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Thread: Q? about preservatives, may be a silly Q?

  1. #1

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    Default Q? about preservatives, may be a silly Q?

    Ok, not sure how to ask this so you know what I mean....

    I recently bought a preservative free cordial. Its not something I have every really been concerned about (and to be honest I doubt I ever really will be) But a friend (you all know her as FireFly) is right into the preservative free thing & got me wondering. Anyway I was looking on the net at what code it what & what the related risk is to that preservative. Now my question is, if the risks listed are things like allergic reaction (rashs etc) or asthmatics should avoid. Does that mean its only bad fro people who 1 have a reaction to it or 2 are asthmatic?
    I understand that allergies can be someting that appears later in life. But if the risks listed don't apply because (I will use myself as an example) I don't have asthma or allergies, then is it still a risk and should therfor be avoided?
    Like peanuts, I know they have the risk of allergic reactions, but I don't have an allergy to nuts so I don't have to avoid them KWIM?

    Also what about preservatives that are also naturally occouring in some foods. Like Sodium benzoate (211). Its linked to a number of food intolerances but it also naturally occurs in things like pruns & apples. So why should it be avoided in cordial (for example) when I am exposing my self by eating an apple.



    Does any of that make sence to anyone? Please remember I am pregnant LOL.

  2. #2

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    Fi,

    No it isn't a silly question at all. I have asthma and sometimes react badly to certain food preservatives. Not all preservatives are a bad thing and obviously we need them in order to avoid spoilage of food but I can completely understand why people are concerned about their use/overuse.

    As you say, if you have asthma it is definitely wise to avoid these things altogether but I think additives and preservatives are worthy of concern if they have been implicated in causing allergies and intolerances, whether a person currently exhibits symptoms or not. Personally, considering that an allergy may take a long time to show up, I would probably be cautious about giving kids foods that contain known allergens. The theory goes that it is the ongoing exposure to these substances which is causing people to have very bad reactions to them. The build up over time means that the body develops an intolerance. I have seen this also in my own family with their gluten sensitivities.

    Cheers,

    Mel
    Last edited by Melbo; September 29th, 2006 at 06:44 AM.

  3. #3
    Fire Fly Guest

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    Ok, in my little book of additives it says that Sodium Benzoate (211) is associated with liver, kidney and neurotoxic effects and also regarded as a possible teratogen. (211) should be avoided by pg and b/fng mums.
    In the back of this book are sections that have numbers for you to avoid if your and asthmatic, b/fng,etc so you chose which ones your wish to avoid. I avoid the carcinogens and pregnant and b/fng and children ones.
    There are alot of healthy preservatives but also alot that are really harmful. If you want a list of all the wrong numbers to avoid i dont mind posting them or writting them down for you. Or alternatively you can go the web site of additivealert and look for yourself. Its and eye opener.
    Last edited by Trillian; September 29th, 2006 at 08:39 AM. Reason: removal of link

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    I will have a look on that website. The thing I don't get is why is 211 so bad when it occurs naturally in some foods?

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    Kerrie, that would be great to post the list of additives/preservatives here, I'm sure many people (myself included) would be interested to know what they are.

    I think sometimes the difference between those occuring in natural foods already, and those in packaged foods is that one is natural and one is a chemical replica? Kerrie, correct me if I am wrong on that.

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    well thing I read is that (this is of a US site) that only 0.1% of 211 is allowed in foods but it occurs in things like pruns at a higher concentration.

    ETA: I found this
    Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is responsible for the approval of food additives that are allowable in Australian foods. All food additives used in Australia undergo a safety assessment, which includes rigorous testing, before they are approved. Toxicological tests on animals are used to determine the amount of additive that is expected to be safe when consumed by humans. This is usually an amount 100 times less than the maximum daily dose at which ‘no observable effects’ are produced by an additive consumed over the test animal’s lifetime. If there is any doubt over the safety of an additive, approval is not given. If new scientific information becomes available suggesting that a food additive is no longer safe, the approval to use the food additive would be withdrawn.
    So why is there such a big concern about these addatives being used. I was thinking if they are so bad why does the Australian Standards allow them. I know animals are different to people. But I am happy with what the FSANZ say. I guess I am probably being nieve (sp?) but obviously it wouldn't be used if the risk was as bad as one thinks.
    Kerrie, in your book does it tell you in what concentrations these addatives have been shown to cause the associated problems?
    Last edited by *Efjay*; September 29th, 2006 at 09:15 AM.

  7. #7
    Fire Fly Guest

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    Sherie, no prob, Id be happy to do it. Bewarned though its a bit daunting at first but once you rework your shopping its easy as it was before.

