US Food Additives Banned in Europe

Aug 15, 2023
Did you know there are food additives that are banned in Europe, but legal for use in US products? These ingredients are not allowed in the EU because they are not considered safe, and are linked to cancer or other health-related issues.
At Trash Panda, we believe you deserve full transparency about what’s in your food to make educated choices about the products you buy.
Here are a few of the ingredients that are banned in Europe that we flag in the Trash Panda app as “Potentially Harmful.”
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1. Titanium Dioxide

Titanium Dioxide is an odorless powder used as a colorant to enhance the white color or opacity of foods. It is identified as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as an occupational carcinogen by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Consumption of titanium dioxide can have a negative impact to the digestive tract and immune system. It can be found in many common candies, sauces, and even some milk products.
Found In: Jell-O, Sour Patch Kids, Kraft Fat-Free Cheddar Cheese, Skinny Girl Buttermilk Ranch

2. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)

BHA is used primarily as an antioxidant and preservative in food, food packaging, animal feed, and cosmetics, and in rubber and petroleum products
BHA is listed as a known carcinogen under California's Proposition 65, and the international cancer agency categorizes it as a possible human carcinogen. These designations are based on consistent evidence that BHA causes tumors in animals. The European Union classifies BHA as an endocrine disruptor because at higher doses, it can lower testosterone and affect thyroid hormones.
Found In: Hungry Jack Mashed Potatoes, Hormel Turkey Pepperoni Snack Bites, Jack Link’s Original Beef Stick Meat Snacks

3. Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)

Brominated Vegetable Oil is a food additive sometimes used to keep citrus flavoring from separating out in sodas and other beverages. BVO can be harmful to the nervous system, and contains bromine — another additive that is linked to causing cancer. It builds up in the body and can cause headaches, irritation of the skin and mucous membranes, and can even affect your memory.
Found In: Sun Drop, in addition to some generic and store-brands
Better Option: Olipop Ginger Lemon

4. Azodicarbonamide, or ADA

Azodicarbonamide is a preservative added to baked goods and other foods as a dough conditioner and bleaching agent.
Azodicarbonamide, when exposed to heat (as in bread baking) degrades into semicarbazide, a known carcinogen that has been shown to cause tumors in animal studies. It is not permitted for use as a food additive in Europe due to the carcinogenicity and genotoxicity caused by semicarbazide which is created.
EFSA has also banned it as a blowing agent in food contact materials since August 2005. When inhaled, azodicarbonamide has been linked to asthma and respiratory issues in people as well.
Found In: Ball Park Hot Dog Buns, Little Debbie Honey Buns, and Pillsbury Artisan Dinner Rolls, Sunbeam Large Enriched Bread
Better Option: Dave’s Killer Bread

5. Food Dyes like Red 40, Yellow 5, and Blue 1

Some people, especially children, may be sensitive to food dyes like Red 40, Yellow 5, and Blue 1, and have experienced allergic reactions when consuming them. Artificial food dyes have also been linked to increased behavioral problems in children, especially those with ADHD, because they may cause chemical changes in the brain, inflammation, and depletion of minerals that are important to growth and development.
Found In: Skittles, M&Ms, and even some brands of mustard and ketchup
Better Option: Smart Sweets candies are colored with fruit and vegetable juices
When putting products in your cart, take a second to turn the package over and look at the ingredients, or use the Trash Panda App to do it for you!
Reading ingredients made easy. For quicker, healthier decisions.
Start Scanning (it's free)
Trash Panda
Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play