Foods that we consume daily are no more natural as supposed to be. The processing that companies regularly apply to their products may be of dangerous consequences to the consumers. However the greed for continuous gain urges the companies to be discreet and use more chemicals to adulterate the quality of their products. While some food coloring and adulterations are less harmful than others, many exist as toxic threats in the food supply. The food you buy with unnatural color has the potential of being adulterated.
The National Center for Food Protection and Defense (University of Minnesota) and USP’s Expert Panel on Food Ingredient Intentional Adulterants consider all hidden additives into natural products for economic gain without the purchaser’s knowledge as a fraud and adulteration. In this table we define taxonomy of foods and list all common additives to it and a potential solution.
- 1. ORANGE CHEDDAR
Naturally, there is no orange milk. Yet, Cheddar cheese acquired its classic orange color from annatto since the 1800’s. However Processed synthetic annatto forms, which are often not clearly labeled as “artificial color” create an allergenic potential and endangers consumer safety. Annatto is also added to butter, ghee and margarine.
SOLUTION: Stick to white cheddar. All cheese should be white or slightly off white.
- 2. OLIVE OIL
Olive oil is one of the most adulterated foods on earth. With less protective measures to detect frauds in this product many companies which label their oil as “extra virgin” mix it with much cheaper hazelnut, soy, or sunflower seed oil, as well as mislabeling its country of origin with none of the risks.”
SOLUTION: Avoid flavours such as moldy, cooked, greasy, meaty, metallic, and cardboard. Ensure that your oil is labelled “extra virgin,” since other categories–“pure” or “light” oil, “olive oil” and “olive pomace oil” – have undergone chemical refinement. If you are purchasing a full bottle of virgin olive oil for less than $10-$15 per bottle, there is a good chance it is adulterated. True extra virgin oil comes exclusively from the first processing of the olive paste. The absolute best olive oil is Ice-Pressed, a truly raw super food.
- 3. TURMERIC POWDER
Metanil Yellow and Kesari Dal are often being added instead of turmeric. They are highly carcinogenic and can cause stomach disorders. Lead chromate powder has also been found in adulterated turmeric. Even raw turmeric powder sold as either pre-packaged or bulk has been found to be adulterated with these substitutes.
SOLUTION: Dissolve half a spoon full of the powder in 20 ml of lukewarm water. Add a few drops of lemon juice or any commonly available acid at home. If the water turns pink, violet or purple, it shows the presence of Metanil yellow.
- 4. BLACK PEPPER
SOLUTION: Float the sample in alcohol. Mature black pepper corns will sink whereas papaya seeds will float to the surface.
- 5. WASABI
Most wasabi served at sushi restaurants is not real wasabi at all. It’s usually made from horseradish powder mixed with green food coloring and dry mustard. Real wasabi is one of the rarest and most difficult vegetables in the world to grow, which is why that fake stuff was created.
SOLUTION: The first clue is the color which is usually slightly paler than the fake stuff. Smell wise, the real rhizome will assault your nostrils with one whiff, causing the eyes to water instantly. Taste also goes to the real rhizome — the sushi bar stuff has a bit more ‘heat’ but the real stuff definitely has much more flavor.
- 6. PICKLED GINGER
Most of the processed pickled ginger (pink or golden yellow) is used with Aspartame is an artificial sweetener. Potassium sorbate gets used as a preservative. Both are toxic. The pink ginger is dyed with red food coloring.
SOLUTION: Some attentive sushi chefs shave their own ginger and pickle it themselves, but you would need to inquire to find out.
- 7. CARMINIC ACID OR CARMINE
Another method of introducing red and pink into foods is cochineal extract. Cochineal dye is crushed insect body parts. Sometimes it appears as carminic acid or carmine. The cochineal insect is native to Mexico and South America.
SOLUTION: If this really grosses you out, read your ingredient lists and hopefully carminic acid or carmine will be listed instead of “added color” which could be anything.
- 8. GREEN CHILLIES, GREEN PEAS, OTHER GREEN VEGGIES
Some frozen varieties of these foods still contain Malachite Green to accentuate the bright, glowing green colour of the vegetable. Scientists have found that exposure to malachite green may raise the risk of cancer, cause genetic mutations, and harm the human reproductive system.
SOLUTION: Take a small portion of the sample and place it over a moistened white blotting paper. Coloured impressions on the blotting paper indicate the presence of Malachite green.
- 9. BRIGHT RED MEAT
More than 70% of all beef and chicken is being treated with poisonous carbon monoxide gas. Although not a chemical dye bit it can make seriously decayed meat look fresh for weeks. The meat industry continues to allow this toxic gas injection into many of the meat.
SOLUTION: Don’t buy your meat at conventional grocery retailers. Hormones, antibiotics, vaccines and other chemicals injected into cattle contribute to far worse health issues. If you must eat red meat, ensure it is organic, coming from pasture-fed animals.
- 10. CHILI POWDER
SOLUTION: Only purchase organic brands of chili powder which are marginally more expensive and grown without any toxic chemicals.
- 11. GOLDEN HONEY
Most golden processed honey is not honey at all and if you desire any kind of health benefits, you must stick to the real stuff. But some golden honey is even adulterated with corn syrup, rice sugar and even water.
SOLUTION: A cotton wick dipped in pure honey burns when ignited with a matchstick. Natural honey will light the match easily and the flame will burn off the honey. Fake honey will not light because of the moisture it contains.
- 12. INSTANT COFFEE
Tamarind seeds or chicory powder are very popular adulterants around the world and used to add bulk and color to instant coffee. These can cause diarrhea, stomach disorders, giddiness and severe joint pains.
SOLUTION: Gently sprinkle coffee on the surface of water in a glass. The coffee will float whereas chicory will start to sink within a few seconds. Also, the falling chicory powder will leave a trail of colour behind due to the large amounts of caramel it contains.
Edited by A. Ouyidir
Karen Foster is a holistic nutritionist, avid blogger, with five kids and an active lifestyle that keeps her in pursuit of the healthiest path towards a life of balance.
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