Practical Applications

Food arouses not only the appetite but also the emotions. The passion for food that is natural (i.e., free from extraneous ingredients) is not new; in 1857, a survey of adulterants in food showed that childrens' sweets were commonly colored by red lead (lead oxide), lead chromate, mercuric sulfide, and copper arsenite. By the late 1850s, 'pure and unadulterated' had become the stock advertising slogan of those anxious to cash in on the then newly awakened fears of the public. The current scale of the use of additives in food comes as a surprise to most people, and it is understandable that many should find these substances vaguely menacing. Nonetheless, the current phobia of food additives and food processing, and the obsession for so-called natural or health food arises largely out of misinformation and ignorance. Obsession with so-called natural or health food ignores the wide range of naturally occurring toxins in foods. The concept of health food is wholly misleading. For example, a survey of 'crunchy' peanut butter showed that 11 out of 59 samples from health food producers contained over 100 mg kg-1 of aflatox-ins, over 10 times the proposed maximum permitted level for total aflatoxins. Only one of the 26 samples from other producers contained aflatoxins in excess of 10 mg kg-1, and none contained more than 50 mgkg-1.

See also: Caffeine. Food Allergies: Etiology; Diagnosis and Management. Food Safety: Mycotoxins. Fructose. Lactose Intolerance. Vitamin A: Biochemistry and Physiological Role; Deficiency and Interventions.

Food Allergies

Food Allergies

Peanuts can leave you breathless. Cat dander can lead to itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, coughing and sneezing. And most of us have suffered through those seasonal allergies with horrible pollen counts. Learn more...

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