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FDA Bans Seven Synthetic Food Additives

Our food is often packed with artificial ingredients and chemicals, some of which can cause health effects like allergies. Recently, the FDA took a closer look at seven of these additives and decided to remove them from the list of acceptable options. Which ones and why?

Benzophenone

This compound is often added in plastic packaging since it acts as a UV blocker. In food, it’s used to add sweet or woody flavors. In addition to being banned from food, it will no longer be used in plastic that comes in contact with food.

Ethyl acrylate

This was used in plastic and as a food flavoring, and while it was once considered safe, experts realized that when combined with intakes from other materials, it exceeds recommended levels of acrylate.

Methyl eugenol

In its natural form, it can be found in certain fruits and herbs. When made synthetically (which is the form that’s being banned), it’s used a lot in soda and sauces.

Myrcene

This hydrocarbon is often added to beer, as it adds peppery notes.

Pulegone

This compound is used to add peppermint flavors to food and minty smells to fragrances.

Pyridine

Related to benzene, this compound adds bitter flavors.

Styrene

This compound has actually not been used in a long time, which is why the FDA is removing it from the food additive list.

All these additives are simply listed as “artificial flavors” on your food, so the names might be unfamiliar. The FDA also says that these compounds don’t have negative health effects on humans, but they’re being removed because they cause cancer in animals when exposed to high doses. While the additives are currently used in much smaller doses (so you don’t have to worry if you’ve eaten foods with these in the past), the FDA does not want compounds shown to lead to cancer. All these compounds have organic forms, which will be allowed.

All these synthetic additives have natural counterparts, which the FDA wants food companies to use from now on