The additives problem

Appears in

The New Vegetarian

The New Vegetarian

By Colin Spencer

Published 1986

  • About
There is nothing new about food additives. The pollution of food to make it convenient or enticing has happened throughout history. And for food to travel well or keep during winter months, it has to be preserved. Sulphur dioxide, that ubiquitous present day preserver, has been used since the ancient Greeks, spices such as cloves, cinnamon and pepper since even earlier.
But the scale of food additives today is wholly different. As well as preservatives, there are stabilizers, emulsifiers, colourants, anti-oxidants, flavour enhancers and artificial sweeteners. Many of the common additives are now known to cause health problems from allergic responses to stomach upsets and skin rashes, and some may be positively harmful, even carcinogenic. Most of all, our present anxiety is with the chemical cocktail created when we eat a range of processed foods and the different additives intermingle in our bodies. There is no way of telling what the effects of this may be.