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Environmental Working Group Releases First ‘Dirty Dozen’ List for Food Additives

The Environmental Working Group – famous for its list of produce most likely to be contaminated with pesticides – has now released a “Dirty Dozen” guide for food additives.

There are more than 10,000 additives in food distributed in the U.S., and EWG is trying to highlight “some of the worst failures of the regulatory system,” it says.

The list includes:

  1. Nitrates and nitrites
  2. Potassium bromate
  3. Propyl paraben
  4. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  5. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  6. Propyl gallate
  7. Theobromine
  8. Secret flavor incredients
  9. Artificial colors
  10. Diacetyl
  11. Phosphates
  12. Aluminum additives

The report goes into detail about the concerns surrounding each additive. Some of them are known or possible carcinogens and some can have reproductive and developmental effects.

EWG recommends that consumers avoid or consider avoiding the Dirty Dozen. Not only could this mean avoiding risky chemicals, but it could also mean improving overall diet, says the group, since food additives are most often found in highly processed, unhealthy foods. For the additives without definitive links to health concerns, EWG recommends limiting consumption until more information is available.

The other aim of the list is to draw attention to problems surrounding food regulation, particularly those with “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) designations.

The category has been controversial because it allows companies to determine whether a substance is GRAS without having to seek FDA approval. Consumer groups like EWG claim that some additives with GRAS status don’t meet the same safety standard as food additives.

“There are some additives that are classified generally recognized as safe and we really question that classification because they’re not free of health concerns,” said Johanna Congleton, EWG senior scientist.

For example, propyl paraben is an endocrine-disrupting chemical but is considered GRAS. The report references studies that found that rats fed with the FDA’s Acceptable Daily Intake of propyl paraben had decreased sperm counts and decreases in testosterone.

EWG argues that companies shouldn’t be allowed to certify the safety of their own ingredients and wants consumers to urge FDA to strengthen its regulatory system for food additives.

Congleton says she finds nitrates and nitrites — often used as preservatives in cured meats such as bacon, salami, sausages and hot dogs — to be the most alarming additives. Nitrites, which can form from nitrates, react with naturally occurring components of protein called amines, forming nitrosamines, which are known cancer-causing compounds. Nitrosamines can form in nitrite or nitrate-treated meat or in the digestive tract, EWG says.

In 2010, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that ingested nitrites and nitrates are probable human carcinogens, and the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is currently considering listing nitrite in combination with amines or amides as a known carcinogen.

The Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives is based on scientific studies of hundreds of additives and data gathered from EWG’s Food Scores database, launched on Oct. 27, which includes information on more than 80,000 foods. The database scores foods based on nutrition, ingredients of concern (including food additives), contaminants (such as the likely levels of pesticide residue) and how processed the foods are.

Food Safety News

Environmental Working Group Releases First ‘Dirty Dozen’ List for Food Additives

The Environmental Working Group – famous for its list of produce most likely to be contaminated with pesticides – has now released a “Dirty Dozen” guide for food additives.

There are more than 10,000 additives in food distributed in the U.S., and EWG is trying to highlight “some of the worst failures of the regulatory system,” it says.

The list includes:

  1. Nitrates and nitrites
  2. Potassium bromate
  3. Propyl paraben
  4. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  5. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  6. Propyl gallate
  7. Theobromine
  8. Secret flavor incredients
  9. Artificial colors
  10. Diacetyl
  11. Phosphates
  12. Aluminum additives

The report goes into detail about the concerns surrounding each additive. Some of them are known or possible carcinogens and some can have reproductive and developmental effects.

EWG recommends that consumers avoid or consider avoiding the Dirty Dozen. Not only could this mean avoiding risky chemicals, but it could also mean improving overall diet, says the group, since food additives are most often found in highly processed, unhealthy foods. For the additives without definitive links to health concerns, EWG recommends limiting consumption until more information is available.

The other aim of the list is to draw attention to problems surrounding food regulation, particularly those with “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) designations.

The category has been controversial because it allows companies to determine whether a substance is GRAS without having to seek FDA approval. Consumer groups like EWG claim that some additives with GRAS status don’t meet the same safety standard as food additives.

“There are some additives that are classified generally recognized as safe and we really question that classification because they’re not free of health concerns,” said Johanna Congleton, EWG senior scientist.

For example, propyl paraben is an endocrine-disrupting chemical but is considered GRAS. The report references studies that found that rats fed with the FDA’s Acceptable Daily Intake of propyl paraben had decreased sperm counts and decreases in testosterone.

EWG argues that companies shouldn’t be allowed to certify the safety of their own ingredients and wants consumers to urge FDA to strengthen its regulatory system for food additives.

