Wednesday, October 10, 2018

7 Popular Artificial Additives Banned By the FDA

Photo credit:  @icecream

Not all mint ice creams are created equally- while some, like our local favorite homemade recipe (find it below!) or the one pictured by @sweetrosecreamery in LA, are made using real mint leaves, others are made using artificial flavors.   
This week, the FDA announced that 7 synthetic food additives, including one commonly used to provide mint flavoring in foods like ice cream, will be banned from use in food.
The announcement came after the FDA received a petition signed by environmental and consumer groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Food Safety, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Breast Cancer Fund and the Environmental Working Group.

Why are these artificial flavors being banned now?

The synthetic flavors have been known, for a while, to cause cancer in animals.

Until now, the FDA had deemed them safe , saying (they ) “are typically used in foods available in the U.S. marketplace in very small amounts and their use results in very low levels of exposures and low risk”. Of note, most of these ‘low levels of exposure’ are measured on grown adult men and not smaller children.

According to the FDA, however,  the petitioners did “provided evidence that these substances caused cancer in animals who were exposed to much higher doses” and thus, because the law states that if a substance is found to cause cancer in humans or animals, it cannot be used as a food additive, the FDA decided to move forward with the ban.

What are the 7 artificial flavors that have been banned and what food are they found in?

The artificial flavors in question mimic natural flavors and are used to infuse foods with mint, cinnamon, citrus and other flavors. They are: synthetically-derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl methyl ether (methyl eugenol), myrcene, pulegone, and pyridine. The seventh synthetic flavor is being de-listed because it is no longer used by industry. Additionally, the FDA also is amending the use of one of these chemicals, benzophenone, to no longer provide for its use as a plasticizer in rubber articles intended for repeated use in contact with food.

It is hard to know what specific foods use these specific food additives because food manufacturers are permitted to label them under a simple catchall phrase : "artificial flavors.” However, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, they were probably used in a variety of food products — from ice cream and baked goods to beer, candy  and chewing gum.

Manufacturers have 2 years (24 months) to find replacements and phase out these chemicals. So until then, these chemicals will continue to be used in everyday food products.

In the meantime, ask before you buy your next ice cream, and read the label.  Choose real ingredients and real food instead of synthetic flavoring. If your local ice cream shop doesn’t offer natural mint chip here is my family’s favorite ice cream recipe using…. yeah, you guessed it, real mint leaves - no banned artificial flavors! It is a recipe by Yummy Mummy Kitchen 

Yield: makes about 1 pint


photo credit:

2 oz. dark chocolate
1 cup organic cream
1 cup organic milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
about 20 fresh organic mint leaves
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (make sure it is all natural and organic)

1. Melt the chocolate. Roughly chop chocolate if not using chunks. Place in a glass bowl and microwave at 30-second increments, stirring between, until just melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Place cream, milk, sugar, and mint in a blender. Blend until combined and mint leaves are finely blended. Don’t blend on a high speed or for too long, or you’ll end up with whipped cream.

3. Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker and follow manufacturers instructions to freeze.

4. Drizzle chocolate over the ice cream, and stir in. The chocolate should freeze as it hits the ice cream and then break up into little chunks when stirred.

*Vegan Option:
Replace dairy with full fat coconut milk. Use vegan chocolate.

*Gluten Free Option:
Be sure your chocolate is gluten free. Enjoy Life is a good gf brand.

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