Friday, March 10, 2017

Avoid artificial food coloring: it can cause cancer and behavioral problems in children



Dr Abe V Rotor
 Living with Nature School on Blog


 




Why food coloring?
Food coloring, or color additive, is any dye, pigment or substance that imparts color when it is added to food or drink. They come in many forms consisting of liquids, powders, gels and pastes.
People associate certain colors with certain flavors, and the color of food can influence the perceived flavor in anything from candy to wine. Color additives are used in foods for many reasons including:

· offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions
· correct natural variations in color
· enhance colors that occur naturally
· provide color to colorless and "fun" foods
Sometimes the aim is to simulate a color that is perceived by the consumer as natural.
Beware of colored candies, birthday cakes, and drinks. They are linked to cancer and behavioral problem in children.


The case of shoe dye* in tamarind sweet - a personal experience

AVRotor

All of a sudden when answering the call of nature, I was alarmed to see the color of my urine bright red. I cried, Blood!

I tried to compose myself to be able to reach the hospital in the earliest possible time. But what surprised me at the same time was that my fingers were also stained red. I examined the “tamarind sweet” I had just eaten. I found the culprit - jubos, the dye used on shoes!

There are products made to appear like cocoa, coffee, orange, strawberry, grapes and the like, when in fact the ingredients are mainly sugar, artificial flavors and food dyes.

How many food preparations are artificially colored for better presentation? Since that time on I have become more careful with colored foods. Ube cake, anyone?

One test to know if a food color is artificial is that it is detected in the urine. Natural colors, on the other hand, are either degraded by our excretory system or absorbed as a useful nutrient, as in the case of the yellow pigment of corn which is carotene. Carotene brightens the skin, deepens the yellow color of egg yolk, and lends freshness in meat. Carotene and xanthophyll from carrots and squash, lycopene in tomato are useful to our body. They make us glow, so to speak, improve our vision, and fight off cancer.

  Food dyes are like artist's colors. Primary colors come up with various secondary and tertiary colors, including designs, saturation, hues and accents.


There are some things to consider about food dyes, specially if you suspect a food or drink to be colored artificially.

Be familiar with the natural colors of fruits and other food products. There are rare ones though. For example, purple rice cake (puto) comes from a variety pirurutong or purple rice. Ordinary rice flour and ube flour produce the same color. This can be imitated with the use of purple dye.
Fruit juices carry dyes to enhance their natural colors. Example, calamansi juice is made to appear like lemon or orange. Softdrinks would look dull and unattractive without artificial colors. Dyes mask natural variations in color and enhances naturally occurring colors. The sparkle and crystalline color of wine may be the result of judicious color blending.
A typical food cart in Manila  Processed foods like smoked fish and ham are colored, usually golden yellow, or deep brown to make them look attractive. I once observed in a factory the practice of spraying a solution of yellow pigment on smoked fish to make it look newly processed and the body fat visible.

Other uses of artificial color or dye are in medicine to protect flavors, and minerals and vitamins from damage by light. Thus multivitamins are usually colored usually with bright yellow which appears in urine. Colored coatings of medicines and drugs are used to monitor prescribed doses in patients.

Cloudifier to make vinegar look like Sukang Paumbong or sasa, or something natural, is actually adding a few drops of milk to a dilute solution of acetic acid. This overnight formulation is popular in the market, because it is cheap, but the truth is that glacial acetic acid is not good to health.

Easter eggs
Cakes and other bakery products may deceive the eye and even the palate. Nothing beats the icing of birthday and wedding cakes. Bakers as artists use colors perhaps more than the full spectrum of the rainbow. I am amazed at how they express their art with the colors of Marc Chagall's stained glass, Pablo Picasso's fresh abstracts, and Rembrandt's sunset and midnight hues. With red, yellow and blue - the primary colors - plus white, there are artists who can create all the colors they need in their masterpieces.

But we cannot mix food with art using artificial colors.