Congleton says she finds nitrates and nitrites — often used as preservatives in cured meats such as bacon, salami, sausages and hot dogs — to be the most alarming additives. Nitrites, which can form from nitrates, react with naturally occurring components of protein called amines, forming nitrosamines, which are known cancer-causing compounds. Nitrosamines can form in nitrite or nitrate-treated meat or in the digestive tract, EWG says.

In 2010, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that ingested nitrites and nitrates are probable human carcinogens, and the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is currently considering listing nitrite in combination with amines or amides as a known carcinogen.

The Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives is based on scientific studies of hundreds of additives and data gathered from EWG’s Food Scores database, launched on Oct. 27, which includes information on more than 80,000 foods. The database scores foods based on nutrition, ingredients of concern (including food additives), contaminants (such as the likely levels of pesticide residue) and how processed the foods are.

Food Safety News

Environmental Working Group Releases First ‘Dirty Dozen’ List for Food Additives

The Environmental Working Group – famous for its list of produce most likely to be contaminated with pesticides – has now released a “Dirty Dozen” guide for food additives.

There are more than 10,000 additives in food distributed in the U.S., and EWG is trying to highlight “some of the worst failures of the regulatory system,” it says.

The list includes:

  1. Nitrates and nitrites
  2. Potassium bromate
  3. Propyl paraben
  4. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  5. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  6. Propyl gallate
  7. Theobromine
  8. Secret flavor incredients
  9. Artificial colors
  10. Diacetyl
  11. Phosphates
  12. Aluminum additives

The report goes into detail about the concerns surrounding each additive. Some of them are known or possible carcinogens and some can have reproductive and developmental effects.

EWG recommends that consumers avoid or consider avoiding the Dirty Dozen. Not only could this mean avoiding risky chemicals, but it could also mean improving overall diet, says the group, since food additives are most often found in highly processed, unhealthy foods. For the additives without definitive links to health concerns, EWG recommends limiting consumption until more information is available.

The other aim of the list is to draw attention to problems surrounding food regulation, particularly those with “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) designations.

The category has been controversial because it allows companies to determine whether a substance is GRAS without having to seek FDA approval. Consumer groups like EWG claim that some additives with GRAS status don’t meet the same safety standard as food additives.

“There are some additives that are classified generally recognized as safe and we really question that classification because they’re not free of health concerns,” said Johanna Congleton, EWG senior scientist.

For example, propyl paraben is an endocrine-disrupting chemical but is considered GRAS. The report references studies that found that rats fed with the FDA’s Acceptable Daily Intake of propyl paraben had decreased sperm counts and decreases in testosterone.

EWG argues that companies shouldn’t be allowed to certify the safety of their own ingredients and wants consumers to urge FDA to strengthen its regulatory system for food additives.

Congleton says she finds nitrates and nitrites — often used as preservatives in cured meats such as bacon, salami, sausages and hot dogs — to be the most alarming additives. Nitrites, which can form from nitrates, react with naturally occurring components of protein called amines, forming nitrosamines, which are known cancer-causing compounds. Nitrosamines can form in nitrite or nitrate-treated meat or in the digestive tract, EWG says.

In 2010, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that ingested nitrites and nitrates are probable human carcinogens, and the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is currently considering listing nitrite in combination with amines or amides as a known carcinogen.

The Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives is based on scientific studies of hundreds of additives and data gathered from EWG’s Food Scores database, launched on Oct. 27, which includes information on more than 80,000 foods. The database scores foods based on nutrition, ingredients of concern (including food additives), contaminants (such as the likely levels of pesticide residue) and how processed the foods are.

Food Safety News

Environmental Working Group Releases First ‘Dirty Dozen’ List for Food Additives

The Environmental Working Group – famous for its list of produce most likely to be contaminated with pesticides – has now released a “Dirty Dozen” guide for food additives.

There are more than 10,000 additives in food distributed in the U.S., and EWG is trying to highlight “some of the worst failures of the regulatory system,” it says.

The list includes:

  1. Nitrates and nitrites
  2. Potassium bromate
  3. Propyl paraben
  4. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  5. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  6. Propyl gallate
  7. Theobromine
  8. Secret flavor incredients
  9. Artificial colors
  10. Diacetyl
  11. Phosphates
  12. Aluminum additives

The report goes into detail about the concerns surrounding each additive. Some of them are known or possible carcinogens and some can have reproductive and developmental effects.

EWG recommends that consumers avoid or consider avoiding the Dirty Dozen. Not only could this mean avoiding risky chemicals, but it could also mean improving overall diet, says the group, since food additives are most often found in highly processed, unhealthy foods. For the additives without definitive links to health concerns, EWG recommends limiting consumption until more information is available.

The other aim of the list is to draw attention to problems surrounding food regulation, particularly those with “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) designations.