    Fiona, Benzoateds (210 -213) are found in soft drinks and particularly cordials. They are considered dangerous for asthmatics and people sensitive to aspirin (salicylates). They are also linked more widely to a range of adverse effects including hyperactivity, eye and skin irratation, and gastric burning.
    Most dried fruit is preserved by the use of sulphur dioxide (220) or potassium sorbate (202). Sultanans are often coated in vegetable oil as a preservative, and the oil often contains an unlabelled antioxidant which you may need to ring and check on if you wish to avoid certain antioxidants. Sulphar Dioxide should be avoided by asthmatics.

    Think i might post it as a seperate post because there are heaps. Is that ok sherie or do you want them in here???

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    Kerrie, just another thread in Recipes and cooking would be great. There are so many people who are beginging to develop food intolerances and allergies, so it would really help to have such a comprehensive list.

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    Kerrie, I know what things that they are in. But what I want to know is at what concentration are they a problem.
    This is from the FSANZ website:
    3 August 2005

    FSANZ releases findings of study on preservatives in food
    Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) today released the results of the 21st Australian Total Diet Study (ATDS) of preservatives in food.
    The ATDS annually monitors Australia’s food supply for pesticide residues, contaminants, nutrients, additives and other substances. It has regularly given the Australian food supply a clean bill of health.
    For the 21st ATDS, FSANZ focused on a three classes of preservatives in food – sulphites, benzoates and sorbates.
    Preservatives control the growth of yeast, bacteria and mould in food and provide important benefits to consumers, including the wider availability of safe foods with increased shelf lives.
    The study confirmed that most Australians have a dietary intake of sulphites, benzoates and sorbates that is well below the internationally accepted reference health standard for these preservatives, and they present no public health and safety risk.
    The relevant health standard is the Acceptable Daily Intake or ADI. The ADI represents the amount of the substance that can be consumed daily over an entire lifetime without any health effects.
    However, the results showed that a small number of Australians, including children, may exceed the ADI. Specifically, this is limited to those who consume on a daily basis large amounts of foods containing sulphites and benzoates, such as cordials, sausages and dried fruit.
    FSANZ Chief Scientist, Dr Marion Healy said that FSANZ is always concerned when an ADI is exceeded, even though the ADI levels have high margins of safety factored into them.
    “However, we do not believe that a high dietary intake of sulphites and benzoates will adversely affect people”, Dr Healy said.
    “We are very much aware that sulphites are already a worry to some people – mainly those who may suffer from asthma. This is currently addressed by the labelling of foods containing sulphites”.
    Dr Healy said that FSANZ has decided to conduct a review of the use of sulphites and benzoates in the food supply.
    FSANZ will be working with food manufacturers to refine our data and, if necessary, establish the best way to reduce the consumption of these preservatives among those exceeding the ADI.
    Input to the review will be sought from concerned individuals, consumer groups, public health professionals and industry.
    FSANZ has prepared a fact sheet to explain which foods were included in the 21st ATDS, how the dietary exposures to sulphites and benzoates were estimated, the age groups sampled and a summary of the study findings.
    and the Fact sheet metioned:
    Benzoates, sulphites and sorbates in the food supply
    Report of the 21st Australian Total Diet Study

