Ever since ancient people realized that they could use salt to prevent meat from spoiling, food additives have been in use for the longest time. Today, there are thousands of food additives permitted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used to preserve, packaging, processing, and change the look, taste, or texture of foods. However, there have been concerns about the use of harmful chemicals in food additives which is a huge risk to human health, especially children.
Recently, a new congressional report has reported the presence of heavy metals in some brands of baby’s food, including Gerber, beech-nut, hain, and nurture. There is also a considerable concern that companies such as sprout foods, Walmart, and Campbell soup company did not provide the requested samples for internal tests and analysis of metals in their baby food brands. Research has found that some of these companies have sold baby’s food containing chemicals, and many parents have initiated a Beech-Nut baby food lawsuit.
So, how do food additives affect babies?
Several studies are explaining why parents should be concerned about food additives in their baby’s foods. Many studies have reported that harmful food additives interfere with hormones for growth and development. Children are more vulnerable than adults due to their dietary intake and size. Obesity is also a potential risk. Here are some of the food additives and their effects on human health.
It is used to harden plastic packaging for food and prevent the rusting of metal food containers and cans. The health concern is that it can act like estrogen in the body and interfere with puberty, increase body fat, reduce fertility and affect the immune and nervous systems.
Nitrates are used as preservatives and color enhancers in processed meats, fish, and cheese. Nitrates are associated with thyroid problems, tumors in the nervous and digestive systems and can lead to methemoglobinemia in infants. It can also affect the blood’s ability to distribute oxygen in the body.
They are used in industrial food production. They can increase child obesity, interfere with male genital development, metabolic function, and cardiovascular system.
This controls static electricity in dry food packaging. It is known to interfere with the thyroid hormone, which affects early life brain development.
Also known as PFCs, these make grease-proof paper for food packaging. They can decrease immune response, fertility, and birth weight. They also interfere with the thyroid hormone, which aids in brain development, metabolism, digestion, muscle and bone strength.
Synthetic artificial food colors
Also called AFCs, they improve the appearance of processed foods and drinks. Some malicious companies use it as a substitute for colors in drinks with little or lacking the actual fruit and may interfere with a child’s behavior.
How to minimize your family’s exposure to food additives
- Always buy fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits.
- Reduce the intake of processed meats like hams and hotdogs.
- Avoid microwaving food in plastic containers.
- Learn about plastic recycling codes to find the best plastic-type.
- Wash your hands before handling food.
Always limit the potentially harmful additives in your baby’s food and family’s diet. Read labels on food products to find out what additives are used and opt for organic foods.