The category has been controversial because it allows companies to determine whether a substance is GRAS without having to seek FDA approval. Consumer groups like EWG claim that some additives with GRAS status don’t meet the same safety standard as food additives.

“There are some additives that are classified generally recognized as safe and we really question that classification because they’re not free of health concerns,” said Johanna Congleton, EWG senior scientist.

For example, propyl paraben is an endocrine-disrupting chemical but is considered GRAS. The report references studies that found that rats fed with the FDA’s Acceptable Daily Intake of propyl paraben had decreased sperm counts and decreases in testosterone.

EWG argues that companies shouldn’t be allowed to certify the safety of their own ingredients and wants consumers to urge FDA to strengthen its regulatory system for food additives.

Congleton says she finds nitrates and nitrites — often used as preservatives in cured meats such as bacon, salami, sausages and hot dogs — to be the most alarming additives. Nitrites, which can form from nitrates, react with naturally occurring components of protein called amines, forming nitrosamines, which are known cancer-causing compounds. Nitrosamines can form in nitrite or nitrate-treated meat or in the digestive tract, EWG says.

In 2010, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that ingested nitrites and nitrates are probable human carcinogens, and the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is currently considering listing nitrite in combination with amines or amides as a known carcinogen.

The Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives is based on scientific studies of hundreds of additives and data gathered from EWG’s Food Scores database, launched on Oct. 27, which includes information on more than 80,000 foods. The database scores foods based on nutrition, ingredients of concern (including food additives), contaminants (such as the likely levels of pesticide residue) and how processed the foods are.

Food Safety News

Alliance outlines success against ‘Dirty Dozen’ list at FPFC Luncheon

CERRITOS, CA — Representatives for the Alliance for Food & Farming detailed the success they have had combating negative stories about fruits and vegetables at the June 19 luncheon meeting of the Fresh Produce & Floral Council in Southern California, here.

Marilyn Dolan, executive director of the Alliance, discussed the strategy the organization has used against the “Dirty Dozen” report issued by the Environmental Working Group each year.

1-MattMatt McInerney, executive vice president of Western Growers Association and chairman of the board of the Alliance for Food & Farming, with David Miroglio of Marzetti, and Marilyn Dolan, executive director of the Alliance for Food & Farming.EWG has been taking government statistics about pesticide residues and issuing what they call the “dirtiest” fruits and vegetables. It made no difference that each of the fresh products still had residue levels well below what is allowable, and would take the daily consumption of inordinate amounts for any negative impact whatsoever.

For the past several years, the Alliance, which is mostly made up of industry associations, has been proactively challenging the list with facts and research projects. Its efforts have even caused the EWG to issue a statement that consuming fruits and vegetables – both organic and conventional – is a more healthful strategy than consuming fewer fruits and vegetables because of any concern about pesticide residues.

While the attention to the list by the Alliance initially resulted in an increase in the number of reputable news organizations publicizing the EWG list, in the past couple of years fewer and fewer news organizations with national following have devoted any news space to the story.

Matthew McInerney, executive vice president of Western Growers Association, who is chairman of the board of the Alliance, detailed the structure of the Alliance and made a subtle plea for increased financial involvement by others in the industry.

He said the Alliance is often the go-to organization when food-safety issues concerning fruits and vegetables are in the press.

In fact, the organization was founded more than 20 years ago during the Alar apple scare involving that growth regulator, Washington State apples and Meryl Streep, who actively campaigned against the use of that product.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Group pushes back on latest Dirty Dozen report

The Environmental Working Group’s latest Dirty Dozen list unfairly targets apples and needlessly scares consumers about eating fresh fruits and vegetables, according to Marilyn Dolan, executive director of the Alliance for Food & Farming.

For the fourth year, apples topped the list of most pesticide-contaminated produce, EWG reports in its annual Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

But Dolan says she’s disappointed that apples are “again being unfairly targeted,” and that reporters should contact “reputable scientists, government agencies and nutritionists for more information before jeopardizing the livelihoods of family farmers and needlessly scaring consumers.”

EWG focuses on the compound DPA that is applied to apples following harvest to prevent them from scalding during cold storage. The compound is monitored as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data program and has been detected well below tolerance levels, Dolan explains.

“The residues are so low, in fact, that an independent toxicological report finds that a small child could eat 154 servings of apples every day without any impact from any residues that might be present,” she said.

Other fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list are strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet Bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, potatoes and imported snap peas.

EWG recommends consumers buy only organic leafy greens — kale and collard greens — and hot peppers, as they were “frequently contaminated with insecticides.”

EWG also released the so-called Clean Fifteen list of conventional produce with the least amount of pesticide residues.

Avocados top that list, with only 1 percent of samples showing any detectable pesticides. Other items on the list include corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangos, papayas, kiwi, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes, the report said.

