Think of American foods and you probably think fries, hamburgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken. But did you know there are a few foods and ingredients in the US that are not allowed to be consumed elsewhere? Some foods are approved by the FDA for consumption in the US, but other countries have much stricter food safety regulations. Here are a few things you won’t find easily outside the US.
Olestra is a zero-calorie fat substitute used in potato chips (crisps) and yoghurt, enabling food producers to make a low-calorie product without losing textural properties. The problem with Olestra it is indigestible and is not absorbed by the body. This may sound nice for weight-loss, but unfortunately it can also lead to fatty loose stools…and by that, we mean leakage. It’s currently banned in Canada and Europe.
Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) and recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) refers to a growth hormone used in milk production, to increase the amount of milk produced by cows. Even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have all stated that rBST-milk is safe for human consumption, the American Cancer Society says “the evidence is still inconclusive”. Studies show different results, but some report that small amounts of residual hormones can have a negative effect on humans.
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are both antioxidants that act as preservatives. They prevent spoilage of cereal, nuts, butter, and baked goods by preserving the fats in these products and protect them from rancidity.
Scientists are still unsure whether the chemicals are completely safe, as studies show conflicting results, however research is currently underway on the possible use of BHT as a treatment for AIDS. Currently, BHA and BHT for use in foods are banned in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Europe.
Potassium bromate is a food additive used in baked goods. It’s added to improve texture and strengthen the dough, allowing breads to rise higher. Even though the FDA hasn’t banned the ingredient yet, they do urge bread manufacturers not to use it. So far, it’s been banned in several regions and countries, some of which include Europe, Canada, China, and India.
Next time you are shopping, remember to check out the ingredients list and see what’s in the food you’re consuming!