    3 August 2005

    The Australian Total Diet Study (ATDS), formerly known as the Australian Market Basket Study, is Australia’s most comprehensive assessment of consumers’ dietary intake to a range of food chemicals, including food additives, nutrients, pesticide residues, contaminants and other substances.
    The 21st ATDS, carried out by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), has estimated the intake of the Australian population to three classes of preservatives in food – benzoates, sulphites and sorbates.
    What are preservatives and why are they used?
    Preservatives are food additives designed mainly to improve the microbiological safety of food. As a consequence of this, preservatives may also maintain the palatability and attractiveness of foodstuffs to the consumer. Sulphite, benzoate and sorbate preservatives are widely used throughout the food industry.
    How does the 21st ATDS differ from previous studies?
    The intention with the 21st ATDS and future studies is to conduct more frequent studies on fewer food chemicals that, over time, investigate a broader range of food chemicals in a more comprehensive manner. Previous ATDSs looked at pesticide residues and contaminants only, finding that these present a very low public health and safety risk. FSANZ will now investigate those food chemicals for which there are insufficient data, or for which there may be cause for concern that dietary exposure might exceed the reference health standard. For example, for some additives the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for some population groups may be exceeded. This is the amount of food additive that can be ingested daily over an entire lifetime without any appreciable risk to health and is expressed in units of milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight per day (mg/kg bw/day).
    Which foods were sampled for the study?
    The food survey conducted for the 21st ATDS sampled 59 types of food for which permissions have been given for preservatives in theAustralia New Zealand Food Standards Code. In light of State and Territory enforcement data, minced meat was also included in the 21st ATDS, although there is no permission for sulphite usage in minced meat in the Code.
    Types of foods sampled included alcoholic beverages (including red and white wine and beer), non-alcoholic beverages (including juice, cordials and soft-drinks), cereal products (including bread, cake, pasta and muesli bars) cheeses and cheese-based dips, dried fruits and dried fruit products (including dried apricots, apples, prunes and ‘fruit fingers’), meat products (including sausages, frankfurts, hamburger patties and strassburg), ice cream toppings, potato crisps and hot potato chips.
    Foods were sampled from all Australian States and Territories.
    To obtain the most realistic estimate of the amount of sulphites, benzoates and sorbates in the food as it is normally eaten, the sampled foods were prepared to a ‘ready-to-eat’ state before being analysed. For example, sausages were fried and cordial was made up according to the instructions.
    For which age groups were estimates of dietary intake calculated?
    The dietary intake estimates were calculated for a range of age-gender groups. The groups comprised young girls aged 2-5 years, young boys aged 2-5 years, school girls aged 6-12 years, school boys aged 6-12 years, teenage girls aged 13-18 years, teenage boys aged 13-18 years, adult females aged 19 years and over and adult males aged 19 years and over. Dietary intakes were also estimated for the entire female and male populations aged two years and over, which we assume to be representative of a lifetime of dietary exposure to the preservatives.
    What are the main findings of the 21st ATDS?
    The 21st ATDS found that, for the majority of the people in all age groups, there is no public health and safety risk from eating a balanced diet that includes foods prepared using sulphites, benzoates and sorbates.
    The results indicate that, for all the population groups assessed, even high consumers of sorbates had a dietary intake well below the ADI for sorbate. However, in some age groups, the eating patterns of some people can lead to a high consumption of benzoates and sulphites, resulting in an intake above their respective ADIs.
    For example, the ATDS found that young children who are high consumers of certain sulphite-containing foods (for example, dried apricots, sausages and cordial) have estimated intakes that exceeded the ADI for sulphites. Similarly, young children who are very high consumers of certain benzoate-containing foods (for example, non-cola soft drinks, orange juice and cordial) exceeded the ADI for benzoates, but to a lesser degree than for sulphites. In the modelling used to estimate intake, it was assumed that the same foods were eaten every day.
    It is important to note that young children are more likely to exceed the ADI than adults, due to their higher consumption of food per kilogram of body weight.
    Should the community be worried about the dietary intakes estimated in the 21st ATDS?
    No. The results of the study show that there are no public health and safety concerns for the majority of people who regularly select a balanced diet that includes foods containing benzoates, sulphites and sorbates.
    There is also no need for people whose eating patterns lead to high intakes of these preservatives, to be unduly concerned. When conducting the ATDS, FSANZ makes conservative assumptions, which are likely to result in the dietary intake being an over-estimation.
    This estimate is then compared to an internationally agreed reference health standard, in this case, the ADI, which is also conservative and includes a 100-fold safety factor.
    However, this large margin of safety is reduced for people who have intakes of sulphites and benzoates that exceed the reference standard on a regular basis.

    What are the possible health consequences of dietary intake of benzoates and sulphites?
    FSANZ is aware that sulphites are of particular concern to those suffering from asthma. This concern is already addressed by the mandatory labelling of all foods with sulphite concentrations of 10 mg/kg or more. The issue of sulphite sensitivity has been considered previously by FSANZ and resulted in the wide distribution of a brochure entitled “For Asthma Sufferers: The Facts About Sulphites in Food” which is available on the FSANZ web site. There is little evidence to suggest that sulphites are a concern for non-asthmatics.
    In relation to other potential health consequences, there is currently no clinical evidence to suggest that high dietary intake of sulphites and benzoates can cause adverse effects in people.
    Food additives are tested in experimental animals in order to identify any potential adverse health effects. Such studies are normally conducted at dose levels that are considerably higher than the levels normally found in foods. Sulphites, when tested in animals for periods over three months with daily high dose exposure, caused gastric lesions. There was little evidence of toxicity in other organs even at higher dose levels. In a similar study with high daily exposure to benzoates, there were only general signs of toxicity, such as lethargy and reduced food intake.
    Which foods contribute to high dietary intake of these preservatives?
    Some people’s eating patterns may lead to a high level of intake of benzoates and sulphites. This can be from eating food that has high levels of the preservatives (for example, dried apricots), or eating large amounts of food that contains moderate or low levels of the preservatives (for example, wine), or a combination of these.

    The 21st ATDS found that the foods that contributed the most to the estimated dietary intake of sulphites included dried apricots, sausages, cordial and white wine. Foods that contributed the most to the estimated dietary intake of benzoates were non-cola soft drinks, cordial and orange juice.

