Food additives are used to increase profits, preserve foods for longer shelf life or to improve the taste/or appearance of foods. I keep a list of food additives that are banned in certain areas of the world, but not the U.S. The list states where they are found and their effect on the body and I keep it on my refrigerator. I made a chart here to make it easier for you to use the information. The product column cannot fit all of the offenders, so it is important you read all of your food product labels.

Reading food labels is so important. Since my son was diagnosed with allergies 11 years ago, it has become second nature. I count it as a blessing and would implore everyone to start analyzing the labels of the boxed/bagged products you eat. Good rule of thumb: if it’s not food, don’t eat it. Makes it very simple.

It is hard to keep a clean diet these days, but the chemicals pumped into our children’s breakfast cereals, for example, should be illegal. When we “break fast” by eating our first meal of the day after we wake up, the last thing any body needs is a bowl full of chemicals. In our house we all start the day with lemon water and an organic greens/protein smoothie. We save the healthy homemade versions of delicious breakfast foods for lunch or dinner time if we are craving them. The most effective way for our family to get healthy was by crowding out bad foods with all the good stuff and it is working so well!

This is the list that I started keeping about 11 years ago, so I am not sure where I got all of the information but I re-researched most of it and put sources down below so that you can look into it for yourself. I am not the expert, I am just sharing the information from the experts.

I will update this chart as new information comes out and the sources can be found at the bottom of this article. I am hoping that if we all stop buying the products containing these chemicals the “food” companies will go back to using natural ingredients. Big food companies introduced these chemicals into our food to increase their profit, unfortunately it is also to the benefit of the pharmaceutical industry. There is no benefit to the consumer, quite the opposite.

The FDA does not protect us as we think it would, we must look out for our own health in every area, especially our diet. In this chart I include the FDA-approved additives in our packaged food products that are banned in countries all over the world as well as weed killers sprayed on our crops that are known to cause cancer. If you think the government is protecting you, you are wrong. It is well passed time we start voting with our wallets and demand better for our health. Please research everything that I put here for yourself to protect your family.

Chemical/
Additive Name
Prohibited* or Restricted in Europe* or Other Countries^, ^^Effects on the Human BodyProducts Found In
High fructose corn syrup, “HFCS” (mercury contamination is common)^^ Not used in: India, Ireland, Sweden, Austria, Uruguay, and LithuaniaCancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, leaky gut, fatty liver and high cholesterol.Most sodas, candy, breakfast cereals.
Olestra/Olean^ U.K. and CanadaBlocks the body’s absorption of vitamins/minerals, G.I. problems, bowel problems, anal leakage, cramps & weight gain.Low-fat, Low-cal products.
Brominated Vegetable Oil “BVO”, “bromine”*Iodine deficiency, breast, prostate and ovarian cancer, thyroid issues and infertility.Soft drinks and sodas.
Potassium Bromate*Kidney problems, neurological disorders and cancer.Mass produced baked goods.
BHA/BHT*Insomnia, increased appetite, loss of energy, liver and kidney damage, fetal abnormalities, cancer and baldness.Processed meat, candy, gum, frying oils, fast food, cereals.
Azocarbonamide*Asthma, allergies.White breads, pastries, fast food, bleached flours.
Artificial food coloring and synthetic food dyes* not banned but requires warning label of adverse reactions.Neurological problems, brain cancer, ADD, ADHD and hyperactivity.Candy, cereal, cheese, sports drinks, pastries.
rBGH or rBST Hormones^ Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and the EUBreast and prostate cancer, thyroid disease, diabetes, obesity, infertility, asthma and allergies, older male breast growth and early puberty. Bad for the cows, too.Meat and dairy products.
Arsenic^ EUCancer, death. EPA classifies inorganic arsenic as a “human carcinogen”(1)Chicken feed to make meat look pink/fresh.
Aspartame (phenylalanine)Formaldehyde build up in the brain, frontal lobe inflammation, cognitive problems, and can lead to different types of cancers (6)Diet sodas and “sugar free” and “reduced calorie” products. (4) Kids OTC cold meds.
Ractopamine*Affects “human cardiovascular system, and may cause food poisoning.”(1)Beef, turkey and pork products.
Glyphosate
(7) Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Portugal, Qatar, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and the UK.Well known human carcinogen.Non-Organic Produce. Oatmeal and Beer! Soy, wheat, rice and corn. Almonds, cherries, celery, peppers, apples are some of the worst offenders. (3)
Neonicotinoid Pesticides(2) Banned in the EUAcetamiprid (ACE) and imidacloprid (IMI) obstruct the normal development and function of the nervous system in children and damage brain structures and functions associated with learning and memory. (2) Colony collapse of bees, cancer, neurological problems, autism, ADD.Parents whose work requires direct contact with pesticides, as well as those who live in close proximity to agricultural areas, are at a high risk of exposure to toxic chemicals leading to birth defects and complications. (2)
Save this page to come back to when you are checking labels during your shopping trips.

