Sunday, February 22, 2009

chemicals are touching the food

I just got back from the grocery store and once again I find myself very frustrated by many of the products in the aisles.  I teach a class called "Poison Pantry" where I talk about some of the ingredients that are in the pantry that shouldn't be there.  As I tell folks, "Notice I said ingredients, not food."  That's because this stuff isn't food and shouldn't be part of our diet.  It's there either because it's easier for the manufacturer or because it extends the shelf life.  And just because it's in our food doesn't mean we have to eat it.

The latest example of my frustration lies with a preservative called BHT,  butylated hydroxytoluene.  Along with it's counterpart BHA (butylated hydroxianisole) it is used as a preservative.  According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) there is evidence that these phenolic compounds may cause cancer and both substances are considered to be "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen."  BHT and BHA can both be replaced by vitamin E or are not even necessary in products, however the USDA allows their use anyway and so they are still part of the manufacturing process.
Because of consumer resistance, I am assuming, some manufacturers are not using these products in the food they produce.  Today I got quite a shock when I read the side panel of a box and discovered that although there was no BHT in the food itself it had been added to the packaging as a preserving agent.  Okay it's not in the food but, hello folks, it's TOUCHING the food.  And am I going to be upset about that?  You betcha.  These products are not good for our health, are not required in many cases, don't use them.  Use something else that is not "reasonably anticipated" to make me, my family, or anyone else ill.

The lesson here?  Read all the way to the bottom of the label.  It may take longer but it really is important.

Be well.

1 comment:

Noosh said...

Thank you for taking the time to make us aware of this danger. I had never heard of it until today and I will be sure read the labels to the bottom.