What if you took a spoonful of your morning cereal and had an allergic reaction or even felt tranquillized? But when you looked at the package labeling there were no ingredients that would seem to be red flags? Increasingly, thanks to an FDA loophole, food makers use additives and chemicals that they and not the FDA have declared “safe” and the ingredients do not appear on the labels. Sometimes the FDA does not even know they are added to the food products.
For example, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council(NRDC), the bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant theobromine can be in beverages, chewing gum, tea, soy milk, gelatin, candy, yogurt and fruit smoothies with no mention on the label. The peanut-related legume sweet lupin can be in baked goods, dairy products, gelatin, meats, and candy with no mention on the label. The chemical epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) may be found in teas, sport drinks and other beverages, says NRDC, with no mention on the label despite its links to leukemia. Nice.
How did this happen? There has been a “growth in the marketplace of beverages and other conventional foods that contain novel substances, such as added botanical ingredients or their extracts,” says the FDA. “Some of these substances have not previously been used in conventional foods and may be unapproved food additives. Other substances that have been present in the food supply for many years are now being added to beverages and other conventional foods at levels in excess of their traditional use levels, or in new beverages or other conventional foods.” Nice.