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Plate

Tag: green

About 5 years ago, my hubby and I got serious about religiously shopping with our canvas bags. We’d get home, unpack the groceries and still be left with 5-7 plastic bags. Why you ask? Two words: fresh produce.

Virtually everywhere you can shop, be it the grocery store, mega-store, CSA, or farmer’s market, provides plastic produce bags or houses their fresh fare in plastic containers, plastic baskets, or plastic mesh. The plastic bags serve several purposes: (1) provides a vestibule for you to place your lettuce in (2) prevents oranges from rolling around your shopping cart or basket (3) allows the cashier to visually identify your apples and differentiate between the Pink Lady and the Gala (4) contains your peppers in a “weightless” material so they are easily and accurately weighed or counted.

A standard trip to our farmer’s market reveals an interesting irony. Almost everyone carries reusable shopping bags, handmade African baskets, or is pushing some sort of cart, but they all contain a mass of plastic bags with their individual purchases. That kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?
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This Ingredient Spotlight is a regular feature from Be Food Smart. Check back regularly to see new ingredients.

Happy New Year! Today’s ingredient is an artificial coloring which has been linked to headaches, skin rashes, hives and hyperactivity in children. Skip the mint chip ice cream and go for vanilla next time!

Tartrazine

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Names: FD&C Yellow No.5, Y4, E102

Uses: Coloring

Found In: candy, soft drinks, cereal, gelatin desserts, baked goods, ice cream, pudding, snack foods, energy drinks, flavored chips, jam, yogurt, pickles, dessert powders, custard

Description: This lemon yellow dye is derived from coal tar. It’s used for yellow, but can be mixed with other colors such as Brilliant Blue to create shades of green. The FDA requires that Yellow No. 5 be specifically identified on the ingredient line because some people are very sensitive to it. Due to several studies on children and hyperactivity, the European Union requires food containing this colorant to have a label which states: “may have an adverse effect on activity in children” (see full report for link). Also see Food, Drug & Cosmetic Colors (FD&C).

Possible Health Effects: Serious allergic reactions can occur in those with sensitivities to aspirin. Other effects include: asthma, hives, headache, skin…read more on Tartrazine.

Related Ingredient: FD&C Blue #1

Copyright August 8, 2010 Be Food Smart

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Be Food Smart was created to educate and inform the public about what’s really in the foods we eat every day. The site has a huge database of food additives, chemicals, food colorings, sweeteners, and preservatives and allows one to search for over 400 ingredient names. Our unique ingredient reports contain simple and easy to understand descriptions, alternate names, possible health effects, and allergy information. The site is completely free and is a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, health care professionals, dietitians, and concerned consumers.