public analysts were established to ensure food safety.

Before this the use of additives in food was common and sometimes dangerous. Examples included the use of poisonous lead compounds such as red lead to colour cheese and yellow lead chromate in custard powders and the poison strychnine used as an alternative to hops for bitterness in beer.

Nowadays the FSA, using results from analytical chemists, acts quickly to ensure that hazardous products are removed from the shelves.

This was shown in 2003 when the prohibited red dye Sudan I was found to have been added to imported chilli powder, used in products nationally.



Worst Food Additives

October 16, 2008

Worst Food Additives

Wed, Oct 15, 2008


Worst Food Additives

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Here is a list of some of the worst food additives. Check food labels to make sure that what you buy doesnot contain these ingredients.

  • Acesulfame-K – “Sunette”; may cause low blood sugar attacks; causes cancer, elevated cholesterol in lab animals.
  • Artificial colors – contribute to hyperactivity in children; may contribute to learning and visual disorders, nerve damage; may be carcinogenic
  • Artificial sweeteners – associated with health problems; see specific sweetener.
  • Aspartame – may cause brain damage in phenylketonurics; may cause central nervous system disturbances, menstrual difficulties; may affect brain development in unborn fetus.
  • BHA – can cause liver and kidney damage, behavioral problems, infertility, weakened immune system, birth defects, cancer; should be avoided by infants, young children, pregnant women and those sensitive to aspirin.
  • BHT – see BHA; banned in England.
  • Blue No. 1 – see FD&C colors.
  • Blue No. 2 – see FD&C colors.
  • Brominated vegetable oil – linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems; considered unsafe by the FDA, can still lawfully be used unless further action is taken by the FDA .
  • BVO – see brominated vegetable oil.
  • Caffeine – psychoactive, addictive drug; may cause fertility problems, birth defects, heart disease, depression, nervousness, behavioral changes, insomnia, etc.
  • Citrus Red No. 2 – see FD&C colors.
  • FD&C colors – colors considered safe by the FDA for use in food, drugs and cosmetics; most of the colors are derived from coal tar and must be certified by the FDA not to contain more than 10ppm of lead and arsenic; certification does not address any harmful effects these colors may have on the body; most coal tar colors are potential carcinogens, may contain carcinogenic contaminants, and cause allergic reactions.
  • Free glutamates – may cause brain damage, especially in children; always found in autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, enzymes, flavors & flavorings, gelatin, glutamate, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed soy protein, plant protein extract, protease, protease enzymes, sodium caseinate, textured protein, yeast extract, yeast food and yeast nutrient; may be in barley malt, boullion, broth, carrageenan, malt extract, malt flavoring, maltodextrin, natural flavors, natural chicken flavoring, natural beef flavoring, natural pork flavoring, pectin, seasonings, soy protein, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, soy sauce, soy sauce extract, stock, whey protein, whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, anything that is enzyme modified, fermented, protein fortified or ultrapasteurized and foods that advertise NO MSG; see MSG.
  • Green No. 3 – see FD&C colors.
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oils – associated with heart disease, breast and colon cancer, atherosclerosis, elevated cholesterol.
  • MSG – may cause headaches, itching, nausea, brain, nervous system, reproductive disorders, high blood pressure; pregnant, lactating mothers, infants, small children should avoid; allergic reactions common; may be hidden in infant formula, low fat milk, candy, chewing gum, drinks, over-the-counter medications, especially children’s, binders and fillers for nutritional supplements, prescriptiona nd non-prescription drugs, IV fluids given in hospitals, chicken pox vaccine; it is being sprayed on growing fruits and vegetables as a growth enhancer; it is proposed for use on organic crops.
  • Neotame – similar to aspartame, but potentially more toxic; awaiting approval.
  • Nitrates – form powerful cancer-causing agents in stomach; can cause death; considered dangerous by FDA but not banned because they prevent botulism.
  • Nitrites – may cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness; see nitrates.
  • Nutrasweet – see aspartame.
  • Olean – see olestra.
  • Olestra – causes gastrointestinal irritation, reduces carotenoids and fat soluble vitamins in the body.
  • Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils – see hydrogenated vegetable oil.
  • Potassium bromate – can cause nervous system, kidney disorders, gastrointestinal upset; may be carcinogenic.
  • Red No. 3 – see FD&C colors.
  • Saccharin – delisted as a carcinogen in 1997, however, studies still show that saccharin causes cancer.
  • Sulfites – destroys vitamin B1; small amounts may cause asthma, anaphylactic shock; dangerous for asthma, allergy sufferers; has caused deaths; banned on fresh fruits and vegetables, except potatoes.
  • Sweet ‘N Low – contains saccharin.
  • Yellow No. 6 – see FD&C colors.

