Bugs, sand and other stuff in your food (on purpose)
February 10th, 2014
10:15 AM ET
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Anyone who's ever read a nutrition label knows that our food supply is full of hard-to-pronounce chemicals. Most are generally recognized as safe, as the Food and Drug Administration likes to say, but a few have given scientists cause for concern.

Azodicarbonamide, for instance. Subway announced last week that it would be removing the controversial chemical from its bread. Generally used for strengthening dough, azodicarbonamide is also found in yoga mats and shoe soles, according to the Centers for Science in the Public Interest. One of the breakdown products is a recognized carcinogen.

Though Subway is going to remove azodicarbonamide, there's a long list of other chemicals used in its bread: calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate, DATEM, sodium stearoyl lactylate, potassium iodate and ascorbic acid, according to the restaurant's website (PDF).

And Subway certainly isn't alone. What other chemical additives are commonly found in your food? Here are seven, picked at random as good practice for the upcoming CNN Spelling Bee (just kidding).

1. Tartrazine and other food dyes
When Kraft announced last year that it would be removing Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine) and No. 6 from certain varieties of its Macaroni & Cheese products, advocates rejoiced. Blue 1, Green 3, Red 40 and others have been loosely linked to everything from hyperactivity in children to cancer in lab animals. Generally found in candy, beverages and baked goods, color additives are also used in cosmetics.

But you knew that, right? Did you also know about the ground-up insects in your drinks? Cochineal extract is an approved artificial dye derived from a small bug that lives on cactus plants in Mexico and South America. As long as you're not allergic, you're safe to drink up, according to the Centers for Science in the Public Interest. Mmmm ...

Read - 7 other chemicals in your food

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. zoltanwelvart

    Fertilize natural, or eat chemicals

    March 14, 2014 at 11:33 am |
  2. Madalena

    Don't stop with the ADA Chemical in Subway Breads. We need it out of All Foods! This is a Chemical People, Not Food! We can't possibly Know the Long Term Effects. It is in other Breads and Desserts and who knows what else? This ADA is used to make Flip Flops, Yoga Mats Etc. We, The Consumer, have the Power to Change the Way Our Food Products are Made! Let's Make Our Food more Healthy for Our Children and Their Children! We Can Do It! God Bless America! : )

    March 8, 2014 at 6:20 am |
  3. Here we go ...

    ... again.

    February 10, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
  4. Edwin

    meh, it's the cost of living in an industrialized society. I guess I should consider myself lucky that none of these additives seem to affect me.

    February 10, 2014 at 11:44 am |
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