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U.S. Food is Not as Safe as You Think

Prepackaged food aisle at a typical U.S. grocery store
Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

Connor Russo | Writer

Ever wonder what’s in your favorite foods that you eat everyday? Well, if you’re American, you may not want to find out.

Those enjoying one of America’s popular cereals for breakfast, such as Cap’n Crunch, Apple Jacks, or Fruit Loops should expect a serving of butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) included. BHA is a preservative used in the United States, and is also found in rubber and wax food packaging. According to The International Agency for Research on Cancer, BHA is a possible human carcinogen. This chemical is currently banned in Japan, Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Unfortunately, those thinking they can get around chemicals like BHA by avoiding sweets will be met with other harmful additives. U.S. chicken is banned in the European Union (EU) due to it being routinely washed in chlorine. However, the EU isn’t necessarily concerned about the chlorine, rather why the chicken has to be deep cleaned in the first place.

The Scientific Panel on food additives in the EU says there should be a “high level of safety throughout the food chain, not only cleaning the meat heavily at the end of the process to compensate for insufficient hygiene standards earlier.”

Well, that’s fine. You can just go completely vegan and avoid this mess right? Not exactly. Even U.S. apples are banned in the EU because they’re treated with diphenylamine (DPA). DPA is a potential carcinogen used to prevent the skin from browning that has been linked to various cancers. Strawberries, grapes, and tomatoes are also treated with similar pesticides according to the Environmental Working Group.

So next time you take a trip to the grocery store, make sure you double check the ingredient labels, and rinse your produce, it may save your life in the long run.


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