“EWG’s Shopper’s Guide helps people find conventional fruits and vegetables with low concentrations of pesticide residues,” said Sonya Lunder, EWG’s senior analyst and principle author of the report. “If a particular item is likely to be high in pesticides, people can go for organic.”

Dolan said the report is based on U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency studies that make clear the residues do not pose a food- safety concern.

In fact, EWG takes aim at government’s safety standards for conventional pesticides, but those same government agencies regulate organic pesticides using many of the same stringent standards, Dolan noted.

The alliance issued a statement April 29 asking its own questions about the report, such as why EWG does not offer a link to the press release on the USDA data program, why it uses outdated information and why isn’t the report submitted to peer review.

Bryan Silbermann, chief executive officer of the Produce Marketing Association and vice chairman of the alliance, addressed the report in an email to PMA members April 30. PMA funding “helps the industry counter misinformation about pesticide residues on fresh produce and science — the same foundation we use to continuously improve food safety,” Silbermann wrote.

The alliance added, “There is no other food group where there is uniform and widespread agreement among health experts that consumption needs to be substantially increased.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Environmental Working Group Releases 2014 ‘Dirty Dozen’ List

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its annual Shopper’s Guide today, including the latest iteration of its “Dirty Dozen” list – a ranking of produce most likely to be contaminated with pesticides.

The guide ranks 48 popular fruits and vegetables based on an analysis of 32,000 samples tested by U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Topping the list of most contaminated was apples. As Food Safety News reported last week, EWG is asking that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigate whether a pesticide commonly applied to conventionally grown apples but banned by the European Commission is safe for U.S. consumers.

The report also includes a list of the “cleanest” produce, featuring avocados at the top, with only 1 percent of samples tested showing any detectable pesticides.

“EWG’s Shopper’s Guide helps people find conventional fruits and vegetables with low concentrations of pesticide residues,” said Sonya Lunder, EWG’s senior analyst and principal author of the report, adding, “If a particular item is likely to be high in pesticides, people can go for organic.”

Other findings in the EWG report include:

  • Every sample of imported nectarines tested and 99 percent of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other food.
  • A single grape tested positive for 15 pesticides. Single samples of celery, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and strawberries tested positive for 13 different pesticides apiece.
  • Some 89 percent of pineapples, 82 percent of kiwi, 80 percent of papayas, 88 percent of mango and 61 percent of cantaloupe had no residues.
  • No single fruit sample from the “Clean Fifteen” list tested positive for more than four types of pesticides.

In March, Food Safety News covered the release of USDA’s Pesticide Data Program annual summary in which, as in previous years, the agency found that, “U.S. food does not pose a safety concern based upon pesticide residues.”

In a recent opinion piece on this site, the Alliance for Food and Farming’s Marilyn Dolan took issue with EWG’s “Dirty Dozen,” stating that it’s “developed annually without regard to credible, accepted standards for determining risk and without peer review.”

Food Safety News

‘Two Dozen’ Bidders Seen for Belle Stores

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — As many as two dozen bidders are expected for Belle Foods’ 44 remaining stores when they are put up for auction next month, according to a local report.

C&S Wholesale Grocers, which is Belle Foods’ primary lender, is seeking to recover through the Sept. 24 auction the $ 38.3 million in loans and credit that Belle Foods owes, according to a report on al.com.


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The report cited Associated Wholesale Grocers, Kansas City, Kan., as a potential bidder for some of the stores. According to the report, AWG had bid on some of those stores when they were up for sale through the bankruptcy auction of Bruno’s five years ago, but the stores were awarded to C&S because of the supply-contract rejection agreement the stores had with C&S.

“It was in the magnitude of tens of millions of dollars in the Bruno’s case,” Mark Benedict, an attorney for AWG, told the court.

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‘Two Dozen’ Bidders Seen for Belle Stores

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — As many as two dozen bidders are expected for Belle Foods’ 44 remaining stores when they are put up for auction next month, according to a local report.

C&S Wholesale Grocers, which is Belle Foods’ primary lender, is seeking to recover through the Sept. 24 auction the $ 38.3 million in loans and credit that Belle Foods owes, according to a report on al.com.


CONNECT WITH SN ON TWITTER

Follow @SN_News for updates throughout the day.


The report cited Associated Wholesale Grocers, Kansas City, Kan., as a potential bidder for some of the stores. According to the report, AWG had bid on some of those stores when they were up for sale through the bankruptcy auction of Bruno’s five years ago, but the stores were awarded to C&S because of the supply-contract rejection agreement the stores had with C&S.

“It was in the magnitude of tens of millions of dollars in the Bruno’s case,” Mark Benedict, an attorney for AWG, told the court.

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