Are the Foods You Eat Safe?

sweet treats

Do you know whether the foods you eat are safe? Health experts and government officials are concerned about food safety and continually check products for harmful substances. Three sources of concern are artificial food dyes, canned foods and chocolate.

1. Food dyes – According to Prevention magazine, the use of artificial food dyes has quintupled over the past 60 years, with the goal of making foods more attractive. One study showed that 90 percent of foods marketed to children contain artificial dyes. Dyes can cause children to experience sleep problems, irritability, hyperactivity and depression. Watch out for these common dyes: Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1 and Blue 2. Many foods, medications and pet products can contain dyes.

2. Canned foods – Tin cans were first developed in the late 1700s as a way to preserve foods. The idea took root and changed food production and storage in countries worldwide. In the United States, canned foods have created an $8 billion industry. Americans use over 130 billion canned food items each year. Many of these cans are lined with the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) to control can corrosion and food contamination. BPA also is used in the production of certain plastics and resins.

However, research shows that BPA has been linked to several health problems, such as infertility, obesity, diabetes, reproductive problems and preterm birth. Health experts have challenged food companies to move away from using BPA and adopt other safe packaging options, such as the Tetra Pack.

3. Chocolate – According to a CNN report, researchers have discovered that some chocolate products may contain lead. Although cacao plants may absorb trace amounts of lead during the growing process, a California-based consumer advocacy group found that some chocolate products contain excessive amounts of cadmium, an extremely toxic metal.

Studies show that lead can affect children’s IQ level and ability to focus. Experts advise that since manufacturers typically do not list lead in the product ingredients, consumers should research product choices, especially chocolate, before purchasing.


U.S. News & World Report