What are artificial ingredients?
Generally speaking artificial ingredients are chemically synthesized compounds used to enhance flavor, preserve food or maintain a desired texture. They may mimic the taste, smell or color of natural foods, boost the visual appeal, or prolong self life. There are more than 3,000 FDA-approved artificial additives in the food supply.
Why should consumers be concerned?
While research is largely inconclusive, there has been some evidence that additives may cause diseases or discomfort.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, among others, have reported that Yellow Number 5 can be associated with allergic reactions as hives, runny nose, and shortness of breath. The FDA has received complaints that aspartame, a sugar substitute, may cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Also, Business Week reported that Red Number 3, for example, causes thyroid cancer in rats. Yet, it colors foods like maraschino cherries and pistachio nuts.
As the use of artificial additives rises, there in an increased human risk, as it is not possible to absolutely ensure the safety of any additive.
What are the existing regulations?
The FDA is responsible for regulating the use of food additives, and requires artificial additives to be disclosed on ingredient statements. Federal regulations require evidence that each substance is safe at its intended levels of use before it may be added to foods.
None of the Annie's products contain artificial coloring. The orange coloring used in our Shells and Real Aged Cheddar is a natural plant extract which comes from extract of the seeds of the Annatto tree.
For more information, visit http://businessweek.com/1996/19/b3474101.htm or http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/foodaddi.html.