The list can go on but for now these are the ones which I have summarised…..

Taken From: Nutrihealth

MSG’s Effects on Children

October 2, 2008

What Makes Me MSG Sensitive?

MSG affects nearly everyone in some way because free glutamic acid – the business end of MSG and the amino acid that increases in blood concentration when MSG is eaten, is used throughout the body as a chemical messenger and neurotransmitter. However, some people are more sensitive to excess amounts of free glutamic acid in the body than the average person, who may not even notice symptoms of excess free glutamic acid until after many years of MSG ingestion. We think of these persons as “canaries in the coal mine”. They are more at risk of damage from eating MSG than the rest of us – but it is simply a matter of degree. The following are possible reasons for this increased MSG sensitivity:

Autism – affects 1 in 94 children in NJ

Genetic errors “miswire” the nervous system for glutamate receptors and synapses

Genetic error of sulfur metabolism – which affects taurine production and cysteine metabolism.

Cysteine is used to make glutathione – which is the body’s way of removing toxic mercury. Glutathione is low in autistic children making them more sensitive to mercury toxicity from all other sources.

Inflammation present which lowers defense of the blood-brain barrier

Gilbert’s Syndrome – affects mainly boys – 2% of population

Inability of liver to detoxify the blood

NMDA glutamate receptors become sensitized


Alcohol use which may cause:

Increased sensitivity of NMDA receptors

Vitamin B6 deficiency

Compromised liver

Compromised liver, (which handles transamination of amino acids) due to:

Taurine deficiency


Caused by error of metabolism for sulfur containing amino acids

Caused by excess estradiol

Caused by vitamin B6 deficiency


Gilbert’s syndrome

Vitamin B6 deficiency

Transamination difficulty due to errors of metabolism

Physical damage

Physical Injury (car accident, etc.)


Vitamin A toxicity –
Note: Accutane (isotretinoin) drug to treat acne side effects are similar to Vitamin A Toxicity. Unfortunately, teen boys most likely to use Accutane are most likely to be eating too much MSG.

CoQ10 Deficiency – nerve cells in the brain and elsewhere may not have the ability to withstand the overstimulation caused by excess glutamate.

Caused by lack of other vitamins (like Vitamin B6) the body needs to manufacture CoQ10.

Caused by stress

Epilepsy – MSG can induce seizure

Caused by autism related genes (20% of autistic children have epilepsy)

Fibromyalgia – increased nervous system sensitivity

Caused by autism

Hypoglycemia which causes a defiency of fuel to protect the blood/brain barrier

Magnesium Deficiency – Magnesium is used by the nervous system to close calcium channels. MSG is a calcium channel opener.

Parkinson’s Disease –

Leads to Vitamin B6 deficiency as some medications require a patient to limit B6 intake.

Parkinson’s patients already have low dopamine levels. MSG lowers dopamine levels further – counteracting the medication.

Pre-existing allergies which cause:

Sensitization of the nervous system due to Nerve Growth Factor (see recent John’s Hopkin’s study on asthma and the nervous system)

Leaky blood vessels – edema associated with inflammation response.

Type I Diabetes –

Caused by antibodies against GAD glutamic acid decarboxylase (85% of those with Type I Diabetes were found to have antibodies against the enzyme that turns excess glutamate into GABA.)

Autism genes – Type I diabetes is associated with autism spectrum

Vitamin B 6 deficiency caused by poor nutrition, alcohol use, or limiting this vitamin due to food/drug interactions.

Vitamin B12 deficiency – Vitamin B12 protects against glutamate neurotoxicity.

From The Truth About MSG

It’s a sad scary truth and I want everyone to know about it so they can keep safe.