First they came for the trans fat, and pretty much everyone agreed it should be banned, because it can clog arteries.
Then they came for monosodium glutamate. Even though food companies say it is harmless, they eventually pulled it from many products, because that’s what the customer demanded.
Now, one in 10 young adults want regulators to ban dihydrogen monoxide from food and beverages, according to a study by research firm InsightsNow.
Um, that would be H2O, also known as water.
The food industry is grappling with just how far to bend to consumer whims about chemicals—even when those whims seem clueless. And this is giving America’s food scientists indigestion.
(click here to continue reading Anyone for Diglycerides? Anyone? Food Scientists Are Getting Fed Up With Picky Eaters – WSJ.)
I’m of two minds on this: sure, there is no need to ban dihydrogen monoxide, or other harmless chemicals from packaged foods. Even MSG turns out to be useful, and non-harmful.
On the other hand, food scientists shouldn’t get an automatic pass to put whatever they want in foods, especially if there are untested ingredients. Or too many additives. The best foods are simple, and don’t require 500 word ingredient lists. I’m with Charlie Baggs…
Products free from artificial colors, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and certain other additives make up roughly 30% of food and beverage sales and are the fastest-growing segment, according to Nielsen.
The Food and Drug Administration acknowledges its requirements for describing ingredients can be confusing. Anna Abram, an FDA deputy commissioner, points to vitamin B12, which in line with FDA regulations appears on some food labels as cyanocobalamin.
“That sounds like cyanide,” she says. B12, which helps cell and nerve function, occurs naturally in beef and tuna. Breakfast cereals are often fortified with it. She said the FDA is considering ways to make such ingredients sound more palatable.
That’s welcome news to Charlie Baggs, a “clean-label” research chef in Chicago who slashed the list of ingredients in one frozen dinner from 60 to 15. One common foe is xanthan gum, an emulsifier used to stabilize sauces and soups that is widely considered safe and natural .
“It doesn’t sound like something your grandma would use,” he says. “Who wants to eat that?”