Fortunately we are among the riches countries when it comes to natural food colors and dyes - orange, red to purple from oranges, grapes and strawberry; green from the leaves of pandan (Pandanus odoratissimus) and green paddy rice (pinipig); dark red to black from the fruits of duhat and bignay; purple color from ube (Dioscorea alata); and golden yellow from mango, pineapple, and tumeric (Corcuma longa).

The list is virtually endless, if we iunclude colors from muscovado sugar, coffee, cacao, banana, mangosteen, avocado, nangka, and the like.

By the way, what is the most common source of natural color and dye?

It is achuete or anatto (Bixa orellana). See photo. Achuete is a small to medium size tree introduced from Mexico (achuete is an Aztec word) during the Spanish times. Today it is used to impart or improve the color and flavor of cheese, butter, yogurt, noodles, pasta, macaroni, and cakes and many confectionery products.

I cannot imagine if there is no achuete in batchoy, apretada, azucena, caldereta, paella, kare-kare, arroz valenciana, lechon, and many other dishes.

Let us avoid artificial food coloring. Here is a toast of red Basi wine. 

Allow me to post this news item on food dye published by Philippine Daily Inquirer on the Internet. 
 Artificial colors impart attractive presentation of processed food like bagoong. 

FDA warns vs cancer-causing food dye in candy, ‘gulaman’ ‘bagoong’

By Tina G Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the public about processed food products found positive for rhodamine-B, a cancer-causing substance found in coloring dye.

In an advisory posted on its website last week, the FDA said three of 34 food product samples it tested for nonpermissible colorants (NPC) were found positive for rhodamine-B.

According to the FDA, the samples it tested were taken from ambulant vendors, public markets, groceries and supermarkets in the National Capital Region and Central Visayas.

“Most of the samples were unregistered and noncompliant with food product labeling standards,” said FDA acting director general Kenneth Hartigan Go in the advisory.

Some of the products were icing candy from Cebu Crown Grocery, red gulaman from the Carbon Public Market and shrimp paste (labeled 7C’s) from Robinson’s Grocery in Talisay, Cebu.

“The food processors of the three products are in violation of the FDA Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 9711) and the Consumer Act of the Philippines (RA 7394) on the adulteration of processed food,” said Go.

Go said the FDA Act of 2009 requires all locally manufactured and imported processed food products to be registered with the Food and Drug Administration.

“This requirement is in addition to the permits issued by the local government units (LGUs) and other government agencies,” he said.

Meanwhile, five other products that the FDA tested needed further confirmatory tests for the presence of NPC Sudan.

Rhodamine-B is a fluorescent dye used as a tracer in water and air flow studies, and in molecular and cell biology studies. It presents as a red to violet powder. It has been shown to be carcinogenic in mammalian models.

On the other hand, industrial grade Sudan dye is not permitted for use in food because it is toxic, carcinogenic and likely contains metals like mercury and arsenic. Sudan dyes are used in shoe and floor polish, solvents, oils, waxes and petrol.

The FDA advised consumers to buy processed food products from legitimate food establishments and outlets.

He urged consumers to report food processors using suspect food coloring additives.

NOTE: In another article researchers say there may be a link between artificial food dyes and behavioral problems in children with certain medical conditions.
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SHOE DYE POISONING

C. W. MUEHLBERGER, Ph.D.

During the last two years, my attention has been called to ten cases of poisoning from the use of shoe dyes which contain either nitrobenzene or anilin as a solvent and which are used to dye tan or light colored leather black. These cases have been characterized by marked cyanosis, sometimes accompanied by vertigo and weakness, digestive disorders, headache and somnolence.

The danger of poisoning from nitrobenzene or anilin has been discussed particularly with regard to industrial workers. This phase of nitrobenzene and anilin intoxication is perhaps best summarized by Hamilton,1 who made a thorough investigation of such poisoning in the American dye industry. Many cases of accidental poisoning by nitrobenzene or anilin through the spilling or splashing of these liquids on the skin or clothing are recorded in the medical literature. Painters using anilin-containing paint have been poisoned by the absorption of this oil through the skin.

Acknowledgement: Wikipedia, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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