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on food labels. Flavoring mixtures added to food are complex and can contain more than 100 distinct substances. The non- flavor chemicals that have other functional properties often make up 80 to 90 percent of the mixture. Consumers may be surprised to learn that so-called “natural


flavors” can actually contain synthetic chemicals such as the solvent propylene glycol or the preservative BHA. Flavor extracts and ingredients derived from genetically engineered crops may also be labeled “natural,” because the FDA has not fully defined what that term means. (Certified organic “natural flavors” must meet more stringent guidelines and cannot include synthetic or genetically engineered ingredients.) The companies that make flavoring mixtures are often the same ones that make the fragrance chemicals in perfumes and cosmetics. EWG advocates full disclosure of fragrance ingredients and believes flavoring mixtures should be treated the same way. EWG considers it troubling that food companies do not


fully disclose their ingredients and use vague terms like “flavors.” Consumers have a right to know what’s in their food. We are also concerned that processed food makers manipulate flavors to whet people’s appetite for unhealthy foods and encourage overeating.


What you should do Choose fresh foods rather than processed and packaged foods


that contain flavoring chemicals that artificially alter smell and taste. Call on companies to disclose what chemicals they use in their flavoring mixtures.


Artificial Colors Artificial colors are often used to increase the appeal of foods that have little nutritional value. Questions have been raised


about the safety of one class of synthetic colors, called FD&C (Food, Drug & Cosmetics) colors, and contaminants in other artificial colorings as well. Caramel colors III and IV, for example, may be contami-


nated with 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), which caused tumors in a National Toxicology Program study (NTP 2004). The European Food Safety Authority has expressed concern about furan con- tamination, which is also associated with cancer (EFSA 2011b). There is ongoing debate about the effects of the synthetic FD&C colors on children’s behavior. Some studies have found that mixtures of synthetic colorings and the preservative sodium benzoate were associated with hyperactivity (Bateman 2004; McCann 2007). The European Food Safety Authority concluded that synthetic coloring mixtures may have a “small and statisti- cally significant effect on activity and attention in children,” and that this effect may be an issue for certain sensitive individuals (EFSA 2008a). Other studies have not found an association be- tween hyperactivity and synthetic food coloring (Arnold 2012; EFSA 2008a).


Avoiding artificial colors such as Caramel III and IV can be


difficult. Current regulation allows food manufacturers to simply print artificial color on the product label if the ingredient is on an FDA-approved list. But consumers can easily avoid the syn- thetic colors on FDA’s separate FD&C-certified list because they must be shown on the label with their full or abbreviated name, such as FD&C Yellow 5 or Yellow 5.


What you should do Read labels if you wish to avoid the FD&C-certified colors. In general, artificial colors tend to be hallmarks of more highly


Dixon & Associates Therapy Services


We look at each patient as a unique individual, not a diagnosis. Personal attention is what our success is based on,


and our whole company is set up to make everyone’s experience with therapy a positive one.


Lori Dixon, OT/L Our Specialties:


Myofascial Release • Chronic Pain • Neck & Back Pain CranioSacral Therapy • TMJ Dysfunction


Women’s Health Issues • Hand Injuries • Orthopaedic Injuries Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs) • Worker’s Compensation


We file medical insurance and Medicare • BlueCross/Blue Shield Provider 336.889.5676


204 Gatewood Avenue • High Point, NC 27262 www.DixonTherapy.com


FEBRUARY 2021 9


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