By Hwaa Irfan
Well if one was looking for a way to reduce the family consumption of take away foods for budgetary reasons, here is one that can be added to the list of reasons. Chicken that is:
“White boneless chicken, water, food starch-modified, salt, seasoning (autolyzed yeast extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavoring (botanical source), safflower oil, dextrose, citric acid, rosemary), sodium phosphates, seasoning (canola oil, mono- and diglycerides, extractives of rosemary).
“Battered and breaded with: water, enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), yellow corn flour, food starch-modified, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, whey, corn starch.
Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.”
Can’t see anything wrong with this chicken? Well find the chicken in the ingredients of chicken?
This is the Organic Authority’s description of the chicken on menu at the international fast food chains McDonald’s and Chicken Nugget. Only 50% of the chicken that one is biting into at McNugget is actually chicken! How can that be?
The emboldened words refer to tertiary butylhydroquinone TBHQ, and as written dimethylpolysiloxane.
Pushed by food manufacturers for approval in the late 1970s, TBHQ is silicone, listed as an antioxidant, without specifying that it is synthetic. It is a petroleum-based synthetic antioxidant that prevents the oxidation of processed foods, thus prolonging shelf life. It not only prolongs the shelf life of foods, but it prolongs the shelf life of varnished, pesticides, cosmetics, and perfumes, and it is used as an antifoaming agent.
It was CNN that revealed the good news about McDonalds and Chicken McNuggets, and that McNuggets do not include these ingredients to the chicken they serve in the U.K, apparently according to local taste. Applied in the U.S., an FDA (Food and Drugs Food Administration) limit of 0.02% is implemented. But is there an accumulative affect? One gram of TBHQ according to the Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives can lead to nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and even collapse. At 5 grams TBHQ can cause death.
TBHQ is also used as a preservative in:
- Beverage whiteners
- Bread-type products, including bread stuffing and bread crumbs
- Breads and rolls
- Chewing gum
- Cocoa and chocolate products
- Confectionery including hard and soft candy, nougats.
- Crackers, excluding sweet crackers
- Decorations (e.g., for fine bakery wares), toppings (non-fruit) and sweet sauces
- Edible ices, including sherbet and sorbet
- Fat emulsions mainly of type oil-in-water, including mixed and/or flavoured products based on fat emulsions
- Fat spreads, dairy fat spreads and blended spreads
- Fat-based desserts excluding dairy-based dessert products
- Lard, tallow, fish oil, and other animal fats
- Pre-cooked pastas and noodles and like products
- Processed comminuted meat, poultry, and game products
- Processed meat, poultry, and game products in whole pieces or cuts
- Ready-to-eat savories
- Soups and broths
- Meat products
- Vegetable oils and fats
Sometimes it is listed on food labels as food additive 319. In a 2006 Environmental Protection Agency review report (lnert Reassessment: Tertiary butylhydroquinone (CAS Reg. No 1948-33-0), TBHQ was found to be insoluble in water, but not in fats thus running the high potential to be absorbed by the skin, is easily absorbed by the human body, but was found not to biodegradable in the environment, hence an accumulative affect likely compounded by use with pesticides!
Dimethylpolysiloxane is also used in Chicken McNuggets, and in used in ‘Silly Putty’ as an antifoaming agent in both the oil used to cook McNuggets, and ‘Silly Putty’. Dimethylpolysiloxane was passed as safe for human consumption in 1969 by a joint committee of experts on food additives from the Food and Agricultural Organization, and WHO on the basis that at the time no significant toxicological problems were observed in the studies.
Listed on food labels as E900 it is used as a food additive in fatty dairy products, chewing gum, vinegar, soups, jellied, beer and malt drinks, fermented fruit products, powdered milk, imitation chocolate, water based sports/energy/electrolyte drinks, and pre-cooked pastas and noodles for example. Unfortunately, most of the research is carried out on animals who do not react as humans do, yet Dimethylpolysiloxane is an ingredient in the painkiller Pentazocine, Froben a drug for musculoskeletal disorders, and Retrovir/Zidovudine for HIV-1 infections.
Concerns were raised in an EPA 2006 review report on the toxicity of Dimethylpolysiloxane where it was found to cause cell tumors in male rats, but regarded as safe for human consumption, as it is not absorbed by the human body, but once excreted, it enters the environment, which is not factored in. Used in paints, varnishes, silicone lubricants, textiles,, and cosmetics, more long terms human and environmental studies need to be carried out to test its true level of toxicity.
“Food Additive Details: Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) (319).” http://www.codexalimentarius.net/gsfaonline/additives/details.html?id=190
“McDonald’s McNuggets Made with ‘Silly Putty’ Chemical.” http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfmoms/detail?entry_id=66729
Mercola. “The Chicken Which Should Be Banned.” http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/11/08/do-you-have-any-idea-of-the-chemicals-used-in-fast-food-chicken.aspx
Wagner, P. “lnert Reassessment: Tertiary butylhydroquinone (CAS Reg. No 1948-33-0).” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2006
Wagner, P. Reassessment of 15 Exemptions from the Requirement of a Tolerance for Twelve Poorly Absorbed Chemicals.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2006.
“What is in Fast Food.” Organic Authority http://www.organicauthority.com/foodie-buzz/what-is-in-fast-food-chicken-hint-its-not-chicken.html
WHO. “Toxicological Evaluation of Some Food Colors, Enzymes, Flavor Enhancers, Thickening Agents, and Certain Food Additives.” http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v06je42.htm
Winter, R. “Tertiary Butylhydroquinone, TBHQ.” http://food.oregonstate.edu/glossary/t/tertiarybutylhydroquinone.html