For many of these chemicals the FDA says they are ok in moderation. If you are ingesting a little every day or every other day… it adds up pretty quickly. According to Dr. Mercola, “about 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food goes toward processed foods loaded with these additives.” That is a shocking amount of money. When you consider being frugal, the number one way is to cut out processed foods. That leaves plenty of extra $ to go local/organic on your produce and grains where available.

I hope this serves as a reminder that the best thing we can do for our bodies is to eat real food. Best case scenario you would be eating fully local, organic foods- Meats, eggs, vegetable, flours, fruits…
Next best thing would be just to eat locally grown if you can’t get organic.
Next best thing would be just organic if you can’t find local.
Next best thing would be real, whole foods even if they are not local/or organic.
It is better to eat any real food over boxed “food” that has non-food ingredients and is passed through too many hands, machines and plastic containers.

Please let me know if you know of any other chemicals that are in our food supply that are questionable for human consumption.
Best of luck in keeping them out of your diet. I am working on a ton of recipes for antioxidant smoothies and time-saving healthy batch recipes to help make feeding your family well easier on you and your budget. Let me know if there is anything in particular you would like to see here!

Sources used and some extras for your reading pleasure:

*Advisory.com. January 4, 2019. Why these food additives are banned in Europe—but not in the United States. February 1, 2021. <https://www.advisory.com/en/daily-briefing/2019/01/03/banned-foods>

^FoodMatters.com. June 24, 2013. 8 Toxic Food Additives Allowed in The U.S. That Are BANNED in Other Countries. February 1, 2021. <https://www.foodmatters.com/article/8-additives-from-the-us-that-are-banned-in-other-countries>

^^TheAtlantic.com. November 27, 2012. Study: Countries That Use More High Fructose Corn Syrup Have More Diabetes. February 1, 2021. <https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/11/study-countries-that-use-more-high-fructose-corn-syrup-have-more-diabetes/265607/>

1. Articles.mercola.com. February 27, 2013. U.S. Foods Chockfull of Ingredients Banned in Other Countries. February 2, 2021. n<https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/02/27/us-food-products.aspx>

2. Waterskraus.com. July 24, 2018. Neonicotinoid Pesticides: Are People at Risk? February 2, 2021. <https://www.waterskraus.com/neonicotinoid-pesticides-people-risk/>

3. MyGeneFood.com. December 15, 2020. Why Glypohosate is Dangerous and How to Avoid Eating It. February 2, 2021. <https://www.mygenefood.com/blog/why-glyphosate-is-dangerous-and-how-to-avoid-eating-it/>

4. Healthline.com. March 5, 2018. The Truth About Aspartame Side Effects. February 2, 2021. <https://www.healthline.com/health/aspartame-side-effects>

5. Healthline.com. September 27, 2019. 6 Reasons Why High-Fructose Corn Syrup Is Bad for You. February 1, 2021. <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-high-fructose-corn-syrup-is-bad#The-bottom-line->

6. Dr. Christiane Northrup, from the Food Matters Certification Program. The Physiological Effect of Sugar, Stress & Metabolizing Hormones.

7. Baumhedlundlaw.com. December 2020. Where is Glyphosate Banned? February 13, 2020. <https://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/toxic-tort-law/monsanto-roundup-lawsuit/where-is-glyphosate-banned-/>

About Julie Parkis

About Julie Parkis

Mom, MBA, Yogi, CIA grad and food enthusiast looking to share knowledge of food/cooking and general wellness information.

I am happiest in the kitchen with people who love food as much as I do!

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