Sunday, April 27, 2008

New Stealth Chemicals Hidden in Your Food

New Stealth Chemicals Hidden in Your Food

If you pick up a can of soup and find that the sodium levels are lower than you expected, or that a food item advertises it has “less sugar” or “no MSG” ... then there may be cause for alarm.

A relatively young company, Senomyx, may be responsible for the sodium and sugar levels falling in various grocery store items. They may be putting chemicals into your food right now, without telling you and without you even realizing. Under the law, they don’t have to.

Senomyx has contracted with Kraft, Nestle, Coca Cola, and Campbell Soup to put a chemical in foods that masks bitter flavors by turning off bitter flavor receptors on your tongue. The companies can then reduce sugar and sodium levels by approximately half without affecting the flavor.

All of the companies declined to identify which foods and beverages the chemical additives have been or will be added to. These chemical compounds are not required to be listed separately on food labels; they are grouped into the general category of "artificial flavors."

Senomyx was able to obtain FDA approval and a “generally recognized as safe” classification from the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association in less than a year and a half, based on a safety study of rats conducted for just 3 months.

Food items that are most likely to contain these new chemicals include soups, juices (fruit and vegetable), ice cream and sauces.

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