    What is FSANZ doing to address the problem?
    FSANZ has decided to undertake a Review of sulphites and benzoates in the Food Supply (Proposal P298). We will be working with food manufacturers to refine our data and if necessary establish the best way to reduce dietary intake of these preservatives.
    The challenge will be to identify permissible levels of usage that lower intake of sulphites and benzoates, while retaining the technological function of the preservatives in the foods or to assist industry to find alternative preservatives and methodologies in some cases. We are seeking input to the review from concerned individuals, consumer groups, public health professionals and industry.
    The 21st ATDS indicated that sulphites are being added illegally to minced meat. However, the dietary modelling indicated that this contributed very little to the overall estimated intake of sulphites. FSANZ is working closely with Australian food regulation enforcement agencies to address this problem. State and Territory health departments are responsible for the enforcement of food laws and they conduct regular surveys of meat products to ensure compliance with food additive permissions contained in the Food Standards Code. FSANZ and the enforcement agencies will continue to target meat manufacturers to reduce illegal addition of sulphites to minced meat.
    Ok, well from what I have found so far on the issue, Yes I will continue to by the preservative free cordials. But other then that I don't think I or my children are at any risk that I need to be concerned about. We do drink cordial on a regular basis so thats the main one I will stick to as far as preservative free. Although I still doubt that they amount we consume would put us about the RDI.

    Kerrie, I'm not debating with you, just so you know.
    Last edited by *Efjay*; September 29th, 2006 at 09:36 AM.

  10. #10
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    All done

  11. #11
    Fire Fly Guest

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    sorry fiona but im not reading all that. I just go by the book i have and thats enough for me. Im certainly no expert and dont think i know half as much as i should but this is all i need atm for my family.

  12. #12

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    Yep, I get that. Thats what what I am saying. I am happy with what the FSANZ says about the addatives & our standards in regards to them. So don't feel I am in any danger but not avoiding them. But I understand that its different for everyone.

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    Ooooohhh one of my favourite topics!! Fire fly, I use the list from additive alert as well

    FJ, we have MANY additives that are allowed in Australia that are banned overseas in Europe and the USA. Aldi scotch finger biscuits use 320 that was banned in Japan in 1958!! I came across one in there cracker biscuits that is FATAL at a very small dose.

    Health comes a very poor second to money when it comes to our noble leaders. Heaps of the additives in our foods are KNOWN carcinogens and teratogens which means they cause cancer and birth defects.
    Last edited by hannanat; September 29th, 2006 at 11:32 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rayla72 View Post
    Heaps of the additives in our foods are KNOWN carcinogens and teratogens which means they cause cancer and birth defects.

    Again I understand this & agree that it is bad that they are used. But still at what concentration are they being used & at what concentration do this problems become an issue.
    Like with medications, we all know that a little can be good for you, but that doesn't mean a lot is better. So I guess I am thinking the reverse with addatives in food. Yes a lot is bad, but what is classed as a lot & when it is it bad? Am I making snce or just going around in circles?

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    No I can see your point. I am not prepared to take a risk with ANY amount of these foods. As a result we've stopped eating a lot of stuff and I feel better about it. It might be okay to eat 2 of a certain biscuit, but what happens if you eat 2 every day or every 2nd day. These things can sometimes take a long time to be processed and excreted out of our systems. Some are stored in our body fat. Are FSANZ taking that into account?

    Look at asbestos - for years the powers that be told us that it was safe and we surrounded ourselves with it. Literally lived in it. People renovated while they let their children helped and breathed cancer causing fibres into their lungs.

    Are you familiar with thalidamide? A horror story thats being passed down through generations. Our medical authorities assured us that it was safe and even PRESCRIBED it to pregnant women. How sad.

    Aluminium has a proven link to Alzhiemers and we still use it in heaps of stuff.

    I just read an article on kids and all sorts of chemicals. I'll dig it out and post anything relevant here.

  16. #16

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    Probably a dumby question but do additives build up in our bodies or are they excreted? I geuss that its probably one of those things that varies from additive to additive.

    ETA - do they cross over to our bubs through our breast milk and placenta's?

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    I had alook at what I have in my cupboard & there are a few things with this 319 & 320 in them. I think I will avoid the ones that are very nasty & see how it goes.

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    Chloe, some accumulate in body fat and just sit there. What happens when you burn the fat?

    FJ these are the ones you were talking about.

    Name tert-Butylhydroquinone
    Number 319
    Comments Linked to cancer, birth defects, can cause nausea, vomitting, delerium, collapse, dermatitis. Dose of 5g is fatal - avoid it

    Name Butylated hydroxyanisole
    Number 320
    Comments Serious concerns about carcinogenic and estrogenic effects, asthmatics and aspirin sensitive people should avoid, causes metabolic changes and accumulates in body fat. Banned in Japan in 1958 -Not permitted in foods for infants and young children.

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