Ditch Ingredients Banned in Europe

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Food Ingredients Banned In Europe

Would you eat food with ingredients banned in Europe? Unfortunately its likely you are without realizing it. Once you know what these ingredients are then you will have the opportunity to avoid them. Many of these ingredients are found to be carcinogens or “cancer causing”. Other ingredients have been restricted in the state of California. What are these ingredients doing in our food? In Europe ingredients are banned despite continuing scientific uncertainty. This is the precautionary principle. The United States requires much more proof of danger before an ingredient will be banned. Which of these principles sounds better to you? In the United States the safety of these ingredients is approved by the food companies that use them. Does this seem like a conflict of interest? Popular food companies like General Mills make two versions of their products. Manufacturers reformulate their products for European standards. Check out real examples from Food Babe.

Artificial Food Colors & Dyes

  • Blue 1, Blue 2, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40, Red3
  • We eat with our eyes and gravitate towards bright colored food.
  • Scientists create artificial colors in a lab often from petroleum or coal tar.
  • The only purpose is to make our food look better.
  • Artificial Colors are included in the EWG Dirty Dozen Food Ingredients.
  • Manufactures are starting to listen.
    • In 2015 Kraft removed Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 from macaroni and cheese.
    • Paprika and Annatto replaced the yellow in everyone’s favorite dinner.
  • 9 Solid Reasons to Ditch Artificial Food Colors

Health Hazards

  • In Europe products that contain artificial colors have a mandatory label – “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”
  • Studies link hyperactivity in children.
  • Increased risk for Allergies and Cancers.

From the FDA website:

Reactions to color additives are rare. It is possible, but rare, to have an allergic-type reaction to a color additive. For example, FD&C Yellow No. 5 may cause itching and hives in some people. This color additive is widely found in beverages, desserts, processed vegetables, drugs, makeup, and other products. FDA requires all products containing FD&C Yellow No. 5 to identify it on their labels so that consumers who are sensitive to the dye can avoid it. On medicine labels, this certified color additive is also identified by its uncertified name, “tartrazine.”

Found in

  • Candy
  • Cereal
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Condiments like Mustard and Ketchup
  • Fruit Snacks and other Packaged foods
  • Medicines
  • Sport Drinks / Sodas


  • Read the labels.
  • Opt for the version that contains “natural” food coloring.

Potassium Bromate (brominated flour)

  • Bread makers use Potassium Bromate in the bread-making process as an oxidizing agent.
  • It makes dough rise higher and gives it a white glow.
  • Banned in the EU, Canada and Brazil.
  • Included in the EWG Dirty Dozen Food Ingredients.

Health Hazards

  • The International Agency on Research for Cancer (IARC) declared it a possible human carcinogen in 1999.
  • California requires a warning label for all products made with potassium Bromate.

Found in

  • Baked goods.
  • Bread
  • Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns


  • Check ingredient lists for “potassium bromate” and “bromated flour.”
  • Use the EWG’s Healthy Living App to find out which products contain Potassium Bromate.

Azodicarbonamide (ADA)

  • A chemical additive used as a whitening agent and dough conditioner.
  • Commercial bakers have been using this bleaching agent since the 1960s.
  • Bread can be made without it. It is not a necessary Ingredient.
  • Also known as the yoga mat chemical thanks to Food Babe.

Health Hazards

Found in


  • Read labels when buying baked goods.
  • Use the EWG’s Healthy Living App to find out which products contain ADA.

Brominated vegetable oil (BVO)

  • Used to keep sodas and soft drinks from separating out.
  • Commonly used in citrus flavored sodas and sports drinks.

Health Hazards

  • Banned In Europe
  • Contains bromine, the element found in brominated flame retardants
  • BVO can build up in the body and cause toxic effects. Especially in high amounts over a long period of time.

Found in

  • Citrus Sodas
  • Sports Drinks


  • Drinks that contain BVO usually look hazy or cloudy.

5 Appalling Things to Know About Trans Fats

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) & (BHT)

  • BHA and BHT helps prevent foods from going rancid by helping to stop oxygen from mixing with oils in the food.

Health Hazards

Found in

  • Chips
  • Packaged & preserved meat products
  • Many packaged products


  • Read Food Labels

Synthetic growth hormones (rBGH and rBST)

  • Synthetic Hormones injected into dairy cows to increase milk production.
  • Used by the dairy industry in the United States.
  • Approved for use in cows by the FDA in 1993.

Health Hazards

  • This practice is banned in Europe.
  • Dairy cows injected with these hormones suffer from significant health problems. Sick cows are then treated with antibiotics which contributes to antibiotic resistance.
  • These cows often become lame, infertile, and suffer from inflamed and infected udders.

Found in

  • Diary Products.
  • Milk
  • Cheese


  • Choose organic, hormone and antibiotic-free milk.
  • Look for label “From cows not treated with rBST”
  • Only eat cheese or dairy product that you KNOW does not have these synthetic hormones.

Avoiding Ingredients Banned in Europe

Eat Real Food

Eat foods as close to nature as possible. Eat LESS foods that come in a box, can or package and eat MORE

  • Fresh Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains like Rice, Quinoa,
  • Legumes or Beans
  • Nuts and Seeds.
Eating real food will provide your body with more nutrients, AND you will be avoiding banned ingredients found in processed food. You don’t have to completely give up packaged and precooked foods. Certainly there are plenty of options out there if you learn what to look for when reading food labels.

Read Food Labels

Reading food labels might be overwhelming at first, but once you make it a habit it will be easy.
1. Check the number of ingredients contained. Less is better.
2. Do you recognize the ingredients. Are these ingredients you would cook with in your kitchen?

Overview of Tips

  • Eat less processed foods and more fresh whole foods.
  • Read food Labels
  • Use the EWG’s Healthy Living App to find hidden ingredients.
  • Opt for food that contains “natural” food coloring.
  • Read labels when buying baked goods.
  • Avoid drinks that look hazy or cloudy.
  • Choose organic, hormone and antibiotic-free milk.
    • Look for label “From cows not treated with rBST
    • Only eat cheese or dairy product that you KNOW does not have these synthetic hormones.


Take charge of your health. You choose what fuels your body, and you choose what to spend your money on. Eat real foods as much as possible and read food labels. This is one of the best ways to avoid ingredients banned in Europe. Great advice from food scholar Michael Pollan, who wrote in “The Omnivore’s Dilemma

“Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food”


photo credit: Javier Aroche via photopin cc



2 Comments on 6 Food Ingredients Banned In Europe + How to Ditch Them

  1. I really appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thank you again

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