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[News] Snack Food Secrets

  1. “Carminic Acid” or “Cochineal Extract” = Carcasses of ground-up, boiled beetles, which are often used in snack foods to create those lovely shades of red, purple and pink in fruit juice, ice cream and candy.
  2. Vanilla-flavored items like cookies and cakes are sometimes flavored with castoreum, a secretion from a beaver’s behind (technically, from a sac near his anus called the castor sac).
  3. Food makers use Azodicarbonamide (ADA) in snack foods like cupcakes, cookies and crackers to improve their texture--but it’s also used in yoga mats, flip-flops and other plastic products.
  4. Each year, an estimated one in six Americans gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from consuming contaminated foods and beverages, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And a number of these incidents are the result of filthy conditions in food manufacturing plants.
  5. Extensive exposure to arsenic has been linked to cancers of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidneys, nasal passages, liver and prostate, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. But few people realize that the substance can be found in many snacks, even some considered healthy. A recent investigation by Consumer Reports found that rice breakfast cereals (even organic varieties) contained arsenic, as did apple and grape juices (an FDA study also found arsenic in apple juice).
  6. Often you’ll see the term “natural flavor” on your snack package, but it doesn’t actually mean “directly from nature.” While the same chemical compounds may be found in nature, the ones that end up in your food usually come from a chemical plant—not a living plant.
  7. Snack foods like pretzels, cookies and doughnuts often prominently advertise enriched wheat flour as an ingredient. But “enriched” isn’t necessarily good. The term means that vitamins and minerals have been added to the food, but usually only after they’ve first been removed.

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